Mark Minasi's Windows 2000/NT/XP/2003 Newsletter
Issue #31 March 2003
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copyright 2003 Mark Minasi.
- "XP Professional for Support Professionals" in Kansas City
- Two NEW Audio CDs: "12 Tips to Secure Your Network" and
"Tuning 2000, XP and 2003"
- Windows Server 2003 Ships On April 24
- NEW Server 2003/2000 Seminar In Honolulu, LA, DC
- You Folks Crashed Yahoo! But The Tuning Talk's In Reruns
- Join Me In Denmark April 29/30!
- Tech Section
- Split-Brain And AD-Integrated DNS Sometimes Don't Mix
- Finding "Search Active Directory"
- Restoring a Tape in Windows 2000 When NTBACKUP Won't Recognize It
- Internet Explorer Cannot Save JPEG (.JPG) Files
- PowerPoint Monopolizes the CPU With More Than 250 Slides
- Fixing Media Player When It Only Plays Black & White
- Neat SIDTONAME Utility
- Bring a Seminar to Your Site
Hello all --
Happy March and it is indeed a happy one, at least for me -- Mastering
Windows Server 2003 is done and so is the new Server class, and a couple of new
audio CDs are on the way. You folks wanted more audio CDs, so I've taken
two of my most popular talks and put them on CD.
I've also got six technical pieces for you this month -- three server-based
problems and solutions and three desktop-based problems and solutions, as well
as a great free utility. I
hope you'll find something that you find useful. But first, let me try to
keep the news blurbs short:
"XP Professional for Support Professionals" in Kansas City April
Take the next step in becoming a complete XP guru in KC early next month with
the course that picks up where Mastering Windows XP Professional left
off. We've got a few seats left -- read the course brochure at www.minasi.com/xpsupport.htm
and get signup info at www.minasi.com/pubsems.htm.
Other cities there too!
Two New Audio CDs: "12 Tips to Secure Your Network" and
"Tuning 2000, XP and 2003"
Many of you have liked the other audio CDs and want to know when more are
coming... so here they are, and if you act quickly, you can get them at a
special price if you buy before 10 April 2003. On that date I will start shipping a
two-CD talk "12 Tips to Secure Your Network," an expanded version of a
talk that thousands have attended, and a one-CD talk "Tuning 2000, XP and
2003" the lowdown on getting the most out of your systems. Info on
the security talk at www.minasi.com/secaudio.htm
and info on the tuning talk at www.minasi.com/tuneaudio.htm.
NEW Server 2003/2000 Seminar In Honolulu, LA, DC
After two successful years, my popular two-day Windows 2000 Server seminar
needed a refresh and restructuring, and it got it. Now its sole focus is
in getting AD running and keeping it working, with loads of neat VMWare demos
and equal time for 2000 and 2003. The seminar outline is at www.minasi.com/2003outln.htm
and you can find public seminar dates at www.minasi.com/pubsems.htm.
You Folks Crashed Yahoo! But The Tuning Talk's In Reruns
It was great to hear so many positive things from the thousands of you that
tuned into TechTarget's Webcast last month on tuning. I was sorry to hear
that so many of you couldn't hear it or got dropped off. Apparently so
many of you tried to tune in on the tuning talk that you actually tripled
the previous maximum audience for a TechTarget talk. They run it on Yahoo!
Enterprise Services and apparently there was too little bandwidth and too many
of you ... so the servers just fell over. All I can say is that I'm
honored by your support, and thank you.
But if you do want to hear the broadcast, it's still around at http://webevents.broadcast.com/techtarget/Win2kWinman/010903/index.asp?loc=09
although of course it's not live.
Join Me In Denmark April 29/30!
My European friends often e-mail to ask when I'll be speaking on The
Continent. Now I've got an answer -- April 29/30 in Denmark. The IT
Solutions Group has hired me to present several topics over two days, including
an overview of what's new in Windows Server 2003, some in-depth discussion of AD
maintenance, troubleshooting and migration, how to secure a network, and how to
tune systems. It'll be fast-paced, educational and fun, so I hope you'll
come join me! More info at http://TheITsolutionsGroup.com/events.htm.
This month: more DNS, the skinny on searching Active Directory, forcing
2000's Backup to recognize a tape and restore from it, what to do when IE won't
let you save JPG files, cracking the mystery of PowerPoint's CPU hogging
behavior, and knowing what it means when Media Player only plays in black and
Split-Brain And AD-Integrated DNS Sometimes Don't Mix
I've covered proper DNS setup in past newsletters, but I've not taken up a
special problem that can occur called "island DNS." Under island
DNS, you get a situation wherein each domain controller/DNS server registers itself
in its copy of DNS, but no other domain controllers, so every DNS server/DC
machine essentially lives on its own "island." (Remember that in
AD-integrated DNS, you can anoint multiple domain controllers as DNS servers and
they all then behave as if they are the primary DNS server for that zone.)
