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WinClient Update, May 11, 2006: Solving 3 Wireless Networking Problems

Windows Client UPDATE, May 11, 2006: Solving 3 Wireless Networking Problems

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1. Commentary
- Solving 3 Wireless Networking Problems
- Editor's Note: Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators

2. Reader Challenge
- May Reader Challenge
- April Reader Challenge Winners

3. News & Views
- Windows Vista Beta 2 Shapes Up for May 23 Release at WinHEC

4. Resources
- Tip: How to Fix an “Autocheck Program Not Found” Error
- Featured Thread: The Vacation Problem

5. New and Improved
- NotePage Announces RSS Script Directory
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Solving 3 Wireless Networking Problems ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I was reminded that no good deed goes unpunished when I got a series of phone calls from a friend whose wireless network I had helped set up in his new office space. He had purchased a beautifully restored 17th century building in the historic downtown area of a small town. It had been used as a medical office prior to restoration, and my friend found it perfect for his small business: plenty of room for his dozen employees, high windows, great ambience, and a good location.

Faced with the need to set up a network across three floors without tearing the place up, he had decided to go with wireless networking. It seemed simple enough. After looking at the property, I talked him through the setup. Of course, given that his building is a townhouse, it wasn’t surprising that from his network he could see four other wireless networks, plus an open, unsecured wireless network that the coffee shop across the street was running. I gave him a checklist of steps to lock down his network and was confident the process would go pretty smoothly.

His first phone call was the “My network keeps disappearing” call. Figuring that the problem was being caused by electrical interference, I discovered other wireless communications devices in use in his office, most noticeably wireless telephone handsets, which work on the same frequency as wireless networks. A change in phones, along with moving the primary Access Point (AP) out of the break room in which an antique microwave oven lived, seemed to solve the problem. (The new fluorescent light fixtures located only a few feet away from the wall-mounted AP hadn't helped, either.)

His second call was the “Why is my network so slow?” call. It turned out he was running 802.11g for most of his users but had a couple of notebooks with 802.11b networking built in. When these notebooks were in use, the entire network slowed down. Adding 802.11g cards to the notebooks and disabling the onboard wireless networking solved that problem.

The last call was an interesting problem I hadn’t heard before. My friend had decided to add some dedicated storage to the network and went out and bought a small NAS device. When he got back to the office with the device, he realized that he had no way to connect it to the network: The wired/wireless router had only four network cable connections, all of which were in use. In addition, he wanted to keep the NAS device in his office, which had no wired connections. Fortunately, this problem was easily solved, although it did take me a good twenty minutes to explain what a wireless networking bridge was and how to use it. I supplied and configured the bridge for him, and so far, I haven’t gotten any more requests for support.

The moral of this story is clear. Regardless of how simple we in IT believe wireless networking has become, for non-technical business users, there are still quite a few hurdles to overcome in understanding the technology.

Editor's Note:

Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators!

Have you developed a solution that uses Windows technology to solve a business problem in an innovative way? Enter your solution in the 2006 Windows IT Pro Innovators Contest! Grand-prize winners will receive airfare and a conference pass to Windows and Exchange Connections in Las Vegas, November 6-9, 2006, plus more great prizes and a feature article about the winning solutions in the December 2006 issue of Windows IT Pro. Contest runs through August 1, 2006.

To enter, click here:


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==== 2. Reader Challenge ====

by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

April 2006 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our April 2006 Reader Challenge. A copy of "Windows Server 2003 Network Administration," goes to first prize winner Curt Stall, of Arizona. Second prize, a copy of "Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, Second Edition," goes to Paul Flemming, of Ontario, Canada. Both of these excellent books are from O'Reilly & Associates Publishing.

May 2006 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by May 24, 2006. You MUST include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct). I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on May 25, 2006.

The May 2006 Challenge:

This month's challenge is a follow-up to last month's challenge (which was about using Run As to raise user permission limits when higher permission levels were required for a particular application). Some reader comments precipitated this month's question.

Readers wrote to tell me, "Some of our users figured out how to use Run As to download programs, music, games, and other stuff we don't want on our workstations. How do we prevent them from using Run As?" Answer that question to be eligible for this month's prize.


==== 3. News & Views ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Windows Vista Beta 2 Shapes Up for May 23 Release at WinHEC

As I've previously reported, Microsoft had planned to ship a variant of Windows Vista build 5381 as Beta 2, the version that the company will be delivering to millions of consumers later this month. However, problems with build 5381 have changed those plans somewhat, along with the schedule for getting Beta 2 into the hands of users. Last weekend, Microsoft surprisingly issued a variant of build 5381 to testers after previously noting that it wouldn't ship any more interim builds before Beta 2.

Now, Microsoft plans to release a DVD of Vista Beta 2 and Office 2007 Beta 2 to attendees of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) on May 23. Meanwhile, users who wish to obtain a DVD version of Beta 2 via the company's public Web site will have to wait until May 27. Microsoft expects to eventually deliver this version to millions of people.

To read more, see the URL below.

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip--While I was on a business trip recently, my notebook developed the annoying habit of displaying an “Autocheck program not found” error message every time I booted the system. It turns out that this is a known problem caused when the autochk.exe file, which runs at startup and checks the hard disk, is corrupted. Fixing the problem is simple but requires access to a Windows XP installation CD-ROM. Take the following steps:

1. Open the Windows XP installation CD-ROM. 2. In the \i386 folder, find autocheck.exe. 3. Copy autochk.exe to your \system32 folder. 4. Remove the XP CD-ROM and reboot the computer.

Featured Thread:

"The Vacation Problem." See this latest posting from the IT trenches at the Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration blog:

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==== 5. New and Improved ====

by Caroline Marwitz, [email protected]

NotePage announced RSS Scripts Directory, a collection of tools for managing Internet publishing in real time using Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Three scripts currently form the collection, and more are planned. The RSS2HTML cache script makes your RSS feeds appear on your Web pages in HTML, for viewing with a Web browser. The FutureRSS script lets you prepare Web content in advance for RSS feeds that you want to publish at a later date. The RSSmesh script takes multiple RSS feeds and merges them into a single RSS feed. Registered users of FeedForAll or FeedForAll Mac can access these tools for free. Others can purchase a subscription to the directory for $29.95. For more information, see NotePage's RSS Scripts Directory Web site:

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