Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--Microsoft Makes Lemonade: The Future Looks Bright, Software Giant Says--August 3, 2004

Make sure your copy of Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE doesn't get mistakenly blocked by antispam software! Be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.

This Issue Sponsored By

Argent Software

Download: Be Proactive with Real-Time Monitoring!


1. Commentary
- Microsoft Makes Lemonade: The Future Looks Bright, Software Giant Says

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Finally Releases Comprehensive IE Security Fix, Updated Worm Removal Tool

3. Resource
- Tip: What's Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)?

4. New and Improved
- Back Up and Restore Data
- Monitor Your Systems from Anywhere
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

==== Sponsor: Argent Software ====

Free Download: Monitor Your Entire Infrastructure with ONE Solution
The Argent Guardian monitors servers, applications, any and all SNMP-compliant devices as well as the overall health of the entire network at a fraction of the cost of "framework" solutions. Network Testing Labs states that "The Argent Guardian will cost far less than MOM and yet provide significantly more functionality." Using a patented Agent-Optional architecture, the Argent Guardian is easily installed and monitoring your infrastructure in a matter of hours. Download a fully-functioning copy of the Argent Guardian at:


==== 1. Commentary: Microsoft Makes Lemonade: The Future Looks Bright, Software Giant Says ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Every week, I get a bewildering array of Microsoft press releases, statements, and other bits of information. I don't share most of it with you on the theory that I'm a filter of sorts between the corporate promotions the software giant continually generates and the reader, who I imagine is generally too busy to care about the latest point release of Microsoft Streets & Trips or a puff piece about the newest Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) watch partner. However, once a year, Microsoft holds an event, the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting, in which it divulges its plans for the next year. The attending analysts, presumably, will go back to the office after a packed day of presentations and make recommendations to investors and Microsoft's largest corporate customers.

Unlike much of the public posturing that any large company must make, the information Microsoft reveals at its Financial Analyst Meeting is almost devoid of any marketing spin. Instead, the event is a nuts-and-bolts description of what the company is doing. As Microsoft customers, you need to know this information.

At the Financial Analyst Meeting, each of Microsoft's top executives discuss a core part of the company's business. The most interesting part of the meeting, in some ways, is the question and answer session, which comes in the event's final half hour. Here's what happened at this year's event.

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates discussed an important technology shift early in his presentation. "Today what we have is a natural extension that will be built into virtually all the x86 processors over the next couple of years," he said. "And so people who buy \[AMD Athlon 64 or Intel's Xeon Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T)\] hardware will be able to run a 32-bit OS \[or a\] 64-bit OS. The 64-bit OS runs 32-bit software. And so slowly but surely, you'll see the applications recompiled for 64-bit, particularly things like database, where getting that extra memory size makes a huge difference in terms of the performance you can deliver." Not coincidentally, Microsoft this week announced a new beta of its x64 version of Windows Server 2003, awkwardly named Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems, and the company will ship an x64 version of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 next year as well. For more information about these releases, visit the following URL: .

Gates also highlighted the next version of Microsoft's OS for Tablet PCs, Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, which will be enabled on these devices when you install XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). As Gates noted, prices on Tablet PCs have gone down as performance has increased, but the most exciting news, perhaps, is the new functionality in XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, which includes a much-improved Text Input Panel (TIP) with in-place editing of handwritten text entries.

Microsoft is also moving beyond text input to what could prove to be the ultimate computer interface--speech. Microsoft's approach to speech synthesis is interesting: Although we have Web services that can connect customers to back-end data and services fairly easily, those services currently require a Web browser or other interactive software application and, thus, require a PC to access them. With speech synthesis, you'll be able to create telephone-based interfaces to these Web services and let customers use them without a PC, from anywhere. Kevin Shaughnessy, a product manager from the Speech Server team at Microsoft, demonstrated a prototype hotel-booking service that works via telephone, using speech synthesis to create realistic, plain English interactions between the caller and a computer on the other end. And because the service uses the same back-end data and Web services as the Web version, you won't have to rebuild it from the ground up.

Microsoft Senior Vice President of Windows Client Will Poole discussed Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) at length. I've examined this product extensively here in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE and will likely revisit it when Microsoft releases the final version, but let me reiterate that XP SP2's proactive security enhancements are both boon and curse. My advice is to evaluate this update, identify any application and Web site incompatibilities--and there will be some--and then roll it out immediately. XP SP2 is an important update, raising the security baseline of the XP client significantly. And as Gates noted, SP2 represents the most R&D dollars the company has ever put into a free upgrade, further underlining my belief that SP2, in effect, constitutes an entirely new version of Windows.

