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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 11, #5 - Jan 30, 2006 - Issue #561
Recover Lost MS Product Keys With Freeware

    • Hands Up! Step Away From That PC!
    • Microsoft Financial Health: Excellent
    • SANS Webcast Feb 1, 2006: The Spyware Threat Today
    • New SunPoll: What Do You Want To Win At Tech.Ed?
    • Quotes of the Week
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
    • IBM Strives For "Superhuman" Speech Tech
    • Memory Overload!
    • Checklist: 11 Things To Do After A Hack
    • From The Mind Of Minasi
    • Microsoft to Bolster Software Assurance
    • Redmond Throws Licensing Hissy Fit
    • Recover Lost MS Product Keys With Freeware
    • SANS Webcast Feb 1, 2006: The Spyware Threat Today
    • Harvard and Oxford Launch Anti-Spyware Site
  6. WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. WServerNews - PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • FREE Webcast: Winning the War on the Spyware Battlefield
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Hands Up! Step Away From That PC!

Whoa Nellie! So now the lawyers are forcing in updates??? Dang, managing networks gets more interesting by the day. WServerNews reader Peter V received this missive from Redmond last week. And it looks legit as well. I gather some of you have seen this arrive in your own mailbox. You are legally required to update Office 2003. If not, you will be tied to your chair and be forced to watch Bill Gates demos where things go BSOD until you beg for mercy.

It was recently decided in a court of law that certain portions of code found in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, Microsoft Office Access 2003, Microsoft Office XP Professional and Microsoft Access 2002 infringe a third-party patent. As a result, Microsoft must make available a revised version of these products with the allegedly infringing code replaced.

Action required:
As a result of the above ruling, you are required to:
  • Install Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 2 (Office 2003 SP2) for all your future deployments of Office Professional Edition 2003 and Office Access 2003,
  • Install the Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 3 Patch (Office XP SP3 Patch) for all your future deployments of Office XP Professional and Access 2002. [snip]
Sincerely, Microsoft Licensing. More at:

Microsoft Financial Health: Excellent

Microsoft reported solid quarterly results as their earnings per share was a penny ahead of the Street despite a $150M shortfall in revenue due to lower Xbox 360 sales. But the big hit was SQL 2005 and the Server software which topped expectations by more than $100M. Wall Street analysts see a healthy 2006 and 2007 ahead as well, based on the product release schedule which includes Vista.

SANS Webcast Feb 1, 2006: The Spyware Threat Today

SANS is happy to bring you the latest in their complimentary series of Webcasts. Join them on Wednesday, February 01 at 1:00PM as SANS presents: The Spyware Threat Today -- Featuring: Dave Shackleford and Greg Kras. You need to register with the SANS portal to be able to sign in. More data in the third party section, but start with registering here:

New SunPoll: What Do You Want To Win At Tech.Ed?

We've got some goodies what we'd like you to choose from. Check out the cool stuff and please vote for them over here:

Quotes of the Week

"Those who want free security get what they pay for...nothing." -- Dusty Rhodes

"The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit." -? Samuel Gompers, 1st AFL president

Hope you enjoy this issue of WServerNews! Warm regards, Stu Sjouwerman  |   Email me: [email protected]


Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

NetPro Computing announced it is shipping a major upgrade to its DirectoryLockdown product for Active Directory. Check it out:

Extend Active Directory to Unix/Linux/Mac to enable single sign-on, set global password policies. Free white paper.

Must Have Freeware. AD Web Search App + GAL Self Service. Free download here:

Need to prevent downtime on your Exchange Servers? No other tool has as many HA/DR licenses sold as Double-Take! Check out the eval:


IBM Strives For "Superhuman" Speech Tech

IBM unveiled new speech recognition technology that can comprehend the nuances of spoken English, translate it on the fly, even create on-the-fly subtitles for foreign-language television programs, and a lot of other really cool stuff. PCMag has the details:

Memory Overload!

Having trouble diagnosing computer memory failure? Browse the articles, news and tips to find information on how to get the most out of your computer's memory at the SearchWinSystems site.

Checklist: 11 Things To Do After A Hack

We preach quite a bit on this site about how to prevent security breaches, and hopefully you take it to heart and play an active role in hardening your systems. But sometimes even that ounce of prevention and pound of cure isn't enough to defend against a predator and the resulting penetration of your protections can be a mind-boggling experience. Where do you begin? Here's a brief list of some steps to take "post-hack" to ensure you have the best chance of determining who did what and how it was done. First, though... UNPLUG! [grin] At

From The Mind Of Minasi

This was an article published by SearchWin2000 in the last few days. It's more than worth it since we all like and admire Mark's expertise and quick, dry wit! Here goes:

"There are few in the Windows IT industry who have yet to experience the wisdom and wit of popular author and expert Mark Minasi. Minasi has numerous books and magazine articles to his credit, and he is well known for his columns and appearances in radio and television. Minasi took some time to share his musings about Microsoft with Among his enjoyable observations? There could be PCs with chrome or fins in our future. You don't get it? Read on.

