Mark Minasi's Windows 2000/NT/XP Newsletter
Issue #29 December 2002

To subscribe, visit http://www.minasi.com/nwsreg.htm. To unsubscribe, link to http://www.minasi.com/unsubs.htm. To change e-mail address, switch between HTML or text format, etc., link to http://www.minasi.com/edit-newsletter-record.htm.  Visit the Archives at http://www.minasi.com/archive.htm.  Please do NOT reply to this mail; for comments, please link to www.minasi.com/gethelp.  Document copyright 2002 Mark Minasi.

What's Inside

  • News: 
    • XP Support Seminars: Philly in January, Kansas City in April!
    • New Seminar Reduced Group Pricing:  $600 XP Seats, $650 Server Seats
    • New Audio CD Presentation:  "What's New In .NET Server 2003"
    • I'm Doing A Free Webcast On Tuning 2000/XP On 9 January at 2 PM Eastern
    • Windows .NET 2003 Server Seminars in Chicago, Houston, Honolulu, DC and LA in 2003
    • Looks Like Windows .NET Server 2003 Is Shipping In April; Get Your Copy of RC2
    • NEW BOOK:  Windows Terminal Services
    • Pick Up A Copy of our Windows 2000/.NET Audio Seminar and Software Quality Book 
    • Fixed:  Login Bugs On the Archives
    • Nifty Geek Site:  www.bink.nu
  • Tech Section
    • Configuring DHCP or Static IP From the Command Line:  netsh
    • Killing the "Why Do You Want To Shut Down?" Window On .NET Server
    • Remotely Applying Security Templates With EXEC.VBS
    • When Your Web Site Shows Up As IP Numbers, Not A Site Name...
    • Avoid Multihomed Systems With Remote Install Service
    • Microsoft Moves the .NET/XP/2000 Administrative Tools Yet Again
  • Conferences
  • Bring a Seminar to Your Site

News

Hello all --

Web delivery one more time!  I was about to analyze the "bounced" messages when someone observed to me that I sent out the e-mail notifications on weekends and that some corporate mail servers take the weekend off.  I'm not sure that's true but I'd hate to unjustly unsubscribe anyone... so I did the notification for this newsletter on a weekday.  Then the threshing of obsolete subscriber names will begin!  (I don't mean to sound fanatic about this, but as a guy who runs a pretty busy e-mail server, it drives me crazy to see all of the pointless garbage coming to e-mail addresses that no longer exist or in some cases never did exist on my domain.  So I'd hate to be the guy causing other mail admins this kind of heartburn.)

This month I can unveil a number of things:  a free Webcast on 2000/XP tuning in January, a new audio CD on .NET Server, and a great new addition to the Windows Administrator Library on Terminal Services, among other things.  And as always a bunch of neat tips.

XP Support Seminars: Philly in January, KC in March!  Also Honolulu, DC, LA and NY Later in 2003

If your company is making the move from Wintendo (Win 9x), NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 Pro to XP Professional, then we've got the seminar for you!  "XP Professional for Support Professionals" shows your desktop support techies how to deploy, network, manage, support and troubleshoot XP Professional, in just two days.  This seminar is packed with demonstrations and a course guide filled with step by step procedures.  As always, I try my best to make explaining entertaining so come join us in 2003 in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Honolulu, LA, DC or New York.  Visit www.minasi.com/pubsems.htm for schedule specifics or www.minasi.com/xpsupport.htm for the course outline.

