Polling Your Messaging Needs


I'm responding to the January 7 Instant Poll question, "With the growing acceptance of cloud computing, how do you anticipate handling your messaging needs in the coming year?" The primary reason why I chose the response, "Continue to operate an in-house deployment of Exchange," is not because I don't trust the cloud environment but because I don't trust the overall speed and redundancy of my Internet connection. Now, reliability is a different story. I have a 3MB AT&T circuit that has been 100 percent reliable but is still far slower than our internal 100/1000 network.

My company has only 70 users, but almost all of them rely on the internal public calendars we've set up on the Exchange server. I wouldn't want to place that kind of additional burden on a single Internet connection, regardless of the fact that we still really have a single point of failure with the Exchange server itself. At this point, I trust my internal environment more than I trust an external connection.

Thank you for continuing to produce excellent newsletters and technology material (and that includes all of Windows IT Pro).
—Tim White

SharePoint Security Practices


In his article "Essential SharePoint Security Practices: SharePoint Users and Groups" (January 2010, InstantDoc ID 103093), Randy Williams writes, "When you create a site collection, you must specify at least one but no more than two users who will become the site collection administrators." Later, he writes, "If you want more than two site collection administrators, you can add the users (or AD groups) to the SharePoint group called Owners." But if you go to the top site of any MOSS site collection and open Site Actions, Site Settings, Modify All Site Settings, you'll see a Site collection administrators option, with which you can specify a lot of users (more than two). Aren't those the same site collection administrators?
—Rustam Sharshenov

Great question! Site collection administrators are the same whether you set them from Central Administration (which is where you're limited to two) or from the Site Collection Administrators link from within the top level website in a site collection. And yes, you can set more than two from this latter link. Unfortunately, neither of them allows group memberships, which was part of the point I was trying to make. —Randy Williams

Dual-Booting Windows XP and Windows 7 is Easy!


I disagree with Michael Otey in “Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7” (January 2010, InstantDoc ID 103144). Creating a dual-boot Windows 7/XP system is simple, and it's an excellent way to ease in to a transition from the older OS to the new one.

Start by getting a second hard drive. If C is where XP lives, and D is your CD/DVD drive, assume the new drive will be E. I suggest renaming C “Windows XP”; you'll rename E “Windows 7” later. Begin the installation of Windows 7 (while running XP). When the system asks you where to install it, choose your now-empty new disk. After the build and reboot, you should see a dual-boot screen offering you a choice of Windows 7 and your “previous version of Windows” (you’ll fix that name shortly). Choose Windows 7.

You'll notice that Windows 7 is running on the C drive, but this isn't the drive that XP called C. Rename this drive “Windows 7.” You might find it helpful to go into Disk Management and rearrange drive letters so that they have a similar pattern to what you previously had in XP. Make D the CD/DVD drive, and make E “Windows XP” (formerly C). Now everything is symmetrical, no matter which OS you use.

To improve the dual-boot experience, I recommend NewSmart Technologies' EasyBCD utility (neosmart.net). The software lets you rename “Previous version of Windows” (on the dual-boot screen) to “Windows XP.” It also lets you back out of the Windows 7 installation. By choosing the Uninstall the Vista Bootloader option (under Manage Bootloader), you can remove the code that does the dual-boot stuff, leaving you with your original XP setup (and the inability to boot Windows 7).

I used precisely this scheme when testing the prerelease versions of Windows 7. When I was ready to install the real version, I saved my files, removed Windows 7, and returned to XP. I then reformatted what was now E (and was identified as the Windows 7 disk, for safety), and reinstalled. I have a few routines that won't run on Windows 7 (or Windows Vista), so I've kept the dual-boot scheme, which doesn’t really cost me anything (except some disk space).
—Robert Schor

SharePoint MVPs Offer 2010 Predictions


I always read Dan Holme’s SharePointPro Connections newsletter. In his December 28 installment, he wrote, “Asif Rehmani predicts that SharePoint Designer 2010 will be a Game Changer.” I agree that it will be a game changer—specifically in areas outside SharePoint. SharePoint Designer was originally positioned as the next version of Microsoft FrontPage. The 2007 version of SharePoint Designer supported the editing of non-SharePoint-based sites (e.g., flat HTML pages). In addition, Microsoft made the software available to download for free, and many FrontPage users selected the free SharePoint Designer tool to manage their websites.

But SharePoint Designer 2010 no longer supports the maintenance of non-SharePoint-based sites. Microsoft recommends Microsoft Expression (which, naturally, is no longer for free) for that purpose. Microsoft has once again changed its licensing model on the fly.
—Stefan Schwarz

Bit Flips


Ryan Mangipano’s “Bit Flips: Was that a Zero or a One” (What Would Microsoft Support Do, January 2010, InstantDoc ID 103154) is a great article! Not only did Mangipano do a great job explaining registers and dereferencing in a short, compact article (which I have seldom seen done so smoothly), but it was also a nice walkthrough for IT pros familiar with the hardware but curious about how the Windows dump files work. Thanks for the great read!
—bhellquist

Virtual Windows 7


I’ve read John Savill recent FAQs on Windows 7 and XP. I’m wondering whether a new Windows 7 machine can still have a virtual disk running XP, and would that be any different in function than using Windows 7 to run XP programs in a compatibility mode? My XP machine crashed, and there are some XP programs that simply won't run under the compatibility mode in Windows 7. (I had to buy that new machine and could only get Windows 7.)
—Michael A. Conrad

With Windows 7, we effectively have two very different compatibility modes (potentially three). First, we have the standard Compatibility tab for applications that we’ve also had in previous OSs. It essentially “lies” to the application about the OS and service pack it's running on and can also hide/disable elements of the OS that might cause problems with the application. These configurations (lies) are known as shims. We can make some apps work on Windows 7 by using these shims, and that's generally the optimal solution, if possible. Ultimately, however, the application is still running on Windows 7 and the architecture (e.g., 64-bit) of the Windows 7 installation.

Microsoft introduced Windows XP Compatibility Mode for instances in which the Compatibility tab doesn't work for an application in Windows 7. All this mode does is install Windows Virtual PC, along with a Microsoft-created XP image into which you can install applications. The application-integration feature then allows the programs running in the XP virtual machine (VM) to seamlessly appear on the main Windows 7 desktop, so the average user doesn't know the application is actually running in a VM. With this technology, the application is running on a 32-bit Windows XP OS installation, which means any application that works with XP should work in the Windows XP Compatibility Mode VM.

The third option is essentially the same as the second: You install Windows Virtual PC, but you don't use the Microsoft Windows XP image. You can use your own XP, Vista, or Windows 7 image to run applications. The seamless application integration is still available with this approach (once the integration tools are installed) and just gives you more flexibility. If you roll out Windows 7 64-bit and have applications that don’t run on a 64-bit OS (perhaps they have 16-bit code), you can run those applications in the 32-bit VM.

To summarize, the traditional Compatibility mode tab merely imitates certain aspects of an older OS to the application, but it's still running on Windows 7. With the XP Compatibility Mode (or any virtual mode), the application is actually running on that virtual OS and should run any application. Hope this clears things up!
—John Savill