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(below COMMENTARY)


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September 24, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • A Future Windows to Ponder

2. HOT OFF THE PRESS

  • Microsoft Launches Broadband Home-Networking Solutions

3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT

  • A First Look at Software Update Services

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott Are Bringing Their Security Expertise to You!
  • Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You

5. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of Previous Poll: DNS Service
  • New Instant Poll: Upgrades and Longhorn

6. RESOURCES

  • Featured Thread: Unlock Workstation Without Logoff
  • Tip: How Can I Resolve 2351 and 2355 Errors That I Receive While Installing Software from a CD-ROM?

7. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Recover Deleted Files
  • Defragment Entire Enterprise Networks
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

8. CONTACT US

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

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@winnetmag.com)

  • A FUTURE WINDOWS TO PONDER

  • I've spent a lot of time in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE discussing the viability of upgrading various Windows desktop and server versions. Twice this year, I've written about the idea of a radically redesigned Windows version—"The Case for a Modular Windows," which ran in March, and "Maybe It's Time for a New Platform," which ran in late April. Neither article found many supporters for the cause, probably because in the real world, ease of upgrading is more important than supporting a deep architectural platform change, however beneficial that change might be. However, faced with customers' waning interest in Windows upgrades, whether because of rising licensing costs or the maturity of the platform, Microsoft is working on the most dramatic change to Windows since Windows NT first appeared in 1993. And that upcoming Windows version—code-named Longhorn—now hangs over the computing landscape like the Dark Cloud of Mordor from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    OK, maybe the situation isn't that sinister, but looking over Longhorn's vague set of features, I believe Windows users are in for a jolt. Due to ship in mid-2005, Longhorn will include a desktop replacement for Windows XP and server replacements for the Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 family of products. Longhorn will be a major upgrade—what Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates calls "a clean sheet of paper, a rethinking of what a computer operating system is." Indeed, Gates is spending more time working on Longhorn than any other Microsoft project, which is a more telling sign of its importance than any PR piece the company can muster.

    At a high level, Microsoft is designing Longhorn to help people overcome the limitations of today's computer systems and find documents and data wherever they're stored. That functionality will require a new database-backed file system—Windows File System (WFS)—and Microsoft will incorporate the technology behind that file system as part of SQL Server 2003, code-named Yukon. In addition, Yukon will unify all other Microsoft data stores, including Active Directory (AD) and Microsoft Exchange Server. This unification means that users will be able to search for, say, "Windows & .NET Magazine," and receive matching results in local file system documents, email messages, and the directory, based on storage context; no more separate searches. Gates calls this feature the answer to, "Where's my stuff?"

    Longhorn will be deeply integrated with the Internet, further blurring the lines between your local desktop and Web services. Microsoft began this work with Active Desktop in 1996, but Longhorn will build on the special shell extensions in XP's task-based interface and let users more easily interact with Web services such as online contacts and calendars, stock quotes, sports scores, and movie tickets. The company will also dramatically update the UI with a layered interface that mixes today's 2-D desktop with Direct3D-based textured objects and full-motion video.

    You've probably heard about the most controversial aspect of Longhorn—the often misreported and misunderstood Palladium technology. Palladium is an optional add-on for Longhorn that will require special PCs with custom security hardware from Intel or AMD. The technology is essentially a secure runtime environment similar to the Microsoft .NET Framework, except that Palladium requires a hardware component for absolute security, and you can use the technology to complete a variety of fine-grained, secure transactions. For example, you can use Palladium to send a confidential email message to a certain person, ensure that the exact person received and read the email, and ensure that the person can't forward your email to other people. Palladium grew out of Microsoft's Digital Rights Management (DRM) work, and we'll see a DRM server product in 2003 that will foreshadow Palladium's feature set. Essentially, Microsoft discovered that the digital media-oriented DRM technology had more far-reaching abilities and the company could use the technology to secure a variety of content types, including email and text-based documents. As the DRM server and Palladium come into focus, I'll examine them further in UPDATE.

