Windows Client UPDATE, May 29, 2003

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Windows & .NET Magazine


1. Commentary: Check the Knowledge Base First 2. News & Views - HP Releases New Systems with Chip-Based Security

3. Announcements - Back by Popular Demand--Windows & .NET Magazine's Security Road Show! - Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business

4. Resources - Tip: Hide the System Tray Notification Area from Users - Featured Thread: Adding .adm Files

5. Events - Windows & .NET Magazine Web Seminar

6. New and Improved - Manage Desktops Across Your Enterprise - Defragment Enterprise-Level Environments - Submit Top Product Ideas

7. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Sponsor: Windows & .NET Magazine ==== Microsoft Mobility Tour If you were too busy to catch our Microsoft Mobility Tour event in person, now you can view the Webcast archives for free! You'll learn more about the available solutions for PC and mobile devices and discover where the mobility marketplace is headed.


==== 1. Commentary: Check the Knowledge Base First ==== by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Although I don't directly support a large corporate network or face hundreds of users' problems every day, I do spend a fair amount of time reconfiguring hardware in my test networks on a scale that most IT pros don't have to deal with. When I combine my experience with conversations I have with readers who are in the trenches every day, I get a pretty good feeling for the real problems in their lives and mine. So, when I recently reconfigured a few servers and clients running Windows 2000 in preparation for testing Windows Server 2003 environments, I thought I was preparing for some realistic testing of potential migration and Active Directory (AD) problems with the new server OS. Little did I know that I'd find something to write about before I even started the Windows 2003 installations. I began by setting up a few client computers. Most of these computers were already running Win2K Professional; I made some hardware changes to give me a range of common configurations. These alterations were mostly a matter of changing memory and storage configurations and networking hardware. Then, I did what any support pro would do--I booted each computer so that I could work on the software configuration. The first three systems booted up fine, and I was able to finish the software configuration within a few minutes on each machine. The fourth machine started to boot, churned the disk for a while, then returned one of those text messages that systems administrators dread: "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: System32\Drivers\FastFAT.sys." I used the installation CD-ROM to repair the corrupted system OS, which I could do because I didn't need to save any of the data on the computer's boot partition. After laboring through the reinstallation, I rebooted the computer only to run into the same error message. At this point, I was becoming aggravated. I knew that I had seen the error message before, but I couldn't recall exactly where. I determined that the next step was to check out the hardware and make sure that all the cables were attached to the drives. They were. To be on the safe side, I swapped in a new drive cable, but doing so changed nothing. In desperation, I started checking all the hardware components in the system. To my chagrin, I heard a "click" when I pushed down on the second DIMM in the system. Like Archimedes, I was about to shout "Eureka" at my discovery but instead uttered a more Homer Simpson-like "Doh!" I had located the problem, but in doing so recalled that bad memory can cause the OS to generate the corrupt FastFAT.sys error message. I've written about funky hardware problems causing software errors in the past. If I had only searched the Microsoft Knowledge Base with the text of the error message before I started trying to solve the problem with what I assumed was the right answer, I would have saved myself a couple of hours of useless effort. As a one-man shop, I can't afford to waste a couple of hours. If you multiply by a hundredfold the trouble that similar assumptions make in a typical large company, you come up with a huge waste of time and effort. I've stuck a little note on my wall to remind me of my exercise in futility. It reads simply, "Check the KB first." That's a simple reminder, but it's one that will save me--and I hope you, too--valuable time in the future.


==== 2. News & Views ==== by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

HP Releases New Systems with Chip-Based Security Hewlett-Packard (HP) has released the new ProtectTools Embedded Security chip in its line of D530 series motherboards for business computers. The new chip, called Trusted Platform Module (TPM), operates independently of other system components such as the processor, memory, and OS. HP said TPM will enhance file and folder encryption in Microsoft OSs. HP said every chip is unique and bound to a specific system. Each chip creates a unique root encryption key that's stored in silicon, making the keys difficult to compromise. HP sees the technology as a benefit for more than just file and folder encryption. HP foresees companies using the chips for user authentication, smart cards, tokens, wireless encryption protocols, email encryption, and network access. The company has released a document that outlines the new technology. HP is a member of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), which is developing "open industry standard specifications for trusted computing hardware building blocks and software interfaces across multiple platforms, including PCs, servers, PDAs, and digital phones. This will enable more secure data storage, online business practices, and online commerce transactions while protecting privacy and individual rights." Other members of TCG include AMD, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, Nokia, NVIDIA, Philips, Sony, and VeriSign.

==== 3. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Back by Popular Demand--Windows & .NET Magazine's Security Road Show! Join the Windows & .NET Magazine 2003 Security Road Show (a free in-person event), and hear Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott detailing how to attack your security problems head on. You'll learn 12 tips for securing a Windows 2000 network, discover the future of Microsoft's security strategy from Windows Server 2003 and beyond, and more! Register today!

Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business Download VeriSign's new white paper, "Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business," and discover the practical business benefits of securing your Web site. You'll also learn more about the innovative processes and technologies VeriSign uses to address Internet security issues. Download your free copy now!

==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Hide the System Tray Notification Area from Users contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Recently, at a customer site, the IT director showed me some of his users' Windows XP desktops. Some users had literally dozens of icons in the notification area of the system tray on their machines, which occupied a good portion of screen space. Most of the icons were from applications that were "legal" from the company's standpoint, but the IT director felt that the software was getting a bit notification-happy and wanted to turn off the notifications. Here's a brute-force way to eliminate such notifications. This registry edit hides the notification area from users.

1. Launch regedit.
2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
3. Create a NoTrayItemsDisplay entry of type REG_DWORD.
4. Set the entry's value to 1.
5. Exit regedit.
6. Reboot the computer.

Featured Thread: Adding .adm Files

Forum member bham would like to add .adm files to a policy editor to control applications such as RealNetworks' RealOne Player. He'd like to know whether a Web site exists that offers various .adm files for download. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:

==== 5. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

Windows & .NET Magazine Web Seminar

How can you reclaim 30% to 50% of Windows server space? Attend the newest Web seminar from Windows & .NET Magazine, and discover the secrets from the experts.

==== 6. New and Improved ==== by Sue Cooper, [email protected]

Manage Desktops Across Your Enterprise

Attachmate released NetWizard Professional 5.1, a rapid-deployment enterprise desktop management system. The software lets you inventory software and hardware, distribute and install software, meter usage, administer licensing, and manage policy. NetWizard Professional scales to accommodate multiple desktops in organizations with geographically distributed offices. New features include Windows XP compatibility, Active Directory (AD) support, Wake on LAN support, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) inventory data access, and command-line build support for Windows Installer applications. Remotely Anywhere software is included as a standard component. NetWizard Professional 5.1 runs on Windows XP/2000/NT. Contact Attachmate at 425-644-4010.

Defragment Enterprise-Level Environments

Raxco Software announced PerfectDisk 6.0, software for enterprise-environment disk defragmentation and optimization. The Perfect Management feature provides full integration with Active Directory (AD) Group Policy, letting you toggle most PerfectDisk features on or off at the group or user level. The software provides users with information about their system's fragmentation level and free-space fragmentation and uses color-coded warning signals. A rules engine recommends actions and provides metrics data. PerfectDisk 6.0 is Windows 2000-certified, optimized for Windows XP, and works on Windows Server 2003/XP/2000/NT/Me/98/95 systems. Pricing starts at $44.95 for one workstation license and $239.95 for one server license. Contact Raxco Software at 800-546-9728, 301-527-0803, or [email protected]

Submit Top Product Ideas

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

==== 7. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


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