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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Dec 25, 2000 (Vol. 5, #58 - Issue #234)
NASDAQ Hangover
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • NASDAQ Hangover
    • How is everybody doing with the W2K deployment?
    • It Was A Brutal Year for Microsoft
    • No More W9x Volume Licensing: Prepare Your Budgets
    • No NT4 Service Pack 7 Till Q3, 2001
    • Microsoft Buys Great Plains Accounting Outfit
    • A Password Security Hotfix You Want To Apply
    • Good News For Exchange Administrators
    • SuperBoost Gives Major Performance Gain
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • MCSE 2000 "Bundle of Four" Continued!
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NASDAQ Hangover

It's all over the papers, the TV, and every other media outlet you can imagine. The U.S. economy is 'slowing down'. Christmas shopping is lukewarm at best and suddenly the general tendency has gone from irrational exuberance to 'blue economic mood'. So, the growth is not going to be 4 percent but 2 percent and the 'bad news' is spreading like wildfire, especially since we are all much more automated.

And the cause of all this Christmas Doom? Mainly Stock market hangover, combined with an Election Day that dragged on for a month. The NASDAQ is 50% down from its high in March this year so all the paper wealth has evaporated. People sit on their money a bit more, sales are down, inventory piles up, companies slow/halt production and fire some people, which in turn causes unemployment numbers to go up which fuels people's feeling of uncertainty. And all the time the media does its best to make the environment even more dangerous. There are more factors of course (like energy prices, FED interest rate increases, Middle-East blow-ups and the like) but the whole thing happened pretty much overnight.

The Tech sector was hit hardest with all this. Pretty much all of the big IT outfits stock prices were hammered and many of them (including Microsoft) pre-announced their profits would be less than expected. So, everyone has come back with their feet firmly planted to earth. The good old word 'profitability' is in vogue again.

So, what does that mean for us in the tech trenches? Well, your boss will pretty much immediately but the brakes on capital (investment) spending. Read: forget about those new servers. Make do with what you have, and squeeze more out of less. You know the drill: No new hires and see if you can get the headcount down. Perhaps a small absolutely required piece of hardware at a fire sale price. Only budget for maintenance but no new stuff.

But in a situation like that, there is one point of light. Perhaps you can get the OK to buy some (much cheaper) software tools to optimize your environment. And that is where yours truly has some solutions. Relatively low cost tools like defraggers, tuners and data caching are suddenly the 'bright idea' to improve your IT environment. Check out the Third Party News section for the latest news there.

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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How is everybody doing with the W2K deployment?

This time, it's time to find out how everybody else is doing with W2K! The benefit of taking 3 minutes to fill it out is that you will be the first to get the results and find out how your colleagues in other companies are coping with these issues. Sunbelt and the Giga Information Group will get you the latest skinny on the adoption and how it's going.

Would you do me a big favor, click on the link below and answer the questions on Windows 2000, Active Directory and (if you use it), SMS? Thanks in advance!


It Was A Brutal Year for Microsoft

Year 2000 was probably the worst year in the MS 25-year history. Gates' company got chopped in half by a grumpy judge (which was of course appealed), the supergrowth slowed to a more 'normal' pace, hackers gave MS a black eye and... oh yeah, the stock price was cut in half if you compare with Dec 30, 1999 where it was at $119-15/16.

Still there are a few more challenges ahead. This is a good thing, as MS performs best under pressure. As you know, MS pre-announced (warns the financial analysts that profits will be lower) that due to a slum- ping PC market, profits would be approx. 5 percent short of earlier estimates. It was the first time in 11 years that MS had to do this. MS is currently caught in the trough between slowing PC sales and companies not yet ramping up the W2K implementation fast enough.

To get MS back into a 20-30% per year growth level, W2K needs to do a lot better. That is probably why they kicked the W9x licenses out of the volume programs. And only when things go .Net, MS can start charging rental fees on a grand scale but this is a few years from now. In the mean time, they need to find fuel to feed the hungry beast.

Two things that could bring some relief are W2K2 (code name Whistler) and an update to MS-Office, but as we have seen in the past, the time tables are sliding on these puppies so who knows. MS may be counting on businesses investing in new machines for W2K but you can bet your boots that aint gonna happen in the current climate. In other words, it may be getting worse before it gets better. And of course you have to keep in mind that the antitrust case could go wrong and break it in two. However, with the Bush administration that threat might go away in the form of some deal that will be cut.

Just this week, Ballmer said they would cut cost and increase salaries as a compensation for stock option related losses. They need to hold on to their staff. Like I said earlier, generally speaking people do best in a challenging environment, and MS is a good example of that.

No More W9x Volume Licensing: Prepare Your Budgets

It was reported in quite a few IT news media this week. Volume licensing for W95 and W98 is going away June 30, 2001. MS will take these out of the existing programs with the idea to "make it easier" to move to W2K Pro. The result is that W9x is going to be a LOT more expensive for the stragglers that resist the upgrade.

The only two way you will be able to get your W9X copies is via the normal reseller channel or as an OEM-installed copy on fresh hardware. However I expect that during 2001 that possibility is also likely to get difficult. Get ready for either more dollars to maintain your standardized environment, or a massive upgrade to NT or W2K. Your third option is possible but illegal. [grin]

If you have an existing license of course you are going to be able to get more copies, but only until that license will expire. If you have no volume license that includes W95 or W98 from what I understand you have JUST THIS WEEK TO GET THEM !!