    Microsoft's decision to radically rebuild Windows didn't come lightly. In the July "Fortune Magazine" article that revealed the company's Longhorn plans for the first time, Gates said that he and CEO Steve Ballmer decided it was time to stop releasing incremental upgrades and offer a product that would really grab people's attention. "Let's do something more dramatic," Gates told Ballmer, who said, "This means synchronizing \[various technology\] releases ... Isn't it obvious that we should do this?"

    Gates, ever the gee-whiz techno-nerd, claims to want people to upgrade because of the "wow" factor, although how the wow factor will impress enterprises is unclear. On the corporate side, I think Longhorn will be radical enough to drive adoption, although the ever-present cost concern will probably stifle some enthusiasm. But enterprises complain about upgrade costs with each Windows release, so why shouldn't Microsoft release something radically better than the previous version? With Longhorn, the improvements should be so dramatic that many fence sitters will arguably have cause to jump onboard.

    The problems with the Longhorn scenario, however, are legion. First, if Longhorn doesn't ship until 2005, how will Microsoft address consumers who expect a new Windows version on new PCs each holiday season? I suspect that the company will simply issue new XP service packs to address this need, but that's just a guess. And what about the age-old problem of selling today's software while publicizing your future plans? Microsoft is being very careful to slowly leak Longhorn information to the public, but from what we already know, this next release will be substantially more exciting than what we have today. This revelation won't stir enterprises, of course, but casual observers might see little reason to upgrade today if their new PC will be obsolete in 2 years.

    And what about the standard Microsoft problem of over promising and under delivering? Will Longhorn really be as revolutionary as the company promises, or will the company cut its feature set when the deadlines loom? I'll be keeping tabs on Longhorn to find out.


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    2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
    (contributed by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@winnetmag.com)

  • MICROSOFT LAUNCHES BROADBAND HOME-NETWORKING SOLUTIONS

  • Last week, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft Broadband Networking—the company's long-awaited broadband home-networking hardware line designed to let consumers quickly and easily share broadband Internet connections and create wired or wireless home networks. The line includes an array of products, such as wired and wireless base stations, USB network adapters, PC Card-based notebook adapters, a 5-port switch, and a PCI-based wired Ethernet adapter. The company is also selling two kits—the Wireless Desktop Kit and the Wireless Laptop kit—that combine wireless base stations with appropriate wireless networking adapters to create a complete wireless home-networking solution. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
    http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26716

  • 3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT

  • (contributed by Paula Sharick, paula@winnetmag.com)

  • A FIRST LOOK AT SOFTWARE UPDATE SERVICES

  • This week, I present an overview of how a Software Update Services (SUS) server operates. To avoid introducing problems into existing Web content, I built a new Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) system running Microsoft IIS, ran the IIS Lockdown Tool, and installed the SUS server software using all the default settings. The installation took only a few minutes, created no problems, and didn't require a restart. The installer placed lots of Active Server Pages (ASP) files and several folders below the Inetpub\wwwroot directory, including autoupdate, dictionaries, and SUSAdmin folders.

    Once installed, SUS opens the SUS administrator page in a browser window and prompts you to configure settings that control how the SUS server operates, including

    • the name of the proxy server, if any, SUS needs to use when accessing the Internet
    • the SUS server's name (the name users enter when requesting updates or the name you enter when you configure automatic updates with Group Policy)
    • whether the SUS server should synchronize available updates with Windows Update or another inhouse system
    • the action to take when a newly published update replaces an earlier update (automatic or manual approval)
    • where the SUS server will store updates it downloads from Windows Update or another update server
    • the languages for which SUS should download updates (e.g., English only, English, French, Arabic)

    If you want to change any of these operational parameters after the initial installation, pull up the SUS admin page at http:///susadmin and click the Set Options button in the left pane. For quick access, click the Microsoft Software Update Services icon the installer adds to the Administrative Tools group.