Or, if you just can't wait... contact us about bringing me to your site, where I can tailor the class to your company's needs.  Or consider our new volume discount program:

New Seminar Volume Discount Pricing:  $600 XP Seats, $650 Server Seats

Our in-house seminar business is pretty brisk, but I've spoken with a few clients who really want to put together an in-house, but don't quite have enough people to make it worthwhile.  For those folks, we've got a new deep-discounted offer on public seminar seats:  seats in the Server seminar normally cost $1000, but we'll offer them for $650.  Seats in the XP class normally cost $895, but we'll offer them for $600.  Here's the deal:

  • We need you to agree to send a minimum of ten people to a public seminar to qualify for the $650/$600 per-seat cost.  For smaller groups the five percent discount still holds.
  • You can save on your travel costs because we let you spread these ten or more attendees over up to three sessions, so long as the sessions fall within a nine-month period.  Thus, companies with geographically dispersed work forces can get the cost benefits of an in-house seminar without having to fly their people to a central location.
  • We can only do this if it saves us administrative time and effort, so we've got to require that you pay for the ten or more attendees on a single invoice.  Also because it's a reduced rate, we've got to get a check or a PO followed by a check -- the credit card company takes a big bite!
  • As with all public seminar seats, these must be paid for in advance of the first class that any one of your employees will attend.  Again, we must have full payment for the ten or more attendees before any of them attend.
  • We cannot offer refunds for this reduced rate.

I decided to offer this volume discount in the hopes that it'll help my clients who are facing the all-too-common training budget cuts.  For those who want to train a bunch of employees then an in-house seminar's still probably a better bet, as I can tailor the content, come to your site, etc., but again an in-house is too expensive for some.  I hope that this option enables more of you to join me at a class!

To arrange this reduced price volume discount, please contact our assistant at the contact information towards the end of the newsletter under "Bring Mark to your site to teach."  Thanks.

New $24.95 Audio CD Presentation:  "Getting Ready For .NET Server 2003"

As the Server seminar CDs were fairly well-received, I am working on a new audio CD based on my talk ".NET:  Not Yet or Good Bet?"  We are taking orders for starting now and it will ship in mid-January. But if you order it before 7 January then you can get it even cheaper, for $24.95.

The Server seminar shipped on ten CDs but this one is shorter, requiring only one CD.  It's a mixed-mode CD in that it is both an audio CD and also contains the PDF version of the accompanying PowerPoints, which are unlocked for printing.

This audio presentation is the fastest way to get up to speed on the main new features, opportunities and pitfalls in Windows .NET Server 2003.  Order your copy today at www.minasi.com/dnaudio.htm

I'm Doing A Free Webcast On Tuning 2000/XP On 9 January at 2 PM Eastern

Mark your calendars!  The TechTarget guys, the folks who bring you the free Windows Decisions conference, is putting on a webcast where I'll give a short version of my "Tuning 2000 and XP" talk at www..  It costs nothing and they'll be running it interactively, meaning that you'll be able to ask me questions on-line as the webcast proceeds.  You just have to register beforehand at http://webevents.broadcast.com/techtarget/Win2kWinman/010903/index.asp?loc=09 as they use some kind of Yahoo-based webcast tool.

The sponsor, SearchWin2000.com, describes themselves this way: "we are an online Windows 2000-specific information resource for enterprise IT professionals. It offers busy IT pros a targeted, one-stop repository of information. Activate your free membership and attend webcasts, search our white paper library with over 250 titles, sign up for newsletters, and more at http://www.searchwin2000.com/?Offer=mkmin"

Windows .NET Server 2003 Seminars in Chicago, Houston, Honolulu, DC and LA in 2003

Our very successful two-year run of our seminar on how to plan for, install, manage and troubleshoot Windows 2000 Server is over; we won't be running any more public 2000 Server seminars.

In February, we'll inaugurate a brand-new class on planning, installing, managing and troubleshooting Windows .NET Server 2003!  Okay, I'm kidding a bit.  Yes, there will be a new seminar starting in February.  But it won't be an earth-shaking change from the Windows 2000 Server class simply because despite the drastic-sounding name change, Windows .NET 2003 Server isn't that different from Windows 2000 Server.  Not that there's nothing new to learn, not by any means.  But where Windows 2000 Server was a major change from NT 4.0, .NET Server is more of a "Windows 2000 Server version 1.1."  Many of the concepts will remain unchanged from the first course -- but naturally .NET Server adds some new goodies, and we'll cover them in the class.  But you'll still learn a lot... Server 2003 doesn't always change what Server can do, but it often changes how you make it do something.

