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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 22, 2001 (Vol. 6, #81 - Issue #316)
Another Stunning MCSE Reversal
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Raw Market Numbers
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Another Stunning MCSE Reversal
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Improvements In Hfnetchk
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • SuperScout Email & Web-filtering Gets Good Feedback
    • Did You Know? Sunbelt has a FREE DISASTER RECOVERY LIST
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Configuring W2K WITHOUT Active Directory
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  EDITORS CORNER

Raw Market Numbers

PC Shipments dropped from nearly 34 million units in Q3 2000 to about 29 million in Q3 2001 which was a 13.7 percent decline. The Sept 11 attacks just slowed up an already sluggish economy. Another factor that contributed was uncertainty about the HP-Compaq merger. Dell, through aggressive pricing and its quick response time, increased shipments and grew market share both in both the United States and worldwide. Its U.S. market share now stands at 26.4 percent, with a worldwide market share number at 14.5 percent.

Microsoft did relatively well with a 6% increase in sales especially in the "server" software section that increased. For instance MS-SQL sales went up 40%. However, they lost a lot of money in their investment portfolio which they had to write off. This is still a rosy picture compared to for instance Sun that reported steep declines in sales and a quarterly loss.

MS is pretty much humming along, but Windows and Office are affected by the current slowdown and MS is warning that their second quarter numbers could drop just a bit. The announcement of XP next week is expected to boost sales but I'm not so sure too many people will upgrade. This will take more time than MS hopes. Both HP, Dell and others have started shipping PC's with XP installed and that is where the major XP-growth will be coming from. The security measures at the XP-splash are interesting: Two forms of ID, you must show up on the invitee list, and no bags, laptops, or cameras, etc.

Next on November 15, three weeks after XP comes out, MS unleashes the launch of the Xbox game console which will be its first foray into the game console business. MS plans to sell the units for $299 a pop. This is at a loss mind you. They expect to make money out of the software sales. And the Xbox runs a stripped W2K version as its OS. Might be an idea to get one of those puppies. Powerful hardware with W2K built in for cheap. Think about all the (non-official) hacks that will be available for that machine. Could be fun.

And a comment on the last Editor's Corner: "A paradox of creating recession-wary budgets is they contribute to the recession. En mass, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy: we're doomed and by golly, by our actions we will create the doom and conveniently blame it on someone or something out of our control. I'm going shopping!" [grin] Especially DRAM is now a steal, they are all selling below cost so now is the time to double or quadruple your RAM.

Warm regards,

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

Another Stunning MCSE Reversal

In another stunning reversal of policy, Microsoft is now permitting individuals who have passed now-retired exams for the MCSE on MS Windows NT 4.0 to apply certain electives to the Windows 2000 MCSE, including some of the most popular of all electives for that older credential. This will greatly ease the effort required for MCSEs to upgrade their credentials for the Windows 2000 environment, essentially doing away with 1 or 2 exams that might otherwise be required. Here's the quote from the Microsoft MCSE Requirements page:

The following elective exams are no longer available but still count toward the MCSE on Windows 2000 certification. Please see the "Discontinuation of Exams" notice for more information about discontinued exams.

  • 70-013 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft SNA Server 3.0
  • 70-018 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.2
  • 70-026 System Administration for Microsoft SQL Server 6.5
  • 70-027 Implementing a Database Design on Microsoft SQL Server 6.5
  • 70-059 Internetworking with Microsoft TCP/IP on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
  • 70-076 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Exchange Server 5
  • 70-087 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0
  • 70-078 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Proxy Server 1.0
  • 70-079 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 by Using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit
This appears on the MS Web site at:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-PageQuote

And more general change info about MCSE is now made official over at:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-EasyMCSE

The date on that Web page claims the most recent update occurred on 10/12/2001, but I didn't notice this addition until someone e-mailed me a notice that it had appeared on 10/18/2001. But no matter when it appeared, it's GREAT NEWS for those who have already taken and passed any one or more of these exams, because it will make it that much quicker to upgrade your certification to meet the MCSE on Microsoft W2K requirements.

Contributed by Certification Guru Ed Tittel. Visit his Web sites at www.lanw.com and www.ilearning.com

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Improvements In Hfnetchk

In Issue #307 we discussed the Hfnetchk tool that was released by Microsoft not too long ago. But you may not know that this tool was originally developed for MS by a developer called Shavlik and they have their own "professional" version of the Hfnetchk tool.

This "Pro" version addresses most of the concerns that were originally mentioned about the free bare bones MS-version. In short the interface stinks, it's time consuming and downloading the files take too long. Shavlik added a GUI that makes all the command-line features a lot more easy. More over, the Pro version simply shows you all the domain members so you simply select the systems you want to audit.

There are different ways to choose the systems: by TCP/IP address, or specifying just one address, a range, or a list of noncontiguous addresses. Another real nice feature of the Pro version is that you can define a permanent location for mssecure.xml (the catalog file).

