Tuesday, April 26, 2005

So what's in Small Business Server Service Pack 1 Anyway??

Well if you want to check out more resources on SBS Service Pack 1 you might look at the following. Notice that some links may not be active until the actual release occurs.

SBS 2003 SP1 Landing Page on Microsoft.com

Technical Information on SBS 2003 SP1
What’s New for Windows SBS 2003 SP1
Product Documentation on Microsoft.com

Technical Resources Support for System Builders

Here's some of the overview:

SBS 2003 SP1 Component
Enhancements to the Information Center page in Server Management, enabling easier access and participation in community Newsgroup and Community web site (access web chats, user groups, KB articles, other resources)

Pages of Your Company Web Site are Not Displayed in Internet Search Results
Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 includes an update that prevents Web robots from cataloging all or part of your company’s internal Web site. Prior to release of this update, this was manual.

Windows Server Service Pack 1

Data execution protection
Enhanced security
Increased reliability

Windows Sharepoint Services Service Pack 1

Significant security enhancements
Improved support for large files
Stability and performance improvements

Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Exchange Server 2003 is automatically configured to reject mail sent to accounts that don’t exist in AD directory service
New functionality to prevent spammers from harvesting valid accounts from Active Directory

Outlook 2003 Service Pack 1

Outlook 2003 SP1 deployed to client computers where Outlook was installed
Latest security fixes and settings for Outlook 2003
Improvements to the junk email filter
Improved options for Rules and Alerts

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Windows XP SP2 installed by default on client computers running Windows XP
Windows firewall automatically enabled on client computers running Windows XP SP2
Pre-determined firewall configuration for security and functionality
Security center enabled to warn users of problems

SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SBS Premium)

A rollup of security and platform improvements since SQL Server 2000 Sp3a (currently ships with SBS 2003)
Automatic installation to the MSDE databases provided by SBS 2003 Monitoring, SharePoint and ISA Server 2004 (applies to Premium and Standard edition)

ISA Server 2004 (SBS Premium)

Full-featured, application-layer-aware firewall
Virtual private network (VPN)

Well looks like I've got enough to keep me busy for a while!

Coming Soon: Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Gentlemen, start your engines! OK so my 5 year old enjoys Nascar but are you ready to get up and roll with Service Pack 1 for Small Business Server? The SBS Service Pack 1 Download site is up and ready to roll. Now it's just a matter of time.

What's included in SBS Service Pack 1 you say?
Windows Server™ 2003 SP1
Windows® SharePoint™ Services 2.0 SP1
Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 SP1
Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2003 SP1
Windows XP SP2 for Client Deployment
Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 Component
Microsoft® SQL Server 2000 SP4 (Premium only)
Microsoft® Internet and Security Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 (Premium only)

For resellers and partners new SKUs and Media will be available shortly.

And if you're wondering if this is it for this year you're wrong. Microsoft has committed to 2nd Half of 2005 rolling out SBS 2003 R2 with just a little more including improved patch and update management, no doubt including features of Windows Server Update Services. Also included will be new server and client anti spam technology integration.

And then in 2007 will be SBS built on Longhorn. Included will be things like:

Simplify skills required to deploy, configure, manage and troubleshoot SBS environments
Improve iWorker experience
Stronger Desktop Integration
Stronger LOB support
Extranet scenarios

Definitely SBS will be with us for the long haul! If you want a drill down of SBS SP1 items check out my next post.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Outlook Not Shutting Down

Had a frustrating situation happen this past week where Outlook 2003 would remain on the task bar and running even though my client had shut it down. This caused him to manually go to the task manager and shut down the outlook.exe process. Not a great thing and frequently it would cause problems.

After no success I posted a msg in the Microsoft Partner Private newsgroup and got a response that surprised me a little bit. Take a look at Slipstick's site for a possible problem. Wow nice to hear real world fixes from Microsoft and not have to scour Microsoft's huge site. I've used Slipstick before and it's a great resource for anyone that uses Exchange or Outlook.

The problem? Sure enough Slipstick had it. The Fourelle Venturi Client was the culprit. I uninstalled this and voila everything shut down properly. How did I know it was the Venturi Client? I used another little beauty of a utility from www.sysinternals.com, Process Explorer. I could look at the Outlook.exe process and see the .dll that was holding the process open. A quick Google of the .dll brought me to the Venture client.

