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(below COMMENTARY)


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May 7, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • The Future of Windows Management

2. HOT OFF THE PRESS

  • Microsoft Simplifies Cable Plans

3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT

  • Is Win2K SP3 Coming Soon?
  • MBSA

4. ANNOUNCEMENT

  • Need 24 x 7 Availability?

5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENT)

  • YOU Manage the Network—Profile Maker Manages Desktops!

6. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of Previous Poll: Job Description
  • New Instant Poll: Print or Online

7. RESOURCES

  • Featured Thread: File Transfer Between Windows 2000 and Windows XP
  • Tip: Disabling a Reoccurring Prompt While Trying to Open a TIF File

8. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Control Remote PCs and Servers
  • FullArmor Ebook Explains Group Policy Management

9. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY

  • THE FUTURE OF WINDOWS MANAGEMENT

  • Greetings,

    Last week, Microsoft held its first Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas—an event of great significance for administrators interested in the future of Windows manageability. The show's big announcements included Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 (previously code-named Topaz) and two far-out projects: Server Manager and Client Manager. The company also revealed the future of its Windows Update Corporate Site, which I discussed 2 weeks ago, and I think many administrators will be excited to know that Microsoft will support its Windows Server users with a quality management tool that doesn't require them to purchase a new server product. I spoke with David Hamilton, director of the Microsoft Management Business Group, about the company's short-term and long-term plans.

    Software Update Services
    The Windows Update Corporate Site, which the company will rename Software Update Services, will require a downloadable software component that runs inside a corporate firewall and will let administrators manage the process of applying desktop and server patches throughout an enterprise. Hamilton said that Software Update Services will be available in early summer.

    SMS 2.0 Value Pack
    Also available in early summer will be another free update, the SMS 2.0 Value Pack. This add-on package works similar to Software Update Services, but integrates with SMS and is more sophisticated. "We realized that many people were using SMS to apply security patches," Hamilton said. "In fact, patching of clients and servers is the most common usage scenario for SMS 2.0. Administrators are comfortable with Windows Update at home, and like the way it works. They asked us if they could get a combination of Windows Update and SMS, and we were able to do this in a sophisticated fashion \[with the SMS Value Pack\]."

    SMS 2003
    Microsoft also announced the next major version of SMS, SMS 2003, which will ship later this year, although we can expect a beta version this summer. The biggest change with this release is better support for laptop and Pocket PC users. "More and more mobile users are happening out there," Hamilton said. "Our average customer says that 30 percent of their workforce is now mobile, so the needs are different \[than they were when we developed SMS 2.0\]. Deploying an update to client applications is a disaster across a slow link today. It should pick up where it left off. SMS 2003 has intelligent code to do things in the background so users can continue to use the system, and restart downloads if the connection goes down and is reestablished."

    Support for Pocket PC devices was a major customer request, and one that surprised the Management Business Group at first. "Not only are Pocket PC devices out there in the workforce, but they are the way many people do business," said Hamilton. "They contain mission-critical data and need to be secure. We never intended to support the Pocket PC in this release, but decided it was a critical feature, so we've added it into our development effort. Because we added \[Pocket PC support\] at the end of the development cycle, however, this feature won't make the RTM \[release to manufacturing\] date. Instead, we'll ship it as an add-on 2 to 3 months later."

    SMS 2003 also integrates tightly with Active Directory (AD), but it works fine as a standalone server in non-AD environments as well. "We decided not to go the Exchange Server route," Hamilton said, which is a reference to the fact that Exchange Server requires AD. The product also includes a new reporting engine and major scalability improvements.

    The Future: Server Manager and Client Manager
    At the end of the Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft Senior Vice President Brian Valentine revealed more far-reaching plans for the company's management tools during a keynote address that closed the show. Valentine discussed the Client Manager project, a future suite of client management tools that builds on SMS 2003's Change and Configuration Management (CCM) functionality, and the Server Manager project, which combines the core functionality of Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2000, SMS 2.0, and Microsoft Application Center 2000 into a future suite of server-side tools for managing servers and distributed applications and services.

    "With today's growing enterprise environments, customers demand a solution that enables effective management of everything from the data center to the desktop to devices," Valentine said in his keynote address. "As we move into a Microsoft .NET world of Web services, customers require advanced service management and scenarios that map to business needs. The next generation of management solutions from Microsoft will deliver leadership and vision in this critical area for customers."

    Server Manager and Client Manager are still a while off, and Valentine said that the company will deliver interim tools that tackle the so-called "scenario-based solutions" that these projects will also target. The Microsoft Web site will identify these solutions as Solution Offerings, and they will offer prescriptive guidance, documentation, and wizards for a variety of Microsoft products, including the Windows Server line, SMS, MOM, and BizTalk. The company will roll out most of these solutions over the summer, Hamilton told me. "We're not adding features, but are focusing on the processes, and making common tasks easier," he said. The Windows Server team, for example, is working on Win2K Server-based Solution Offerings that create secure and reliable network infrastructures.

    Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@winnetmag.com


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    2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
    (contributed by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@winnetmag.com)

  • MICROSOFT SIMPLIFIES CABLE PLANS

  • After years of work and mounting pressure from cable companies, Microsoft recently decided to scale back its plans for complicated TV set-top boxes and develop the type of simple, interactive program guide software that cable companies have been asking for all along. Microsoft announced the result of this effort—the Microsoft TV Interactive Program Guide (IPG)—Monday morning at the National Cable & Television Association (NCTA) convention in New Orleans. Although the new product represents a humbling experience for the company, Microsoft believes that this version of its TV software will finally take off. For the rest of the story, visit the following URL:
    http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=25107

    3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
    (contributed by Paula Sharick, paula@winnetmag.com)

  • IS WIN2K SP3 COMING SOON?

