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  • Geek of all Trades: Microsoft's New Certifications: What They Are, Why They Matter
    Greg Shields - August 2009
    With the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credential being retired for all iterations but Windows Server 2003, a new certification program has been created. Greg Shields explains how this new certification path helps to better identify where your skills lie.

  • Windows Confidential: Windows 'Prettified' Filenames
    Raymond Chen - August 2009
    Why case-sensitivity doesn’t matter to Windows, just to a user’s sense of aesthetics.

  • Desktop Files: Revisiting the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
    Wes Miller - May 2009
    Wes Miller updates his 2007 article on the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, a collection of valuable components that can can save your IT department a lot of time and effort. All of the components have been enhanced—and something new has been added.

  • Windows Confidential: Finding the Right Volume
    Raymond Chen - May 2009
    Raymond Chen discusses the difficult job of satisfying audiophiles and those who just want the sound to work.

  • Internet Explorer: What’s New in Internet Explorer 8
    Matt Hester - April 2009
    Everyone expects something different from their browser. Some users are most concerned with security and privacy while others are more focused on customizability. Some want full standards compatibility, and others just desire ease of use. Explore the numerous new features and enhancements in Internet Explorer 8 that allow it to meet every user’s needs.

  • Windows Confidential: Forcing Handles Closed
    Raymond Chen - April 2009
    Raymond Chen explores how forcing file handles closed can lead to a series of cascading errors.

  • Windows Confidential: The Forgotten Hotkey
    Raymond Chen - March 2009
    Raymond Chen looks at the evolution of the Alt+Tab hotkey and how the Alt+Esc hotkey has remained unscathed.

  • Windows Confidential: The Case of the Disappearing Cursor
    Raymond Chen - February 2009
    Have you ever noticed that the cursor blinks when you take a screen capture? Raymond Chen explains why.

  • The Desktop Files: Windows Won't Start!
    Wes Miller - January 2009
    Drivers fail, files get corrupted, disks crash--there are numerous uncontrollable reasons why Windows might fail. But all is not lost. Wes Miller explores the kinds of things that can go wrong in a Windows system, and explains how you can troubleshoot them to get your system working again.

  • Windows Confidential: Last Check-In Chicken
    Raymond Chen - January 2009
    Raymond Chen explains why it is often the developers who have their acts together who end up checking in the final bug fixes to products.

  • Windows Confidential: Keep Your Caches Close
    Raymond Chen - December 2008
    Raymond Chen looks at how a poorly implemented proxy server can completely nullify the benefits of a proxy server.

  • Windows Confidential: Windows Can but Won’t
    Raymond Chen - November 2008
    Raymond Chen explains why Windows can but chooses not to replace a file that is currently in use.

  • Windows Confidential: Work Harder, Not Smarter
    Raymond Chen - October 2008
    Raymond Chen looks at the skewed relationship bugs have to errors, and explains why it's important that programmers suffer as well as give results.

  • Windows Confidential: Windows 95 Unplugged
    Raymond Chen - September 2008
    Raymond Chen explains how a bit of diagnostic code unexpectedly brought the Windows 95 build to crawl.

  • Windows Confidential: Building on the Past
    Raymond Chen - August 2008
    Raymond explains how the one-time powerful Alpha AXP system came out of retirement to help develop a new generation of 64-bit systems.

  • Windows Confidential: History Taking Up Space
    Raymond Chen - July 2008
    Microsoft Bob is a lot more prevalent than you might think. Raymond Chen explains how Microsoft Bob made its way into millions of homes.

  • Security: New Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista
    Michael Murgolo - June 2008
    Michael Murgolo is back with an update to his Elevation PowerToys. You'll find enhanced Run as Administrator functionality that works with third-party scripting tools, a way to replace a handy Windows XP feature removed from Windows Vista, and many more useful tools.