Now I've got a satisfied client. Sometimes it's just simple troubleshooting that helps!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Got a Big MAC and SBS?

Microsoft released a nice document on connecting Mac OS X 10.3 clients and higher to a Windows SBS 2003 Network.

I have monitored the SBS documentation weblog previously and they put out a beta of this document. It was right on. I recently had a client with Mac OS X and following the doc was smooth sailing to get everything going. This client has a Windows XP laptop, a PowerMac laptop, a Treo 600 and a Mac at home and all have Outlook synchronized with his calendar, email, and contacts on everyone! Now that's a powerful Server Operating Sytem.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Michigan SBS UG Meeting Review

We had our monthly SBS UG Meeting last night at Microsoft's office in Southfield. About 35 attended a great session on Mobile devices and SBS. Nice demos by a local partner with Sprint including using the Smartphone and how to sync in real time.

One thing that was really hit on by a lot of partners is the anticipated rollout of the EVDO service by Sprint here in the metro Detroit area during May-July. With speeds up to 500K and monthly fees of $80 a lot of opportunities seem to be generated from this for customers and partners.

For instance, have you thought about if you own a construction company and you set up your EVDO service at your trailer with an external attenna before any lines are run. Instant broadband.

Or perhaps you're the retail shop who just cannot go down without Internet for credit card transactions. Perhaps EVDO would be good for a backup ISP?
You might be worried about the cost but perhaps you can only get Cable access and no DSL. Then what choice do you have besides dial up?

Just for those out there still on dial up this might be an attractive first step to broadband. Sprint evidently sees this and is ramping up service due to higher demand than expected.

Overall some great talk by those interested in using this form of communication with SBS.

Microsoft Moves a Good One

If you follow SBS, the SBS/SMB community is one of the things that really can help you in a time of need. Through the efforts of the Microsoft Central Region recently they have really stepped up and delived a home run for communication between Microsoft and Partners on such things as mssmallbiz.com, a Yahoo Group that addresses communication (gasp, Microsoft use a Yahoo group!), and a blog. Well one of the primary individuals around that has been Eric Ligman out of the Illinois office. He recently announced that he's moving to the Redmond office to help with US wide SMB partners.

Great job for Microsoft! Not just helping us here in the Central region but everywhere across the US. We hope to see Eric at the next SMB Nation and his continued presence on the blog and web groups. Keep up the work as it's definitely working.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Internet Explorer Favorites or Shortcuts Not Working?

Recently I've had several Windows XP computers that all of the sudden have their Internet Explorer Favorites or their Internet Shortcuts stop working. You see all of the Favorites however when you click on them IE does nothing.

Try this out if this is what you are seeing:

Open Registry Editor and navigate to:
Backup this key and save as REG file.
Now delete 'InternetShortcut' key.
Open Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet Options, Programs
Choose "Reset Web Settings"
The URL association should be rebuilt now.

I don't know as of yet if this is just coincidence or scumware or what but the above has worked for me.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Staples Small Business Showcase

Today we participated in something that I wanted to let all small business owners and technology ones as well know about. It was the Staples Small Business Showcase.

Evidently about 50 of these are done a year and I must say that it was quite enjoyable to be involved in it today. Staples gives 10-15 businesses a chance to showcase their business at their store and they call it the Small Business Showcase. At the same time they do the marketing and send out $15 coupons to all small business owners in the area.

The crowd today on a bright sunny day here in Michigan was great and we walked away with several leads. Definitely take the time to see if your local Staples store will be doing one. The best part? When you sign up you are the only business in that sector that is allowed to participate. Some examples today was the Chamber of Commerce, Floor Covering store, Financial Advisors, Real Estate, Apartment Complex and Chiropractor. Check it out as another avenue of marketing for your company.

Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 and Windows Mobile

There's a nice article over at Internet Week regarding the upcoming "Magneto" or Windows Mobile release and Exchange 2003 SP2 that will include better mobile capabilities.

I can't wait for this one. I already own the Audiovox SMT5600 and SBS 2003 with Exchange 2003 SP1 simply works great for quick easy configuration of email on Windows devices. If it gets better I'll be pushing it hard and never looking back. Why would I subject my customers to anything else than Windows Smartphones or Pocket PC's when it's a pain for me to configure and them to use? SP2 for Exchange sounds even better. Sign me up to use it ASAP.