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                         Issue 23 -  1st March 2000

Welcome to PC Alert, the email newsletter that keeps you informed
of the best new tech support resources on the Internet.

With Windows 2000 now shipping, this issue also contains extended coverage
of some of the new products designed to work with the new OS.  As for
our experience with the product, you may like to know that problems with
stability and a lack of drivers means that we've temporarily removed
it from our systems here.  We're back on NT4 and 98 for the time being.

PC Alert is free. If you like it, why not share the good news and
email a copy to a friend or colleague.

PC Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and PC Network
Advisor, the standard reference sources for support professionals.

Find out how much easier your tech support job can be - get free copies
of PC Support Advisor and Network Advisor now at

Robert Schifreen, Editor

PS:  Good news!  We're now going fortnightly rather than monthly.  The
next issue will hit your mailbox in just a couple of weeks.



1.  In this month's PCSA
2.  In PCNA this month
3.  Windows 2000 Readiness Analyser
4.  TweakUI Updated
5.  Windows 2000 Desktop Management
6.  Zombie Agent Detector
7.  System Scanner
8.  Quick route to your security policy
9.  WS_FTP Y2K Bug
10. NetScape Y2K Bug
11. NT4 Recycle Bin Fix
12. CookieCentral
13. NT Time Syncs
14. Probes and Firewalls
15. Printer Error Messages


1.  In this month's PCSA

In the current issue of PC Support Advisor (issue 136), we have articles
on Windows 2000, troubleshooting MS Project, an image processing glossary,
understanding mobile data technology, the case for using free software,
and how to prevent data loss.

You can read our complete article on Introducing Windows 2000 by going
to the ITP Web site.



2.  In PCNA this month

In the current issue of PC Network Advisor (issue 116), we have articles
on how to size a server, ten useful utilities from the NT Resource Kit,
understanding backup technologies, a case study on how other companies
manage network support, and a look at Office On The Web.

You can read our complete article about the NT Resource Kit utilities
by going to the ITP Web site.



3.  Windows 2000 Readiness Analyser

Windows 2000 is now shipping.  Our advice is to think very carefully
before deploying it.  Most importantly, check that drivers for all your
hardware are available.  Microsoft's Readiness Analyser will help, by
examining a PC and producing a report to tell you where you might
encounter problems.



4.  TweakUI Updated

The tol to help IT support staff make changes to the Windows 9x
user interface, TweakUI, has been updated.  It's no longer an official,
though unsupported Microsoft product, but is now shareware and has a new
home on the Web.



5.   Windows 2000 Desktop Management

Desktop DNA is a new tool for support staff which helps in rolling out
operating systems.  It includes support for rolling out Windows 2000 to
machines which are currently running 95, 98 or NT.  Such tools are well
worth investigating, as a standard installation or upgrade of Win2k
can take many hours in our experience.



6.   Zombie Agent Detector

MyCIO.com is offering a free scanning service to companies who wish to
ensure that no "zombie agents" have been planted on their servers.
Zombie agents are timebomb programs planted by hackers, which are
programmed to fire off a denial-of-service attack on another computer
on a specified date and time.



7.   System Scanner

ISS has released a version of System Scanner that runs under Windows
2000. System Scanner continuously monitors critical machines and reports
if any security settings or other key files are tampered with.  It's the
equivalent, says ISS, of a security officer walking around inside the
building to check that all points of entry are secure.



8.   Quick route to your security policy

Need an IT security policy for your company?  Need a tool to perform
risk assessment in order to work out where you need to spend most effort
on security?  Saphire has two tools that will help you.



9.  WS_FTP Y2K Bug

Ipswitch has posted details of a bug that has surfaced in its popular
ftp client ws_ftp.  The bug causes ws_ftp to display the current year
as 100 rather than 2000.  This happens, says the company, if a user's
PC is not set to show short dates as 4-digits.  Full details of how
to change the setting are on Ipswitch's Web site.


10.  NetScape Y2K Bug

Some versions of NetScape also seem to have a Y2K problem that prevent
them being used with some e-commerce sites.  Attemting to order a book
from Amazon, for example, will produce an error message about Amazon's
secure server licence having expired at the end of 1999.  The fix is to
update your copy of Netscape.  You'll find this on your PCNA or PCSA
CD in the \resource directory, or you can update on the Web.



11.  NT4 Recycle Bin Fix

Microsoft has a new security patch for NT4, which fixes a problem where
a malicious user could create or alter files in the Recycle Bin directory
of another user.  This could cause problems if the second user
removed files from the recycle bin and assumed that they were safe to run.



12.  CookieCentral

CokieCentral is a useful Web site which contains lots of information about
Internet cookie files and the ways in which they can be misused.  If you
need to ensure that you're up to date with all types of security threats,
then it's worth keeping an eye on this site.



13.  NT Time Syncs

Got NT servers?  Need to ensure that their clocks are all set to the
same time?  (You do, or your incremental backups will be a mess).  This
Web site has a useful program which syncs the server time to that of
a number of accurate clocks worldwide.



14.   Probes and Firewalls

Monitoring a firewall is not easy.  This excellent FAQ contains details
of many messages that firewall products display, and offers some clues
as to what the message means in terms of whether an attack is in progress.



15.   Printer Error Messages

You know the problem.  The laser printer has stopped working, it's
displaying a cryptic error code, and you can't find the manual
that tells you what the code means.   So do you replace the
toner, the fuser, the corona wire? No.  You check out this Web
site, which has lists of all the error codes you could ever need.



                             ABOUT PC ALERT

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