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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Sep 6, 2001 (Vol. 6, #68 - Issue #303)
WPA Loosened Up
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Industry Consolidation / Public Service Announcements
    • A Glossary Of All W2K Services
    • European WinSummit Conference
    • Windows Product Activation in WXP Loosened Up
    • SuperCache Boosts Exchange Performance
    • Prevent Potential Hard Drive Crashes
    • Why A Commercial But Low Cost Remote Control Tool?
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Windows 2000 Professional On Site
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Industry Consolidation / Public Service Announcements

Everyone has been talking about it since yesterday. These kinds of things are like an earthquake in the Industry. Numbers 2 and 3 merging into a giant that is just a few billion per year short of big kahuna IBM. Personally I think this is not a particularly good idea for either HP or Compaq. The IT industry is littered with failed mergers. From a marketing perspective the Compaq brand is worth literally billions.

They would be smart to at least keep the sub brands like Proliant and Presario, or come out with a new line called "H-Paq" or something. Anyway, combining two companies that both lose money in the consumer PC space only gets you... right. One big company that loses even more money in that area. Think of the maximum of 100% available Top Management CPU cycles (or attention units if you will). At least 30% of those units will be focused on merging the two mammoths together instead of optimizing market share. Guess who is going to benefit? Right. Dell.

And what's this got to do with Microsoft and W2K? Not all that much really. Just one large player that they cannot leverage anymore against the others. The new HP will be able to push back to MS a bit better, but that is all. Government regulators will probably stall this deal for a year, and when all is said and done, I do not think much good will come out of it for the two players involved in this consolidation dance, and unfortunately neither for their shareholders. Who knows, this whole idea might not even make it into reality. It seems I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Investors hammered both HP and Compaq stock right after the announcement.

We're going to add a Fave Link now and then, which are so called "Public Service Announcements". If you do not live in the USA, PSA's are free promo for non-profits, usually charities. I was originally trained as an educator before I moved to the computer bizz in the late seventies, so Kids and Education are still close to my heart. Now and then you'll see some Fave Links to sites that focus on these areas from here on out. if you have some sites you'd like to propose, send them over!

Warm regards,

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

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A Glossary Of All W2K Services

A subscriber in Sunbelt's NTSYSADMIN list mentioned a very useful link. He had found a reference article that summarizes all of the approximately 100 services in the W2K Server family. They are in alphabetical order and the article provides general info on how each service is related to the functioning of the OS and describes the major effects of disabling each service. That last part is really interesting.

A "service" is a process or set of processes that adds functionality to Windows by providing support to other programs. The default installation of each version of W2K Server provides a core set of services and configurations designed to suit most needs, but you can mix and match if you want.

Every service in W2K 2000 has three states, which you can control with the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Snap-in:

  1. Disabled. These services are installed but not currently running.
  2. Set to manual. These services are installed but will start only when another service or application needs its functionality.
  3. Set to automatic. These services are started by the operating system after device drivers are loaded at boot time.
This is a very interesting link. Plug it in your own Favorites, you'll come back there often enough to do so. And if you want to subscribe (free) to the server you can do that here. Note, this is a high-volume list with up to 100 messages per day

And here is the link to the article itself:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=090601-W2Kglossary Contributed by roving editor Sandy VandeBult.

European WinSummit Conference

The Microsoft .NET Development Platform, Windows XP, Windows 2002, HailStorm and compare technologies are the heralds of new programming paradigms. How those affect the developer world will be presented in all details to developers at the WinSummit-Conference, October 8th to 12th 2001 in Davos, Switzerland.

This fall, hundreds of professional developers will be gathering in Davos for the third WinSummit Conference. This year?s conference program features again some truly exciting speakers like David Chappell, Charles Petzold, Don Box as well as all the great speakers the attendees expect.

Jeffrey Richter as technical chair has setup 130 in-depth sessions with more than 25 expert speakers to present the whole range of the new Windows technologies. This makes WinSummit a unique opportunity for developers to complement and update their knowledge. More information and registration at:


Windows Product Activation in WXP Loosened Up

Thanks for listening Microsoft! Heaven knows I have been screaming about this issue, but I really had severe doubts. Now I'm much less pessimistic about WPA. It's been loosened up significantly, but no one wasn't told a darn thing. Good that Paul Thurrott, from the wininformant site gave everyone a heads-up.

Two major changes were made in WPA early August as a result from consumer and Analyst "feedback". (read acrimonious accusations). The first one is that new users who get XP preinstalled on their new box will NOT have to activate or reactivate WXP. This is about 90% of all machines out there, so this is a major change in policy. Copies of XP that ship with new PCs are coded only to the BIOS, so you can change as much hardware as you like, just leave the BIOS alone.

Change number two is when you buy XP as a separate product in your local store. XP looks at 10 hardware components when it determines if reactivation is needed. You can now change 6 of these components (that used to be four) before you need to reactivate, assuming you leave the Network Interface card alone. More over, you can change a particular hardware component as many times as you want, and if you add something that does not count either.

