Exchange Messaging Outlook
Volume 6, Number 16


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Greetings! Welcome to Vol. 6, No. 16, of Exchange Messaging Outlook, a biweekly newsletter about Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook.

We're delighted to welcome Kaitlin Duck Sherwood, author of the "Overcome Email Overload" series, as a regular EMO columnist. Kaitlin specializes in using the built-in features of Outlook and other mail programs to help you spend more time getting your work time and less time staring at your Inbox. You can order her "Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002" book from:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0970885172/cdolivthepremier/

or via the book's web page at

http://www.overcomeemailoverload.com/outlook/

Today's highlights:
  • Exchange 2000 Service Pack 2
  • Office XP Service Pack 1
  • Goner and other viruses
  • Farewell to MyPalm
  • Overcome Email Overload tip: Organize and prioritize

Regular features:

  • New utilities
  • Updated utilities

Exchange 2000 Service Pack 2

Exchange 2000 Service Pack 2 became available for download from Microsoft yesterday. Among the features and fixes are some very welcome enhancements for Outlook Web Access.

Download page
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2000/sp2/default.asp

Exchange 2000 Service Pack 2 Overview
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2000/sp2.asp

XGEN: List of Bugs Fixed by Exchange 2000 Server Service Packs
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311456

What's New in Exchange 2000 SP2? (by Jerry Cochran of Compaq)
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=23182

Office XP Service Pack 1

ActiveWin.com is reporting that Microsoft will release Office XP Service Pack 1 one week from today. Assuming that date sticks, we're planning a special issue of EMO next Friday to cover the release and alert you to any gotchas.

Given Microsoft's track record on updates for Office XP so far, we think SP1 will definitely be something you'll want to install.

Goner and other viruses

What is it going to take to convince mail administrators that they need to block certain attachment types at the server and users that they shouldn't just open any attachment they see? LoveLetter was a wakeup call, but Nimda, Sircam, and BadTrans should have been convincing arguments for more protection.

So why has the Goner virus been spreading this week? Goner is like the LoveLetter and Anna Kournikova viruses -- the payload doesn't execute silently like Nimda or last week's headline virus, BadTrans. Goner runs only when a user actually opens the attached file. I have heard reports of company presidents -- even IT company presidents -- opening the Gone.scr attachment (or any of the other filenames that Goner users) and thus spreading the virus through their entire company. Is there any reason people should be exchanging .scr (screen saver) files in your office? Why not block them before they ever hit your mail users?

And if you're a user, did you recognize the Goner message as a virus right away? If so, pat yourself on the back. It had all the telltale signs -- a misspelled word, an unsolicited attachment, a message from someone you know that the file would be just what you wanted. Of course, if you had the Outlook Email Security Update, Office 2000 SP-2, or Outlook 2002 installed, Outlook probably blocked the file so you never had the chance to be tempted to open it. See https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/esecup.htm#attsec for more information on Outlook attachment security.

I also heard stories of people checking the attachment with their virus scanner and, finding it clean, feeling it was safe to open it. Remember that most virus programs can't detect new viruses that don't resemble previous attacks. So, you really can't depend on a virus scanner for 100% assurance that the file is OK. All a virus scanner can do is detect and quarantine or delete viruses that it knew about when you downloaded the last pattern update for your scanner. If something new and different arrives, the virus scanner won't find it. Yes, it's better than no protection at all, but don't make it your only protection and make sure you update the virus patterns frequently.

Rule #1 for users: If you receive an attachment you weren't expecting, ask the sender to confirm that they actually sent it.

Rule #1 for administrators: Block potentially dangerous attachments before they get to users.

Rule #2 for users: Stay current with Internet Explorer patches. Without them, you're vulnerable to viruses like BadTrans that use weaknesses in HTML mail. See https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/htmlmail.htm for the patches you need.

Farewell to MyPalm

The MyPalm portal (http://my.palm.com), which offered a web-based solution to synchronizing Outlook across several devices, is discontinuing its PIM services next month. In a notice to subscribers (http://my.palm.com/Corporate/whatsnew.jsp), MyPalm says that it will delete all data for the Date Book, Address Book, To Dos, Reminders and Memo Pad features on January 10, 2002, and advises users to retrieve that information by synchronizing with Outlook or your Palm device before that date.

Overcome Email Overload tip: Organize and prioritize

One of the biggest problems with email is prioritizing messages. If you deal with messages in the order that they arrived, you will probably find yourself spending too much time on unimportant messages and not enough on the important items.

Perhaps you skim down the list of messages and use your eyes and memory to make a mental list of what order to deal with messages. Alas, this is very hard to do. Not only are eyes and brains error-prone, but the list keeps changing!

If you've tried Outlook's Rules Wizard to group related messages in various folders, you might have had a hard time keeping track of your "to-do" messages (messages to read, respond to, or act on). It's easier to keep track of "to-do" messages when they are all in one folder.

I have good news for you: there is a workable alternative. Instead of using the Rules Wizard to move messages to folders, use rules to assign a category to each message. Then create a view that groups messages by the Category field and voila! Your messages can all stay in your Inbox, but they will be organized in groups. (Outlook won't let you sort your messages by Category, but a nice side effect of groups is that you can expand and collapse groups by clicking on the +/- in the group heading.)

Furthermore, if you put a letter at the beginning of each category, you can easily force them to alphabetize in priority order. For example, you could use the category names a-Spouse, b-Boss, c-Coworkers, all the way down to z-Spam. This way, your Inbox will be prioritized as well as organized.

And, if you move messages out of your Inbox when you are done with them, it will be very easy to keep track of your "to-do" messages. In the next newsletter, I'll discuss efficient ways to move finished messages out of your Inbox.

**** This tip is adapted from "Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002" by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood. Find out more at http://www.OvercomeEmailOverload.com/outlook/

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New Utilities

HIDE FAX NUMBERS
http://www.sperrysoftware.com/Outlook_Solutions.htm
Changes all fax numbers for a contact to have "Fax:" (or other text) before the number. This prevents Outlook from recognizing it as a valid address, so you won't see it in the Outlook Address Book. You can strip the prepended text at any time, for either one contact or all of them at once. Works on multiple Outlook folders for nested contact folders.

IRONMAIL
http://www.ciphertrust.com/ironmail/index.htm
Dedicated security appliance that sits between the network firewall and mail servers, including Exchange, to protect against buffer overrun and denial-of-service attacks, virus , and spam. Monitors for other suspicious activities that might indicate an intrusion. Provides some e-mail policies for incoming and outgoing messages. Uses a hardware accelerator for SSL encryption, without the need to encrypt on every mail server.

JOURNAL ALL CONTACTS
http://www.sperrysoftware.com/Outlook_Solutions.htm
Turns journaling on or off for all contacts within a folder with one click. Also allows you to turn journaling on or off for individual contacts within subfolders.

POLICY PATROL
http://www.policypatrol.com/index.htm
Personalized email disclaimers and signatures for Exchange 5.5 and 2000. Supports formatting for both HTML and rich-text messages and multiple disclaimers in each message. Distinguishes between internal and external messages, using different disclaimers for each.

SMARTR
http://imanami.com/products/smartr/
Run reports on distribution lists, users and more, pulling data from Exchange 5.5, Active Directory, or Exchange 2000. List all distribution lists and their members or just the number of members and present the report in XML, HTML, or Excel format. Free.

Updated utilities

EXCHANGE 2000 SERVICE PACK 2
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2000/sp2/default.asp
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Updated Sunday January 04 2015

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