No NT4 Service Pack 7 Till Q3, 2001

On the Sunbelt sponsored NT SysAdmin List, Bob Free just mentioned the following interesting news. In short it comes down to this: Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 7 (SP7) is schedule to released Q3 2001. Microsoft plans to make Service Pack 7 for Windows NT 4.0 the last Service Pack released for the Windows NT 4.0 platform

Some more detail that came out of Microsoft regarding this: "We have been evaluating demand for fixes for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. The demand for Windows 2000 fixes has been far higher than for NT4, and the pressure to release this service pack is much greater. Microsoft is committed to delivering Service Packs approx. every 6 months for the currently released Operating System. Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 is schedule to release Q1 2001. Customers who are currently waiting for SP7 should move forward with SP6a plus any additional hotfixes they determine are required for their environment. The Active Directory Client will be made available via download independently from SP7 early next year. Customers who require 128bit functionality on languages other than US are encouraged to evaluate the 128bit IE releases as a path to greater security".

Thanks for sharing this interesting news with us Bob!

Microsoft Buys Great Plains Accounting Outfit

Great Plains Software was acquired by MS. They will pay 1.1 Billion in stock for it. Funny thing is, Sunbelt already runs on Great Plains, and now we'll get it from MS. I think it is a good thing, from an integration viewpoint. They will develop products that work with Microsoft's online service for small companies, bCentral. And of course they they'll make this puppy work within .Net the environment. MS will have to have a better look at how Oracle works, as now MS moves into apps that compete with their Independent Software Vendors just like Oracle bas been doing for a while already. More here:

A Password Security Hotfix You Want To Apply

Windows 2000 Security UPDATE reported that a new patch eliminates a vulnerability that lets a malicious user implement a brute-force password-guessing attack against a Windows 2000 computer that's not a member of a Win2K domain. This is an important fix to implement.

They continued with: "A flaw in the way that NT LAN Manager (NTLM) authentication operates in Win2K lets a malicious user bypass the domain account lockout policy on a local Win2K machine". MS has sent out one of their security bulletins explaining what the problem is and how to fix it. Here is the MS download page.

Obviously you want a solution in place that checks for these kinds of holes on a consistent basis, and helps you how to plug 'em.
Check http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=899 for that.


Good News For Exchange Administrators

Are you entering into byte-battles with users wanting increasingly bigger e-mail accounts? Need to protect Exchange items in the long term, for knowledge management or legal reasons? Fed up with restoring users Email that they deleted? Does it take to long to restore Exchange servers when disaster strikes?

If you have any or all of these issues, you may need to look beyond Exchange towards a solution that adds long-term, open-ended storage management and retrieval of e-mails. One such solution is Exchange Archive Solution (EAS). According to administrator-defined rules, EAS automatically migrates e-mails to a scalable, near-line document storage area. This has the benefit of releasing disk space on mission- critical Exchange servers, improving reliability, decreasing backup times and containing growth. EAS also offers users a powerful search and retrieval facility for retrieving archived e-mails and attachments - without administrator assistance. Check out the EAS site here:

SuperBoost Gives Major Performance Gain

No budget to buy that new server? Need to make do with the NT servers you have? A few months ago, we announced a new performance bundle, and here are the first results back. Would you like to experience something like this on your on NT-systems?

"I noticed approximately a 30-35% improvement in performance on my NT4 workstation". - Darrell Guss - MCSE, CCNA

"My results are in short: Installation: it runs without any problems. Usage: you can feel and measure an increase in speed. Office apps like MS-Office and StarOffice clock 30% and applications running over the network are 10% faster". - Kai Dannenberg, Germany.

If you would like to squeeze the MAX out of your own NT systems before you move to W2K, here is your chance. A combination of a great defragger, a RAM disk and an automatic Tuner in-one. No more painstaking tuning costing you hours of work. This bundle does it all, and in the background. Just defragging can speed up your systems performance up to 80%. And the Norton Speed Disk defrag engine does not need a reboot to defrag the Directories and the Master File Table. Great for servers you cannot take offline.

A new benchmark program we found last week showed that AutoPilot on a dual 933 Pentium increased Memory throughput from 65254 kB/sec to 97228 which is a 148 percent increase. Not to be sneezed at.

We have tested this in-house extensively. You can get a significant performance boost for very little money compared to what you would have to spend for a hardware upgrade. Note: The first 1000 buyers get a very cool Limited Edition T-shirt and lapel pin. Get your eval from:


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • The Internet Help Desk Video. This is a riot for techies like us.
  • Want a laser-powered lawn mower? Platinum Palm? 18-Karat Gold Mouse?
  • The best W2K 10 Resource Kit Utilities. Article in Win2000 Magazine.

    MCSE 2000 "Bundle of Four" Continued!

    It's practically a give-away. MCSE 2000 Training Guide: Core Exams "Bundle of Four!" By: New Riders (70-210, 70-215, 70-216, 70-217) Suggested Retail: $149.99. But the Sunbelt BookClub Price is only: $89.99! Killer deal.

    The pricing for MCSE W2K Training Guide: Core Exams is pretty cool. If each of the four books in the "bundle" were purchased separately at List Price, you would pay $200; if you purchased them separately at BookClub pricing, you would pay $144. As the Value of the Week, the bundle is priced at $89.99. That is truly significant savings. Quite a few of you have already taken advantage of this special offer; I hope more of you will the special $89.99 price will end on 12/22/00.

    In addition to the special pricing, the bundle of four books includes the ExamGear Training Guide Edition Software (CD-ROM). ExamGear focuses on exam preparation with quality scenario-based questions and adaptive testing, and is comprised of three key components: Exam Simulation, Exclusive DirectHelp Mentored Learning, and Study Tools. Get them over here: