Ezine 134 – DevCon and also Antigen

Ezine 134 – DevCon and also Antigen


The DevCon utility is a command-line utility, which you can use to restart or disable devices.  The ‘Dev’ syllable refers to the Device Manager, while the syllable ‘Con’ refers to the shell where you can type commands.  Actually, DevCon’s commands are richer than the Device Manager GUI.  You may have deduced that DevCon is aimed particularly at those that like to script tasks.

Installing DevCon was as straightforward as can be.  I was wondering about making the 55k file available to you, but then I saw the phrase ‘non redistributable’.  Whilst I cannot find the word redistributable in any dictionary, I believe non ‘redistributable’ means that I must not pass the file on to you.  Nevertheless, I can provide a link for you download it from Microsoft (and have a look around for other free utilities).

This week I am in a semantic / pedantic mood, and I was curious about DevCon’s findall command.  Help says about Findall : ‘Find all devices including those not present’.  While that phrase makes no sense logically, in practical terms it’s useful for tracking those ‘Ghost’ devices that you know you have un-installed, but the operating system still thinks are attached. 

With DevCon I started from the position of not needing another utility to interrogating system, especially now I have PowerShell.  The only reason that I even looked at DevCon was because of my respect for Paul DeBrino, and his wonderful record of unearthing utilities that ezine readers love.  I finished up being quietly impressed with DevCon and at 55k, coupled with an easy install, I will give it room in my toolkit.

Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT) IP Tracker

Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets.  IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:

For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges. 

For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker


As the name suggests, Antigen Microsoft Antigen detects and removes spam, viruses and worms.  There are versions for Exchange 2007, 2003 and even 2000.  It works by integrating with real-time Blackhole lists (RBL) and also by filtering on keywords in the message body.

Installing Antigen: if you are running Exchange in SMTP Gateway mode, you need to switch to VSAPI (Virus Scanning Application Programming Interface) mode.  One advantage of VSAPI mode it also scans internal email, thus prevents one ‘Psycho’ user infecting all the rest of the company.

As with most software, you can get a trial version for 30 days, but then you have to pay.  I am afraid that I don’t have a precise cost for Antigen, the variables of number of users, version of Exchange, whether or not your servers are clustered make it too hard to give an accurate costing, however, I am sure that Microsoft will give you a price for your particular configuration!

One of the few complaints about Antigen is that it’s too cheap!  The beef is that Microsoft is pricing it artificially low to kill of rival products from Symantec, McAfee and Trend.  Others say that the other companies had priced their products too high, what ever the truth, my point is that Antigen seems like a good deal for the consumers, at least for the mid-term.

Just as there are zillions of goodies on the Sysinternal website, so there are even more add-ons at the Microsoft site, try the /downloads folder of Microsoft’s main site.

Service Packs and Beta Software

Cricket is a strange game.  Amongst its many quirks is the statistic that every week of the year there is an Cricket international somewhere in the world.  The tenuous link to Service Packs is that every week there seems to be a new Service Pack for one or other of Microsoft’s products.

SP3 for XP is one such service pack for your notebook.  At the moment it’s been released only to Beta testers.  My suggestion is that you plan ahead and decide if, when, and how you are going to deploy it.  Apparently some of the Vista features will be incorporated in this last service pack for XP.

It seemed like just the week before there was an update of IE 7.0 for XP, (Actually it was back in October).

Guy Recommends: Tools4ever’s UMRAUMRA The User Management Resource Administrator

Tired of writing scripts? The User Management Resource Administrator solution by Tools4ever offers an alternative to time-consuming manual processes.

It features 100% auto provisioning, Helpdesk Delegation, Connectors to more than 130 systems/applications, Workflow Management, Self Service and many other benefits. Click on the link for more information onUMRA.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Official looking statistics from w3schools say that IE 7.0 has a 21% share of the browser market. The same statistics say IE 6.0 is down to 34%.  My Computer Performance site shows IE 7.0 at 43% and IE 6 at 28%.  As this site is meant for techies you may expect skewed statistics for browsers.  However, Fashion-era (50,000 visitors a day) shows: IE 7.0 with 37% and IE 6 with 39% of market share.  The browser stats at guy-sports are 40% IE 7 and also 40% IE 6.  My point is that whichever way I look at the figures, the uptake of IE 7 seems greater than the official statistics show.

Update:  IE 10 in Windows 8 »

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