  • As of April 16, the Windows 2000 Post-Service Pack 2 (SP2) hotfix list contained 782 individual Win2K updates, not including security hotfixes. As I scrolled through new postings last weekend, I noticed that new Win2K updates now indicate pre-SP4 status, which means Microsoft has established a firm boundary for the scope of SP3 updates. My best guess is that Win2K SP3 is forthcoming, possibly during the next few weeks. The last official word I received about SP3 was "sometime during the first half of this year," so we're certainly edging closer. You might want to refresh your slipstream build and winstall skills in preparation for distributing this massive update to production systems—primarily because you'll need to add all the security updates that Microsoft is unable to ship with SP3.

  • MBSA

  • Microsoft recently released the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA). Developed by Shavlick Technologies, MBSA is an improved version of the Hfnetchk security-auditing tool. In addition to Hfnetchk's auditing tasks, MBSA also reports on a variety of potential security problems in Windows XP, Win2K, and Windows NT systems. For details about this new tool and how it can help secure your systems, visit the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=25132

    4. ANNOUNCEMENT

  • NEED 24 x 7 AVAILABILITY?

  • High-availability networks, systems, and applications are crucial to every business. Sign up for our free Webinar taking place on May 14 (sponsored by MKS), and find out how to achieve 24 x 7 availability on Windows 2000. Windows & .NET Magazine author Tim Huckaby shares his expertise on load balancing, monitoring, and more. Register today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/webinar/availability.cfm

    5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENT)

  • YOU MANAGE THE NETWORK—PROFILE MAKER MANAGES DESKTOPS!

  • Easily manage Outlook profiles, Office settings, service packs, drives, printers, System Policy and more on Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP desktops with Profile Maker(r)'s new AutoDeskTop(tm) features! Uses domain, OU, OS, IP address and other GlobalPolicy(tm) criteria to control execution.
    Free trial!
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    6. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: JOB DESCRIPTION

  • The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Which computer-related job description most closely resembles your own?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 454 votes:
    • 65% Systems administrator
    • 17% Developer
    • 3% Web administrator
    • 4% Home or office user
    • 11% Other

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: PRINT OR ONLINE

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "If you subscribe to Windows & .NET Magazine, do you primarily read the print or online version?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) primarily read the print version, b) read the online version first, but primarily read the print version, c) primarily read the online version, d) rarely read the online version, or e) read both equally.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/magazine

    7. RESOURCES

  • FEATURED THREAD: FILE TRANSFER BETWEEN WINDOWS XP AND WIN2K

  • David is having problems transferring files between XP Professional and Windows 2000. He is using both systems on a home network. When he tries to transfer a file, he gets the following error message:
    "An error occurred while reconnecting to
    I: to \\192.168.1.3\c Microsoft Windows Network :
    The local device name is already in use.
    This connection has not been restored."

    If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.net/forums/rd.cfm?app=83&id=85482

  • TIP: DISABLING A REOCCURRING PROMPT WHILE TRYING TO OPEN A TIF FILE

  • (contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)

    Q. Why does Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 prompt me for an action when I click a .tif file, even after I've cleared the "Always ask before opening this type of file" check box?

    A. When you select a link to a .tif file in IE, the browser will always prompt you to either open or save the file unless you clear the "Always ask before opening this type of file" check box. However, a bug in IE 6.0 can cause the browser to lose this setting, forcing you to make a decision each time you access a .tif file. To resolve this problem, perform the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.tif subkey.
    3. Double-click the Default value and change the value data from TIFImage.Document to Imaging.Document.
    4. Navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.tiff subkey.
    5. Double-click the Default value and change the value data from TIFImage.Document to Imaging.Document.
    6. Close the registry editor.

    The problem occurs because TIFImage.Document and Imaging.Document share the same class identifier (CLSID) but the reverse lookup points back to only Imaging.Document when you access a .tif file. Hence, IE 6.0 ignores the registry settings for TIFImage.Document.

    8. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Bob Kretschman, products@winnetmag.com)

  • CONTROL REMOTE PCS AND SERVERS

  • CrossTec released NetOp Remote Control 7.0, a remote-control product that gives users a way to fix problems on remote PCs and servers. The latest version contains new security options and adds support for controlling distant PCs from Windows XP, Windows CE, Linux, or a Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser using ActiveX. The product also works with Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9.x. NetOp Remote Control 7.0 is available in combined guest/host packages or as standalone modules. Guest/host package prices start at $179. For more information, contact CrossTec at 561-391-6560 or 800-675-0729.
    http://www.netopusa.com

  • FULLARMOR EBOOK EXPLAINS GROUP POLICY MANAGEMENT

  • FullArmor, a Group Policy management provider, and Realtimepublishers announced the publication of "The Tips and Tricks Guide to Windows 2000 Group Policy," an ebook cosponsored by NetIQ and authored by computing-industry expert Darren Mar-Elia. The ebook provides real-world answers to questions about managing Win2K Active Directory (AD) Group Policy. The ebook covers subjects such as planning, troubleshooting, management, design, implementation, and best practices for Group Policy. The ebook, which is being published on a chapter-by-chapter basis as it is written, is available free of charge at the following URL.
    http://www.fullarmor.com/ebook

    9. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — thurrott@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — paula@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — gayle@winnetmag.com

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@winnetmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com
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