Windows-Help.NET Newsletter 31 May 2003, Vol 6 No. 19

In this issue:

w   Microsoft Goofs-Up Another Update
w   Microsoft Reduces Office XP Retail Prices
w   Recent Support BBS Postings
w   Web Site Updates
w   Administrivia

The Utility For Any Serious Windows Tweaker!

Microsoft Goofs-Up Another Update

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Last month, on April 16, Microsoft released a patch for Windows XP to fix a buffer overrun in Windows Kernel Message handling. Within days, people started complaining that this particular patch slowed their systems to a crawl.

On the 25th April Microsoft announced that it had investigated the issue and confirmed that there could be performance problem when the patch was applied to Windows XP Service Pack 1 systems.

This issue was subsequently resolved when Microsoft announced an updated version of the Windows XP patch on May 28th.

A day earlier, however, Microsoft pulled another update from the Windows Update site which it had released only days before. This update, called "L2TP/IPSec NAT-T Update for Windows XP and Windows 2000", includes improvements to IPSec to better support virtual private network (VPN) clients behind network address translation (NAT) devices by implementing NAT as specified in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The update also includes additional support for stronger IPSec protection by using the 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman algorithm (Group 14).

But Microsoft soon discovered that some of the 500,000 users who downloaded and installed the patch were prevented from connecting to the Internet, particularly those users running other firewall software on their systems.

According to Microsoft, they are working on an updated version (of the update)... Life would probably have been easier if it had been tested properly before release. I would argue that in the case of a security fix, extensive testing can't always been done, because the fix need to be released as soon as possible, but this latest file was just an update to bring the way that Windows XP handles IPSec and the tunneling protocol into compliance with the Internet standard, so it should have been properly tested before its release.

S   P   O   N   S   O   R

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Microsoft Reduces Office XP Retail Prices

This week, Microsoft announced changes to the pricing of several products in the Microsoft® Office XP family, the world's leading business productivity programs. Microsoft is reducing the estimated retail price of full package product (FPP) Microsoft Office XP Standard and of Microsoft Office XP Professional by approximately 15 percent. In addition, Microsoft is reducing the estimated retail price of the FPP stand-alone applications Word 2002, Excel 2002, PowerPoint® 2002 and Access 2002 by approximately 30 percent. This means that retail customers will save approximately $80 to $110 (U.S.) on the estimated retail prices, depending on the product purchased (reseller pricing will vary).

Microsoft Office XP retail price reductions took effect May 28 in the United States and Canada, and will be rolled out globally as individual subsidiaries implement their normal currency, pricing and other local retail adjustments. Customers outside the United States or Canada should contact their local Microsoft subsidiary for further information.

"Microsoft is reducing the retail pricing of Office XP as its commitment to make it easier for consumers and small businesses to obtain the world's leading productivity suite," said Joe Eschbach, corporate vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft.

Recent Support BBS Postings

Are you protected agianst Dialers? - Security / Virus
Restricting sites on IE allow only sites that I want - IE
Upgrading to "dynamic" drives? - Windows XP
Computer starts/boots up after telephone rings! - Windows 98
New version of Kerio Personal Firewall - Security / Virus

Web Site Updates

These pages were added/updated in the past week. Information on previously updated/added pages is available on the What's New? page for 1 month.


Added: Microsoft Goofs-Up Another Update

Windows XP

Added: Hide Notification Area
Updated: Microsoft Kernel Patch Slowing Down Windows XP Systems
Updated: Microsoft Security: Updated Windows XP "811493" Patch


Windows XP Tip: Hide Notification Area

The notification area is located at the far right end of the task bar and displays the icons for current notifications and the system clock. It might be useful to hide the icons here, specially in places where users are not suppose to have access to the programs they represent.

Read Full Article
Windows XP Security Guide Securing Windows XP Clients

Microsoft released a guide that includes settings for Windows XP clients deployed in a Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Active Directory domain. The document also includes guidance for an environment requiring an extremely high level of security in which application compatibility or usability may be constrained. The guide also discusses procedures for implementing Windows XP security settings in stand-alone clients.

Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

Download [2.04 MB]

The guide is also available on-line at the Microsoft TechNet Web site.
Windows 2000 Service Pack 4

This week details emerged about the Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) release date. SP4 will be released to the Web (Windows Update) on June 18th. Fulfillment CD's will start shipping (in North America) 4-6 weeks after that date.
Kazaa to patch 'serious' vulnerability

Users of file sharing programs such as Kazaa and iMesh are urged to install a security patch after a serious bug was discovered in their underlying network.

A security researcher recently found a potentially critical vulnerability in the program which drives the FastTrack network. FastTrack is used by peer-to-peer software service including Kazaa and iMesh.

Read CNet Article
WinZip 9.0 Beta

Improvements in WinZip 9.0 concentrate on its core functionality: compression, capacity, and a new, advanced data encryption capability. Using WinZip 9.0, you can compress more data, compress it better, and protect your sensitive documents with far greater security.

Details & Download
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