Q: What's your assessment of how Microsoft is doing overall, pros, cons, etc.?

Mark Minasi: Microsoft's biggest problem is that it's not a high-tech company anymore. It's like the automobile industry. Look at the changes from Windows 3.0 to 3.1. There was a lot of stuff. Also from 3.1 to Windows 95. Big changes. Major changes in Windows 2000. [The difference between] the typical PC you would buy in 1981 versus 1991? Night and day: In 1991 you might have a 386 or a 486, maybe 16 mgs of RAM, maybe a network card. But how much has it changed in the last 14 years? Not much.

In the automobile industry, in 1926, headlights were a big deal. Since the 1950s, things haven't changed so much. Maybe they would add fins or chrome. So I don't know. Maybe look for laptops with fins. Does this mean you can't make money? Heck no. But [Microsoft] isn't doing it because they're changing the technology.

Q: So if you could be the one setting goals for Microsoft in 2006, what would the goals be?

Minasi: Let's step back and look at the technology. What does the average person need a computer for? E-mail? The Web? How can Windows be reengineered so that the Sony rootkit is impossible? The one feature that Microsoft has [yet] to add is reliability. And reliability gives us the side effect of security.

And how can it be more reliable and safer? We keep our credit cards on computers. Our documents are on computers. I don't know if any software company has earned our trust and that's sad because we've had computers for 60 years now.

Microsoft has to think about a world where PCs are only one way to get to [information]. A lot of people that interact with technology have their whole Internet experience on a cell phone. I have friends who have grown up on IM who can deal with the pain and suffering of the phone pad. Maybe this means the next 100 million Americans who pop up are just going to buy a phone or Palm Pilot? [Microsoft people] are smart people and I'm sure they are thinking about how long we will have computers the way we do now.

Q: Are you excited about Vista or Longhorn Server, based on what you've seen and heard thus far?

Minasi: No. Let's talk first about [Windows Server 2003] R2. That was a press release and a paint job. I am stunned that they would put this out. And Vista, that boils down to Microsoft saying in 2006 that you can take a PC and make it just as nice as a Mac in 2001. I know it's a line that I've used before, but I am right.

Whoever said to Microsoft: 'I've got lots of CPU sitting around. Can you waste it with some glitter?'

You assume that CPUs will get faster, so we can waste CPUs. But Intel said last year that Pentiums are maxing out. They are going to make better use of the cycles they have. You won't see a 20 terabyte drive in your laptop unless there is a technology change. When Microsoft shows you the beta it's slow, and by the time they ship [the software], the new hardware will be there.

But here's the world's premium chip company saying that this is it. We are wed to the Intel platform, but we are also wed to the Intel opcodes. If a new technology, whatever it is, can do Intel opcodes, then groovy. But it's a long time between when something is talked about and when it becomes an actual product.

Q: What is the real value of software services? Is this something for the enterprise or is it really just an option for the individual user?

Minasi: It doesn't make sense to me. Microsoft, like any other software company, has always wanted to make software not something you own but something you rent. But they are basically there. You can't buy new Windows 2000. If you do, you would be crazy with the bugs and security issues. So you buy Windows 2003. They just want to have a subscription service.

Written by Margie Semilof, Senior News Writer, with grateful acknowledgement, copyright TechTarget,


Microsoft to Bolster Software Assurance

Microsoft is planning several major changes to beef up features of Software Assurance, the company's maintenance and upgrade program that has been criticized for its expense and slow follow- up with new products.

The program, started in 2002, streamlined what was often a complex and expensive licensing routine for Microsoft products. Licensees who purchased Software Assurance had the right to upgrade their programs for no cost when new versions were released, in addition to receiving training and support. But the value was increasingly questioned as Microsoft delayed the release of certain key products such as its Windows Vista OS and SQL Server 2005.

In March, Microsoft will offer several enhancements to make customers feel they are getting more value from their SA package, said Amanda Abel, head of licensing and software asset management for Microsoft U.K. Full story at NetworkWorld:

Redmond Throws Licensing Hissy Fit

Well well well, who wouda' thought it would ever happen. Microsoft finally announced it would throw the Windows source in their licensing program that was set up to meet the 2004 European Commission order to create a level playing field and restore competition. No extra cost. Of course they are afraid they are going to have to pay 2Mil a day for not complying with Europe demands. With this broad stroke, they want to once and for all make it clear that they will "document" their code so other vendors can interface. Of course they warned it cannot be copied, it's for research purposes only.