Island DNS only pops up in a particular combination of circumstances:
- It can only happen in your forest's root domain, the first domain created
in your Active Directory.
- Island DNS only happens when you're using AD-integrated zones.
- It only happens when you're doing split-brain DNS.
- Island DNS can only occur if you have more than one domain controller in
the forest root domain acting as a DNS server. If you were, in
contrast, to only use one DC as an AD-integrated DNS server and put DNS on
some member server and put it in the role of a secondary DNS server for the
domain's zone, then you don't have to worry about island DNS.
If you're doing all four things -- running AD-integrated DNS for the root
domain in your forest using more than one DC as a DNS server and doing
split-brain DNS -- then there's a workaround. Normally in split-brain DNS
you'd configure every DNS server's "preferred DNS server" to point to
itself, but in an island DNS situation, follow these rules:
- Choose one DC/DNS server in the forest root domain; any one will do.
Let's call it the "DNS master." Point it to itself.
- For all other DC/DNS servers, first point them to the DNS
master. Then point them to another DNS server. But never
point them to themselves.
For example, suppose we've got two DNS servers in domain bigfirm.biz, named
DC1 and DC2. We'd make DC1 the "master DNS" server and then
configure the servers like so:
- DC1: set preferred DNS to DC1, and don't set an alternate DNS.
- DC2: set preferred DNS to DC1, and, as there are no other DNS servers
around to act as the alternate, don't set an alternate either.
If we had three DNS servers -- DC1, DC2, and DC3 -- then we'd set it
up this way:
- DC1: set preferred DNS to DC1, and don't set an alternate DNS.
- DC2: set preferred DNS to DC1, and set alternate to DC3.
- DC3: set preferred DNS to DC1, and set alternate to DC2.
Never point DC2 or DC3 to itself, and you'll no longer be marooned on
Finding "Search Active Directory"
As Active Directory becomes more prevalent and Microsoft updates more and
more of its software, the day draws nearer when we'll be able to shut off
NetBIOS forever. But when we do, we'll also shut off Network Neighborhood
forever, and the days of doubleclicking on server icons in NetHood are also
But people often ask, "then how do I find shares on file
servers?" I really have to get around to writing an article on the
details of this, but the short version is that you put an entry in the Active
Directory describing the file share's contents and location, and then people
search the AD to find that share. (It's also called "publishing a
share in AD." The problem then becomes, "how do I search the
In my opinion, Microsoft's dropped the ball on this one, as finding the
particular interface to search the AD can be a nightmare. First of all,
the "search the AD" icon lives in different places depending on (1)
which OS you're running -- 2000, XP, 2003 or the earlier ones with the AD
client, (2) whether or not your system is connected to an AD at the moment, and
(3) in the case of XP, what theme you've got loaded -- for example, I learned
early on to turn off Folder Tasks pretty quickly, but it's only with Folder
Tasks enabled that you can get to the "search the AD" icon.
MR&D Forum member Michael D'Angelo pointed out in a recent online
discussion that you can always get to the "search the AD" dialog box
by typing this command:
You can alternatively create a shortcut to it and place it on users'
desktops. By the way, case is important -- openquerywindow won't work,
OpenQueryWindow will. Thanks, Michael!
And by the way, in case you're wondering how to find "Search Active
Directory" from the 2000 and XP GUIs, here's how. (I include this
because it's one of my Top Five questions this month for some reason.) In all
cases, the icon only appears if you're sitting at a computer that is a member of
an Active Directory while you're logged in with an account that is a member of
that Active Directory.
From Windows 2000, it's fairly simple.
- Open My Network Places.
- Open "Entire Network."
- Open the "Directory" icon.
- You'll see an icon for your domain; right-click it and choose
From there you can search your AD from 2000. From XP, the process is a
- Open My Network Places
- Open "Entire Network."
- Click Tools/Folder Options.
- Choose "Show common tasks in folders."
- Click OK.
- Widen the window sufficiently that "Network Tasks" is visible on
the left-hand part of the window; one of the options will be "Search
Now you can search your AD. Once you've enabled "show common tasks
in folders," then you'll always have the "Search Active
Directory" icon in your "Network Tasks" list.
