Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.
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October 1, 2002—In this issue:
- Not Ready for Longhorn? Fear Not
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Red Hat Releases Friendly New Linux Version
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- The Latest Batch of Win2K SP3 Fixes
- Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!
- Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott Are Bringing Their Security Expertise to You!
5. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Upgrades and Longhorn
- New Instant Poll: XP SP1 F
- Featured Thread: Domain Not Available
- Tip: Connecting to URLs That Contain Foreign (Multibyte) Characters
7. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Keep a Software and Hardware Inventory
- Upgrade Your Notebook Hard Disk
8. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org)
As the rumor mill churns into full gear regarding the next Windows release (code-named Longhorn), several analysts are predicting that Microsoft will again miss a deadline, requiring an interim Windows release between now and Longhorn's estimated 2005 delivery date. However, I've been arguing since January that Microsoft will need to deliver at least one interim release—if only because consumers expect a new Windows version each holiday season. For 2002, that release is a new Windows XP version that includes XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) baked in. But for 2003 and 2004 ... well, time will tell.
Regardless of Longhorn's timing and the availability of any interim Windows releases, Microsoft has other important software products and servers coming in the months ahead. This week, I look at some of these products and discuss how they might benefit you and your corporation.
XP Tablet PC Edition - November 2002
Many people misunderstood my June 2002 Tablet PC review: I'm actually very impressed with both the hardware and Microsoft's XP Tablet PC Edition software. However, I think the Tablet PC's data conversion concerns will vex many customers, especially if users keep their data in Microsoft Ink format, as the company expects. Tablet PC is a market waiting to explode, and if Microsoft is right about the so-called "corridor warrior" set, we'll see a new class of laptop computers—excuse me, Tablet PCs—head to the top of the sales chart.
The first generation of Tablet PCs are best-suited to lawyers, doctors, factor workers, or anyone who needs to move between casual writing-style environments and typical, laptop-style PC use. And the tablet-style Tablet PCs, the ones that aren't convertible laptops, are excellent solutions for workers who occasionally work outside the office; users can dock the PC at work and use it like a regular PC or access the device with a stylus and onscreen keyboard elsewhere.
Win.NET Server 2003 - Late 2002/Early 2003
I've written about Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 a lot in UPDATE, and I'll continue to do so in the future, so let's move along to the next product.
SMS 2003 - First Half of 2003
The next version of Systems Management Server (SMS), SMS 2003, will focus on three key areas: support for mobile devices (primarily Pocket PCs), optional Active Directory (AD) integration, and improvements to the product's metering and reporting functionality. Microsoft just shipped SMS 2003 Beta 1, which shows off the product's simplified administration tools for software distribution, asset management, and remote troubleshooting.
I'm excited to see Microsoft tackling Change and Configuration Management (CCM), which I consider to be a crucial management task. But the company's management tools are in flux and, post-SMS 2003, it's unclear how Microsoft will change SMS, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), and Application Center 2000. A Microsoft representative told me this summer that the company would integrate the products in some fashion but was still unsure what the results would look like. Perhaps the company will announce more concrete plans at next week's Microsoft Enterprise Conference (MEC) 2002 in Anaheim, California.
Office 11 - Mid-2003
After three lackluster upgrades, Microsoft is serious about Microsoft Office again, and we'll see the first beta release of the next version, Office 11, next week. Office 11 will feature yet another new Office-specific user interface and native support for XML data, which will enable "smart" documents that can update themselves as needed over a network or the Internet. And if that functionality sounds scary, it gets even worse: Office 11 documents can run code over the Internet. That feature will let documents, when opened, check for certain applications on your local system. If the applications aren't available, the document can launch an installer.
Although this feature doesn't sound promising from a security standpoint, especially for those of us still burning from having to fix numerous Microsoft Outlook-borne viruses, we'll need to wait a while for the details. Hopefully, next week's Office 11 Beta 1 release will include some information about the product's XML capabilities and security. But Office 11 will likely feature some major improvements. Stay tuned.
Exchange 2003 Server (Titanium) - Mid 2003
Originally, the Exchange Server release after Exchange 2000 Server was to include the Microsoft SQL-based data store that's part of SQL Server's upcoming Yukon release (see next section). But shifting schedules have changed the Exchange picture, and now we're looking at an interim release, Exchange 2003 Server, in mid-2003. Exchange 2003 will build on the AD changes in Win.NET Server and include as-yet-unnamed collaboration technologies from Office 11. I do know that Exchange 2003 will include an improved Outlook Web Access (OWA) client, Exchange System Manager (ESM) improvements, and support for up to 8-node clustering. The first beta release is due late in 2002.
