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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Feb 15, 2001 (Vol. 6, #10 - Issue #244)
Windows XP Announced
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Windows XP Announced
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Should I plan to Upgrade to WXP Pro Instead of W2K Pro?
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • More Management Moves At MS
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Ways to Catch the 'Russian Tennis Player' Virus
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Exam 70-220, Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network
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  EDITORS CORNER

Windows XP Announced

Yesterday, Windows XP was announced by Bill Gates at the Seattle 'Experience Music Project' (This is the rock 'n' roll museum built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen). Down in the Tech Briefing section I'll go into some detail, especially what this means for system administrators. And there is more MS-news. Their recent investment in Corel and acquisition of Great Plains is looked into by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. But for us guys and gals in the trenches, it's mainly still NT that is running the show. Microsoft as usual is selling the future.

And now, here is the new SunPoll. It's been a very recent hot topic of discussion in several Sunbelt Communities. Please VOTE and check what your colleagues think!

THE ISSUE: Microsoft is currently doing a survey about possibly changing the MCSE title from MS Certified *Engineer* to MS Certified *Expert*. What is your viewpoint?

  1. I spent enough time and money getting certified and I do not want it messed with.
  2. Sigh. Can't they leave well enough alone?
  3. Perhaps there is something to this, engineer may be the wrong description
  4. Good idea, 'expert' sounds much better than 'engineer'
Vote here: http://www.sunbelt-software.com. First column on the left.

And now, there's lots of stuff happening. Let's have a look!

Warm regards,

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

Should I plan to Upgrade to WXP Pro Instead of W2K Pro?

New Windows XP Logo Bill Gates and Jim Allchin presented the public with a sneak peak of WXP yesterday. The most eye catching new thing of this dual consumer/business desktop version is the new interface named "Luna". Since Gates is now the Chief Software Architect in MS, he claimed he had been working on WXP personally.

=HYPE ALERT= Microsoft General Manager John Frediksen said: "Windows XP represents a major shift in personal computing, and 'XP' best represents this new direction of enabling experiences. With Windows XP, we really focused on simplifying and enhancing end-to-end computing experiences to unlock the power of the PC and allow users to take full advantage of their computers in the easiest possible ways. With Windows XP the power of the PC is extended to devices, Web services and applications to allow users to do more than ever on their computers." =/HYPE ALERT=

OK Fine, the PC gets further simplified in a few areas like devices, digital multimedia and the web. Of course for home users they finally get rid of the old crummy W9x architecture and that is good news for them. For business users it's another story. Should you skip W2K Pro for WXP Pro for your user's workstations?

Apart from the new GUI, WXP has better integration with cool stuff like digital cameras and scanners. You can play with music, and digital movie making. Obviously MS understands that the market moves to digital home entertainment. That means the PC will be much more than what it is now, and needs links to consumer-oriented hardware devices.

The first beta's (both WXP Personal and Pro) are in the field now, and the API's are truly merged. In other words, a home user can format their system NTFS (honey, I just locked us out from our tax documents), every computer now has event logs, and workstation locking is available. There are much more things to look at, but the only important difference between WXP Personal and WXP Pro for corporate use is:

  1. You can't join XP Personal versions to a NT/2000 domain (But Pro will)
  2. WXP Personal versions have a dumbed down version of local users - e.g. they're either admins or limited users.
There is still a lot to play with and I'll let you know more the moment I know. It does have a built-in remote control feature I have heard but have had no time to check into. Windows XP is now in Beta 1. The Beta 2 release is scheduled to become available before the end of the first quarter. MS claims they are still on target to be ready with a final public release during the second half of this year. I think they may make that deadline this time around.

So, to answer the question, should we skip W2K and go to WXP instead for user workstations? Simple. No, unless you are in a highly graphical environments like for instance ad agencies, CAD, or web design shops. The upgrade path I recommend is upgrade all your workstations to W2K Pro first. Then upgrade your NT Servers to W2K Server (or advanced or datacenter). WXP Pro provides no real benefits for the average business workstation, and could even be a distraction. The small office/home office (SOHO) market where the owner wears about 20 hats will likely do well with it though.

And here is some clarification about the name confusion. The W9x and Windows 2000 Pro are going to be renamed to WXP Personal and Pro. The next server products will not be "XP". XP will not apply to the server. So, Windows 2000 Server will likely become Windows 2002 Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server. Funnily enough I had nicknamed Whistler as W2K2, so yours truly was right on the money. Told ya so, told ya so.

