ITworld.com – Start preparing for .Net
Platforms: If Microsoft's massive product rollout has your head spinning, you're not alone. By recent count, the company has released eight new servers, three new developer tools, and a new version of Office. But it's a good thing -- really.
Looking ahead: The future isn't what it used to be, at least not for Microsoft. As we watch its cash cows -- Windows and Office -- becoming good for less and less milk, where should we expect growth in 2001? The short answer is, nowhere.
Tricks: Windows seems full of undocumented little secrets that make it much easier to use, but here's one that applies specifically to Windows Notepad. If you've ever been frustrated by Notepad's inability to remember page-setup parameters, you can solve that problem with a quick hack of the registry.
Utilities: There's no shortage of freeware floating around, but a group of Windows utilities written by a contract programmer named Mark Thompson does a good job of replacing software that you would otherwise have to pay for. Items include a small Web server, a personal network performance monitoring tool, and a utility that zaps those annoying browser windows that pop up automatically on some sites.
Certification: Microsoft's two-month extension of the NT 4.0 MCSE deadline has calmed some candidates' fears about not being able to finish their exams, but some still consider the deadline precipitous. Marie McSweeney, Microsoft's acting director of certification skills and assessment, talks about this and other certification decisions.
SQL Server management: Microsoft's implemention of collations -- the specification of character sets and sort order -- down to the column level and throughout Transact-SQL may make databases more complex, but it also takes us closer to the SQL-92 standard and offers a number of potentially useful features.
Systems management: Brian Livingston explains how to manage columns in Windows Explorer, pack multiple Win2000 commands on the same line, and fix Microsoft's broken Java update.
Systems management: A new tool from imagine LAN manages registry and configuration files to help bring corrupted servers and desktops back online.
Cost of ownership: Depending on what’s counted, the total cost of owning a Windows desktop is about $10,000 a year. Have we finally found a good reason to replace PCs with network computers?
SQL Server Toolchest: When clustering is not an option, log shipping provides a low-tech, low-cost path to disaster recovery.
Security: It's not clear how the hackers were able to clear Microsoft's defenses, but piggybacking on a remote user's system is a better guess than most. Are you safe?
Security: Windows security relies on the fact that no one can see the source code. Unfortunately, some people can. Are these people you trust?
Public relations: It's the game of Who Wants to Be Taken Seriously, and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer still has three lifelines left. But this question's a stumper.
Desktop management: Readers provide tips for sizing columns in Explorer, increasing the number of file handles for programs running under Windows Me, and more.
Licensing: Using scare tactics against competitors is one thing, but this time Microsoft is using them against its own customers.
Workstation security: A newly discovered flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4 and 5 allows almost any Web site you visit to read all the files on your hard disk. And, because recent versions of Outlook and Outlook Express use IE's code base, they have problems too. Here's how to fix it.
Platforms: Microsoft's next operating system promises to start off with better hardware and software compatibility than Windows 2000 did, but you won't be able to upgrade easily from Windows 95.
Workstation security: RTF files don't normally contain viruses -- unless someone wants them to. Brian Livingston shows you how to protect yourself.
Systems administration: BindView Development's administration and security tools are in demand these days because most companies are only now getting around to rolling out Windows 2000. InfoWorld talks to BindView's main movers.
Migration: Analysts and corporate users are saying the Windows 2000 migration may be the toughest in computer history. And they're also warning that you need to begin the work long before the first desktop or server is switched over.
Interview: Newly shipped Exchange 2000 Server and its marriage to Windows 2000 and Active Directory promises a number of challenges for IT executives. Gordon Mangione, VP of Exchange Server, discusses the new product with Network World Senior Editor John Fontana.
Migration: Whether from a desire to consolidate OSes, uncertainty about the long-term viability of NetWare, or the need to run Active Directory-enabled apps, at least some NetWare users are considering the move to Windows 2000.
Workstation security: Windows 95, 98, and Me are vulnerable to a utility available on the Internet that allows a person to get into password-protected file shares without knowing the entire password. Here's how to fix them.
Emulation: LinuxWorld takes a look at four alternatives -- Wine, VMware, Win4Lin, and Bochs -- for running Windows applications on Linux.
Workstation security: Think your manually started screensaver is protecting your desktop? Think again. But there is a way to get password protection without waiting for your screensaver to kick in by itself.
Storage: Solid state drives deliver a meteoric increase in storage responsiveness that'll breathe new life into a myriad of applications -- albeit at a decidedly high price.
SQL Server: Unlike the Back Office Resource Kit 4.5's SQLHDTST, the new SQL70IOStress utility actually simulates SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000 activity.
Development environments: More than just pretty face for .Net development, Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net shortens the learning curve and eases multilanguage projects.
Platforms: Is it simply a case of "my application platform can beat up your application platform," or do InfoWorld's Tom Yager and Tim Fielden have something fresh to bring to the debate?
Hardware: You just have to learn some things the hard way, and one of those things -- as Steve Antonoff will tell you -- is that a Windows 2000 upgrade probably won't go as smoothly as you'd like.
Inquiry: This IT manager may not be the most technical person in the world, but he knows that when a product looks like it might compromise the security of his Exchange servers, he needs to dig a bit deeper.
System migration: Upgrading a single desktop to a newer version of Windows and related productivity applications can be a pain, never mind upgrading thousands. Fortunately, new migration tools have emerged to smooth the transition.
Systems management: "System Restore," a touted new feature of Windows Me, takes a lot of disk space and can offer a false sense of security. Here's how to make it work better for you.
Windows Performance: The expandability of a SAN can be addictive, but make sure your initial design allows for seamless future growth. Tom Henderson gets you started.
SQL Server Toolchest: By cooperating with its own Virtual Device Interface, SQL Server now allows hardware and software vendors to supply creative solutions to backing up and restoring large databases.
Platforms: The release of Windows 2000 Datacenter will mark Microsoft's most amibitious attempt yet to play with the big boys in the corporate server room, but it will also mark a huge change in the way Microsoft delivers software.
Window Manager: Windows Me can hog as much as 590MB of drive space. Here's a utility that lets you remove unwanted portions of the operating system -- then add them back if you change your mind.
Languages: C# will eventually be a multiplatform, standards-based alternative to Java, but initially it's a smarter, safer C++ for Windows.
Reliability: Microsoft may be trying to strengthen Windows 2000's image as a reliable, available OS, but CIOs had better look twice before giving it a full-time job.