  • Security: Advances in BitLocker Drive Encryption
    Byron Hynes - June 2008
    Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 introduce important changes to BitLocker, including support for data volumes and improved protection against cryptographic attacks. Byron Hynes explores the new features, demonstrates how to use BitLocker on a server, and discusses some of the recent media coverage affecting BitLocker.

  • Security: Application Lockdown with Software Restriction Policies
    Chris Corio and Durga Prasad Sayana - June 2008
    When you want to reduce the total cost of ownership of the desktop machines in your organization, application lockdown can be a great help, letting you limit IT issues related to unsupported applications. See how you can use software restriction policies and Group Policy to control the applications being run throughout your IT infrastructure.

  • Security: Managing the Windows Vista Firewall
    Jesper M. Johansson - June 2008
    The recent update to the Windows Vista Firewall offers some impressive new features that make it a compelling choice for the corporate environment. Jesper M. Johansson gives a brief overview of the evolution of the Windows Firewall and delves into enhancements—such as new rules and profiles, domain isolation, and encryption—that will have administrators taking a closer look.

  • Windows Vista: Top Security Features in Windows Vista
    Anthony (A.J.) Smith and Ned Gnichtel - June 2008
    Why should you upgrade to Windows Vista? Among many reasons, the new security features make it a must-have. This article explores some of the major security features introduced in Windows Vista.

  • Utility Spotlight: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor
    Lance Whitney - June 2008
    Ready to upgrade the systems in your organization to Windows Vista? Find out how the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine whether your systems are ready for Windows Vista and which versions they can support.

  • Windows Confidential: The Two Worst PCs Ever
    Raymond Chen - June 2008
    Raymond Chen fondly reminisces about working with the two worst computers ever made.

  • Windows Confidential: 16-Bit Icons Are So Passé
    Raymond Chen - May 2008
    Raymond Chen looks at why Windows Vista doesn't support 16-bit icons, and wonders whether anybody has even noticed.

  • The Desktop Files: Deploying Windows XP with the WAIK
    Wes Miller - April 2008
    The Windows Automated Installation Kit was designed primarily for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. But did you know that it can also help you deploy Windows XP and Windows Server 2003? Here's what you need to know to get started.

  • Windows Confidential: Share and Share Alike
    Raymond Chen - April 2008
    "Are you sure you want to remove this shared file?" Raymond Chen explains why an uninstaller may ask this question when you remove a program.

  • Windows Confidential: Remind Me Never to Do That Again
    Raymond Chen - January 2008
    Hardware detection in the days before proper Plug and Play devices was a very scary undertaking. Find out why.

  • Windows Confidential: A Joystick Need Not Be a Microwave
    Raymond Chen - December 2007
    A look at how the DirectInput force feedback joystick interface specifies periodic forces—and some of the unexpected results.

  • Windows Administration: Changes to Offline Files in Windows Vista
    Jeremy Moskowitz - November 2007
    It's a common problem—how do you let users work with files stored on the network, when they have unreliable or no connectivity, and still avoid versioning issues? Such continuity is essential to providing a seamless experience. Discover how improvements in Windows Vista provide a better approach to working with offline files.

  • Desktop Deployment: Simple, Scalable Deployment with BDD 2007
    Adam Shepherd - November 2007
    Don't have SMS 2003? Don't worry, there's another solution for creating simple desktop deployments. Here's an in-depth guide to using BDD 2007 and SQL Server to create scalable deployments that require little or no manual input.

  • The Desktop Files: The Truth about Defragmentation
    Wes Miller - November 2007
    Myths about the pitfalls of defragmentation have prevented many an administrator from performing this important maintenance task. Find out which problems are real, which ones are unlikely, and how you can avoid them.

  • Windows Confidential: The File System Paradox
    Raymond Chen - November 2007
    Ever wonder why you need a miniature file system driver built into those critical boot files?