I'm really happy with this policy change in MS, and it still does something against casual piracy so all in all this is now a much more palatable solution. Here is the latest specific info on WPA from the Microsoft site. (And thanks Paul for letting us know). But what I do not understand is that the MS PR-machine did not make a humongous amount of noise about this. They should have. Oh well. Another Redmond mystery. [grin]

(Note, this is a MS Word Document. If you don't have Word, you can get a viewer here)


SuperCache Boosts Exchange Performance

So here are a few technical tests that show clearly that caching data can reduce Exchange response times significantly. We ran SuperCache 2000 on a Dell PowerEdge server at a customer site, and the results follow.

System Under Test: Windows AS 2000 SP1 with Exchange 2000. Dell PowerEdge Dual 550Mhz processors with 8GB memory with extended memory enabled.

  • System disk - 9GB
  • Information Store -- 100 GB (4 * 25 GB databases)
  • Log file -- circular logging only.
SuperCache setup:
  • Enable SuperCache on Information Store drives ONLY.
  • SuperCache index size is set to be 100, and Buffer size is set at 64KB.
Results: LoadSim2000, MMB2,

    exp_name,    task_name,     95%tile RT,      mean RT
    ------------ -------------  ---------------  -------------
    S02          SEND           10109            1563
    S02          weighted       2785             297
    S05          SEND           3465             496
    S05          weighted       1963             129

S02 is the reference base line for 1200 MMB2 users with Exchange Cache Enabled. S05 is the SuperCache run with 1200 MMB2 users, with Exchange Cache Minimized to 10 MB and SuperCache Enabled using extended memory.

  • For SEND operation, the 95%tile response time improved 291%, (10109/3465) * 100.
  • For the weighted 95%tile response time improved 142%, (2785/1963) * 100.
  • For SEND operation, the mean response time improved close to 315%, (1563/496) * 100.
  • For the weighted mean, the response time improved 230 %, (297/129) * 100.
These results indicate that SuperCache 2000 reduced 95%tile response time significantly, which are the rules used to qualify Exchange Performance. This also tells us SuperCache reduced the standard deviation of the exchange mean response time distribution to a MORE uniform distribution.

All of this relatively technical evidence simply points to the fact that if you plug enough RAM in a server and then use that to cache a lot of data, your Exchange performance soars. And RAM is dirt cheap these days. Here is the SuperCache software to test your own boxes:

SPECIAL OFFER: Buy SuperCache before End September 2001, and get auto- tuning performance booster AutoPilot for that same machine FOR FREE. This combo is the most powerful software-only performance enhancement you can get.

Prevent Potential Hard Drive Crashes

If you ask system administrators what their worst nightmare is, you often get DOWNTIME as the answer. If you then dig a little further, it's often the old problem of the last mechanical part of computers: the hard drives that conk out. Even RAID sets can have problems.

Disk Alert for Windows NT and 2000 is the ultimate tool if you want to be alerted before you are going to have a hard drive crash on you. We now have a fully functional trial version that will show you if there are problems on your drives and where they are trending. DA supports NT and W2K both SV and WS.

DiskAlert provides you with an early warning of hard drive problems and can ping you via e-mail, phone, pager and/or screen pop-up messages before they become a real crisis. The product also detects and signals you when free space gets critically low. This new tool works on IDE hard drives, SCSI hard drives, software RAID arrays and most hardware RAID arrays on NT and W2K. It's licensed per hard drive. The permanent license fee is $99.00 for two hard drives. Get your 30-day eval here:

Why A Commercial But Low Cost Remote Control Tool?

One of the recent buyers answered us with this feedback:

"Thanks a bunch for the help. Great service in a timely manner, and let me add I too have used the gamut from VNC to Intel LanDesk to Citrix MetaFrame and other 'not-so-white-hat' remote control tools to admin many systems, and the Sunbelt Remote Administrator is by far the best such tool I have used. Since things like backup, system updates (not to mention security monitoring 24/7!) dictate some off- hours system connections, using this product at home with a broadband connection is as good as being 'on the LAN'. Thanks again."

Try it out yourself and get a 30-day eval over here:


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

  • Every organization develops its own vocabulary. (And subsequently has communications problems with its surroundings) ;-) Here is Microsoft's internal dictionary. Entertaining! You need the MS reader, so 2 links. first download the reader and install it, then click on MicroSpeak
  • Each OS has its own DeathMarch, here's the last few weeks before the XP release.
  • The US Government Project to saveguard privacy while web surfing.
  • Public Service Announcement: Know a Charity that does something with Kids, Education and/or computers? Let me know at my email address up in the Editor's Corner.

    Windows 2000 Professional On Site

    Using real-world scenarios, Windows 2000 Professional On Site will guide intermediate to advanced users, network professionals, system engineers, IS/IT managers, system administrators, programmers, and consultants through day-to-day needs assessment, planning, deployment, configuration, and troubleshooting challenges associated with W2K Pro. It answers common questions about the new OS, assists with budgeting for W2K pro deployment, and guides you through typical setup and admin tasks.