I suspect Exchange 2003 will see its biggest deployments in shops committed to the Win.NET Server generation of products (Exchange 2000 won't install on Win.NET Server). As with Office 11, we'll need to wait until the first beta release to see whether the new features are worth the upgrade.
SQL Server 2003 (Yukon) - Late 2003
In late 2003, Microsoft will unleash the Yukon version of SQL Server, which the company will market as SQL Server 2003. This release will feature "deep XML, SOAP, and .NET CLR (Common Language Runtime) integration," according to Microsoft, and true language independence for stored procedures. SQL Server 2003 will also include a special version of the Visual Studio .NET development environment so that developers need to learn only one environment, as well as various self-healing and self-management technologies.
The biggest news about SQL Server 2003 is that this release marks the next generation of Microsoft enterprise products: Its underlying data storage technology will form the basis of the Longhorn file system and AD version, the next Exchange Server version (post-Titanium), and every other Microsoft product that requires storage of some sort. This release is important for many reasons and is certainly a product to watch.
Looking forward, I'm interested in any stories about XP SP1 rollouts. If you've deployed XP SP1, please let me know how it went.
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com)
Yesterday, Red Hat released Red Hat Linux 8.0, the most recent version of the company's Linux distribution. A major improvement over earlier versions, Red Hat Linux 8.0 represents the company's first stab at creating a simple and friendly desktop that can rival Windows XP and Mac OS X. Despite complexities that continually creep in under Linux's friendly veneer, Red Hat has done a credible job of taking the UNIX-like OS into new ease-of-use territory. As a result, analysts predict that the desktop improvements will at least temporarily stave off Linux defections to Mac OS X, although Linux probably won't make major inroads against XP. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week, I summarize five recently released Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) bug fixes, including a fix for a DHCP reservation problem, a workaround you can use to force a domain controller (DC) to immediately replicate an account you disable, an update that corrects a blue screen that occurs when you close a file on a network share, a solution for a Win2K Server Terminal Services client printing problem I discussed a few weeks ago, and a code fix that eliminates Perflib error messages in the Application event log. For details about these fixes, visit the following URL:
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
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Windows & .NET Magazine Network RoadShow 2002 is coming this October to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco! Industry experts Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott will show you how to shore up your system's security and which desktop security features are planned for Microsoft .NET and beyond. Sponsored by NetIQ, Microsoft, and Trend Micro. Registration is free, but space is limited so sign up now!
5. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you think users will upgrade their PCs knowing the machines will be obsolete with the release of Longhorn in 2005?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 201 votes:
- 27% Yes, users will be reluctant to upgrade now
- 69% No, users will continue to upgrade
- 4% I don't know.
The next Instant Poll question is, "Has your organization rolled out Windows XP SP1 yet?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, we've rolled out XP SP1, b) No, we still haven't upgraded to XP, c) We haven't upgraded to XP SP1 yet, but we plan to soon, or d) We have no plans to roll out XP SP1.
When Diego tries to log on to his Windows XP Professional computer, he gets the error message "System Cannot Log You on Because Domain Sandwich Is Not Available." Sandwich is the name of Diego's local computer. Microsoft has documented the bug, but Diego has tried all the recommended solutions without success. Can you help? Join the discussion at the following URL:
(contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)
Q. How can I configure Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0 and later to connect to URLs that contain foreign (multibyte) characters?
A. To configure IE to connect to Web sites that contain foreign characters, perform the following steps:
- Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
- Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings registry subkey. (You might need to create some of the subkeys if they don't already exist.)
- From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
- Enter the name MBCSServername, then press Enter.
- Double-click the new value, set it to 0 to enable multibyte characters or 1 to disable multibyte characters, then click OK.
- Log off and log back on for the change to take effect.
7. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, email@example.com)
Alchemy Lab released Asset Tracker for Networks 2.1, inventory software that audits software and hardware components installed on your network computers. The tool can provide detailed comprehensive reports and let you export asset details to external data sources. You can keep track of OS details; processor, memory, and hard disk information; installed software; printers; network adapters; and the operating environment. Asset Tracker for Networks 2.1 runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x systems. Pricing starts at $199 for the full version that supports 25 PCs. Contact Alchemy Lab at 800-903-4152.
CMS Peripherals announced price reductions for the Easy-Plug Easy-Go (EPEG) notebook hard-disk upgrade solution. The company reduced the price for 20GB, 30GB, and 40GB hard disks by as much as 41 percent. Pricing for the hard-disk upgrades start at $189 for the 20GB EPEG, $229 for the 30GB EPEG, and $258 for the 40GB EPEG. The EPEG product line supports more than 800 different notebook models. Contact CMS Peripherals at 714-424-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
- ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — email@example.com
- ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — firstname.lastname@example.org
- ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — email@example.com
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
- TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
- PRODUCT NEWS — firstname.lastname@example.org
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