  • Security Watch: BitLocker and the Complexities of Trust
    Justin Troutman - October 2007
    Some people have been skeptical of the cryptographic functionality built into Windows Vista. Here's a look at the design philosophies that went into BitLocker and why it should be taken seriously.

  • The Desktop Files: The Power User's Guide to WIM and ImageX
    Wes Miller - October 2007
    Dive into ImageX, finding out about changes for Windows Server 2008 and the right way to use command switches when creating or updating WIM files.

  • Windows Confidential: Calling Dr. Watson
    Raymond Chen - October 2007
    Why does using Dr. Watson to take a memory dump of Winlogon bring down the entire system? This isn’t an accident. Explore the world of Task Manager and critical system files to find out why.

  • Windows Vista: Deploying Windows Vista with BDD 2007
    Michael Niehaus - September 2007
    Your organization is ready to migrate from Windows 2000 or Windows XP to Windows Vista, and the project is your responsibility. Don’t fret. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how you can use the Business Desktop Deployment 2007 Solution Accelerator to simplify your Windows Vista deployment.

  • Windows Vista: A Guide to Windows Vista Backup Technologies
    Christine Fok - September 2007
    Backup is something many people ignore until it’s too late. But there’s no excuse for this, especially now that the new Windows Vista Backup and Restore Center offers a variety of features that make it easy to protect your data against most forms of data loss. Find out how you can plan a complete recovery strategy with Windows Vista.

  • The Desktop Files: PC Recovery with Windows PE
    Wes Miller - September 2007
    Windows Vista offers some valuable tools that make system recovery quite easy. But for large, diversified organizations, out-of-the box solutions don’t usually work. If you’re in a large company that needs to build customized self-recovery solutions, don’t miss this discussion about building your own recovery solution with Windows PE.

  • Windows Confidential: The Known DLLs Balancing Act
    Raymond Chen - September 2007
    The Known DLLs feature was included in Windows as a way to improve performance. Find out how it works, and take a close look at how this feature has changed over time.

  • The Cable Guy: IPv6 Autoconfiguration in Windows Vista
    Joseph Davies - August 2007
    There's more to IPv6 than just extending the address space from 32 bits to 128 bits. Here's a look at how IPv6 hosts can automatically configure themselves, even without the use of an address configuration protocol.

  • The Desktop Files: Getting to Know RDP
    Wes Miller - August 2007
    The Remote Desktop Protocol, which allows you to access machines remotely, is a useful piece of technology that gets better with every version of Windows. Get an overview of Remote Desktop, looking at many of the benefits and limitations it has to offer.

  • Windows Confidential: Windows Explorer Doesn't Do Text
    Raymond Chen - August 2007
    Why can't you copy a list of files in Windows Explorer and then paste them as text to get their file names? The Windows team tried to include this functionality, but it didn't work as planned.

  • Windows Administration: The ActiveX Installer Service in Windows Vista
    Rob Campbell and Joel Yoker - July 2007
    How do you secure the desktop against malicious ActiveX controls without limiting application compatibility? We’ll take you on a tour of the ActiveX Installer Service (AxIS) in Windows Vista that addresses this issue with a new way to manage ActiveX controls.

  • Security Watch: Tools for Managing ACLs
    Jesper M. Johansson - July 2007
    Managing ACLs can be one of the more complicated aspects of protecting the security of your users' systems. Here are some useful utilities to help automate and simplify these tasks.

  • The Desktop Files: The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
    Wes Miller - July 2007
    Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack brings together a number of valuable utilities that Microsoft has recently acquired—and one that was built internally. Explore all of its components and see how they can save your IT department a lot of time.

  • Windows Confidential: The Healing Powers of Safe Mode
    Raymond Chen - July 2007
    Did you know that besides disabling drivers, Windows safe mode repairs problems that can be repaired automatically? Find out why?

  • Security: Inside Windows Vista User Account Control
    Mark Russinovich - June 2007
    User Account Control, or UAC, is one of the most misunderstood new features in Windows Vista. But its goal—to enable users to run with standard user rights—can solve many security issues. Get an inside look at the problems UAC is designed to address and see exactly how this new feature works.