Restoring a Tape in Windows 2000 When NTBACKUP Won't Recognize It
I probably ought to buy Backup Exec or ArcServe or Ultrabac or some other
tape backup program, but I continue to use the built in ntbackup.exe program on
my Windows 2000 servers for two reasons: first, I'm cheap, and second, I
really want to use the stuff that came free in the box. I really liked NT
4.0's version of NTBACKUP despite its limitations, as I could at least script it
without too much trouble. But Windows 2000's version of NTBACKUP drives me
crazy due to its integration with 2000's Removable Storage Manager (RSM),
something that was probably a great idea for folks with big complex backup
systems but that has horribly confused the process of using one tape drive to
back up a server.
As I explained in an article in Windows and .NET Magazine about a year or so
ago, I use two tapes a week to back up my network. I do a full backup once
a week, put that tape away, and then insert another tape and just do
differential backups on that tape for the rest of the week. The whole
thing works in batch files with a bit of fiddling, as my article explains (and
before you ask yes, I do use more than just two tapes and I rotate them).
I needed to restore a file from a recent backup, so I popped my most recent
"full backup" tape into the drive and told NTBACKUP to restore some
files from it. NTBACKUP responded by telling me to insert the tape.
As just HAD inserted the tape, I tried again, but every time it insisted that I
hadn't inserted the correct "media." Grrr... the backups are
there, you stupid program... restore them! But it wouldn't.
I finally surrendered and called Microsoft, as I really needed the
file. (And before you ask yes, that DID cause me to do the
calculation. Spilled milk and all that.) The fellow that I talked to
was quite helpful, directing me to a Knowledge Base article with this
advice. If you've got a server with a single stand-alone tape drive and
you're trying to restore files from a tape but NTBACKUP doesn't recognize that
you've inserted the tape, then do this.
- Eject the tape from the drive.
- Start NTBACKUP (Start/Program Files/Accessories/System Tools/Backup) and
click the Restore tab.
- You'll see an icon with the name of your backup tape drive -- mine's
called "DLT," for example -- you'll see one or more backup
sets. Delete them all. Note that this does not delete any tapes;
it just deletes the (defective) table of contents that Windows 2000's Backup
program keeps of your tapes. When it asks if you're sure, tell it that
you are indeed sure.
- Reinsert the tape into the tape drive.
- Backup will raise a dialog named "New Import Media," asking what
to do with this "new" tape. Choose "Allocate this media
to Backup now."
- In the Resore pane of Backup, you'll see a tape icon with a name like
"Media created <some date> at <some time>;"
right-click it an choose Catalog.
- The system will run the tape a while, reading its contents and building a
catalog of the tape.
- Once finished cataloging the tape, you can restore any and all files from
it, as you normally would.
Had I used the right search phrases I could have found this for myself but,
as anyone who frequents the Knowledge Base knows, sometimes it's just a matter
of luck whether or not you find your article. But my thanks go to the KB,
the article saved my data!
Internet Explorer Cannot Save JPEG (.JPG) Files
Since my last newsletter, I've run into a handful of desktop problems with
Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, and Media Player. In every case these
irritations seemed to arise out of nowhere and, thankfully, I was able to
resolve them all... but it was also true that in every case the solutions were
The first one appeared in Internet Explorer. As you probably know, you
can save a local copy of a JPG or GIF file by right-clicking on the file and
choosing "Save as..." I tried it a few weeks back and found that
IE wouldn't give me the option to save as a JPG or GIF -- it only offered .BMP,
the Windows Bitmap format! A bit more experimentation showed that if I put
an MPEG or MP3 file on my Web site, visited my Web site and tried to save the
file by right-clicking it, then "Save As..." no longer appeared at
The solution? Apparently when the space set aside for "Temporary
Internet Files" fills up, then for some reason IE can no longer save
graphics as anything but bitmaps, and it gives up altogether for some other
formats, including MPEGs and MP3s. The fix was to click Tools/Internet
Options and the General tab, and then, in the "Temporary Internet
files" section, click the "Delete Files..." button and tell IE to
wipe out all of the cached files. Then IE's "Save As..."
functionality is restored.
PowerPoint Monopolizes the CPU With More Than 250 Slides
Okay, maybe I'm the only guy who'd ever care about this, but I thought I'd
pass it along.
In the process of building the new Mastering Windows Server 2003/2000 class,
I was surprised to note that Task Manager reported that PowerPoint 2000 was
sucking up 92 percent of the CPU time on my workstation... even when I'd
minimized PowerPoint and hadn't touched it in an hour!
To make things even odder, I found that simply opening PowerPoint and not
feeding it any slides caused its CPU usage to drop to nil. Opening my
presentation cranked the usage to 92 percent again. So I started paring
away slides to figure out if a particular slide had something strange on it that
was causing the problem. After some testing, I found out that giving
PowerPoint more than 250 slides caused the CPU drain. So I guess if you're
building a large PowerPoint presentation, break it up into 250-slide groups.