Our first .NET Server class will be in Chicago in February, then we'll go to Houston, Honolulu, Los Angeles (downtown, at the Biltmore), and DC.  I hope you'll join me for a seminar that will fill your brain with knowledge and share a few laughs in the process.

NOTE that every attendee gets the Mastering Windows .NET Server 2003 book (once the book is published).

NEW BOOK:  Windows Terminal Services

I've always thought that Terminal Services was a really neat idea.  You take a bunch of servers and put them in some centralized location, where you can maintain and secure them easily, and then put cheap "Winterms" or PCs acting as Windows terminals on user's desks.  The users can then basically run any Windows program that they like, just as they normally would on a PC.  But the difference is that the machine on the user's desk is basically a "throwaway" device, as it's nothing more than a dumb terminal.  It may look like a PC, but it's not -- the user's actual desktop and storage are safely locked away in those servers.  The user's data is safe and the user can shift from one location to another, taking her desktop session with her.  I use it in my house every single day, as I've got a cheap Winterm sitting in my kitchen; it's got no fan, no moving parts, and it doesn't take much space.  But when I need to check e-mail or get on the Web, it's right where I need it.

That's why I asked Christa Anderson to write a Terminal Services book for my Windows Administrator's Library series.  You may know Christa as my co-author on many books, but you may not know that Christa's been working with Terminal Services and Metaframe since Terminal Services first appeared.  She's a frequent speaker at Terminal Services and Metaframe-related events, hosts the Terminal Services section of our forum at www.minasi.com/forum, and writes a free newsletter on Terminal Services that you can sign up for at http://iacas.org/isinglass/

Windows Terminal Services covers everything from the fundamental Terminal Services to Metaframe and ICA clients to printing under Terminal Services to ... well, to just about anything you'd need to know about the topics.  It's a great book and I'm very proud to include it in my series.  Amazon's got it at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0782128955/markminasi for $35 and Bookpool has it at http://www.bookpool.com/.x/3k34tiv91m/sm/0782128955 for $30 but it's out of stock as I write this.

Looks Like Windows .NET Server 2003 Is Shipping In April; Get Your Copy of RC2

Microsoft just released Release Candidate 2 of Server 2003.  I have only seen one RC3 in all of the time that I've been following our friends in Redmond, so I think it's safe to say that Microsoft will probably produce the final "gold" version of Server 2003 by sometime in February and then have the shrink-wrapped product on the shelves in the first or second week of April.  Want to get ahold of a copy of RC2 to play with?  Visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows.netserver/preview/default.mspx and you can.

Pick Up A Copy of our Windows 2000/.NET Audio Seminar and Software Quality Book 

Want to attend the Server class but haven't the time or money?  $225 gets you the audio version of the seminar complete with over 10 hours of lecture accompanied by illustrative PowerPoints, all nicely cross-indexed for future reference.  Pick up a copy today at www.minasi.com/audiosales

Do computer bugs bug you?  Find out why they're so prevalent and what you can do about them by grabbing a copy of my 1999 McGraw-Hill book The Software Conspiracy:  Why Software Vendors Produce Faulty Products, How They Can Harm You, And What You Can Do About It.  It's just five bucks in e-book (PDF) format.  If you've read my other books then you know my technical writing -- but this book is aimed at both techies and non-techies.  The much-respected Kirkus Reviews said of that it was "A lucidly written, eminently practical guide to fighting back against the modern scourge of software 'bugs' ... An absorbing, easily understandable, and inspiring book..."  Get your copy at www.softwareconspiracy.com.

Fixed:  Login Bugs On the Archives

I discovered and fixed a couple of dumb bugs (my fault) were making life difficult for members trying to read old newsletters, change their login information, or (gasp!) unsubscribe.