  • Security: Keys to Protecting Data with BitLocker Drive Encryption
    Byron Hynes - June 2007
    BitLocker serves two very important purposes: it provides both full-volume data encryption and a way to validate the integrity of early startup components before Windows Vista starts. Get an overview of how BitLocker works and see how it can help you protect your organization.

  • Security: Exploring The Windows Firewall
    Steve Riley - June 2007
    Mobility has changed computer threats and the techniques that guard against them. As laptops wander outside the perimeter and come back to the network, you need better ways to protect your systems. Find out how you can use Windows Firewall to protect your computers—on the Internet and on your own internal network.

  • Security: New ACLs Improve Security in Windows Vista
    Jesper M. Johansson - June 2007
    While ACLs haven’t had a major overhaul, there are a number of important changes you need to know about when managing ACLs in a Windows Vista environment. Discover how 30 ACLs have changed to improve security, find out how they will impact your organization, and learn how to manage these changes in your infrastructure.

  • Security: Managing Hardware Restrictions via Group Policy
    Jeremy Moskowitz - June 2007
    USB thumb-disk keys and other removable devices can make your personal life easier but your professional life harder. For improved security, you need a way to control what hardware devices your users are installing on their work systems. Now you can use Group Policy to control which devices they can use and which ones they can’t.

  • Utility Spotlight: Script Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista
    Michael Murgolo - June 2007
    While User Account Control offers an important improvement in security, the ability to elevate permissions is essential for accomplishing certain administrative tasks and functions. Here are some Elevation PowerToys that make elevation more flexible and powerful.

  • Windows Confidential: What New Users See on the Start Menu
    Raymond Chen - June 2007
    Imagine buying a new computer, firing up Windows, clicking the Start button, and seeing a blank menu. There's a reason why the Start menu includes applications in the most frequently used spot before you've used anything--to provide a good out-of-box experience. Find out how these apps are chosen.

  • Windows Confidential: Determining What Is Frequently Used
    Raymond Chen - May 2007
    How does Windows determine the list of frequently used programs that appears on the Start menu? The concept started with a simple premise that soon required a lot of fine tuning. Here’s an inside look at the logic behind the design of this feature.

  • Windows Administration: Inside the Windows Vista Kernel: Part 3
    Mark Russinovich - April 2007
    In this issue, we wrap up our in-depth discussion about what’s new in the Windows Vista kernel. In this final installment, we look at changes and new features pertaining to reliability, recovery, and security.

  • Windows Administration: Why Windows XP Embedded Matters to You
    Don Jones - April 2007
    Though you may not know it, Windows XP Embedded could be a great fit for your organization’s IT lineup. Find out how Windows XP Embedded can lower your administrative overhead, save you money, and improve security.

  • Windows Administration: Why Windows XP Embedded Matters to You
    Don Jones - April 2007
    Though you may not know it, Windows XP Embedded could be a great fit for your organization’s IT lineup. Find out how Windows XP Embedded can lower your administrative overhead, save you money, and improve security.

  • The Cable Guy: Wireless Group Policy Settings for Windows Vista
    Joseph Davies - April 2007
    Discover how you can use Group Policy to centrally configure and distribute wireless network settings to all the computers in your Active Directory network.

  • The Desktop Files: When I’m x64
    Wes Miller - April 2007
    Take a look at an implementation of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 on x64 systems, examining some of the deployment benefits and hurdles you can expect to run into. And get familiar with Windows Vista x64 support, migration, and deployment.

  • Windows Confidential: The Power of Bugs
    Raymond Chen - April 2007
    Why would you want to turn on a bug? Some applications actually rely on a bug in the OS. When the bug is fixed, the app breaks.

