Forcing Theme Settings in Windows Vista

Recently I was working with a customer to find a way to automate forcing a specific Aero theme in Windows Vista.  The idea was to have the Vista clients "colour-coded" according to their use; so whenever a user logs on the window border colour would indicate the type of system (which was actually based on…

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Service Security in Windows Vista

After a long break from blogging due to holidays and a heavy workload, I’ve finally got round to writing something new.  To follow on from my last post on File and Registry Virtualisation, I thought I’d take a look at another Vista security-related topic:  Service Security.  Services generally run with elevated privileges and are therefore very attractive targets for hackers…

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Windows Vista File and Registry Virtualisation

Windows Vista is designed to be more secure than previous versions of Windows. Part of the improvements are related to User Account Control (UAC), which encourages the good practice of not logging on with an Administrator account (and even if you do, it limits your available rights by default). While this is good for security,…

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Clustering Best Practices: Checking Hotfix Compliance

Do you use Microsoft Clustering? Are your clusters configured according to the current Microsoft recommended practices? How can you be sure of the configuration? Questions, questions. The first is easy, the second you might be unsure of and the third is somewhat more difficult. If you search around Microsoft.com you will find recommendations on how…

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Professional Microsoft Virtual Server 2005

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a reference to an unpublished Virtual Server book buried in the middle of my recent list of virtualisation resources.  At the time I compiled the list, the book wasn’t actually available, but it is now, so I thought I’d give it a bit of promotion: If you’re into virtualisation,…

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(Re-)Start Me Up …

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m currently working on a Windows Vista workshop. As part of that, I’ve created a simple application that demonstrates the basic interaction of the Windows Installer with Vista’s new Restart Manager (RM). I thought I’d post some information on how easy this was to do, which you might…

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Windows Vista Resource Kit Released

If you’re a long-time Windows Admin, then you’ll know how invaluable the Windows Resource Kit has been for the various Windows versions over the years.  Now the Windows Vista version has been released and with 1,500 pages of in-depth technical information and over 150 scripts and tools I’m sure it will prove just as much of a “must-have” item for your bookshelf. Get…

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How to Interpret Windows Installer Logs

[Updated: 4 April 2007] If you have a problem with the Windows Installer or an MSI package you’re installing, it’s a sure bet that you will be told by some smart person to "enable logging". That’s great advice, except … what do you do with the log once you get it? A common technique is…

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Winlogon, What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

If you are having issues with slow startup, logon, logoff or shutdown, it is possible to enable extra status messages from Winlogon to help pinpoint the cause of the problem. Enabling this verbose output for Windows 2000/XP/2003 is described in these articles: KB316243 – How to receive verbose startup, shutdown, logon, and logoff status messagesKB325376 –…

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Vista Link Extravaganza

Following on from my last post on vitualisation, I’ve compiled a similar “one-stop-shop” list for an up-coming session I’m delivering on Windows Vista, except this time you get to see the information before the workshop attendees (unless, of course, you will be attending the workshop, in which case, look away now, or you’ll just spoil things for yourself …) Again, if you…

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