With the Pro flavor you get HTML that is easy to read, a explanation why it thinks the hotfix is not there, and in the reports you will find the MS security bulletin number, name of the hotfix, its description, and the download link for each fix. Sweet.

If you want to get the command-line interface flavor from MS, this is the place to go: the MS download site. (remember this tool does not get you technical support by Microsoft, it's freeware).
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-Hfnetchk

But if you have more than say a dozen machines to manage and your time is valuable, I suggest you have a look at the Pro version that sits in the Shavlik Admin Suite over here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-Shavlik

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

SuperScout Email & Web-filtering Gets Good Feedback

You have seen this product a few times in W2Knews and maybe wondered how it actually performs. We have been getting quite a few responses back from system admins that decided to implement it and here are some of the experiences in their own environment that they wrote about:

"SuperScout is easy to use and works very well. It allowed us to monitor our company access to the Internet and train our staff on the proper use of business equipment and Internet access. Their support and sales personnel were extremely helpful, thanks for an outstanding product and service" - Don Berryhill, IS manager iMagic.

"I work for the State of Iowa and we have used SuperScout extensively. It works perfectly and it saves us from numerous potential problems and stories in papers before anything actually happened." - Terry Ventling IT/net Engineer, State of Iowa

"We didn't want to watch our employees' every move. We mainly wanted to protect against denial of service caused by downloading of music, porn or games on our network bandwidth. It took just 20 minutes to install SuperScout and it freed up our bandwidth tremendously." - Russell Goodman, Network and Server Engineer, Thomas Cook Holidays.

Probably a good idea to actually get their 30-day and see how this performs on your own network. You can get it here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-SurfControl

Did You Know? Sunbelt has a FREE DISASTER RECOVERY LIST

Sunbelt Software hosts this list to invite the free and open discussion of Disaster Recovery Administration and Tech Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to plan, implement and keep Disaster Recovery installations up & running in a production environment.

What does that include? Anything you can think of (policies, tools, scripts, hints & tips, exchange of knowledge and experience, suggestions to solve problems, compatibility issues) to get and keep DR effective in your environment.

Do's:

  • Discuss DR Admin and Tech problems and/or workarounds, how to, what to, why to, type questions platform independent. This list covers Servers running Novell, Win NT/2000, But also Solaris, Linux, VMS, AS/400, Unix and other platforms.
  • Discuss third-party DR products, services, methodologies, provided these are designed to aid in DR Administration
  • In short: ON TOPIC, LOW NOISE, and FRIENDLY!
Don'ts:
  • Discuss system administration problems. Use the Sunbelt ntsysadmin list for that.
  • Post large articles to the list, web pages were made for that. Send a link with the URL!
  • Generate noise, voice your upset, flame, or make inflammatory remarks. Save that for offline or better yet, do not do it at all.
We allow Vendor involvement in the list. Vendors are requested to not blatantly promote products. Sunbelt reserves the right to now and then make the list aware of a new product as an exchange for the bandwidth we provide. If vendors don't address the issue in a technical fashion their subscription will be revoked. Any participant flaming another will get one warning from the LIST ADMIN. The next time their email address and/or domain will be banned from the list.

As you see, this gives you a very wide range of topics to discuss in a professional environment. Sunbelt hopes that the list proves useful to you and your organization. This list has saved a lot of people a lot of time and all of you that are contributing are much appreciated!

TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LIST (Tell your friends!)
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201-FreeDRList

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • See the very cool forms a disk drive magnet and ferrofluid create
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201FL-Ferrofluid
  • The Gartner group issued some updated advice on MS Licensing 6.0
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201FL-GartnerLicensing
  • Vigilante Hackers penetrate Saudi Bank searching for terrorist cash
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201FL-VigilanteHackers
  • Nice little site with all kinds of hints and tips on using Ghost
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=102201FL-GhostSite
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    Configuring W2K WITHOUT Active Directory

    To my knowledge, it's the only book on the market that successfully addresses how the majority of MS production networks are still being run. W2K is clearly becoming the industry standard OS for its proven stability - and the fact that it doesn't have WPA implications and isn't marked for support retirement half way through 2003! However, although adoption of AD networks is slowly increasing, it's clear that more MS networks than not still run NT4 domains - and yet it's incredibly difficult for network admins to find clear advice on how to configure their W2K workstations and member servers in this environment.

    All MS official documentation and most other sources now assume an AD-only environment (possible exception being standalone Web servers). All the new features and benefits of W2K are usually discussed in an AD-only environment - which makes it incredibly difficult for admins to know exactly which features will run independently of AD, and how they could get the most of their W2K boxes without AD. This is particularly important now the IT industry is in decline - with fewer resources available it makes sense to make the most of what you already have.

    Not only does this book include info on how to make the best of W2K outside AD, but acknowledges risk management (i.e. often the less risky designs are implemented before the best technical ones) and how politics is the overriding 8th layer in the 7 layer OSI model :) It also takes into account the need to run MS networks with service packs, hot fixes and Microsoft Knowledge Base articles - so rarely mentioned when experience doesn't extend beyond the lab. It's here!
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=101801BOW