  • Windows Administration: Inside the Windows Vista Kernel: Part 2
    Mark Russinovich - March 2007
    This month we continue our in-depth discussion about what’s new in the Windows Vista kernel. In this issue, we review some advancements in how Windows Vista manages memory and explore the areas of system startup, shutdown, and power management.

  • Field Notes: The Doctor Is In
    Matt Hester - March 2007
    At a party, being an IT pro is sort of like being a doctor. Everybody has a question about a problem they've been having. But sometimes, even the experts overlook the simplest solutions.

  • Windows Confidential: Looking Smart by Being Stupid
    Raymond Chen - March 2007
    Why did Windows forget your autoplay settings? It didn't. Sometimes the safest action is to take no action.

  • Windows Administration: Inside the Windows Vista Kernel: Part 1
    Mark Russinovich - February 2007
    With Windows Vista, changes to the OS kernel bring about advances in many areas, ranging from memory management to reliability to security. We kick off this series with a look at how the kernel delivers improvements in the areas of processes, threads, and I/O.

  • Windows Administration: Gaming in a Secure Environment
    Matt Clapham - February 2007
    Whether you’re busy at work or doing some serious gaming at home, running as a limited user has many security benefits. Unfortunately, some games don’t want to work when they’re not run as administrator. Here’s a look at some common problems and their solutions.

  • Windows Confidential: A "Mixed" Blessing
    Raymond Chen - February 2007


  • Windows Confidential: Getting Out of DLL Hell
    Raymond Chen - January 2007


  • Windows Confidential: Waiting for RunOnce
    Raymond Chen - December 2006
    CONSIDER AN installation that needs to restart the system in the midst of the process. For example, the program might wish to upgrade a system DLL that is currently in use. You would need to trigger an intervening reboot to get the new DLL file installed, and then after the DLL has been upgraded, you could use it in the next stage of the installation.

  • Windows Vista: 10 Things You Need to Know about Deploying Windows Vista
    Michael Niehaus - November 2006
    From more flexible image handling to a new boot loader, Windows Vista introduces some important changes for desktop deployment. Here’s a look at 10 ways Windows Vista can make your next deployment faster and easier than ever.

  • Windows Vista: Protect Your PC with New Security Features in Windows Vista
    Justin Harrison - November 2006
    Developed according to the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle guidelines, Windows Vista offers a level of security not built into earlier versions of Windows. Take a look at the new and enhanced features Windows Vista offers to help you detect and prevent security threats.

  • Windows Vista: Achieve the Non-Admin Dream with User Account Control
    Alex Heaton - November 2006
    While limiting user privileges is a good way to help protect your systems, non-admin accounts can be inconvenient, introducing problems such as application compatibility issues. Windows Vista offers new features that make it easier for you to manage and support standard user accounts

  • Windows Vista: Enterprise Networking with Windows Vista
    Jason Leznek - November 2006
    Since the release of Windows XP, networking has changed drastically—users are more mobile, wireless networking is everywhere, and security threats are more sophisticated. Take a look at the innovations in Windows Vista that make networking simpler, more secure, and easier to manage.

  • Windows Vista: Getting Ready for Windows PE 2.0
    Wes Miller - November 2006
    Along with Windows Vista, a more powerful version of Windows PE will be released. This overview discusses the new features and capabilities found in Windows PE 2.0 and how these changes will affect you

  • Windows Vista: Getting Ready for Windows PE 2.0
    Wes Miller - November 2006
    Along with Windows Vista, a more powerful version of Windows PE will be released. This overview discusses the new features and capabilities found in Windows PE 2.0 and how these changes will affect you

  • Windows Vista: Inside the New Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit
    John Melton - November 2006
    Before you deploy a new OS, it's critical that you determine potential compatibility issues and solutions for the many applications your organization relies on. Here's an in-depth look at how you can access your software portfolio, determine the impact Windows Vista will have on applications, and find solutions for potential issues.

