June means TechEd, and the magazine staff gets to spend quality time with the products exhibited at this big Microsoft conference in Orlando—especially our Technical Director Michael Otey and Products and Technology Editor Adam Carheden. Mike has been judging Windows IT Pro's Best of TechEd awards for 5 years and knows how exciting and exhausting it is to evaluate products and interview vendor finalists. Adam has been with the magazine for less than a year, so this is his first experience as a judge. TechEd will give him lots of ideas for product reviews and Buyer's Guides. (If you see Mike or Adam at TechEd, let them know what kinds of products you want us to cover.) This year for the first time, conference attendees can vote for the products they believe should win Best of TechEd. Keep an eye on our Web site and email newsletters for the announcement about the Best of TechEd winners.

Innovators Awards
Speaking of winners, we're preparing to recognize you for your excellent work. In November, the magazine will highlight outstanding IT pros with our Innovators Awards. Senior Editor Anne Grubb, who is championing the initiative, explains, "As part of Windows IT Pro's mission to connect the Windows IT community, we want to recognize IT professionals who've used Windows technology in innovative ways to devise specific, beneficial solutions to problems their businesses have faced."

We'll award three grand prizes, for IT Pro Innovators at a small-, a medium-, and a large-sized organization. Grand-prize winners will receive a complimentary conference pass to Windows Connections in October 2005, a 1-year VIP subscription to Windows IT Pro, and more great prizes. Plus, we'll write about your solution in the November 2005 issue of Windows IT Pro.

We're accepting entries through June 24, 2005, so act soon and nominate your solution. Winners will be notified by July 15, 2005. To enter, go to http://www.windowsitpro.com and click the link to go to the Innovators site.

Everyone's a Winner at Windows Connections
If you haven't been to our Windows Connections conference, let me give you an idea of how valuable the recent spring sessions in San Francisco were. The conference chair, Editorial Content Manager Amy Eisenberg, pulled together an incredible agenda, with such speakers as Mark Minasi, Steve Riley, and Darren Mar-Elia. Another highlight was Mark Russinovich's session about malware, spyware, and root kits. You can get a taste of his talk by turning to this month's must-read article, "Unearthing Root Kits," on page 55.

Dan Holme's presentation—Administrators' Acceleration Toolkit—also received rave reviews. This session was packed, and attendees were overheard saying, "Sweet!" each time Dan presented another cool tool. Here are some nuggets from Dan's talk.

  • Windows Server 2003 SP1 introduces a new way to restore deleted AD objects. Microsoft tweaked the authoritative restore process to create an LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF) file. Dan explained how you can "replay" this file on domain controllers to recreate group memberships of restored objects.
  • AD provides unlimited options for extending the commands that you can execute on an AD object. Dan showed how to take any script that performs any action and run that script from the context menu of AD's Administrative Tools.
  • Few administrators use customized Microsoft Management Console (MMC) consoles and task pads to their full capabilities. Dan stepped through how to incorporate enterprise-specific documentation, intranet sites, and Web sites into administrative tools, create advanced task pads, and manage the virtualization of AD organizational units (OUs).
  • Microsoft's new Access-based Enumeration tool lets you hide folders that users have no access to—a capability that file server administrators have been asking for since day one. Dan demonstrated useful ways to employ this tool.
  • Dan explained how to use the Winbom.ini file to automate Sysprep's Factory mode and script the installation of applications for "core load" images of Windows XP.

To register for the fall Windows and Exchange Connections conference in San Diego, go to http://www.winconnections.com.

Connect with Us
For me, the best part of any conference is the opportunity to talk to readers. At TechEd, look for Janet Robbins, Mike, Adam, Amy, any of our contributing editors (many of whom will be speaking), and me, and tell us how the magazine can serve you. Or send me an email. I always respond.