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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jan 21, 2002 (Vol. 7, #6 - Issue #337)
More W2K Service Pack 3 Detail
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Earnings Roundup / New SunPoll
    • Getting to Windows 2000 More Certain than XP
    • Gates Goes On Security Crusade
    • HFNetChk Version 3.3 Is Now Available
    • More W2K Service Pack 3 Detail
    • MS Moved To Pass/Fail For Exams
    • Key Information Security / Malware Threats for 2002
    • In Search Of A Better Benchmark
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Windows XP Troubleshooting
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Earnings Roundup / New SunPoll

Hi All,

A whole bunch of companies have reported earnings by now. Sunbelt?s sales in 2001 were up a few percent over 2000, (despite the economic trouble) and we?re continuing to be very healthy indeed. Microsoft just reported a hefty Q2 revenue rise of 18% but profits were crimped by low consumer demand in Asia and legal costs. Windows XP and the XBOX were responsible for the 18% boost.

IBM reported a 13% decline in net income, and 11% lower revenues mainly due to a slowdown in their huge services operation. Software and mainframes made money, PC's and semiconductors lost. COMPAQ's numbers were a lot better than expected for their quarter. Things are looking up in their nick of the market.

DELL raised its earnings and revenue outlook for its fourth quarter, as growth in consumer sales helped the company continue to pull away from its industry rivals.

INTEL's CEO dubbed 2001 "a terrible year for our industry," as the company Tuesday reported Q4 revenue was down 20 percent from the year ago quarter, but still surpassed analyst's earnings expectations. 2002 results were expected to be significantly better.

Symantec reported their Q3 results and were 290Mil compared to $241.8 million for the same quarter last year. Their profits were way up too, and their share price shot up. Remember what our survey showed about budget for security tools? This confirms that nicely.

In the U.S. economy both the unemployment and housing starts show that we could very well already be on our way out of this 'dip'. What that means for us in the trenches is that budget for the things that are perceived as the most urgent, will likely be approved: Security and High Availability.

And here is the new SunPoll:

Question: How much time do you have per month to evaluate new soft and/or hardware?

  1. I have no time at all for that kind of stuff, [grumble].
  2. I usually download stuff but 80% of the time it does not get installed.
  3. I'm able to play/test new stuff once a month for a couple of hours.
  4. We have a day or two scheduled in, and it's part and parcel of our normal routine to keep up-to-date with the market.
You can vote here (left column) and see the results of the last Sunpoll about MCSA as well.

UNDO Dept: the iButton has 64 kbit of memory, which means that it is effectively 8 KB (KByte) and not 64.

Warm regards,

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

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Getting to Windows 2000 More Certain than XP

Windows 2000 Professional is well on the road toward success. Can Windows XP Professional follow suit? Based on the response to a Sept 2001 study by Sunbelt and IDC (Framingham, Mass., www.idc.com) of 334 IT managers, Microsoft?s increasingly rapid cycle of introducing new operating systems instead is leaving users further behind, and unsure of when they?ll be ready to move on to new releases.

IDC recently compared the current adoption plans for Windows XP and Windows 2000 Professional vs. the plans expressed by users immediately after the launch of Windows 2000 in February 2000. In 2000, 77% of users surveyed said they had already begun to deploy or planned to deploy Windows 2000 Professional, with 19% stating that they had no plans to deploy the product. Only 4.8% said they didn?t know when they would deploy or didn?t respond to the question.

By comparison, a September 2001 study found that 29% were not sure of what their deployment plans would be. Just over one quarter of the survey participants said they don?t plan to deploy Windows XP. The remainder said they would be deploying at some point in the future.

When Windows 2000 Professional is added to the mix, the users that cited no plans to deploy drops to just over 3%, suggesting that a considerable portion of the survey group plans ? at this time ? to deploy Windows 2000 Professional, and stick with it for some time to come. ? Al Gillen

Study name is: Windows 2000 Adoption: Much Work Still Lies Ahead (IDC #25860, Nov. 2001)


Gates Goes On Security Crusade

In a rare memo to all staff last week, BillG issued a call-to-arms and insisted all staff they need to program with security in mind at all times. He said MS would "delay the deployment of critical features in their products in order to get them secure". All staffers and programmers are getting special security training, and currently a high percentage of developers are not creating new tools, but are going through existing code with a fine tooth comb to find and fix vulnerabilities. About time !!

HFNetChk Version 3.3 Is Now Available

You can get this free (but unsupported) command-line MS security tool via the Microsoft Download Center page:

Several new feature and fixes have been added in V3.3, you can find these on a link on that same page to the MS KB.

HFNetChk is a command line tool used to assess a computer or group of computers for their current security hotfix status. HFNetChk can be launched from an NT4 or greater system, and can report on hotfix status for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, IIS 4, IIS 5, IIS 5.1, Internet Explorer 5.01 and later, SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000.

A public newsgroup has been created to support HFNetChk. Please visit microsoft.public.security.hfnetchk on the news.microsoft.com news server.

Additional features, such as scanning for Exchange Server or Microsoft Office patches, are being considered for a future release of HFNetChk and are not included in this release.