  • Windows Vista: New Tools for Event Management in Windows Vista
    Val Menn - November 2006
    Windows Vista presents a giant step forward in enterprise management, offering a new and improved infrastructure and tools designed for event logging and tracing. The result is easier, more powerful ways to gather information and quickly perform troubleshooting.

  • Windows Vista: More Powerful Group Policy in Windows Vista
    Jeremy Moskowitz - November 2006
    The Group Policy infrastructure has been overhauled, delivering new management features, new policy settings, support for multiple local GPOs, and much more. This article looks under the hood at the many changes Windows Vista brings to Group Policy.

  • Windows Confidential: Handling Compatibility Hacks
    Raymond Chen - November 2006
    What should Windows do when a program is so incompatible with Windows that it cannot run at all or that it runs with severe limitations? The current versions of Windows only display a warning dialog. Here's why.

  • Deployment: Boot into RAM with Windows PE
    Wes Miller - October 2006
    With added support for variable boot configurations, Windows PE has become even more flexible. Learn three different ways to boot into RAM and how this can benefit your next deployment.

  • Windows Confidential: Compatibility Constraints
    Raymond Chen - October 2006


  • System Management: Getting Started with Windows PE
    Wes Miller - September 2006
    You may have encountered Windows PE during OS deployment. But did you know it can also be used for recovery, diagnostics, and repairs? Here’s a look at some of the things you may not have known about Windows PE.

  • Windows Confidential: Why are Shortcuts Files?
    Raymond Chen - September 2006


  • Windows Administration: Problems of Privilege: Find and Fix LUA Bugs
    Aaron Margosis - August 2006


  • Windows Administration: Find Anything with Windows Desktop Search
    Matt Hester - August 2006


  • Windows Confidential: A Directory by Any Other Name
    Raymond Chen - August 2006


  • Utility Spotlight: The Shared Computer Toolkit
    Jeremy Moskowitz - July 2006
    One of the most common requests I get at my Group Policy forum, GPanswers. com, is how to take machines and "lock them down. " People want to ensure their machines can’t be broken by Joe User or Harry Badguy.

  • Windows Confidential: A Brief and Incomplete History of FAT32
    Raymond Chen - July 2006
    Why did classic Windows 95 limit local hard drives to 2GB? Some people would lead you to believe that the FAT file system team said, "Y’know, the FAT file system supports hard drives of indefinite size, but let’s impose an artificial cap just to make people’s lives more frustrating.

  • Security: First Look: New Security Features in Windows Vista
    Chris Corio - May • June 2006


  • Desktop Deployment: Techniques for Simplifying Desktop Image Creation
    Shelly Bird - May • June 2006


  • Utility Spotlight: Automate Device Driver Integration
    Michael Murgolo - May • June 2006
    When you’re deploying thousands of Windows-based computers, configuring a single system and duplicating its hard drive (or system image) onto other corporate computers can save you a lot of time and free up IT resources.

  • How IT Works: NTFS Permissions, Part 2
    Richard Civil - January • February 2006
    While security is essential in today’s network, unfortunately some administrators think they are secure if they just have a good firewall. Various studies suggest that up to 65 percent of all network compromises happen from inside the firewall.

  • Windows Confidential: The Resourcefulness of Annoying People
    Raymond Chen - January • February 2006
    Windows isn’t as open as it used to be. In the earlier, simpler days, Windows® was designed in a more trusting manner. Internal file formats were documented, and programs could manipulate the system in a wide variety of ways.

  • How IT Works: NTFS Permissions
    Richard Civil - November • December 2005
    Several years ago I got quite a surprise while fixing the permissions on a client’s file server. One of the users had Write permission on several files and folders in one branch of the directory tree.

  • Windows Confidential: The Sad Story of the Shell Folders Key
    Raymond Chen - November • December 2005
    It’s a little known fact that the Shell Folders key exists solely to permit four programs written in 1994 to continue running on the RTM version of Windows® 95.

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