Best Practice Ezine #41 Tips

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Best Practice Ezine #41 Tips

This week’s topics

My main mission in writing this newsletter is to give you tips on XP, Exchange and Active Directory.  What I like to do is provide a mixture of simple ideas with the more complex, unusual, even bizarre advice.  It goes without saying that reader’s tips are always most welcome.  This week’s tips are all mine and they are definitely at the unusual end of my range!

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.

An insight into running a web site.

The reason that I am writing this section is to help you get the most out websites in general, rather than just  My belief is that you can get a great deal of information from web sites if you do just one thing.  That is to write a friendly letter to the web owner and ask for the program, ebook or resource that you want.  My inside information is that web site owners get so many letters that are bland at best abusive at worst, that your friendly positive letter will stand out like a beacon and the owner will go out of their way to give you what you want.

When I put on my reader hat and visit other people’s web sites I have had great success in getting information for free just by asking in a friendly tone.  Site owners have sent me detailed reports, free software and sound advice.  All in response to a friendly letter.

One balloon that I would like to burst is the idea that the internet is full of bad people.  The reality is that the web is full of honest people, it’s such a shame that the one rogue amongst 10,000 genuine generates so much negative press.  Here is an illustration of how honest people are on the internet.

From time to time people’s computers crash and they lose data.  Once their computer is repaired they write to me and ask for another copy of my ebook.  In the early days I thought they were conning me so I made a fuss and asked for a receipt or proof of purchase.  After about 5 of these cases – all genuine, I gave up asking for proof and just sent them the ebook straightaway.  Occasionally I still check, but in over 30 cases, I have never ever had anyone ask for a replacement who had not bought an ebook.

Now I do not confuse honesty with naivety.  Spam is a big problem both to me as a receiver and to me as the sender of legitimate ezines.  So, if you do have any tips on anti-spam packages or strategies, then I would be interested to hear from you and to pass on your tip to the rest of the readers.

Another insight into the life of the ezine writer is dealing with unsubscribers.  When the first few people unsubscribed from my ezine I was deeply hurt, but now I realize that it’s just a healthy part of readers life cycle.  The time comes when people have got the information that they need from me and move on to other fields.

I also know that there are scams where the unsubscribe link actually adds you to more spam lists.  My tip is to check out the address in Google, if the site looks genuine then I personally would use the unsubscribe link.  Some people write to me saying that my own unsubscribe link does not work, this is because it sometimes wraps around to the next line and the reader does not realise they need both lines.

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

Alt Gr situation.

The last ezine produced my biggest postbag ever on the subject of Alt Gr.  This appears to be the situation with the Alt Gr keyboard, correct me if I am wrong!  In the last month I have personally examined 20 keyboards here in the UK and they all have the Alt Gr key.  However, 7 people have written from America saying that there is no such key.  Egg on Guy’s face because I intimated that if you did not know what Alt Gr meant you were an amateur.  Conclusion: Computers in different countries have different physical keyboards.

Tsshutdn.exe (Windows Server 2003)

Next week it will be back to the usual style of tips, but here is a tip for those who like to collect useful executables.

Imagine that you need to reboot your Terminal Server.  Rather than pressing Start (Menu) then Shut Down, with the potential of users losing data and becoming hostile, why not use Tsshutdn, and close their remote session gracefully.  Moreover Tsshutdn sends users a warning explaining what is happening.  Challenge: try Tsshutdn /? on your Windows 2003 server. See Windows 8 Shutdown.

Start Run . (Dot)

Talking of the Start Menu, here is another use of the . (Dot) or (period) as some would call it.  Try this: Start, Run (box) then type . (dot).  What do you see?  A flashy way of going to your user profile.  Perhaps not as good as Ctrl, Shift, Esc nor as useful as Windows Key and Pause / Break, but one for your notebook.

Lots of useful utilities

E 200 Stuxnet  • Metro UI  •Review of Real-time Bandwidth Monitor  • Windows 8 Remote Desktop

E 199 Apps  •E 197 iPad   • E 188 Toast  •E 183 Utilities  •E 182 Ripper  •E 178 LoJack

E 165 Nifty Utilities   • E 125 Nifty Tools  • E 106 Tips  • E 99 Tips  • Virtualization Manager  • Ezines