Recover Lost MS Product Keys With Freeware

Nir Sofer has done it again! This time a freeware tool aptly named ProduKey. When you fire it up, it shows you the names of all the products it can find keys for, including the product ID#, the actual product key and more goodies. If you double-click on one of the highlighted entries, ProduKey shows detailed data and you can stick that on the clipboard. This is a must-have for any system admin's rescue kit!

SANS Webcast Feb 1, 2006: The Spyware Threat Today

SANS is happy to bring you the latest in our complimentary series of Webcasts. Join us on Wednesday, February 01 at 1:00 PM as SANS presents:
The Spyware Threat Today -- Featuring: Dave Shackleford and Greg Kras. Register here:

Webcast Overview:
  • The Spyware Threat Today / Dave Shackleford
Spyware is quickly becoming one of the most pervasive threats to organizations of all types. The majority of infections occur through basic Web browsing, and existing security controls are often not configured to detect spyware or prevent it from spreading. In addition to this, spyware can cause organizations to lose sensitive information, resulting in a number of compliance-related issues, as well. There are a number of steps that security staff can take to adopt a defense-in-depth strategy addressing spyware at both the system and network levels. This presentation will discuss the state of spyware today, how it infects systems, and network- and host-level methods of detection and prevention.
  • Managing Spyware with CounterSpy Enterprise / Greg Kras
Spyware has become the new headache for IT. Systems become rapidly infected and system admins are often forced to physically go to the end-user and manually run spyware removal tools to get rid of these data threats. CounterSpy Enterprise is a policy-based, antispyware solution that provides a scalable, centrally managed solution that is capable of detecting and removing a broad range of adware, malware and other spyware from corporate networks. This brief overview will show how system admins can effectively manage spyware within their organizations using CounterSpy Enterprise.

Register here:

Speaker Bios:

Dave Shackleford, Senior Security Architect: Dave Shackleford is the Manager of Solution Engineering for Vigilar in Atlanta, providing information security consulting services to business and government clients. Dave has been involved in security for close to 10 years, holding a number of technical and managerial positions. Dave is also the co-author of "Hands-On Information Security" from Thomson Course Technology.

Greg Kras, VP of Product Management: In 1998, Greg Kras joined Sunbelt Software. As the VP of Product Management, Greg plays an integral role in establishing the technical direction of the product development organization as well as managing corporate MIS functions including customer service and technical support. His expertise in the areas of large-scale network design, implementation and maintenance includes extensive experience with Windows NT4/2000/2003 servers, enterprise applications such as MS Exchange, MS SQL and TCP/IP based networking. Register here:

Harvard and Oxford Launch Anti-Spyware Site is a "Neighborhood Watch" campaign aimed at fighting badware (Badware is malicious software that tracks your moves online and feeds that information back to shady marketing groups so that they can ambush you with targeted ads). Their objective is to provide reliable, objective information about downloadable applications in order to help consumers to make better choices about what they download on to their computers. They aim to become a central clearinghouse for research on badware and those who spread it, and to become a focal point for developing collaborative, community-minded approaches to stopping badware. This initiative is being put forth by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute are leading this initiative with the support of several prominent tech companies, including Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems. Sunbelt's Eric Howes part of the Working Group too. Consumer Reports WebWatch is serving as an unpaid special advisor. Check them out at:

WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS

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

  • You are a crazy cab driver and you have an unsuspecting passenger in the back seat. You have complete control, and can toss the poor guy around like a rag doll. Using arrows, space bars and and keys you can veer right, left or slam on the brakes. FUN!
  • Mystery High Tech Campus pictures explained. Too bad they didn't have Sunbelt's campus in there! [grin]
  • Another fave link to a car ad! Turn on the sound. This is cool:
  • Another website of a guy who draws amazing sidewalk art. These sidewalk drawings can only be viewed from a certain viewpoint, or they're distorted:
  • A comic that accurately illustrates a PR problem that MS has...
  • Here is an applet where you can create your own galaxies and crash them into each other!
  • What to do when they ask for your Social Security Number:
  • The reason why the "Take your child to work" program has been suspended indefinitely:
  • The magical behavior of subatomic particles moves into the real world. Some ions spin in two opposite directions at the same time. This animation can take quite a bit to load. Give it time.


    FREE Webcast: Winning the War on the Spyware Battlefield

    Join renowned spyware researcher Eric Howes along with Sunbelt Software's President Alex Eckelberry, for an engaging discussion on the scope of the spyware problem. Learn why antivirus solutions are not winning the battle against spyware & how you can better protect your organization from spyware threats.

    TIME: February 7, 2006 at 1PM ET. Register Today!