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April 3, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - The Smart Display: It's Not Just for Consumers

2. NEWS & VIEWS - Microsoft Releases WPA for XP to Strengthen Wireless Security

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Sample Our Security Administrator Newsletter!

4. RESOURCES - Tip: Recording the Reason for a System Shutdown in XP - Featured Thread: CD-ROM Drive Isn't Accessible

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Network-Based Systems Recovery - Submit Top Product Ideas

6. CONTACT US See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, david@winnetmag.com)

* THE SMART DISPLAY: IT'S NOT JUST FOR CONSUMERS

I've been getting a lot of email from readers about multimonitor displays, so I thought I'd give that experience a little test drive. But because I almost never do anything the easy way, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and set up not just a multimonitor system, but one that uses a Smart Display as the second monitor.

If you haven't been following news about the Smart Display, you might not be aware that these Windows CE-powered RDP devices are designed to extend the Windows XP Professional OS into the easy-to-use consumer marketplace. Smart Displays, which look similar to a Tablet PC, aren't replacements for a notebook computer but instead are wireless terminals for access to your XP desktop. (You can find more information about Microsoft's Smart Display technologies on the Smart Display Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/smartdisplay/default.asp .)

For my testing, I used the Philips Electronics' Philips DesXcape 150DM detachable monitor, a 15" Smart Display with optional wireless keyboard that doubles as a screen protector. At a probable street price of $1500, Smart Displays are roughly twice the price of top-quality LCD panels, but that extra money buys you a significant increase in usability if you work in an environment in which you can't always remain at your desktop.

In the past, I was one of those people who take their notebook computer to every meeting. I've worked in many environments that encouraged this behavior by making the entire office complex wireless networking-capable. In meetings, I use my notebook mostly for taking notes and checking email. While I wander the building I'm offline, and I usually close my notebook so that it's easier to carry.

Rather than carrying my desktop-replacement notebook around the office, I now use the Smart Display, which greatly improves work flow. All I need to do is pop the display out of the docking station, and the Smart Display automatically converts from being an extension of my desktop monitor to being an independent device. By using the simple interface, I can log on quickly and have access to my currently running desktop with all of my applications and most of the desktop's capability (i.e., no full bandwidth video or high frame-rate game support). Email alerts, Instant Messaging (IM), and my desktop applications are all just a pen-click away. Using the optional keyboard and fold-out stand on the back of the display, I can do just about anything I used to do with my notebook.

The device's wireless capability makes the Smart Display flexible and useful for presentations in smaller meetings. Some of my colleagues were surprised by this flexibility when, during a recent meeting, I took a phone call about a server problem. Instead of having to hunt down a "real" computer to connect to the server, I merely launched the Terminal Services client on my desktop from the Smart Display and logged on to the server, then quickly restarted the failed server service that had prompted the phone call. Going back to my desk, I dropped the Smart Display into its dock, where it disconnected itself (after warning me) and reconfigured instantly as the second monitor for my desktop display, leaving the applications I had launched earlier running on the desktop system for me to work with as I needed.

This kind of business use of Smart Displays isn't how vendors are marketing the product. Marketing efforts are currently aimed toward the high-end consumer space. But if you're planning to add a second monitor to your work setup, carefully considering the benefits of making that second display a Smart Display is well worth your while.

2.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Mark Joseph Edwards, mje@winnetmag.com)

* MICROSOFT RELEASES WPA FOR XP TO STRENGTHEN WIRELESS SECURITY

This week, Microsoft announced the release of an update for Windows XP that introduces the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) for stronger security over wireless LAN (WLAN) connections. The Wi-Fi Alliance released the WPA specification, which offers encryption and authentication improvements that are stronger than Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which WPA is meant to replace. WPA is a step toward the 802.11i protocol, which the IEEE is developing.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said, "To improve data encryption, \[WPA\] resolves existing cryptographic weaknesses and introduces a method to generate and distribute encryption keys automatically. Each bit of data is now encrypted with a unique encryption key, greatly improving security. The solution also introduces an integrity check on the data so an attacker cannot modify packets of information being communicated. And to improve enterprise-level user authentication, \[WPA\] authenticates every user on the network while keeping those users from joining rogue networks."

3.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* SAMPLE OUR SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR NEWSLETTER!

If you spend the better part of your day dealing with security concerns such as controlling user access, viruses, and tightening your network's permeability, then you can benefit from the type of information we publish each month in Security Administrator. Every issue shows you how to protect your enterprise with informative, in-depth articles, timely tips, and practical advice. Sample our most recent issue today! http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

4.

RESOURCES

* TIP: RECORDING THE REASON FOR A SYSTEM SHUTDOWN IN XP (contributed by David Chernicoff, david@winnetmag.com)

Windows XP includes the unique ability to let you record why a user shuts down the system. This information can be useful for solving application problems, determining user behavior, and compiling other types of data about your organization's XP client usage. The Options drop-down box lets you record the reason for planned and unplanned shutdowns; the event log stores the information you record. The Options box gives you the following choices:


Hardware: Maintenance (Planned)
Hardware: Installation (Planned)
Operating System: Upgrade (Planned)
Operating System: Reconfiguration (Planned)
Application: Maintenance (Planned)
Other: (Unplanned)
Hardware: Maintenance (Unplanned)
Hardware: Installation (Unplanned)
Operating System: Upgrade (Unplanned)
Operating System: Reconfiguration (Unplanned)
Application: Maintenance (Unplanned)
Application: Unresponsive
Application: Unstable


After you make the following change to the registry, the Shutdown dialog will include the Options box, from which you can select the reason for the shutdown.


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Reliability subkey.
3. Change the value of ShutdownReasonUI to 1. If the entry doesn't exist, create it as type REG_DWORD.
4. Exit the registry editor.

* FEATURED THREAD: CD-ROM DRIVE ISN'T ACCESSIBLE

Forum member Daren's Windows NT 4.0 installation recently became corrupt, with continual blue screen memory dumps. Daren had partitioned his disk with C and D drives and stored data on the D drive. He reformatted the disk and reinstalled NT to the C drive. NT is now working correctly, but the system doesn't recognize the CD-ROM drive, drive E. When Daren tries to access the CD-ROM drive, he receives the following error: "E:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect." Daren can see the E drive in Disk Administrator, but it remains inaccessible. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=38&tid=56731

5.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, products@winnetmag.com)

* NETWORK-BASED SYSTEMS RECOVERY

Winternals released Recovery Manager, software that automates network-based recovery for your workstations and servers. After you install the software on one system, multiple administrators can concurrently perform analysis, repair, and recovery on other systems within the network with the data that the primary installation creates. The software takes point-in-time snapshots, called Recovery Points, of a machine's system and configuration files and stores the Recovery Points in a central data repository. You can roll back a damaged or unbootable system to a Recovery Point taken when the system was functioning. You can perform multiple rollbacks when viruses or other factors cause networkwide damage. Although Recovery Points are similar to Windows XP Restore Points, Recovery Points provide additional capabilities, including the ability to restore unbootable systems, centralized storage of common system files, and cross-platform support. Customized repair functionality includes password resetting, registry settings editing, and event-log viewing. Recovery Manager supports Windows Server 2003/XP/2000/NT. Contact Winternals at 800-408-8415 or 512-330-9130. http://www.winternals.com

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to whatshot@winnetmag.com

6.

CONTACT US

Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- david@winnetmag.com

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- drussell@winnetmag.com (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.net/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- products@winnetmag.com

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