    For more information about setting up SUS, including synchronizing and approving updates for distribution, visit the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26752

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

  • MARK MINASI AND PAUL THURROTT ARE BRINGING THEIR SECURITY EXPERTISE TO YOU!

  • Windows & .NET Magazine Network RoadShow 2002 is coming this October to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco! Industry experts Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott will show you how to shore up your system's security and what desktop security features are planned for Microsoft .NET and beyond. The seminar is sponsored by NetIQ, Microsoft, and Trend Micro. Registration is free, but space is limited, so sign up now!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/roadshow

  • REAL-WORLD TIPS AND SOLUTIONS HERE FOR YOU

  • Register online for Windows & .NET Magazine LIVE!
    Network with the finest gathering of Windows gurus on the planet. This event is chock full of "been there, done that" knowledge from people who use Microsoft products in the real world. Early-bird discount expires soon. Register now and you'll also receive access to sessions of concurrently run XML and Web Services Connections.
    http://www.winnetmagLIVE.com

    5. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: DNS SERVICE

  • The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What DNS service does your company use?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 265 votes:
       - 48% Microsoft Windows 2000 DNS
       - 17% Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 DNS
       -  2% BIND DNS running on Win2K or NT 4.0
       - 27% BIND DNS running on UNIX or Linux
       -  7% Other

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: UPGRADES AND LONGHORN

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Do you think users will upgrade their PCs knowing the machines will be obsolete with the release of Longhorn in 2005?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, users will be reluctant to upgrade now, b) No, users will continue to upgrade, c) I don't know.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/magazine

    6. RESOURCES

  • FEATURED THREAD: UNLOCK WORKSTATION WITHOUT LOGOFF

  • Josh wants to know whether he can unlock a workstation without logging off the current user? Join the discussion at the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=36&tid=46631

  • TIP: HOW CAN I RESOLVE 2351 AND 2355 ERRORS THAT I RECEIVE WHILE INSTALLING SOFTWARE FROM A CD-ROM?

  • (contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)

    A. When you install software from a CD-ROM that uses the Windows Installer Setup engine, you might receive either of the following errors:

    • Internal Error 2351: Please contact product support for assistance.
    • Internal Error 2355: Please contact product support for assistance.

    These errors are the result of a bug that causes a problem when the Setup engine extracts files from the compressed cabinet format (CAB) file on the CD-ROM. To resolve this problem, you need to install the latest Windows OS service pack (Microsoft first addressed this problem by including a fix in Windows 2000 Service Pack 2—SP2). As a workaround, you can copy the contents of the CD-ROM to the local hard disk and attempt installation or you can attempt to boot into safe mode before performing the installation.

    7. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com)

  • RECOVER DELETED FILES

  • Executive Software released Undelete 3.0, software that can recover files that you've accidentally deleted from anywhere on the network, even files that bypass the Recycle Bin. Undelete features Emergency Undelete, which lets you restore files that were deleted before you even installed Undelete. Undelete from Disk lets you restore files directly from disk. Undelete 3.0 is available in a Server version for $259.95, a Workstation version for $49.95, and a Home version for $29.95. Undelete runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT systems. Contact Executive Software at 818-771-1600 or 800-829-6468.
    http://www.execsoft.com

  • DEFRAGMENT ENTIRE ENTERPRISE NETWORKS

  • Winternals Software released Defrag Manager, software that can defragment entire enterprise networks and eliminate the need to perform manual client installations. You install Defrag on only one PC, monitor the software when needed for effective scheduling, and the software automatically does the job. A wizard takes you through the scheduling process. Defrag Manager supports Active Directory (AD), non-NetBIOS networks, and legacy Windows networks. For pricing, contact Winternals Software at 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 Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

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

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — thurrott@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — paula@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — gayle@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 & .NET MAGAZINE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com

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