From a management standpoint, XP SP2 is an important milestone. SP2 has more than 600 new Group Policy Objects (GPOs), almost doubling the number in XP. And, as Poole noted, the GPOs are all related to security. You can also configure clients to have multiple operational profiles--for example, one profile when connected to the domain and another profile when not connected to the domain. So you'll likely want to lock down clients appropriately when they're connected through a Wi-Fi, the 802.11b wireless standard, Access Point (AP) at a Starbucks or an airport. I'll discuss this functionality in detail in a future Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE commentary.

I find it somewhat telling that, although speakers mentioned Longhorn numerous times during the event, few pearls of new information appeared. Gates referred to Longhorn twice but said little of note. Poole said that Longhorn will be more "manageable and deployable" than today's Windows OSs but offered few specifics. Microsoft Senior Vice President of Information Worker Steven Sinofsky, the person in charge of Microsoft Office development, noted that the next version of Office will take advantage of key Longhorn presentation technologies and enable better document collaboration. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even downplayed Longhorn when he said that Microsoft's biggest long-term bet wasn't Longhorn but was the more generic concept of product innovation; in fact, that was the only time Ballmer mentioned Longhorn at all.

During the Q&A session, however, Longhorn came up immediately. Given the constant delays of this product, I'm not surprised. But I found it interesting that Longhorn was as-little mentioned as the company's previous propaganda champion, Microsoft .NET. With the sole exception of Microsoft Senior Vice President of Server and Tools Eric Rudder, few executives talked about .NET at all.

When asked why the company was so quiet about Longhorn, Gates said that the core Longhorn technologies were coming along well but hinted that further delays were coming. "The next milestone for us is getting a beta out sometime next year," he said. "And that will be the point at which the feature set and the schedule will be pretty much locked down. So it's a release that's driven by the breakthrough features, and we'll have a strong sense of exactly what gets in and what the schedule looks like when we get that beta out some time in the next year." Ballmer added, "It's bigger than anything we've ever done ... It's a whole new developer platform, and getting the whole new developer platform done is harder than just making incremental improvements in user and administration features."

The executives waffled a bit about whether the next version of Office, currently code-named Office 12, will require Longhorn. "Those are the things that will be figured out as we move toward the beta," Gates said.

Microsoft's business is big, convoluted, and intertwined, and if you're a Microsoft shop, it pays to keep current on where the company is heading. If I haven't covered something that you're interested in, please let me know. The company has made videos and transcripts of each presentation available on its Web site, along with downloadable versions of each executive's Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.


==== Sponsor: Download: Be Proactive with Real-Time Monitoring! ====

There are two ways to manage your critical systems: Reactive and Proactive. TNT Software's ELM Enterprise Manager supports the latter. ELM Enterprise Manager is the affordable solution that monitors the health and status of your systems in real-time, provides easy to access Views, and alerts you in time to take prompt corrective action. Be proactive, download you FREE 30 day full featured trial copy of ELM Enterprise Manager NOW and start experiencing the benefits of real-time monitoring.


==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Finally Releases Comprehensive IE Security Fix, Updated Worm Removal Tool
On Friday, Microsoft delivered an out-of-cycle critical security update for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). The update addresses three publicly disclosed IE vulnerabilities. In a bulletin that describes the update, Microsoft noted that it fixes the vulnerability that caused the Download.Ject virus and other problems. To read more about the release, visit the following URL:

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

Get 2 Free Sample Issues of SQL Server Magazine!
If you're a SQL Server user, SQL Server Magazine is a must-read. Each issue offers a treasury of relevant articles, savvy tips, endless code listings, and expertise that will give you the answers you're looking for. Chose from a library of hot topic discussions relating to reporting services, security, high availability, and much more. Order now:

Windows Connections, October 24-27, Orlando, FL
Microsoft and Windows & .NET Magazine team up to produce the essential conference for network administrators and IT managers on Windows and Exchange technology. Register early and attend sessions for free at the concurrently run Microsoft Exchange Connections. See the complete conference brochure online or call 800-505-1201 for more information.