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

More Management Moves At MS

I normally do not spend much time on these corporate shake-ups but this time it's an interesting one for us techies. Why? It points to where MS wants to go in the long run. MS announced today that it will promote Rick Belluzo to President and Chief Operating Officer.

Where did he come from is the question? He was the consumer business chief. Belluzo, 47 years old will replace Bob Herbold who decided to retire at 57. The fact that Steve Ballmer taps HP-veteran Belluzo for the post shows his long term direction: more into consumer services.

Rick will take a bunch of hands-on things out of Steve Ballmer's hands. MS has now more than 40,000 employees. The MSN internet group will continue to report to Beluzzo, as well as the Xbox group. He will take over overseeing the huge MS sales force from Ballmer freeing Ballmer up for more strategic work.

"As Rick transitions to his broader set of responsibilities, I will spend more time focusing on Microsoft's strategic direction and working closely with Bill and the leaders of our product teams -- including Jim Allchin, Jeff Raikes and Bob Muglia -- on our platform, productivity, enterprise and software services efforts," said Ballmer.

What's Ballmer really going to do? Guide MS from a producer of desktop and server software to Internet-based software and (subscription) services. MS more and more needs to get out of the box-selling mode into a subscription-based business model to sustain its revenue growth. By the way, from my humble perspective this the real reason for the whole .NET thing as well. {grin}.

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Ways to Catch the 'Russian Tennis Player' Virus

Another worm has made headlines. And it was a simple worm created using a point-and-click Visual Basic Script virus generator. The same darn setup as the l o v e l e t t e r one a while ago. The Dutch guy that did it and let it out in the wild turned himself into the Police today. He said he simply wanted to show that the anti-virus protection in many sites was not up to snuff. Guess he was right, but now he faces up to four years in prison.

Many users were simply caught with their pants down because it is now well known that you do not open attachments unless you have asked for them. USER EDUCATION is step number one, but of course anti-virus protection would have helped too. There are a number of products out there that can protect sites from this kind of vandalism.

First of all, virus protection tools of the main vendors can be set to simply delete any kind of .EXT from emails. Sunbelt was hit hundreds of times yesterday by this virus, and none came through our Antigen anti-virus tool that our Techs had provided with a whole list of EXT's they did not like. (http://www.antigen.com) But there are other specialized commercial tools from the major vendors that provide this protection (McAfee, Symantec, Trend, Panda and the others).

However, there are also tools that can protect you on the server and workstation level. FileScreen simply refuses to actually save a file with a certain extension (link below). Scriptlogic via the "LoveBug" custom script (C1030, downloadable from our support website), simply changes the file association for ".VBS" files from WSCRIPT.EXE (Windows Script Host) to NOTEPAD.EXE (text editor).

If a script-type virus slips through your Anti-Virus software and makes it to your clients, the result is that when the user accidentally double-clicks the file or attachment, it is viewed with Notepad, rather than executed -- nice and harmless.

This custom script will also clean up the VBS.LoveLetter virus (its original purpose) and can optionally disassociate other file types, normally associated with Windows Script Host, including .VB, .VBE, .VSE, .JS, .JSE, .CSS, .WSH, .SCT, .HTA, and even .SHS (remember the ShellScrap Virus?).

For those that actually use VBScript (and other types of scripts) on their systems, it is important to mention that changing the associations does not prohibit the use of their scripts -- it just requires one extra step: Create a command or batch file with a single line. For example: "@Wscript.exe myscript.vbs".

FileScreen: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=422
ScriptLogic: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=299

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • Personal WorkSaver(tm): Try It.
    http://www.raxco.com/w2knews

  • Here is a Microsoft FAQ regarding MCSE certification and WXP.
    http://www.microsoft.com/trainingandservices/default.asp?PageID=mcp&PageCall=faq&SubSite=cert/mcse&AnnMenu=mcse#3title

  • LPI is a vendor neutral Linux certification website. Recommended.
    http://www.lpi.org
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    Exam 70-220, Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network

    tests the skills required to analyze the business requirements for security and design a security solution that meets business requirements. Security includes controlling access to resources, auditing access to resources, authentication, and encryption. Ideal for you, pros looking for comprehensive self-study materials to get you through the exam successfully. Years of publishing in this category has shown us that the most asked-for type of study information comes in the comprehensive, study-at-your-own-pace package. New Riders Training Guides, with their objective coverage, emphasis on hands-on knowledge, and practice exams, are an ideal tool for you guys. Suggested retail: $49.99 Sunbelt Bookclub Price: $35.00
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/bookclub