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Windows Client UPDATE--Configuring Company PCs for Home Use--November 11, 2004

Windows Client UPDATE--Configuring Company PCs for Home Use--November 11, 2004

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1. Commentary: Configuring Company PCs for Home Use

2. Reader Challenge

- October 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

- November 2004 Reader Challenge

3. News & Views

- Mozilla Foundation Ships Firefox 1.0

4. Resources

- Tip: Tools for Windows XP

- Featured Thread: Cloned Drive Won't Boot

5. New and Improved

- Local-Network Inventory Tool

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Configuring Company PCs for Home Use ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I got a call last week from a friend that brought back memories of the bad old days of networking computers. He'd been issued a new notebook at work, preconfigured with all of the business applications and antivirus and security software that his company required, and he wanted to be able to use it on his home network, as his company's use policy permitted. He'd run into a bit of a snag, however, and his skills as a knowledgeable computer user weren't up to the task.

My friend could connect to the Internet from home, run his VPN software, and connect to his corporate network resources without a problem. However, he wasn't able to access files on his notebook from any other computer on the home network.

A little phone diagnosis made clear that the basic network connections weren't the problem--after I walked him through some basic networking diagnostics, we determined that although his new notebook could see the network, the rest of the home network couldn't see his notebook. He'd already run the Network Setup Wizard and the Wireless Network Setup Wizard in an attempt to solve his problem, but to no avail.

My next question was the obvious: Are you running a firewall on the individual clients or using a hardware firewall in your Internet router? He was using both: the hardware firewall that came with his router, and Windows Firewall, which had defaulted to "on" with his installation of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). However, he'd already disabled Windows Firewall on all the computers for the purpose of determining whether it was a problem, so he was fairly certain that it wasn't.

While I walked him through the diagnostic procedure, he was searching the Web and coming up with all sorts of potential Windows issues that could have been causing his problem. As a result, he developed a severe case of computer hypochondria. He was sure that he was the victim of all sorts of Windows security problems and that his only recourse was to give up, since he couldn't follow some of the recommendations he was finding on the Web that required making major changes to the computer OS, which he couldn't do on a work computer.

At that point, I asked him what processes were running on the computer. As he iterated them, I discovered that one of them was Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm firewall. Apparently his employer's IT technicians installed ZoneAlarm but didn't disable Windows Firewall. Although I'm not sure how it happened, as soon as we reconfigured ZoneAlarm to allow traffic on the local network, all of his connectivity problems disappeared.

In and of itself, my friend's problem wasn't a big deal--dealing with network configuration problems and a computer's inability to see network resources used to be fairly commonplace. But if you're an IT pro who supports hundreds of remote users, a simple configuration error like that one can result in hundreds of hours of lost productivity. Remember that every configuration change made to a computer will have an impact on its use. If you're allowing home use of company computers or configuring computers for telecommuters, you should consider all the potential uses of those computers.

To comment on this article, click this URL:


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

by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

October 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our October Reader Challenge, who won copies of "Windows Server Undocumented Solutions: Beyond the Knowledge Base," by Serdar Yegulalp (McGraw-Hill Publishing), and "Home Networking for Dummies" by yours truly (Wiley Publishing). Visit to read the answer to the October Reader Challenge.

November 2004 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 November 25, 2004. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. 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 November 26, 2004.

The November 2004 Challenge:

If you support users, this challenge will probably sound familiar. A user wants to uninstall a software program. He tells you he opened the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, selected the program, and then selected Remove. The uninstall process failed, but if he selects the program on the Programs menu, a "file not found" message appears. To qualify as a winner in this month's Challenge, click the link below and answer the following questions:

Question #1:

What's the most common cause of this scenario?

Question #2:

How can you remove the program's listing from the Add/Remove Programs applet?

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

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Mozilla Foundation Ships Firefox 1.0

The Mozilla Foundation announced that it has shipped Firefox 1.0, its long-awaited milestone release of the most popular Web browser alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Several million people already use the pre-1.0 version of Firefox, and this release is expected to garner millions more users to continue eating away at market-leader IE. Officials from the Mozilla Foundation say that Firefox's popularity is due to two factors: It's excellent software, and Microsoft has essentially stopped updating the buggy and insecure market leader, IE.

But Firefox isn't entirely a recent phenomenon. The genesis of this software began in 1998 when Netscape started (later renamed the Mozilla Foundation) to develop open-source versions of its browser technology. Initial releases of browsers were entire browser suites that included email, chat, and other applications, and indeed, the company still issues such a product. About 2 years ago, however, several members of the Mozilla Foundation began developing a standalone browser, originally named Phoenix, but later renamed to Firebird, then Firefox after the company discovered that other software products already used the first two names.

Firefox has always impressed technical users, thanks to its advanced features, such as tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, inline searching, and better security. But lately, Firefox has also begun resonating with average users, many of whom are tired of IE being the primary conduit for malware on their PCs. This year, Firefox and other browsers have raised their market share to 6 percent, up from 3.5 percent in early 2004. Now, the Mozilla Foundation says its goal is to grab at least 10 percent of the market from IE, and with more than 8 million downloads of pre-release Firefox downloads under its belt, the organization might very well hit that target. For more information about Firefox 1.0 and the free download, visit the Mozilla Foundation Web site.

==== Announcements ====

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Tools for Windows XP

(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I recently received an email message requesting a recommendation for a third-party tool to burn International Organization for Standardization (ISO) images to CD-R disc. My initial response was to ask whether the Microsoft tool wasn't doing the job. The reader responded that he wasn't aware of a Microsoft tool to burn ISO disk images.

There is such a tool, however. Cdburn.exe is one of the many useful tools in the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. All those tools will run perfectly well on Windows XP.

To get the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools, go to and download the 12MB tools installer. The installation includes a Windows Help file that details each tool, its use, and its syntax.

Featured Thread: Cloned Drive Won't Boot

Forum member "Grajay" used Norton Ghost to clone his Windows XP Professional drive to a new drive. Although the action appeared to work, Grajay is getting a boot disk failure message. Does he need to reinstall from scratch? If you can help, join the discussion at

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

by Barb Gibbens, [email protected]

Local-Network Inventory Tool

KVIPtech announced the release of Network Inventory Monitor 3.0. The software gives network administrators information about computers connected to the LAN. Data that the software gathers includes CPU model, memory usage, a summary of hard disks and other drives, video card model, monitor brand, and NIC information such as IP address and media access control (MAC) address. The new version lets user export reports as a Microsoft Office Visio 2003 XML drawing format (.vdx) file. For more information, visit the vendor's Web site.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows IT Pro T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected].

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