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volume 9 number 6 june 2004 TipSheet

Welcome to the June issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll continue a series of tips on Windows XP.


The Automatic Search for Network Printers and Folders may have been intended to make your life a little simpler. But this time-saving feature can be a real annoyance if you work on a large LAN or move your laptop among several networks.

When your computer is connected to a LAN, this feature periodically polls the network to see whether any new printers or shared directories are available on the LAN. When Windows XP detects a new shared directory, it automatically adds a shortcut icon to My Network Places. Similarly, new printers are added to the Printers and Faxes folder. This can be convenient on a small LAN with just a few shared folders and printers, but on larger LANs, where users don't want or need to see every shared resource, this feature can cause confusion.

Fortunately, the auto-search feature is easy to turn off. Go to the Control Panel and open Folder Options. Then click the View tab. The first item in the Advanced settings area is Automatically search for network folders and printers. Uncheck the check box to turn the feature off.


To get basic information about your TCP/IP network connection, you can use the Winipcfg utility in Windows 98 and Me (Start | Run | winipcfg), or use Ipconfig/all from a command prompt if you're running Windows 2000 or XP.


Turnabout is fair play. The built-in networking features in Windows XP make it easy for other users to connect to your PC to use shared files and printers. Unfortunately, those features also make it easy for snoopers, hackers, and backdoor programs to compromise your system's security.

Your first line of defense should be a combination of a secure firewall and a good antivirus program. But even with these security measures in place, Trojan horse programs, e-mail viruses, and other nasty code can still get past your defenses.

If you suspect that someone (or something) is accessing your PC over a network or the Internet, there's an easy way to tell. The command line utility Netstat shows the status and address of every connection to your PC. Open a command line window and type Netstat �a to see a complete list of all the open connections to and from your PC.

Don't panic if you see lots of connections; most of them are supposed to be there. If you see a suspect item in the connections list, you can type Netstat -o to get the Windows process ID number for each connection. You can then match up the process ID number with the list of running tasks from Task Manager to see which programs are using which connection.


Hidden in Windows XP's System Information utility is a very good tool for getting a lot more information about what's going on. Go to Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Information. Then choose Net Diagnostics from the Tools menu. The program will ping your DNS servers, gateways, SMTP and POP3 mail servers, and proxies; test your modem and network adapters; and supply very detailed reports about your settings, as well as which tests passed and which failed.

Copyright 2004, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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