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Hi all —
This month, I'll continue examining some of the less-discussed issues in deciding whether or not to move to Windows' new desktop OS, Windows 7. As I said last month, it seems to me that Windows 7 presents us with the most interesting set of buy/don't buy issues that we've seen in quite a few years. I got some very kind responses (thanks!).
Before I we dive into Windows 7, however, we first have a word from our sponsor...
The Server 2008, Vista and XP Seminars Available As Audio Sets
We won't be doing any more public Server 2008, Vista or XP seminars (although as always we're happy to come to your site to do any seminar), but if you missed one or all of them, we've got them available as easy-t0-learn-from sets of audio lectures.
The newest is the Server 2008 set and I want everyone to be able to afford this set, so I've priced it the same as I did our Server 2000 audio set nine years ago. I've also posted online a free 18 minute sample from the Hyper-V coverage that I hope you'll like whether you buy the set or not. More info at http://www.minasi.com/2008class/audio/, and I hope you find it a convenient and entertaining way to get the ins and outs of 2008. You can find out about my other audios (XP, Vista, etc) at http://www.minasi.com/audios.htm; there are sample audio downloads for all of the class CD sets.
Listen to This Newsletter!
This newsletter is available as an MP3 file on my site at www.minasi.com/newsletters/nws0908.mp3 (28 MB) in MP3 format, but experience has shown that my site is soon swamped by the downloads, so two readers have kindly offered bandwidth on their sites:
Many thanks to Evgenij and Jordi!
I also can't forget to thank my close friend Gary Masters, who painstakingly edits my audio files both in these newsletter podcasts and in the audios that I sell on my site. I would not be able to provide my audio products without him, and I don't remember to thank him enough for that.
Windows 7: To Adopt or Not To Adopt? (Part Two)
In the previous newsletter, I started to offer what I hope are some useful analysis and background information to help people trying to make sense out of whether or not to upgrade to Windows 7, as its release dates (August 6 for MSDN/Technet folks, August 7 for enterprise customers with existing contracts, September 1 for enterprise customers with new contracts and October 22 for the rest of us) are quickly drawing near.
In the first part, I first asserted that no matter what you hear, Windows 7 is not the product of Microsoft scrapping Windows Vista and starting over; rather, Windows 7 represents Windows Vista SP2 with a number of large and small, obvious and subtle improvements -- in essence, Windows 7 is Vista version 1.3 or, as some would have it, "Vista done right." Second, I then observed that many people avoided Vista because they perceived that it offered no improvement over XP. Put "Win 7 is basically improved Vista" and "many folks avoided Vista" together, and you inevitably end up asking, "so why bother with Windows 7?" Now, that sounded like an interesting question, and it's why I wrote that newsletter, and why I'm doing this one.
In the first piece, I discussed the four big objections to Vista, and how they apply (or don't apply) to Windows 7. In this newsletter, let's move from the negative from the positive.
When Microsoft tallies the reasons that they think that will make you move to Windows 7, they tend to list about a half-dozen of Windows 7's new features, like DirectAccess, AppLocker, BranchCache, or the like. Those can be attractive reasons to upgrade for some, but honestly I think that the really "meaty" reasons to consider a move from XP to Windows 7 stem from things that first came with Vista and are still around in Windows 7. Now, please don't run away -- I'm not going to tell you that Aero Glass or UAC are the reasons that might make you want to leave XP behind, mostly because I don't think that they are. Instead, here are a dozen things about Vista that I'd call significant improvements... with notes on how they play in Windows 7.
1) A kernel whose security was built with the 21st century in mind
XP's a nice OS and can be quite secure, but Microsoft basically designed it nearly ten years ago, and one very important thing has happened between then and now: the bad guys have gotten a lot badder. Yes, the Internet has always been a place where jerks could create and spread annoying, bandwidth-wasting junk like the Morris Worm in 1988 or the occasional denial-of-service attacks aimed at big sites, but prior to about 2004, most malware authors were motivated to create acts of vandalism, or to design worms that spread to millions of computers mainly to establish themselves as master hackers in the minds of their pathetic wannabe hacker friends. Those particular criminals sought reputation rather than money, and so tended to create malware that wasn't shy about announcing its existence. In contrast, today's cyber-scumbags are motivated by money -- what better motivator is there for most people? -- and so modern malware flies under the radar, making it harder to find and harder to combat. Any modern OS must be designed with the "fear of malware dial" cranked up to 11, and while XP's good, it's been successfully attacked a number of times, even in its post-SP2 life. (If you don't agree that our perception of the danger of Internet-connectivity has changed, consider: when was the last time that you installed a fresh copy of XP on a system that was directly connected to the Internet?) Vista and Windows 7 were built with a greater degree of paranoia in mind, an unfortunately valuable feature. In other words, it's not XP's fault that Microsoft designed it before the Internet went from a dicey neighborhood to the scary end of town.
