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What’s coming up on Patch Tuesday
Patch Tuesday is today and we’re expecting six security bulletins. Five pertain to Windows and one is for Visual Studio. Two of the patches are listed as critical. There are also four non-security updates scheduled for release. On Wednesday, December 13, Microsoft will host a TechNet webcast with more information about the December security bulletins. To register, click here.

Can Vista’s Anti-Piracy Mechanism be Cracked?
Rumors abound this week of cracking tools that are designed to defeat the Vista product activation feature, which would allow software pirates to use illegal copies of the operating system. The tools are out there, but sources say they won’t work on consumer versions of Vista, just those distributed through volume licensing. And the crack would have to be reapplied every 180 days. The worst part, for consumers, is that Microsoft’s natural reaction to such cracks will probably be to make product activation more burdensome. As usual, those of us who abide by the rules will pay the price because of those who don’t. Read more here.

Windows Live Book Search
Microsoft has recently made available an online search service for searching the contents of books. Publishers can add their content through a free participation program, and a number of universities (including Cornell, the University of California and others) and other publishers have already signed on. To try it out, click here.

Geek’s Guide to Gift Giving
They say most folks give the gifts they’d most like to get. If that’s true, then the “Geek’s Guide to Gift-Giving over at eWeek is aptly named. Some – in fact, most – of the suggested gifts are a bit pricey; you have to really like the recipient a lot to leave an $800+ chair or an $1100 monitor under the tree for him/her, not to mention a $900 espresso machine. But it makes for a great wish list to send your favorite rich aunt or uncle.

Loving and Hating Vista
Some folks love it, some folks hate it, and many seem to have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft’s newest operating system. Robert Vamosi recently gave his five reasons for loving and hating Vista.  You can read my rebuttal.

Windows-people-near-mePeople Near Me: New Vista Collaboration Feature
People Near Me is a new feature in Vista whereby other Vista users on the same network are made visible and available for collaboration sessions. Others on the People Near Me list can see and join these sessions if they know the session password (you can also hide sessions from view if you want). The Windows Meeting Space (also known as Windows Shared View) works with the People Near Me feature to allow you to invite others to meetings and give presentations, share handouts and send private notes to participants. For more info on how it works, click here.

How to stream digital music with Windows Media Connect
Windows Media Connect (WMC) is incorporated into Windows Media Player 11. If you don’t already have it, you can download WMP 11 here.


Using WMC, you can play the music on your XP computer in another room, anywhere on the network. You’ll need to connect a digital media receiver or Xbox 360 to your home network. Once that’s done, download Windows Media Connect if it’s not already installed. When you start it, you’ll see the WMC wizard.

Follow these steps:

  1. On the page labeled Select The Devices You Want to Access to your Computer, choose your digital media receiver device and click Next.
  2. Click Yes on the Windows Media Connect dialog box.
  3. On the page labeled Choose Which Folders You Want to Share with your Devices, you can select to share the default folders (My Music) or click Let Me Choose Which Folders I Wanted To Share With My Devices and navigate to the location on your hard disk where your music is stored.
  4. Click Automatically Start Folder Sharing When Windows Starts if you want the folders to be shared automatically.
  5. Click Finish.
  6. You’ll see a WMC icon in the system tray when the wizard is completed and the connection is made.

For more detailed instructions on setting up a digital media receiver, click here.

Word Vulnerability Can Put You at Risk of Zero Day Attack
Most versions of Microsoft Word (2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 for Mac) are vulnerable to an exploit that’s making the rounds, whereby opening an affected document can put you at risk. Microsoft issued a high-risk alert about it, but no patch has been released at the time of this writing and anti-virus vendors hadn’t been able to create detection signatures. For more information, click here.

Help! How Can I Keep IE7 from Reinstalling Itself?
A few weeks back, I gave instructions as to “How to roll back to IE6“.  However, you may end up by getting IE 7 put automatically put back into Windows Update. 

There is a way to block the IE 7 automatic download and installation without having to disable auto updates completely. Anticipating that many companies might not want to deploy IE 7 immediately, Microsoft released a blocking tool, which you can download. It works on XP with Service Pack 2. This is a command line utility. Link here.

Another way to block the installation is to create a registry key. As always, be careful and back up the registry before editing it. Here are the instructions:

  1. Open your favorite registry editor.
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Internet Explorer Setup 7.0
  3. Create a DWORD value named DoNotAllowIE70.
  4. Set the data value to 1.

Finally, there is a free GUI tool by IntelliAdmin that you can download. It’s a little application that just requires you to click an option button to disable IE 7 auto install (direct link to .exe).

How to use a handheld PC as a mobile Remote Desktop terminal
If you have a Pocket PC or Windows Mobile device, you can connect to your XP Professional Remote Desktop or a Windows 2000 terminal server using the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client. For information on how to set up both the handheld client and the server, see KB article 314537.

Can’t map a network drive under different user credentials
If you get an error message when you try to connect to a network share via the Map Network Drive Wizard using different user credentials, it may be because the folder is currently mapped using a different user name and password. There’s a hotfix available for this problem, which you can get by following the instructions in KB article 812793.

Can’t expand shares with the Ntbackup tool
If you are unable to click the plus sign (+) and expand computer shares when using the Ntbackup tool in the Entire Network location, there’s a workaround for the problem. To find out the resolution, see KB article 316929.

Until next week,


Deb Shinder, MVP