Finding the Right Antispam Solution When You Need It
In this free Web seminar, learn how to implement a “holistic” approach to email security that eliminates spam, minimizes risk from viruses, saves money, and reduces the administrative burden on IT staff. And, you'll find out the benefits of the "preemptive" email security approach compared with more traditional approaches. Register now!

~~~~ Hot Release: (Advertisement) Faxback ~~~~

Whitepaper: Is Your Office FAX Integrated?
Where's Bob? (off sending a fax at the fax machine again???) Are you still "getting by" sending via fax machines or less fax savvy solutions? Integrate FAX into applications like Microsoft World, Excel and even Outlook. Download (whitepaper, trial & ROI)

==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Network Security
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you think that your organization's network is more secure or less secure than it was a year ago?" Here are the results from the 198 votes:
- 75% More secure
- 21% Less secure
- 4% I don't know

New Instant Poll: System Failure
The next Instant Poll question is, "What was the cause of your most recent system failure?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Virus activity, b) Hardware failure, c) Software compatibility or driver problems, d) User error, or e) Other

==== 3. Resource ====

Tip: What's Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)?
by John Savill,

Group Policy offers many advantages over the old Windows NT 4.0 system policies; however, managing Group Policy Objects (GPOs) is often cumbersome. To view or modify GPOs, you can either create a custom Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that has a particular group policy loaded or, in the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click an organizational unit (OU) or a domain, select Properties, then select the Group Policy tab.
Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) significantly improves upon Microsoft's traditional methods for GPO management by providing a simple view of the environment that shows how OUs are linked to GPOs and the options associated with the OU or container to which a particular GPO applies. GPMC also provides the following useful features:
- ability to back up and restore GPOs
- easy back up and restore of filters
- ability to create HTML-based reports that show all the settings in a GPO
- ability to script certain Group Policy management actions

You must install GPMC on a Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) system, although you can use GPMC to manage Windows 2003 and Windows 2000 Server domains. You can download the latest version of GPMC--GPMC with SP1--at .
If you attempt to access a container's Group Policy tab from the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in after you install GPMC, you'll see a button that you click to start GPMC. The figure at shows the GPMC interface and some of the information it provides. You can't edit GPOs from within GPMC. Instead, to edit a GPO when you're in GPMC, right-click the GPO and select Edit; a new MMC instance will open in which the GPO editor snap-in is loaded and the selected GPO is open and ready to be edited.

==== Events Central ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

Free Roadshow in Your City Soon--HP Wireless & Mobility Roadshow 2004
In this free Roadshow, you'll discover trends in the wireless and mobility industry and come away with a better understanding of wireless and mobility solutions. And, talk first hand about your wireless projects with leaders in the industry. See proven wireless and mobile solutions in action. Register now!

==== 4. New and Improved ====
by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Back Up and Restore Data
Syncsort released Backup Express 2.2, backup and restore software for Windows, Linux, Novell Netware, and UNIX OSs. The product includes an enhanced GUI, Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) support, device management capabilities, a log-collection utility, and snapshot support. The Backup Express Advanced Protection Manager provides seamless integrated snapshot management across combinations of image and snapshot technologies and storage platforms. The Express Image feature backs up only the changed allocated blocks, which reduces backup and restore time. The Early Drive Release option immediately releases any unused drives for other jobs. For pricing, contact Syncsort at 201-930-8200.

Monitor Your Systems from Anywhere
Breakout Software released MonitorIT 6.0.09, a solution that monitors the availability, response time, health, and performance of servers, workstations, and network devices on IP-based networks. The software provides proactive monitoring, analysis, alert notification and automatic corrective action capabilities, and dynamic graphing and reporting. The product features customizable monitoring and report templates so that you can set which counters you want to regularly monitor and on which servers or devices. The product includes nine monitoring modules: ServerWatch, SNMPWatch, CounterWatch for SNMP and Windows, SYSLOGWatch, EventLogWatch, WinServicesWatch, FileWatch, ProcessWatch, and CustomWatch. You can access MonitorIT from anywhere by using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to view real-time monitoring data, generate reports, or perform administration tasks. For pricing, contact Breakout Software at 908-561-5210.

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 & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Links ====

Comparison Paper: The Argent Guardian Easily Beats Out MOM;6480843;8214395;q?

Free Download--New - Launch NetOp Remote Control from a USB Drive;9571671;8214395;t?


==== 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]


==== Contact Our Sponsors ====

Primary Sponsor:
Argent Software -- -- 1-860-674-1700

Secondary Sponsor:
TNT Software -- -- 1-360-546-0878

Hot Release:
Faxback -- -- 1-800-329-2225 x5350


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

View the Windows & .NET Magazine Privacy policy at Windows & .NET Magazine a division of Penton Media, Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.