That's the theory, though -- has it worked out in practice? As I write this in early August 2009, it actually just has. On 14 July 2009, Microsoft released a security bulletin (MS09-028) warning about one of those oh-my-god-we'd-better-patch-now bugs, a bug wherein all you've got to do is to visit a compromised Web page containing Microsoft DirectShow content and you get installed on your computer -- free of charge and in a manner completely transparent to the user -- a nasty little hacker toolkit. According to CSIS Security Group, a Danish security firm, hackers have implanted the DirectShow-related attack code on thousands of unwitting Web sites. Scary? Yes -- but take a close look at the MS09-028 bulletin and you'll see that while the attack threatens Windows 2000, Server 2003 and XP, Vista and Windows 7 users have nothing to worry about. (Of course, that's not to suggest for a moment that Vista and Windows 7 are bug-free: the same bunch of security bulletins that MS09-028 appeared in included one revealing that it's apparently possible for someone to install malware into a OpenType font. Bad guys need only embed text cast in the malware-d font into some document and put it somewhere where you try to view it... and bingo, you're infected. So be sure to patch even if you're running the Windows 7 release candidate!)
2) Deployment and deployment-related items
Ever tried to do an unattended installation of XP or Server 2003, using only the free Microsoft deployment tools? (No fair using something you've got to pay for, like Ghost or Altiris.) With Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, automated, hands-off rollouts using Remote Installation Services (RIS) and Setup Manager were a nightmare, as anyone who's ever tried to use them (or has read one of my many articles that I've written since 1998 on the topic) knows. Or heck, what if you do use Ghost or a similar tool, and want to create desktop images intended for workstations from different vendors? That's not much fun either. With the "Panther" setup engine first used in Vista, in combination with the Vista-and-later HALs, it is simple to create a single image that works on quite varying hardware, create a Ghost-like image of it, and then multicast it out to any number of systems, all with in-the-box tools or separate free downloads. In other words, suppose your office contains desktops and laptops from Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba... so how many XP Ghost images would you have to make? Without a tremendous amount of work, the answer is, "four." That's not a failing of Ghost, it's just a recognition of how XP's HAL and Sysprep work. In contrast, it's a relatively simple matter to build a single Vista image that adjusts itself equally well to all four of those system types, because of the nature of the Vista HAL.
With Windows 7, we get all of the Vista goodies, as well as some new ones. Very briefly, Windows 7 gets a sort of does-it-all new command-line tool called the Deployment Image Servicing Manager (DISM -- say it so it rhymes with "prism") that lets you easily keep images up-to-date hotfix-wise as well as serving a lot of other needs. Windows 7 also introduces the idea of deploying Ghost-like images using Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) format files, which in turn opens up a bunch of possibilities, and we also get a new-and-improved User State Migration Tool (USMT) version 4.0. USMT lets you identify an XP user's data files and application preferences, marking which ones to keep so that you can then wipe the drive clean while at the same time preserving those files and settings on the drive. You can then lay down a fresh copy of Windows 7, and -- shazam -- the user's files are already on that drive.
3) More multi-processor-aware
When XP arrived, dual-core systems were unusual, and so Microsoft had no real motivation to redesign the OS and its components to better exploit as many cores as you could throw at them. Things have changed and single-core systems are no longer the rule, and so Vista and, to a somewhat greater extent Windows 7 have kernels more multi-threaded in nature, and so can often make better use of your hardware. ("Often" because it depends on what you're doing -- if you're not asking the OS to do that much and are running only one application that is basically single-threaded in nature then you'll never see a second core work all that hard.) One way that Windows 7 is not more multi-processor aware, however, is in the theoretical maximum number of cores that it can support. XP, Vista and Windows 7 all limit their CPU support to two sockets, ignoring the number or cores in any given socket. In theory, then a copy of XP Pro should be able to support all eight cores in two-processor quad core configuration although, again, in that case it probably wouldn't spread the work across the cores as well as Vista or Windows 7 would. (Unfortunately I don't have one of those, so I can't test it, sadly.)
