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April 25, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Launching a New Network User Directly into a Web Page

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Cast Your Vote for Our Reader’s Choice Awards!
  • Get One Step Closer to Certification at CertTutor.net

3. RESOURCES

  • Featured Thread: Setting Up Users’ Wallpaper
  • Tip: Creating Extra User Accounts on Notebook Computers

4. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Testing Package for Office XP
  • Recover Lost Passwords

5. CONTACT US

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

1. COMMENTARY
(David Chernicoff, News Editor, david@winnetmag.com)

  • LAUNCHING A NEW NETWORK USER DIRECTLY INTO A WEB PAGE

  • Very often, friends and readers ask me for help with problems whose answers, at first glance, seem obvious. When I get into the details of the problem, however, I realize the answers aren’t as simple as I thought. Recently, a friend called and asked how he could launch a new network user directly into a Web page when the client system logged on to the network. My friend provides a standard Web page for new network users that gives them a tour of the available network resources, but he discovered that simply putting a link to the site on a user’s desktop doesn’t guarantee that the user will click the link.

    My initial response was to say, “Just script something,” but on further reflection I realized that there had to be a simpler approach. I thought back to my MS-DOS days looking for a way that my friend could use a batch file to do what he wanted, and I came up with two alternatives.

    One approach is to use the Start command. When you enter the Start command at a command prompt, Start launches another command-processor window. By default, the command

    start <filename>
    launches the application associated with the specified file’s extension. Because Microsoft associates Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) with URLs, the command

    start www.winnetmag.com
    launches the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site from the command line. You can put the start command in a batch file.

    I gave this information to my friend, who called me the next day. Some of his users were logging on remotely, and when the logon script ran, it launched the Web site in an existing browser window from the remote user’s computer. The start command picked the browser window at random and sometimes forced the user out of a Java application the company uses that was already running in another window.

    Unfortunately, when you use the Start command in this fashion, no browser is open; the Start command launches a browser session. But if a browser window is already open, the command uses an existing window and you can’t control which window the command will use.

    But as I mentioned, I found two ways to solve the problem. The second way is to explicitly launch a browser with the URL target. This approach avoids the problem of the Start command commandeering an existing browser window. So I had my friend instead use a command such as

    “c:\program files\internet explorer\iexplore.exe” <URL>
    The quotation marks are required in this command.

    Although the Start command requires that a file-type association exists for the file you want to open, you can launch the application explicitly and point it at the file that you want it to open even if the file isn’t associated with an application.

    Once again, the knowledge I’ve acquired through years of using MS-DOS provides a simple answer to a modern problem. It’s reassuring to discover that all of that information I’ve picked up over the years isn’t completely useless!

    2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • CAST YOUR VOTE FOR OUR READER’S CHOICE AWARDS!

  • Which companies and products do you think are the best on the market? Nominate your favorites in four different categories for our annual Windows & .NET Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards. You could win a T-shirt or a free Windows & .NET Magazine Super CD, just for submitting your ballot. Click here!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/readerschoice

  • GET ONE STEP CLOSER TO CERTIFICATION AT CERTTUTOR.NET

  • Announcing the CertTutor.net Web site! Here you can find practice exams, discussion forums, articles, and much more—all designed to help you reach your goal of Microsoft or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. Check it out!
    http://www.certtutor.net

    3. RESOURCES

  • FEATURED THREAD: SETTING UP USERS’ WALLPAPER

  • Thomas is in an all-Windows 2000 environment, and he’s trying to set up wallpaper for certain individuals in their terminal session. When he tries to change the background, the Background tab is missing in Display Properties. It doesn’t matter whether he logs on as an administrator or not. Can you help? Join the discussion at the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.net/forums/rd.cfm?app=83&id=102990

  • TIP: CREATING EXTRA USER ACCOUNTS ON NOTEBOOK COMPUTERS

  • (contributed by David Chernicoff, david@winnetmag.com)

    One of my IT people complained recently that several of his users were creating extra user accounts on their notebook computers. He wanted to know how the users, who aren’t members of the Administrators group, were managing to create new accounts. And he wanted to know how to stop it.

    Because the notebooks run Windows XP, letting users create extra user accounts is actually the default behavior. Users who are members of the Power Users group can add user accounts by going to the Computer Management application (from the Administrative Tools menu) and opening Local Users and Groups. If the same users try to add user accounts from the Control Panel Users and Passwords applet, the users are told that they need to be members of the Administrators Group. (Although Power Users can add user accounts to the computer, they can’t add accounts to the Administrators Group.)

    To prevent Power Users from adding accounts to the computer, follow these steps:

    1. Launch the Computer Management application.
    2. Open the Local Users and Groups snap-in.
    3. In the right-hand pane, double-click Power Users.
    4. Select NT AUTHORITYINTERACTIVE and click Remove.
    5. Click OK.
    This procedure will remove the Power Users group members’ ability to add user accounts.

    4. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Judy Drennen, products@winnetmag.com)

  • TESTING PACKAGE FOR OFFICE XP

  • SkillCheck released a performance-based skills testing package for Microsoft Office XP. The Office XP testing package includes more than 700 interactive test questions covering all major features of Microsoft Word XP, Excel XP, PowerPoint XP, and Access XP. You can administer the test on PCs, LANs, or over the Internet. The Office XP ProPlus Pack costs $899 and lets you customize from a list of more than 600 questions; the Pro Pack costs $599 and contains preset 35-question tests for each application. Contact SkillCheck at 781-221-4161 or 800-648-3166.
    http://www.skillcheck.com

  • RECOVER LOST PASSWORDS

  • Passware released Password Recovery Kit 4.1, a Windows utility that lets IT support and Help desk professionals recover users’ passwords. Whether employees have unexpectedly left the company or have forgotten their passwords, Password Recovery Kit lets you unlock users’ files instantly. One Password Recovery Kit license costs $395. Password Recovery Kit 4.1 runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x. Contact Passware at info@lostpassword.com.
    http://www.lostpassword.com

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

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — david@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — mlibbey@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 CLIENT UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Email Customer Support — windowsclientupdate@winnetmag.com
    • WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE?
      emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

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