Friday, July 29, 2005

IE 7 is a commin'

I've already got to play with IE 7, it's pretty cool. Don't worry, with the release of Vista Beta 1, you'll also get to play with IE 7. Want to help out? Check out the Beta Test Program for IE 7 and let us know what you think!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

VP talk on Windows Vista Beta 1

For geeks and nerds, hanging out on Channel9, this post is a little behind. I've been busy.

As you all probably know from my previous post on the real name of the 2006 version of Windows, Vista is coming.

To add a bit more clarity around the upcoming Beta 1, VP of Windows Client, Chris Jones did a little chat with Scoble on Channel9. Watch the 1/2 hour video here & enjoy!


Shadowing the Console Session on SBS

For those of you who've been using Windows Small Business Server 2003 (or even Windows Server 2003) you know you have 3 Terminal Service sessions. One is the console, and two are available remotely.

You probably also know by this time if there are two people connected to remote sessions on the server, one session can Shadow the other. This means that you have two users sharing the keyboard & mouse input. Seems odd, but hey, it's great for showing people how to do something, so they don't have to keep asking you.

To do this, you simply right click the session you want to use and select Remote Control. Then use CTRL+* to release the control to drop back to your own session.

I thought it worked great, until Jimbo, an Enterprise Admin type guy (I know, we don't normally like to consult with these types of scary people, but he's nice, I promise!). Jim's problem was that the lab guys (4 floors up from his office) sometimes need help. Jim wanted to leverage the Windows Server 2003 investment his firm had made so he didn't have to walk up 4 flights of stairs, but this remote control functionality didn't cover the console (which was where his techs were using the computer from).

Of course, Windows Server 2003 is super cool (and hence so is SBS), Jim had to make a simple Group Policy change on his server with the following:

  1. On the computer you want to shadow the console, click Start, Run and type in GPEdit.msc and hit Enter

  2. Expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components and select Terminal Services.

  3. In the right-hand pane double-click Sets rules for remote control of Terminal Services user sessions and on the Settings tab, select Enabled. Change the options to Full Control with users' permission and click OK

  4. To have changes take effect immediately, make sure you run gpupdate /force from the command window on that server

Now this particular server is ready to have it's console shadowed. Alternatively, Jim could create a Group Policy Object that filters on OS type so all the servers in his domain (I think he said 40?) have this functionality.

Connecting to the Session
Now, because Jim is in an Enterprise, depending on the firewall policies on all his Servers (if RPC ports are open or not), he has two options:

  1. The first is what us SBS'rs will do, because we are absolutely not going to open the RPC port on the external network card or poke the RPC hole in our network firewalls. Simply TS into the server using the mstsc client, or Remote Web Workplace, and in the command prompt type Shadow 0 (where 0 is a zero). This will prompt the user (since that's what you said in the policy) and when they click yes, you have a joint TS session.

  2. Depending on Jim's firewall configuration for his servers, from his XP client, he can also type shadow 0 /server:{servername or ip}. Better yet, he could make icons using shortcuts on his desktop so he can just double click on it

That's all there is to it. Oh, and don't forget that CTRL+* is your way out of the shadow session.

More information on the topics are available on the Microsoft website:


Friday, July 22, 2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Where am I?

Wow, so here I am at 11pm on a Thursday night, and I'm thinking about blogging. Where have I been all week? Well.... there's this thing called Longhorn, it's coming, it's a bit of work, and blogging hasn't jumped to the top of the list of things to do.

Rest assured, the Longhorn wave will be cool, be patient...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Controlling your Patch Management with WSUS

If you haven't heard yet, Windows Server Updated Service is available for download... for free!, it's 100% compatible with your Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 server. Currently, the SBS writing team is working hard to get a documentation out the door to aid you with the installation and configuration of WSUS on SBS 2003 SP1.

But, why wait?

It's certainly not hard by any means, simply download the setup.exe file, and launch it on your SBS server, then just follow the defaults, and you're pretty much finished. However, if you have premium, you'll need to tell WSUS your proxy server.

Finally, you need to configure the clients to look at the server for their updates. This is the tricky part. There are two major steps, granting access to the website, and configuring the group policy.

To grant access to the clients to update themselves
  1. In the Server Management Console, drill down into Advanced management, and into the default website

  2. You'll have to do this for both the SelfUpdate and ClientWebService virtual directories. Right-click, choose Properties, click on the Directory Security tab, then IP Address and choose Granted Access for all IP addresses

Now your website is ready

Pointing the clients to the server via Group Policy
  1. Create and link a new Group Policy Object on the domain level

  2. In the Group Policy Object Editor, Expand Computer Configuration, Administration Templates, Windows Components and select Windows Update

  3. Double-click Configure Automatic Updates, click Enabled and ensure Auto download and schedule the install

  4. Then double click Specify Intranet Microsoft Update Service location and choose Enabled and type in http://{servername}:8530 into both boxes and click OK

  5. Finally, double-click No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Update installations

And that's all there is to it. You'll need the latest service pack for Windows 2000, or SP1 or 2 for XP for this to work. Also, as you recall, you have to wait for a period of time before policy actually takes place, or you can use the gpupdate /force to force the policy to take place.