Windows 7's server, Windows Server 2008 R2, takes things a step further in the multiprocessor area by greatly expanding the number of CPUs that a server can support. Previous versions of Windows could only support 32 cores on their 32-bit software versions and 64 cores on the 64-bit versions, but with Server 2008 R2, the operating system can support 256 cores. (Sadly I cannot verify that, either, but if anyone would like to lend me a 256-way system so that I can check it out, I'd be more than happy to do that testing and report on it... and get some really great screen shots in the process!)
4) Tougher services architecture
Most of the headline-grabbing worms -- Code Red, Nimda, SQL Slammer, Blaster and the like -- attacked systems through bugs in "services," that special subset of Windows software that runs even when you're not logged in. For malware, a weakened service is the entry point of choice... or at least it was until Vista and Windows 7 came around. Exactly how services changed is a long story (a whole chapter in my Vista security book), but in brief, Microsoft did three things. First, they locked services into a separate Terminal Services session than the one that you and your desktop interact in, greatly limiting the amount of things that an infected service can fool you into doing. Second, they made it possible for developers (and smart admins) to lock down the amount of privilege that a compromised service would enjoy. For example, Code Red was able to do all of its damage because after it seized control of the Index Service, it could thenceforth run rampant through the system in the guise of System, the most powerful account on a Windows computer. In a Vista or Windows 7 system, in contrast, a worm taking control of a similar service due to some future theoretical bug would find themselves in complete control of a service that, well, couldn't do much... sort of like digging a tunnel under the earth to allow you to enter and then rob a bank after hours, only to find that your tunnel brought you into a broom closet... locked from the outside. Finally, in Vista and later, developers (and, again, clever admins) can set up services so that even if they're compromised then the worm-controlled service can only commit mayhem on some very, very specific set of files and folders, effectively thwarting the malware from doing what it really wants to do... modify the base operating system.
5) Bigger memory address space
Until Windows XP's 64-bit edition came out, desktop applications couldn't use more than 2 GB of memory space for their data. Now, that wasn't really much of a limitation, as two gigs is quite enough for most applications, but ever since desktop computers first appeared, we've seen the applications' needs for memory grow steadily, year after year, and nowadays it's not hard to find examples of applications that can easily utilize, well, just about as much RAM as you can throw at them. Applications that let you record and edit sound and video, graphical programs, photo image editors, and virtual machine managers like VMWare Workstation or Virtual PC all find two gigs a bit of a tight fit. The appearance of 64-bit Windows Vista and 7 with good driver support (I liked 64-bit XP, but there just wasn't all that much that could exploit it properly) has already led to some quite good 64-bit apps that I use nearly every day, like Adobe Lightroom 2.3 and VMWare Workstation 6. (I know what you're thinking: "aw, that's no benefit -- it just lets lazy programmers waste my RAM so that they don't have to work as hard." That may be true, but it's far more likely that bigger RAM equals more options to cache data in RAM which equals fast access to that data --RAM is far faster than hard disks, USB sticks or whatever -- which means faster applications.)
6) Bare metal backup/recovery tools
Most versions of Windows have come with some sort of backup, but I think you'd have to agree that most of those backup solutions lacked a bit in XP and Server 2003. For example, suppose you're running an XP desktop and you diligently run XP's backup, storing your backups on a tape drive. But one day, disaster strikes and your motherboard or your hard drive goes blooey, so you get another computer. Armed with the XP installation CD and a boxful of tapes, you sit down to rebuild your old system and... well, anyone who's tried that with XP (or, for that matter, Windows Server 2003) knows the rest of the story. Restoring from XP's backup is a nightmare, which is why tools like Acronis' excellent TrueImage Workstation appeared. Now, TrueImage is a great tool, but the fact is that most of us don't have Acronis on our desktops. With Vista and Windows 7, however, you needn't worry, as they ship with a backup tool called CompletePC Backup -- a backup tool that will let you restore your entire system to a completely new computer in basically one step. (Even better, it works -- I've used the feature several times to upgrade the hard drive on my laptop.)
