IE 5.x Delays—A Follow-Up
Your feedback reveals that the 30 to 45 second delay that sometimes occurs as Internet Explorer (IE) 5.x attempts to locate its first URL frustrates many of you. You shared several solutions, and, of course, they have absolutely nothing in common. For example, one reader claims that IE runs as it should after he logs off and back on. Another says that IE's speed improved after he disabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP on the network adapter settings and stopped the TCP/IP NetBIOS helper service. In contrast, someone else stated that IE found the first URL quickly when he cleared the network adapter's "use settings from DHCP server" setting and enabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP. Because these solutions have little in common, the problem probably lies with some core component of IE that's independent of network settings.

Reader Steve Palocz’s comments put me on the right track for troubleshooting my specific problem. Steve reported that he experienced the delay when he entered a URL but not when he selected a URL from the address bar's drop-down list. I tested this theory on my sluggish browser and discovered a workaround, but no permanent solution.

When I enter a URL ( e.g., www.google.com ), my browser sends out a few LAN packets and a WAN packet, pauses (doing apparently nothing for 30 seconds), and then sends another request to the WAN connection. The Web page then appears. If, however, I preface the typed URL with two forward slashes ( e.g., //www.google.com ) or enter the full URL ( e.g., http://www.google.com ), IE responds as it should. This behavior is consistent and reproducible, so it appears that the delay occurs when IE parses the HTTP address.

When I use this workaround, IE processes the first URL I type as quickly as it does the second or third, but I still encounter the 45-second pause when I click Tools, Options, Internet Options, and select the Connections tab. Apparently, I have two separate problems that require two different solutions.

IE’s Spinning Globe
Does your Internet Explorer (IE) globe sometimes spin continuously? This problem often occurs after the browser runs a Java or Active Server Pages (ASP) script. For example, after I filled out a script-based pop-up survey at the Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) Web site recently, IE’s globe continued to spin. To stop the globe from spinning, press F5 to refresh the page.

Win2K Telnet Security Rollup
Telnet server provides a convenient solution for those of us who perform remote administration—especially when something goes wrong at 2:00 A.M. However, because Telnet supports remote console-style connections, it's vulnerable to misuse and abuse. Last week, Microsoft released a rollup security package for Telnet that eliminates six security vulnerabilities. If you run Telnet on your servers and haven’t already installed all six security hofixes independently, download the update from the Microsoft Web site.

This package, which you can install on Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and SP2 systems, contains a new image of the Telnet server, tlntsvr.exe, that eliminates the six vulnerabilities—some of which are pretty serious. For example, the new image closes a loophole that lets Telnet users log on with a domain guest account, eliminates a vulnerability that malicious users can exploit to generate a Telnet server access violation, and fixes a Telnet server Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability. Read the details in the security bulletin at the Microsoft Web site.

Microsoft article Q300855 contains a list of articles that document the vulnerabilities that this rollup package corrects.

Managing Disk Quotas with Win2K
If you’re new to disk quotas, see Microsoft article Q300979 for a great how-to article about implementing and enforcing disk quotas in Windows 2000. You implement disk quotas on a partition basis, and you can only activate disk quotas on NTFS-formatted volumes. To activate the quota manager, log on to Win2K with an Administrator account and open either Windows Explorer or My Computer. Next, right-click a partition, select Properties, and select the Quota tab. Select the Enable Quota check box and increase the default size for new users to a reasonable number. You can also choose to disable access when users exceed allotted storage space and specify the level of event logging you want when quotas are met or exceeded. Click OK to finish. You might experience a short delay as the quota manager scans the volume on which you enabled quotas.

With quotas defined and active, you can click Quota Entries on the Quota tab to monitor user consumption of disk space on a quota-enabled volume. A list of all users who store files on the partition will appear. Double-click an entry to fine-tune the maximum available storage and warning level on individual accounts.

Win2K File-Transfer Deadlock
A bug affects how the Server Message Block (SMB) server manages file write operations, causing a deadlock when two systems transfer large files to each other concurrently. This problem doesn't occur when you use either the Copy or Xcopy to start a file copy, but it does occur when the program you use to transfer the files calls the FlushFileBuffers function. When you flush a buffer, the SMB server typically transfers the data to disk immediately, without first caching the buffer contents. The SMB server that performs remote write operations uses the cache to buffer data, which causes a deadlock condition. If you're writing your own file-transfer utility and plan to employ the FlushFileBuffers function, call Microsoft Support for the code fix that eliminates the deadlock condition. The update contains updates to five key OS components: ntoskrnlmp.exe, ntkrnlpa.exe, ntkrpamp.exe, srv.sys, and svrsvc.dll. Most of the files have a May 4, 2001 release date. Microsoft article Q288794 documents this problem.