Fixing Media Player When It Only Plays Black & White
I recently noticed that whenever I played MPEG, AVI, or WMV files, they would
only play in black and white. This seemed very odd, as they played in
color on every system except my main desktop system. It'd been doing this
for the past few months, but inasmuch as I don't watch all that many videos on
my desktop -- I've never quite grasped why anyone would want to watch a movie on
a little PC screen -- I didn't think much about it.
I had a few minutes free and the whole thing was bugging me, so I Googled
"Media Player troubleshooting" and found a link to a nice Media Player
site at http://www.nwlink.com/~zachd/pss/pss.html
and checked it out in the hopes of finding a solution. (There wasn't one,
but I include the link because there is a ton of great Media Player info at the
So I looked at the settings (Tools/Options/Player/Advanced) in
Media Player 9 and found that disabling a few of the settings in Video
Acceleration -- disabling "Use Overlays" was the most helpful --
returned some of the videos to color. To bring them all back, I had
to go to my Display Properties (on XP or 2003, right-click desktop, choose
Properties, then Settings, then the "Advanced" button, then the
"Troubleshooting" tab. On that tab, you'll see a slider labeled
"Hardware acceleration." After playing with it I found that
choosing the setting "Disable all DirectDraw and Direct3D accelerations, as
well as all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations..." The videos
would then play in color.
But I was still puzzled as to why this had started working all
of a sudden on a workstation that was about 15 months old. Then I
remembered that I'd recently purchased a new monitor, the first one that was so
clear that I could run my desktop at 1600x1200 and like it! I restored all
of my acceleration and overlay settings and changed my desktop to 1024x768, and
once again the colors returned.
What, then, was the root cause? Simple: not enough
video memory. I don't really play any graphics-intensive games or even
really use much in the way of graphics other than the basic boring text and
simple graphics that normal word processing, e-mail, Web browsing and domain
administration requires. As a result, I always buy systems with the
simplest, least expensive video card available so I have more to spend on
RAM. In this particular case, however, I outfoxed myself by buying a
significant monitor upgrade without considering that I needed to upgrade my
video RAM as well.
Neat SIDTONAME Utility
Last week I needed a program that could take a Security ID (SID) and return
the user's name. The Resource Kit and www.reskit.com
has a free utility called getsid that will convert a user's name to the user's
SID, but not the other way around. I was pleased, then, to stumble across www.joeware.net,
where the kindly Joe has posted a number of utilities, including sidtoname.exe.
Sidtoname.exe is a pretty smart program; most sid converters need you to tell
them what machine to use to go look up a SID in order to return a user name, but
sidtoname.exe can usually figure out where to go. And it's free!
Well worth adding to your toolkit.
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 2003 Report Card."
Server 2003 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!
IT Solutions Group Copenhagen April 29/30
I'm coming to Denmark April 29/30, where I'll present several topics over two
days, including an overview of what's new in Windows Server 2003, some in-depth
discussion of AD maintenance, troubleshooting and migration, how to secure a
network, and how to tune systems. It'll be fast-paced, educational and
fun, so I hope you'll come join me. More info at http://TheITsolutionsGroup.com/events.htm.
FREE -- Windows Decisions Chicago May 14-16
Once again TechTarget delivers a Windows 2000/XP/2003 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/html/registration.htm?Offer=wdmkmn1
to apply and we'll see you in Chicago!
Windows Magazine Live! May 18-21 in Phoenix
The magazine that I write for,
Windows and .NET Magazine, holds its next Windows
Magazine Live! conference in Phoenix this May. It's a jam-packed set
of great talks by some great speakers including of the industry's foremost
megacephaloids like Mark Russinovich, Intel's Sean Deuby, IIS Answer Man Brett
Hill, Uberscripter Bob Wells and more -- great speakers all and really smart
guys. I'm also doing three talks, including two new ones: "How
To Troubleshoot Any Network Problem" and "The 2003 Report Card,"
as well as my "Tuning XP, 2000 and 2003" talk. Watch www.winconnections.com
for more info. The Phoenix site is always great, don't miss it.
Bring Mark to your site to teach
I'm keeping busy doing Windows Server 2003/2000 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 2003 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/2003outln.htm,
mail our assistant Jean Snead 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.
Please share this newsletter; I'd like
very much to expand this newsletter into a useful source of NT/2000/.2003/XP information. Please forward it to any associates who might find
it helpful, and accept my thanks. We are now at over 25,000 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 2003 Mark Minasi. You are encouraged to quote this
material, SO LONG as you include this entire document; thanks.