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February 18, 2003--In this issue:
1. COMMENTARY - More Bluetooth Blues and a Look at Windows Server 2003 Mobility Features
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS - Windows XP 64-Bit Edition 2003 Misnaming Causes Confusion
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT - Sysprep Disables Opportunistic Locking
4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join The HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Real-World Technical Tips Here for You
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS) - End FAX MACHINE Madness (FREE FAX SERVER TRIAL/ROI) - 2003 Microsoft Management Summit
6. INSIDE WINDOWS SCRIPTING SOLUTIONS - March 2003 Issue - Event-Log Auditing, Part 2
7. INSTANT POLL - Results of Previous Poll: Bluetooth - New Instant Poll: Identify Your Industry
8. NEW AND IMPROVED - Back Up Tablet PC Data - Detect What Programs Are Added to Your PC Without Your Permission - Submit Top Product Ideas
9. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
* MORE BLUETOOTH BLUES AND A LOOK AT WINDOWS SERVER 2003 MOBILITY FEATURES
Last week's commentary about Bluetooth garnered far more responses than I'd expected, and I'm obviously not the only person experiencing problems with this technology. However, thanks to several readers, I can now use Bluetooth to wirelessly synchronize my Hewlett-Packard (HP) iPAQ h5455 Pocket PC with a notebook computer, although the process is somewhat convoluted. However, I expect others to continue experiencing problems, depending on what hardware they have.
The problem with Bluetooth is the wide range of often-incompatible Bluetooth stacks that grace the various Bluetooth systems and hardware devices. Microsoft has provided Bluetooth drivers for Windows XP since late 2002, but most Bluetooth hardware vendors ship products with their own drivers, and the few notebook computers or Tablet PCs that ship with this technology seem to have their own way of doing things as well. The result is the opposite of what Bluetooth's backers envisioned: Instead of having heterogeneous devices that silently recognize and work seamlessly with each other, users still must perform a lot of configuration.
So, back to the iPAQ synchronization. Using tips from readers, I enabled Bluetooth synchronization through Microsoft ActiveSync in a way that contradicted the device's documentation. Instead of using a COM port connection configuration, I enabled the network (Ethernet) and RAS connection type in ActiveSync's Connection Settings dialog box. Then, I triggered the synchronization by selecting Sync in the iPAQ's ActiveSync client (the Sync button in ActiveSync on the desktop is always unavailable). The process works well: I can synchronize the iPAQ from my upstairs bedroom, while the notebook is downstairs in the office.
What I'd like, of course, is automatic synchronization, for instance on a regular schedule when the devices detect each other in range. I'm still trying to determine whether that's possible, but this is a start. Thanks to everyone who wrote me about their Bluetooth experiences and who offered tips for synchronizing the iPAQ. I'll have more information about this intriguing technology when I've had a chance to experiment with other devices
Windows Server 2003 Mobility Features
As part of my continuing discussion of innovative new features in Windows Server 2003, this week I highlight some of the mobility advances in the next Windows Server product, which Microsoft will launch April 24, 2003. As an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, upgrade to Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2003 features improvements to some of Win2K's key mobility technologies, including IntelliMirror's "follow me" functionality, which lets roaming users access their customized desktop environments from any workstation. Windows 2003 also offers massive scalability and performance improvements that will benefit Windows Terminal Services: Administrators will be able to consolidate remote servers or add more users to the same servers. But Windows 2003 also offers some important new features that will benefit mobile users.
First, like XP, Windows 2003 supports the 802.1x wireless standard, which has its roots in Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) dial-up technologies. Over time, this technology led to a new standardized authentication protocol, called the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), which Microsoft used in Win2K's VPN feature. 802.1x, basically, is a way to pass EAP authentication over a wireless connection, and it brings wireless security full circle, in the sense that a secure network tunnel is useless if you can't authenticate to it in a secure manner. 802.1x blocks any network activity until authentication is successful.
Windows 2003 encrypts the Offline Files cache, although this feature requires XP on the client. This feature means that if someone steals the client computer, that person can't access sensitive network data cached locally on your hard disk. This feature is particularly important for business travelers who use Offline Files. For important locally stored files, users need to consider the Encrypting File System (EFS), although this feature is part of Win2K and XP and isn't unique to the new server version.
Another interesting Windows 2003 feature is Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), which is a network-based system restore feature. VSS lets people use an automated point-in-time backup system to access older versions of files on network servers after the files have been changed or deleted. Microsoft engineers I've spoken to call VSS the "single largest single bet in Windows Server 2003." Here's how VSS works: When enabled, VSS creates a permanent or temporary volume representing a snapshot of an existing volume at a certain point in time, then freezes that point in time so that you can come back to it. VSS represents the first time Microsoft has created a backup framework, and the company expects future backup solutions to build off this framework.
Because VSS can take up a lot of disk space, you need to roll it out effectively. You must consider which volumes, files, or folders you need to back up using this technology and how often you need to back them up; these variables will differ from enterprise to enterprise. Obviously, VSS has ramifications beyond mobile workers, but this feature is of particular use to users that are often disconnected from the network but use the Offline Files feature to cache remote content.