Now, even happier patching ...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Assimilating Customization for OWA

Ah yes, back to theming and customization. What seems far too long ago, I made a post on how to Providing a unique look and feel to OWA. At the time, your users could choose from your newly created theme.

Well, I didn't realize this at the time (hence the follow up post), but you can force a default theme for your users. So if you spent the time to build a customized theme for a company, you can make sure they use it. Here's how:

  1. On SBS, click Start and then Run and type in Regedit.exe

  2. Navigate to \HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ Services\MSExchangeWeb\OWA\Themes

  3. Under the Themes key, create a DWORD the value of DefaultTheme

  4. The DefaultTheme value should be the ID of the theme you want to make default.

Not only is this useful to get users to use the theme for your company, but it makes for GREAT April fools jokes. Back in 2003, Microsoft Exchange dogfood servers ran a "Hello Kitty" theme for day!! It was hilarious, and I guess you'll just have to trust me on that. :)

For more information on OWA themes, make sure to visit the Creating and Deploying OWA Themes Technet article.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Getting information at your fingertips

I thought I'd share yet another somewhat useful tool. It's freeware, so feel free to download away and check it out. The Desktop Sidebar is a tool that locks to the side of your windows screen to give you a lot of information at your fingertips. You can plug RSS feeds directly into it, media player, a clock, your calendar and email, a volume control. Even your messenger client.

Feel free to check it out, it works great on those Wide Screen Monitors!. At least you have the screen realestate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Working with people in different time zones?

Our MVPs really do pick up the bits. I suppose after we ship them, they pick up the bits, we didn't package with the bits, if that makes any sense (yes, this sentence was designed to confuse you).

Anyways, yet another one of our MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals), Steven Teiger has written a pretty good whitepaper on the problems he's had with timezones. Susan blogged about it already, and made his whitepaper available here. I'm not usually one for cross-posting blogs, but this one seemed rather important.

Great job Steve, thanks!

Monday, July 11, 2005

MSN Desktop Search

I know, I know, we don't want a sales pitch, but I actually find this pretty useful. You probably all know that MSN has a relatively new search engine available, and with that, they have the new desktop Search. And if you remember from way-way-way long ago, I had posted here in a post called Looking for Something?. In this particular post I spoke about Google's Desktop Search. I tried it for a while, but didn't like the web interface into my email, etc. I haven't tried it since. But naturally, being a "softie", I like to try out our new technologies, and the new MSN Desktop Search is cool! It sits nicely in your system tray

and as you type, opens a hover-window that breaks items down by "Communications" (email, calendaring, etc), "Pictures & Videos", "Files" and a bucket called "Everything". It puts the 5-10 most relavant hits in this window.

If you hit Enter in teh search box, you get a "Windows Desktop Search Results" window. The reason I like this is it defaults to showing you everything, but you can filter on type, and location!

And finally, the most important peice is the reading pane. Off to the right hand side is a preview pane, much like outlook that previews whatever you found. Email, documents, spreadsheets, pictures, even PDF files! It all shows up!

Additionally it has some quick searches, so you can type in !quote msft and the Microsoft stock opens up, or how about !calc for the calculator.

Last but not least, you can extend the power of your search by getting MSN Search Bar plug ins!. These let the MSN Search read in special files like PDF or ZIP.

I haven't really noticed it indexing, and it started working almost immediately. So if you haven't tried it out, I'd recommend it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Boomberang Email?

I was poking around checking out some new features, when I found a blog post on hotmail. Hotmail is going to be introducing this new feature called Boomerang.

Omar, a fellow softie, explains that email has become less dependable since the spamers came online. You aren't sure if your mail is going to be rejected by a spam filter because the put the sender put the wrong word in it, or made it appear like spam.

The Boomerang feature helps this problem by having messages that are direct replies to your messages land directly in your inbox. Check it out. Omar talks about it on His Blog.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

19,758 kb!

So, I got my first Cingular Wireless phone bill today. When I signed up for Cingular, I decided to try out the unlimited plan and abuse the data plan. My best efforts landed me with downloading almost 20 mb in one month. Exactly 19, 758KB.

Ok, so how did I abuse my data plan?

  • Synch with email every 5 minutes during peek times

  • Synch with email every 15 minutes during off-peek times

  • Keeping all messages in my inbox on my phone

  • Downloading attachments less than 20kb

So after 1 month, I was able to rack up a total bill of almost 20mb. Not too bad. I probably get a ton of email also...

Now if only I could get my SMS (Text Messages) under control. Lucky I didn't do always-up-to-date, as it sends an SMS message to the phone that the phone swallows to perform a synch. I've heard that if you use always-up-to-date, to be prepared to suck it up on text message billings.