7) More compatibility shims, folder/registry virtualization
As I noted in the last newsletter, it's generally just not possible to build an operating system that is more secure out-of-the-box than previous versions of that operating system while at the same time maintaining 100% backward compatibility. But as time's gone on, Microsoft has added more and more "shims," (as you learned in the previous newsletter) making it possible to enable more and more old apps to run under Vista and, to an even greater extent, Windows 7. (Remember that I'm saying that "to a greater extent" about Windows 7 because it has more shims built in, enabling us to resolve a greater number of incompatibility issues.)
8) More help organizing data
I dabble in wildlife photography and so have a hard drive filled with several zillions of digital photos, as I'm sure many of you do. And I'm guessing that even if you're not a photographer, you might have a folder full of MP3 music files that need organizing in some way. There are many third-party photo and music organizing tools that let you tag your files with ratings, keywords and the like, but that information ends up trapped in Adobe Bridge or whatever other application you use for file organization. Windows 6 and later systems support keywords, ratings and the like in a manner that's built right into the OS and stored in NTFS metadata, rather than in a proprietary format.
9) Faster, more intelligently-designed search tools
The first thing I used to do with my Windows 2000 and XP desktop systems was to shut off the Index Service, as its tendency to keep the hard drive chattering for long periods of time was irritating. (Nothing breaks a guy's train of thought like persistent reminders that their operating system frequently re-indexes folders that he never searches, like just about any of the nearly 20,000 subfolders in the \Windows folder.) With Windows 6 and later systems, in contrast, the new Index Service (which is now called the Windows Search Service) searches only a small subset of your folders, most notably your Documents folder and its subfolders, with the result that the Windows Search Service runs more quietly than the Index Service ever did (although if you don't store your data files in the Documents folder, you should tell the Windows Search Service that in Control Panel), and searches are lightning-fast.
10) Better recovery tools
I liked NT from the start (and by that I mean NT Workstation 3.1) because I liked the its more solid architecture and better security than the Windows 3/Windows 9x crowd of operating systems. One thing that didn't make me so happy with the NT family, however, was that I often found myself sorely in need of a replacement for that DOS bootable floppy that I always kept around "just in case" in the DOS and Windows 3 days. Windows 2000 and XP brought the Recovery Console, and that was a very nice improvement, but Microsoft's development of a Vista-based recovery operating system (Windows PE in combination with the Startup Repair Tool and a few other odds and ends) greatly simplifies recovery. (Of course, a BartPE disk is similarly useful the XP world.)
11) Designed with modern hardware in mind
When XP appeared, there were few mobile broadband cards, wireless NICs were still something of a novelty, tablets essentially didn't exist, multi-touch interfaces were just being dreamed of, and the notion of a 3D Windows GUI driven by dedicated graphical processing units was just plain unheard-of. Support for those things -- well, some of those things -- got bolted onto XP over time, but Windows 6 and 7 systems were built with them in mind. Vista and Windows 7 sometimes even support older hardware better than XP did -- for example, give Vista's Fax application a look, or read up on how Windows 7 lets you isolate printer drivers so that a crashed printer driver doesn't take down the entire spooler. Yet another example of Windows 6/7 being "today-aware" appears in their improved network stack, which supports "SMB 2.0," an upgrade of the file server/client system that moves shared files around the network quite a bit more quickly than SMB can in its XP and earlier implementations.
12) Some UI Improvements
As I've said many times, I'm not a big GUI guy, but you do need a GUI to navigate much of Windows, so even I tend to notice the really good and really bad changes in GUIs. XP drives me absolutely batty with its almost comically-bad message balloons popping up to tell me about inactive icons, so I really like a new Windows 7 feature called the "Action Center." The Action Center is loveable because it lets you configure everything in the system tray (oh, sorry, I meant the "system notification area," who comes up with this stuff?), telling every application with an icon in the system tray whether or not it's allowed to emit balloons. Windows 7 even introduces a couple of useful UI changes: an easy way to tell two applications to arrange themselves on the desktop, and a sort of expanded version of the Quick Launch bar that lets you essentially store not just the names of apps on the taskbar, but also the most recently used files related to those apps.