If you entered a password longer than eight characters, the database trimmed it to eight characters.  (I'm not sure how I managed that.  This is why I don't write programming books<grin>.)  So when you try to log on using your eight-plus character password, that doesn't get trimmed, and so you always end up failing to log on.  That's fixed now -- whenever anyone enters a password, the routine only compares the first eight characters to whatever's in the database.  The other problem stemmed from an oddity of ODBC.  If you have an empty, no-character password, then the database doesn't return it as "" but instead as NULL, which is apparently not the same thing from VBScript's point of view.  I figured out a workaround for it and so those with empty passwords can log on as well.  I sincerely apologize to those who I inconvenienced.

Nifty Geek Site:  www.bink.nu

At last month's Orlando conference I got a chance to hang with Holland's premier Microsoft OS geek, Steven Bink.  He's got a great site at www.bink.nu that includes some terrific tips, including my personal favorite -- how to build your own bootable Windows 2000 CD that already includes a service pack.

Tech Section

Configuring DHCP or Static IP From the Command Line:  netsh

netsh is a pretty useful command-line tool that lets you control tons of things about your network interfaces and services.  One really neat thing that netsh will do for you is to let you set IP addresses, DNS and WINS servers.  It works on Windows 2000, XP and .NET Server.

Suppose I have a laptop that travels between an office in Washington, DC, and an office in Los Angeles.  The DC office uses DHCP.  The LA office uses static IP addresses and when it's there, the laptop is supposed to use IP address 192.168.2.10, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, WINS server 192.168.1.100, DNS server 192.168.1.100.

Whenever I take the laptop to LA, I've got to punch in all kinds of numbers before the thing will work.  When I return to DC, I've still got work to do, as I've got to open up TCP/IP properties and tell the system to stop using static addresses and instead use DHCP.  netsh can help here, as I can use netsh commands in a batch file; make one batch file for DC and another for LA.

First, I'll build the DC batch file.  I'll need three commands.  One tells my system to get its IP address from DHCP, the next says to get its DNS server from DHCP, and finally the third says to get its WINS server from DHCP.  They look like this:

netsh int ip set address local source=dhcp
netsh int ip set dns local source=dhcp
netsh int ip set wins local source=dhcp

These are the simpler commands.  I just open up Notepad, type them in, and save the file somewhere on my system's path as dodc.cmd.

"netsh int ip set" is the starting point for every one of these commands.  "netsh" is the overall command, and it does lots and lots of things.  But to modify the behavior of a particular network interface, I use the subcommand "int," which is short for "interface."  Within that, I could do several things, but in the particular case I want to change the IP settings, hence the IP, and I want to change ("set") those settings rather than display them, so I use "set" instead of "show."  By the way, netsh will always give you help if you ask it.  Just type "netsh" all by itself and your prompt will change from "C:\>" or whatever to "netsh>;" you can then type "?" to find out what commands netsh will accept, one of which would be "int."  If you then typed "int" then the prompt would change to "netsh interface>," and a "?" would tell you that "IP" was one option, and so on.

The three commands pretty much won't vary from one system to another unless you've got more than one NIC.  If you've got more than one NIC, then you'll want to tell netsh which NIC you're trying to configure.  In that case, replace the word "local" with the NIC's name in quotes, as in

netsh int ip set address "Local Area Connection 2" source=dhcp

Next, I'll tackle the LA batch file.  I want to set the IP address to 192.168.2.10 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and a default gateway of 192.168.2.1.  That command looks like this:

netsh int ip set address local static 192.168.2.10 255.255.255.0 192.168.2.1 2

It starts with "netsh int ip set address local" as before, but now instead of "source=dhcp" I specify "static," meaning that it's a static IP address.  The three four-quad values following are, of course, the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.  The "2" at the end is the metric for the default gateway.  As it's at least one hop away from anywhere in the Internet, I specified "2," but you could set it to anything that makes sense.

Next, I'll set the DNS server to 192.168.1.100.  That command looks like this:

netsh int ip set dns local static 192.168.1.100 primary

Again, the "static" parameter says that we're specifying a value rather than using DHCP.  The IP address is of course the IP address of the DNS server, and "primary" says to do a dynamic DNS registration on the primary DNS suffix.  The alternative to "primary" is "none," which says not to do any dynamic DNS registrations, or "both," which means to register on all DNS suffixes.