If you are looking for a GUI-based, commercial and supported version of this tool, check out this security admin suite, created by Shavlik Technologies that created HfNnetChk together with Microsoft. Here is a 30-day eval you can play with:

More W2K Service Pack 3 Detail

SP3 is in beta testing right now and it is expected that at least one more "build" or update to the SP3 beta will be released. (there has only been a single version released to the technical beta testers so far, and that was in December). It looks clear that there will be another version sometime soon, and that MS is planning at least one more chat session with SP3 testers.

Since the initial SP3 beta release several security patches have been released, and a roll-up security fix for W2K was recently released to the beta Windows Update site before being pulled abruptly because of problems reported with it. I would expect that "roll-up" fix to go into SP3 and in fact maybe that's the delay right now. SP3 could be soon but it may take a month or so.

MS Moved To Pass/Fail For Exams

Microsoft no longer gives test-takers an overall score on exams, opting instead for a simple pass/fail system. Anne Marie McSweeney, Microsoft?s director of certification skills and assessment, said in an interview with MCP Magazine editors, that the new grading method started in December 2001 and will include all future exams.

Even though the pass/fail system was introduced last year, most members of the certification community weren?t aware of the change. Microsoft didn?t make a general announcement about the revamped scoring, originally releasing the information in a FAQ section on its Web site. More about this on the Microsoft Certified Pro Website via this link:


Key Information Security / Malware Threats for 2002

It's not going to be pretty folks. The developments of 2001 show simply that it's going to get worse in 2002. Expect more devastating worms and viruses this year. Just look at Code Red and Nimda as an example. They were pretty innovative and will set the trend this year.

Both of these nasties (CodeRed and Nimda) showed us that when you do not scan for and patch vulnerabilities, your systems are targets for penetration, and you may not own them anymore. There was one more common characteristic during last year: disguise! Worms dressed up as tennis stars, actresses, Disney characters, undressed wives, and screen savers just to name a few.

"They all have a few things in common including exploiting known software vulnerabilities that were corrected with various service patches," says Steve Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command. "Other than known software vulnerabilities, they also rely on curiosity and other human weaknesses."

I strongly suggest you have a look at products that scan for security holes and tools that are able to patch these. Start with tools like Retina which is a very good hole scanner, and keep your existing scanners (like STAT) up to date. Here is a link to Retina. A good tool to go with Retina would be UpdateEXPERT.

In Search Of A Better Benchmark

Sunbelt just released a new performance benchmark. It's a tool that is now also used by one of the foremost and highly regarded magazines in the IT industry: InfoWorld. On their website is a little sidebar that describes Benchmark Studio, and why they chose it. Below this article you will find two links. One to the product, and the other to the InfoWorld website with the full page. Below is just an extract.

"We've said for years that there are lies, damned lies, and benchmarks. Popular benchmark suites such as the BAPCo and SPEC families are useful in providing results that translate relatively easily across different platforms. But they are designed around linear scripts, executing one script with one workload at a time. Unfortunately, that's not the way to stress an operating system -- especially not with today's hardware.

"We've found a better way to stress-test hardware and software in CSA Research's Benchmark Studio Professional, a flexible and easy-to-use package that does an excellent job of measuring the performance of a Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP system by using Microsoft's own APIs to impose the workload.

"The tests consist of a mix of business productivity and client-server tasks that simulate a broad range of potential end-user scenarios. Each was designed to stress a specific Windows subsystem. For example, the Database workload uses Microsoft's ADO (ActiveX Data Object) API to conduct client-server database transactions against a SQL Server 2000 server. Similarly, the Workflow simulation accesses and manipulates an Exchange Server 2000 mailbox using the CDO (Collaboration Data Object) libraries.

"Benchmark Studio includes a Microsoft Office-specific linear test script and requires Office 2000 or Office XP on the client hardware; the required ADO, CDO, and Message Queue (MQ) libraries can all be installed with the basic Office components during test preparation.



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

  • Could not make it to the Consumer Electronics Show and see Bill Gates' keynote speech? Me neither, but I watched it on the net last night. Recommended
  • Your Personal Flying Machine is getting closer and closer. Check this out!
  • And here are the BEST PRODUCTS from the CES, selected by LabRats and other TechTV

    Windows XP Troubleshooting

    This is what one of the authors said promoting his book. I have a copy and it's good! One of the other authors is Tom Shinder, who happens to be the editor of our WinXPnews.com. This is a "warmly recommended" Book Of The Week.

    "When I first saw Windows XP in the early beta versions, I was astonished by the number of additions and improvements that Microsoft had incorporated into it. Windows XP is the most feature-rich and useful desktop operating system yet. Because Windows XP includes so many new and useful features, the prospect of mastering it may appear daunting. However, many will find that using Windows XP will make using a computer more enjoyable, and that mastering XP is more a matter of play, rather than work. To put it simply: XP rocks. I found both myself and the other contributors with whom I worked on this book sharing a common enthusiasm for the product. It is our hope that we also communicate this enthusiasm to you, and that you will find this book informative and enjoyable."