But are you ready for the big GUI improvement in Windows 7? Here it is: they restored the way that you set a screen's resolution back to the way it was in XP, rather than the extra-clicks method in Vista. Hey, it's the little things.
In any case, the point here isn't to try to prove that XP's junk -- it's not -- but rather to demonstrate that Windows 7 delivers the same upgrades that Vista did, and that the Vista upgrades are nothing to sneeze at.
Sorting Out the Versions: Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise?
There is, of course, a lot more to consider when thinking about adopting Windows 7, but these newsletters are getting a trifle lengthy, so let me keep this readably short by finishing this with a bit of advice about what may be one of the most irritating things about both Windows 7 and Vista: which variety of Win 7 to use?
Some of you may recall that the first five versions of Windows NT Workstation -- Windows NT Workstations versions 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, and Windows 2000 Professional -- each came in just one, nice, simple flavor. And then XP arrived, in two "SKUs," as the marketing folks like to call them, Professional and Home. (By the way, SKU stands for "Stock Keeping Unit," for those who care.) As far as most IT pros are concerned, XP Pro was for the office (because it could join a domain) and XP Home was, well, something that we didn't like to think about. So I'm not sure who thought that it would be a good idea to come out with three different business-oriented versions of Vista:
Confused yet? So was everyone else. Assuming you didn't go with Enterprise, should you go Business or Ultimate? Okay, I'll give you one more piece of data: Ultimate's list price back in early 2007 was $100 more than Business's. In other words, then, for $100 more for Ultimate you pretty much get a hard drive encryption routine -- a nice one, but basically that's what you got. "Let me get this straight," my clients would say, "Microsoft's all about security, but if we want some really useful security -- BitLocker -- then they're gonna charge us for it? All of a sudden offering security in the operating system is a profit center?" Now, I don't think that any IT decision-maker looked at the mess that was Business/Ultimate pricing and said, "hey, there's no way we're going to sign up for an operating system with a pricing structure that crazy," but I think it might have been the icing on the cake for some of those already reluctant to roll out Vista for other reasons.
Fast forward from early 2007, and here we are, looking at Windows 7 and wondering whether or not it's a good idea. We've known for a while that Windows 7 will, once again, feature three business-oriented SKUs: Professional (they retired "Business"), Ultimate, and Enterprise. But until recently, Microsoft was pretty close-mouthed about the pricing of those different Windows 7 SKUs. Despite the early good buzz on Windows 7, I've been fearing that Microsoft might, with goofy Vista-like Windows 7 pricing, manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and ship another market disaster.
Just a few weeks ago, however, some news came out that makes me think that Windows 7 may do all right after all because (1) the SKUs make more sense relative to one another and (2) the price differential between Pro and Ultimate is much smaller, so choosing the most complete Windows is easier.
First, Microsoft arranged every version of Windows 7 so that it contained a superset of its next lower-priced SKUs' features. No more do Windows 7 Professional folks have to long for Media Center: if Windows 7 Home Premium's got it, then Windows 7 Professional's got it. (Whew.) Okay, chalk one up in Microsoft's column for sanity.
Second, as I've explained, Ultimate/Enterprise -- like Vista, Ultimate and Enterprise SKUs are identical save for the licensing -- were nice in that they had one pretty useful feature. Thus, if you chose to adopt Vista Business, then you'd be missing BitLocker but getting about 98 percent of the rest of the new-to-Vista stuff: the new UI, networking stack, secure service infrastructure, 700 new group policy settings, the new event log infrastructure, etc. With Windows 7, however, things don't shake out that way.
Ask a Microsoft person to name the top six new things in Windows 7, and you're likely to get a list like this:
Please understand, I'm not saying that I consider those to be the top six -- there are lots of other neat ones not mentioned -- but it seems that most Microsoft marketing literature focuses on that list, roughly. Now let's ask, which of those six features are available in Windows 7 Professional. Ready? Here they are:
Yup, that's it ... only XP Mode. So, of the marquee features that we'll see being hawked prominently by Microsoft ads, presentations, and the like, Professional users get just one -- XPM. So, in other words, it seems that in some ways, Professional is basically Vista SP3, and Ultimate/Enterprise are the real Windows 7, right? Eek. And I suppose that means that the list price of Ultimate will be $100 more than Pro?
