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2,001 Tips
Windows NT 4.0

Identical Twins?

NT 4.0 uses the same Windows Explorer user interface as Windows 95, so any tips for customizing Explorer elsewhere in this issue apply to NT 4.0. This includes using the TweakUI program.

Smart Shopper

If you're planning to buy NT Workstation for 10 or more systems (or NT Server for a LAN with 30 or more users), Microsoft's Open Licensing program may save you money. By signing a two-year flat-rate maintenance contract, you're automatically entitled to software upgrades during that period. For more information, browse Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com and search for "open license."

Peer Pressure

Microsoft has changed the license for NT 4.0 Workstation so that it can't be legally used for more than 10 simultaneous inbound peer connections, including Web/gopher/ftp services as well as file and printer sharing (it may affect other services as well-we were still waiting on clarification from Microsoft at press time). What to do if you've been using NT Workstation 3.51 as a Web server? Microsoft wants you to upgrade to NT Server 4.0, and will let you do so for half price ($409). See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/common/aa268.htm for details.

Free Webware

Web developers and in-house intranet users can save money by using the new Peer Web Server (PWS) feature built into NT Workstation 4.0. PWS provides basically the same features as Internet Information Server (IIS) on NT Server 4.0, but is legally limited to a maximum of 10 inbound connections by the NT 4.0 Workstation license agreement. PWS is installed from the Add/Remove Programs icon in the NT 4.0 Control Panel.

Disappearing GUI

The Start Menu and Taskbar are two of NT 4.0's best new user interface features-most of the time. There are times, however, when you may not want to have them occupying screen real estate (when doing presentations, for instance). To make them disappear, right-click on any blank area of the Taskbar, and right-click the mouse to bring up the Taskbar's context menu. Then select Properties from that menu to display Taskbar Properties and check the Auto hide box. To get the Taskbar back, just slide your mouse to the bottom of the screen.

Task Manager

NT 4.0 features an enhanced Task Manager that lets you view and (if necessary) shut down not only applications, but also processes. To run it, right-click on any blank area of the Taskbar, and right-click the mouse to bring up the Taskbar's context menu. Then select Task Manager from that menu.

Modem Management

Different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may require different modem settings, depending on what line negotiation protocols they use. You can customize this for your system by double-clicking the Modems icon in the Control Panel, which opens a Modems Properties dialog. Select your modem and click the Properties button, then select the Connection tab on the resulting modem-specific Properties dialog, and click the Advanced button. An Advanced Connection Settings dialog appears. The Extra Settings field on this dialog lets you type a command string that will be sent to the modem before dialing. For instance, on a Motorola TA-210 modem, the string &C1&D2E0V1%A2=95 sets up the modem to use the PPPC line-negotiation protocol, while the string &C1&D2E0V1%A2=2 sets up the older V.120 protocol. Other modems may use different command strings-check with the manufacturer.

Remote Control

The client side of Remote Access Services (RAS) in NT 4.0 is called Dial-Up Networking (for consistency with Windows 95). The old RAS monitor applet is replaced by a greatly enhanced Dial-Up Monitor, which is managed through a Control Panel icon. Dial-Up Networking offers blinking activity lights in an icon next to the clock on the Taskbar's right-hand side. Right-clicking on the lights displays a context menu with options to open the full Dial-up Monitor interface that provides information on any open connections.

Ins and Outs of Software

Like Windows 95, NT 4.0 has an Add/Remove Programs icon in the Control Panel. It's used to install and uninstall compatible software and system options (such as the Windows Messaging e-mail client, Internet Explorer Web browser, and Peer Web Server-all of which are included on the NT 4.0 distribution CD).

Ex-change Your E-mail

The Windows Messaging e-mail system included in NT 4.0 Workstation and Server is upwardly compatible with Microsoft's Exchange Server 4.0. To upgrade a Windows Messaging workgroup postoffice to Exchange Server, start with the workgroup postoffice files on an NT Server (if they're on a workstation, you'll have to move the postoffice to a server-ideally configured as a backup domain controller, or BDC). To do so, install Exchange Server 4.0 Service Pack 2 or higher according to the instructions. During setup you will be asked if you want to upgrade the workgroup postoffice; accept that option and continue with the Exchange Server installation. User accounts will be automatically migrated into Exchange Server. Then follow the instructions to upgrade client software on the workstations.

Flashy Video

NT 4.0 shows off its faster video drivers and OpenGL support with new Screen Savers: Double-click the Display icon in Control Panel, and select the Screen Saver tab. Then select a Screen Saver from the list (if you don't see any screen savers listed, run Add/Remove Programs from Control Panel, select the Windows NT Setup tab, double-click Accessories, and make sure the Screen Savers item is checked). The most impressive is 3D Maze (OpenGL), inspired by a famous video game that we're all doomed to play at least once.

Make Your Point

You can make NT 4.0 look a bit friendlier with Custom Mouse Pointers. Double-click the Mouse icon in Control Panel, and select the Pointers tab. Pick from the list of available Schemes (if the list is empty, run Add/Remove Programs from Control Panel, select the Windows NT Setup tab, double-click Accessories, and make sure the Mouse Pointers item is checked). You can also custom-design your own Mouse Pointers (including animated ones) using tools in the NT Resource Kit.

CD Surprise

NT 4.0's distribution CD includes numerous utilities first found in the Windows 95 Plus Pack. Among the items provided are the Internet Jumpstart Kit, including Internet Explorer 2.0, and the 3D "Space Cadet" Pinball Game (both installed using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel), as well as additional Display settings. The latter may be found by double-clicking the Display icon in the NT Control Panel, and selecting the Plus! Tab. You can select larger icons (best at display resolutions above 800x600) and change the appearance of system icons including My Computer, Network Neighborhood, and the Recycle Bin, among other options.

A Perfect View

Unlike past versions, NT 4.0 offers Dynamic Display Settings that let you change screen resolution and color depth on-the-fly. Double-click the Display icon in the NT Control Panel, and select the Settings tab. Then reset the Color Palette to the desired color depth, and the Desktop Area to an appropriate screen resolution. Click OK, and the new settings will take effect immediately (reboot if the system has to load new fonts).

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Save money on long-distance dial-up connections with the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) support built into NT 4.0. It allows you to create a virtual private network (VPN) on the Internet. With PPTP set up at both ends of a network connection, you can have a secure VPN over the Internet-eliminating long-distance charges (other than what you pay for Internet access).

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