Finally, Microsoft will release a number of server products this year that will build off of Windows 2003, many of which include new mobility features. For example, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (formerly code-named Titanium), due mid-year, will take advantage of changes to Active Directory (AD), VSS, and the scalability and performance improvements in Windows 2003 to offer a more powerful messaging solution. Exchange 2003 adds the mobility device features from Microsoft Mobile Information Server 2002--primarily support for Windows CE-based devices such as the Pocket PC and a unique Web-based client called Microsoft Outlook Mobile Access (OMA)--but it drops the Instant Messaging (IM) features from the previous Exchange version because Microsoft is developing a new Real-Time Communications (RTC) server based on Windows Messenger technology, which will also ship in 2003. No word yet on pricing, availability, or final naming.
So is Windows 2003 death by a thousand cuts or a collection of small but necessary improvements that add up to a compelling upgrade? Let me know what you think about Windows 2003's mobile features. Is Microsoft missing the boat with this release, or is this a compelling upgrade to Win2K?
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* WINDOWS XP 64-BIT EDITION 2003 MISNAMING CAUSES CONFUSION The inclusion Friday of a bizarrely named "Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for the Workstation" in various articles on the Microsoft Web site had the rumor mills buzzing with talk of a new Windows client release that would fill the gap between Windows XP and Longhorn, the next Windows version, now due in late 2004. As first reported on Neowin.net, several Microsoft articles mentioned the edition before being pulled by Microsoft late in the day. Microsoft told me late Friday that the name was a misprint and that the product it refers to is actually Windows XP 64-bit Edition 2003, which was announced last July. The product will ship alongside the various Windows 2003 editions in late April. For more about this story, visit the following URL: http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38051
* SYSPREP DISABLES OPPORTUNISTIC LOCKING Windows 2000 uses the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol to implement remote file access. When a Win2K Professional client accesses a file on a Win2K server, the client uses opportunistic locking (oplock) to cache file information locally and ensure that the file is marked as open and in use. The caching part of the technique reduces the time the client spends accessing the file; oplock technology also prevents another client from accessing, and potentially modifying, the same file until the first client is finished and closes the file. When the client closes the file, the Win2K server must release the lock before the file is available for access by another client. Although releasing the lock takes server processing time, the trade-off in speed on the client usually compensates for the server overhead. To read more about this technology, visit the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38053
* JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register today! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas
* WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE CONNECTIONS: REAL-WORLD TECHNICAL TIPS HERE FOR YOU Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to interact first hand with Windows & .NET Magazine writers you trust: Minasi, Russinovich, Hill, Wells, Deuby, and Moskowitz. Plus, Microsoft is sending its "Scripting Guys"--members of the TechNet Script Center. This event runs May 18-21, 2003. Register today and save $300! http://www.winconnections.com
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* 2003 MICROSOFT MANAGEMENT SUMMIT Microsoft (R) presents the 2003 Microsoft Management Summit. At this technical summit Microsoft Program Managers and experts will teach you how to get the most from your Windows(R)-based Management Solutions. http://www.mms2003.com/default.aspx?pin=email2
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FOCUS: Automating DNS Setup for New Web Sites Setting up a new Web site can be challenging. This script makes the process easier by automating DNS setup and configuration for IIS Web sites.
The following article is available for free to nonsubscribers for a limited time.
* Event-Log Auditing, Part 2 Use this script to generate logon and logoff reports for a particular user for a specified time interval. --by Steve Seguis http://www.winscriptingsolutions.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=37725
* RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: BLUETOOTH The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you regularly use Bluetooth to synchronize data between a PC and a portable device?" Here are the results from the 169 votes.
- 6% Yes, I use it regularly - 11% I tried it but found it lacking - 49% I've never tried it, and I don't plan to - 35% I've never tried it, but I'm interested and plan to
(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)
* NEW INSTANT POLL: IDENTIFY YOUR INDUSTRY The next Instant Poll question is, "What industry do you work in?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) health care, b) financial, c) education, d) government, or e) other http://www.winnetmag.com/magazine
* BACK UP TABLET PC DATA Dantz Development released Dantz Retrospect with capability to back up Table PC device data. Dantz Retrospect can automatically detect Tablet PCs connected to the network and back up data so that the Tablet PC is protected. The Proactive Client Backup system detects the Tablet PC and works to copy only new and changed files to conserve bandwidth. For pricing, contact Dantz Development at 925-253-3000. http://www.dantz.com
* DETECT WHAT PROGRAMS ARE ADDED TO YOUR PC WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION BillP Studios released WinPatrol Plus 4.0, software that monitors and detects changes on your computer system so that you can alert end users to new programs that have been added without their permission. The software makes you aware of what cookies are added to your system and what information is contained within the cookies. Pricing is $12.95. Contact BillP Studios at 518-372-3990. http://www.billp.com
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