Well, now, that's where the good news comes in. From what I can see, Windows 7 Pro will run you about $300 list, and Ultimate? Just $20 more. Now, that might work, if we ignore that minor economic downturn we keep hearing about.
In closing, as I said in the first piece, I'll be rolling out both Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 as quickly as I can, so I'll report more as I find it.
Meanwhile... what you folks think? Has anyone already got plans to deploy Win 7 or R2? Or has anyone already decided not to do any upgrades this year, perhaps for economic reasons? Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know. I hope these two newsletters have been useful, Thanks for reading and, if you like them, please pass them along to a friend!
I'll be in Warsaw for what looks to be the first "official"
unveiling of Win 7 RTM, speaking on a number of topics. Now
and then I hear from my Polish readers, so if you'll be at this
Warsaw event, then come by and say hello! Info at
http://www.mts2009.pl/ As with the past few years, Connections moves to that most
improbable of improbable cities, Las Vegas. I'll be keynoting
as well as doing several breakouts. More info at
www.winconnections.com. See you there! Many of you have written me asking if I'll be at this year's
TechEd Europe. The answer is that I certainly hope to, but the
organizers are still collecting abstracts for talks and we should
know something in a month or so. Thanks for the interest,
watch this space! I'm keeping busy doing Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 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 2008R, Win 7, 2008, Vista, security, XP, Active Directory
or 2003 experts. (And better yet they won't have to sit through any Redmondian propaganda.) To join the large educational,
pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government,
telecommunication, law enforcement, publishing, transportation, military and other
organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course
outlines at www.minasi.com/presentations.htm, mail our assistant
Jean Snead at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her
at (757) 426-1431 (only between 1-5 Eastern time, weekdays,
please). Have a quiet and safe month. Please share this newsletter; I hope that it is a useful source of
Windows technical information.
Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept
my thanks. We are now at over 45,000 subscribers and I hope to use
this to get information to every one of my readers. 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. Thanks
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Please do not reply to this mail; for comments, please link to http://www.minasi.com/gethelp. All contents copyright 2009 Mark Minasi. I encourage you to quote
this material, SO LONG as you include this entire document;
I'll be in Warsaw for what looks to be the first "official" unveiling of Win 7 RTM, speaking on a number of topics. Now and then I hear from my Polish readers, so if you'll be at this Warsaw event, then come by and say hello! Info at http://www.mts2009.pl/
As with the past few years, Connections moves to that most improbable of improbable cities, Las Vegas. I'll be keynoting as well as doing several breakouts.
More info at www.winconnections.com. See you there!
Many of you have written me asking if I'll be at this year's TechEd Europe. The answer is that I certainly hope to, but the organizers are still collecting abstracts for talks and we should know something in a month or so. Thanks for the interest, watch this space!
I'm keeping busy doing Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 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 2008R, Win 7, 2008, Vista, security, XP, Active Directory or 2003 experts. (And better yet they won't have to sit through any Redmondian propaganda.) To join the large educational, pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government, telecommunication, law enforcement, publishing, transportation, military and other organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course outlines at www.minasi.com/presentations.htm, mail our assistant Jean Snead at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her at (757) 426-1431 (only between 1-5 Eastern time, weekdays, please).
Have a quiet and safe month.
Please share this newsletter; I hope that it is a useful source of Windows technical information. Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept my thanks. We are now at over 45,000 subscribers and I hope to use this to get information to every one of my readers. 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. Thanks for letting me visit with you, and take care.
To subscribe, visit http://www.minasi.com/nwsreg.htm. To change e-mail or other info, link to http://www.minasi.com/edit-newsletter-record.htm. To unsubscribe, link to http://www.minasi.com/unsubs.htm. Visit the Archives at http://www.minasi.com/archive.htm. Please do not reply to this mail; for comments, please link to http://www.minasi.com/gethelp.
All contents copyright 2009 Mark Minasi. I encourage you to quote this material, SO LONG as you include this entire document; thanks.