The command to set a WINS server is similar:

netsh int ip set wins local static 192.168.1.100

Just like the DNS command, except without the primary/none/both option.  Collecting the commands together, we get doLA.cmd:

netsh int ip set address local static 192.168.2.10 255.255.255.0 192.168.2.1 2
netsh int ip set dns local static 192.168.1.100 primary
netsh int ip set wins local static 192.168.1.100

Now when I go to LA, I just open a command prompt and type DOLA.  When I go to DC, DODC.  Very convenient.  netsh is a pretty powerful command, and I hope I've inspired you to look at it further!

 

Killing the "Why Do You Want To Shut Down?" Window On .NET Server

Anyone who's played with the Windows .NET Server 2003 beta knows all too well that Server 2003 contains what may be one of the most irritating "features" of all time:  the Shutdown Event Tracker (SET).  For those who've not yet met it, the SET is a dialog box that appears whenever you try to reboot a Windows .NET Server 2003 system, demanding to know why you're shutting the system down.  Until you type at least one keystroke into this dialog, the system refuses to go down.  And if it's annoyed you so much that you just say, "the heck with it," and hit the power switch (never a good alternative, of course), then the stupid thing appears the next time that you turn the power back on!

The Shutdown Event Tracker isn't a bad idea, really; it's a simple way to log reasons for shutdowns, something that should be fairly infrequent on a production server.  The results go into the Event Log and optionally can go into \Windows\System32\LogFiles\Shutdown as an XML document.  It will definitely be useful on a production server, absolutely.

But on beta code?  It's just irritating.  You reboot beta software a lot and having to type a character into the Shutdown Event Tracker every time I reboot gets old quickly.  So I figured out how to make SET go away.

  1. Start up the Group Policy snap-in:  Start/Run/gpedit.msc.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / System
  3. You'll see a setting labeled "Display Shutdown Event Tracker."
  4. It's probably neither enabled or disabled currently.  The default is for it to be enabled, though.  Click the "disable" option.
  5. Close gpedit.msc.

Result: no more "Mother, may I?" messages when you log off.

Remotely Applying Security Templates With EXEC.VBS

I was teaching this week at a prominent power utility firm this week and got a great tip from an attendee.  If you're not ready for Active Directory but really like the power of group policies then you've probably been playing with security templates.  (They're covered in the Fourth Edition, Chapter 9.)  In case you don't know what they are, security templates let you create an ASCII text file called a security template that lets you set NTFS permissions, Registry permissions, tons of security settings, specify local group membership and more.  They're pretty useful because you can then create a single text file that almost completely lets you describe how you want to configure security on a system and, instead of forcing you to execute dozens of mouse clicks to see that configuration happen, you can accomplish it with just one long command "secedit blah blah..."

But security templates have one really big weakness:  how do you apply them to user's machines?  You can't put the secedit command in a user's logon script, as the user may not have the rights and permissions needed to run the secedit script.  You could open a Telnet session to the workstation that you want to apply the template to, but the machine may not have the Telnet server running, it takes time to start the Telnet session, and it's kind of hard to automate applying templates to a lot of machines that way.  The attendee suggested using a Resource Kit tool that I've used plenty of times before... but had never thought to use in this way.

The EXEC.VBS script in the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit, Supplement 1, is a batch file that will start a program up.  What I'd forgotten was that Microsoft tried to standardize all of the batch files in the RK to respond to the same options, including "/s," which lets you run the file so that it controls a different machine, "/u," which lets you specify a user name on that remote machine, and "/w," which lets you specify a password for that machine.

