Preview Code Expires
If you haven't upgraded your preview code yet, better get ready! Yesterday, I logged on to my system and a message greeted me, saying that the evaluation period for the Windows 2000 preview code was over and the session would close in 1 hour. I deliberately kept running the preview code to see what happened when it expired. As advertised, the Win2K preview code shut down. It restarted after an hour--at that point I could reboot. The OS ran for another hour, then shut down, and so on, ad infinitum.

After rebooting several times, I was convinced it was time to upgrade, which I did without problems (I've had a shrink-wrapped copy of Win2K since February).

More About EFS
Last week's newsletter item about Encrypting File System (EFS) brought several reader responses pointing out the need to back up the private key you use to encrypt files because if you lose that key, you're sunk. A Microsoft support engineer pointed me to several relevant Support Online articles about backing up the private key and restoring the private key.

Without that key, you have no easy way to decrypt the files (as several of you have discovered). This can be a major problem if you reinstall Win2K because installation generates a unique SID for each user--and the private key is, in part, based on your SID. Incidentally, on Win2K Server domains, the administrator can designate one or more users as EFS recovery agents. See the support articles mentioned above for details.

I've also had some readers write to challenge Microsoft's approach to EFS: Two readers questioned how strong the encryption really is, and one reader believes that Microsoft's encryption mechanism can cause performance problems with server-side applications such as databases. I've forwarded these questions to Microsoft and will let you know what I find out. Stay tuned!