The command or batch file that you want to execute must be on the target machine, so you'll find it easiest to make this work if you collect the long secedit command into a batch file and then copy that batch file to somewhere on the user's machine.  The EXEC.VBS command then looks like

cscript exec.vbs /e command /s remote-computer-name /u remote-admin-account-name /w password

So for example, if I'd copied a batch file called "mybatchfile.cmd" to C:\ on a machine named PC044 with a local administrator account that had the password "swordfish," then I could cause it to run on PC044 remotely with this command:

cscript exec.vbs /e "c:\mybatchfile.cmd" /s pc044 /u "pc044\administrator" /w swordfish

EXEC.VBS does not have to be on the target machine.  It employs WMI to do the remote control.  Also, even though the secedit command runs on the target machine, it doesn't open any visible windows, so it's not obvious while it's working.

When Your Web Site Shows Up As IP Numbers, Not A Site Name...

I was working on my Web site to solve some communications problems and, as is so often the case when you solve one problem, another appears.  I'd made the mistake of configuring my Web server, which has two NICs, with two default gateways.  This is, I'm told, a no-no, so I removed the less reliable of the two default gateways.

From that point on, whenever someone visited the Web site, their Internet Explorer address bar would not display "http://www.minasi.com" but instead "http://68.15.149.117," one of the Web server's IP addresses.  Not only was this unattractive, it blew up any hope of creating SSL sessions from customers to the Web site, because SSL certificates are attached to the Web site's name (www.minasi.com) rather than an IP address.  (This can be a pain on servers that host more than one site, as you've got to get a certificate for each site, rather than being able to just one one cert for all sites on that server.)

I was able to fix it by adjusting something in IIS that I'd not messed with before.  Here's how I did it:

  1. Open Internet Services Manager in Administrative Tools.
  2. Navigate to the troubled Web site, right-click it and choose Properties.  (As if there's any other way to do administration in the 2000 world... right click things until "Properties" appears.)
  3. Click the HTTP Headers tab.
  4. Under "Custom HTTP Headers," click Add...
  5. Under "Custom Header Name," enter "Content Location."
  6. Under "Customer Header Value," enter the URL of your Web site -- http://www.minasi.com/, in my case.
  7. Click OK and close up any remaining dialog boxes.

From there, all was well.

Avoid Multihomed Systems With Remote Install Service

Here's one more thing to add to the list of Stuff That Doesn't Run Reliably On Multihomed Systems:  RIS.

I'm a big fan of RIS and have had a RIS server running on my network for as long as 2000's been available.  As you probably know, RIS is a server service that lets you easily wipe a computer clean and install a new operating system on it from scratch.  The only real sticking point to RIS is in getting the clients -- that is, the computers that you want to wipe clean and rebuild from scratch -- connected to the RIS server.  The idea is that RIS supports something called the Preboot eXEcution sequence or PXE protocol.  Nearly every computer built in the past few years that has an integrated PCI Ethernet card also contains some code in its BIOS that acts as a PXE client.  By activating that PXE client, you should be able to attach the computer to the RIS server and start wiping and rebuilding.

That was the way that it worked in many cases, but not all.  For reasons that I could never figure out, many PXE-equipped systems just plain never connected to my RIS server.

Then I built a brand-new RIS server atop Windows .NET Server 2003, wiping the old RIS server's hard disk clean and rebuilding from scratch.  While the new .NET Server 2003 RIS features are nice -- I love being able to Riprep a server -- I ran into as many problems with PXE clients as I'd seen with the 2000 Server.  So I ran Network Monitor and noticed that the RIS server seemed to initiate a session on one NIC and would then sort of get confused and continue the session on the other NIC.

Aha!

Could it be?  Only one way to find out.  I pulled the second NIC, rebooted the server... and solved every PXE client problem I'd ever had!  I tried to connect to the RIS server with every single piece of PXE-compliant hardware that I owned, and every one of them worked.  I then wiped the system clean and re-build the Windows 2000 Server-based RIS server, and found the exact same thing -- all the PXE clients that had given me problems were problems no more.

There's probably a way to fix this -- I'm sure there is -- and I plan to re-install that NIC and spend some time smoking out the exact problem and solution.  (Authorizing both IP addresses in DHCP doesn't to the job, in case you're wondering.) More when I learn it, but for now, be careful about building RIS servers with more than one NIC.

Microsoft Moves the .NET/XP/2000 Administrative Tools Yet Again

If you've got XP machines in your Active Directory-based network then you know by now that you can't administer your network from your XP workstation without an updated-for-XP set of admin tools.  Unfortunately Microsoft hasn't released a final version of those tools; they're waiting to do that in tandem with .NET Server's release in mid-April 2003.  Until then, we've got to get along with a beta version of these tools, which will work on XP and .NET systems.

Last month, I reported that a new set had appeared on the Microsoft site.  Unfortunately about five days after I did that, they pulled those tools.  They're back with a new associated Knowledge Base article.

Go to URL: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d232481f-28ea-4ba6-919b-95a8d757eff9&DisplayLang=en to find the new administrative tools for XP and .NET.  (They seem to work for 2000 as well.)  KB article 304718 -- note the lack of a Q, the Q's are gone -- discusses how to install it.  Maybe you should go get 'em now before they pull these files!

HOSTS Beats Cache in DNS

This surprised me.  If you work with Windows 2000 or later, then you know that that OS and its successors cache the DNS information that they receive.  DNS caching's a great feature because it means that the workstations don't beat on the DNS servers as hard.

But consider this.  Suppose I've resolved an address like www.bigfirm.biz just a few minutes ago, so its IP address is in my DNS cache.  Then I insert a line like "10.0.0.1 www.bigfirm.biz" into the HOSTS file on my computer, and then try PINGing www.bigfirm.biz. Will I end up PINGing 10.0.0.1, or www.bigfirm.biz's actual address?

I would have guessed that the DNS cache would always win, as the NetBIOS cache always wins.  But no -- HOSTS still beats out the DNS cache.

Conferences

I hope you'll join me for a seminar but if you can't attend a class then please consider attending another show:

TechMentor New Orleans April 8-12

A terrific show, headed for a great location.  Great sessions and even better speakers make this real deal.  Industry experts like Bill Boswell, Roberta Bragg, Brian Komar and Jeremy Moskowitz (to name but a few) make this a reliably information-packed event.  Even better, it's located this April in the Wonderful Food Capital of America, New Orleans.  Or, if you're just coming to work, work, work, then you'll like the fact that you can take Microsoft certification tests at half price.  Info at www.techmentorevents.com/neworleans.

I will be keynoting with my new talk "The .NET Report Card."  .NET will be on the eve of shipping so it'll be very timely.  If you can make it then I surely hope to see you there!

Windows Decisions Chicago May 14-16

Once again TechTarget delivers a Windows 2000/XP/.NET conference with excellent content... free.  Last year's show featured a whole bunch of great speakers on a wide variety of topics and, of course, the price is right, if you qualify.  Visit http://windowsdecisions.techtarget.com/ to apply and we'll see you in Chicago!

Bring Mark to your site to teach

I'm keeping busy doing Windows .NET Server seminars and writing, but I've still got time to visit your firm.  In just two days, I'll make your current NT techies into 2000 and/or .NET techies.  To join the large educational, pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government, transportation, and other organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course outline at www.minasi.com/w2koutln.htm, mail our assistant at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her at (757) 426-1431 (only between 9-5 Eastern time, weekdays, please).

Until Next Month...

Have a quiet and safe month.  The holidays are soon upon us, but after New Year's I'm hoping that the economy will finally get back on track.   

Please share this newsletter; I'd like very much to expand this newsletter into a useful source of NT/2000/.NET Server/XP information.  Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept my thanks.  We are now at over 21,000 subscribers and I hope to use this to get information to every single Mastering XP, NT and 2000 Server reader. Thanks for letting me visit with you, and take care -- the economy's coming back soon, I'm sure of it!  Many, many thanks to the readers who have mailed me to offer suggestions, errata, and those kind reviews.  As always, I'm at http://www.minasi.com/gethelp and please join us at the Forum with technical questions at www.minasi.com/forum

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All contents copyright 2002 Mark Minasi. You are encouraged to quote this material, SO LONG as you include this entire document; thanks.