Explore, yes; print, no

Reader Jim Tierney is having a dickens of a time clowning around with patches. He supports several users who access his company's applications using Internet Explorer when they're away from the office.

A TV station that broadcasts near the Microsoft campus features a popular clown whose website includes a page called
The Amazing History of JP Patches.

Perhaps the software giant will take notice of this and publish its own page called "The Amazing History of Microsoft Patches". It would be a very long page because I keep getting reports of problems with updates.

Reader Jim Tierney is having a dickens of a time clowning around with patches. He supports several users who access his company's applications using IE (Internet Explorer) when they're away from the office. This is achieved by installing Microsoft's Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) software. The program runs on any laptop or desktop PC running IE 5.0 or later on Windows XP, 2000, Me, 98 or NT.

Users' ability to remotely use applications through the browser gets creamed, however, if they happen to install service pack 1 for Windows XP or various patches for IE 5.0 and 6.0.

Breaking this ability was intentional. Microsoft designed the new patches to disable ActiveX controls that have security holes. Unpatched versions allow a malicious person to gain control of a PC when it views a specially crafted web page or email message.

This is all described by Microsoft here. In a related document, Microsoft explains how to restore remote access to users. First, the company's terminal server must be updated with new software. Then, the relevant .asp files are edited to refer to a new class ID and file:



Unfortunately, Tierney says, this change makes it impossible for users to print to a local printer, which is usually connected to their LPT1 port.

The problem must be fixed by further of your affected .asp or .htm files. For example, you need to add a line to each file to re-enable printer redirection. Other commands also must be invoked to re-establish drive redirection under Windows XP.

A good resource that explains this step by step is here. This page is on a site by Alex Angelopoulos, a TSAC specialist.

To say this is a confusing situation is a gross understatement. Whew.

Attention, readers. I've just completed a new Windows project, which I'd managed to keep under wraps for months. You'll be among the first to know about it by sending a blank email message to new@brianlivingston.com, with "project" in the subject line. I think you'll like it. I promise your address will never be sold or given out, and I'll never send you any unrelated messages.

Livingston is co-author of 10 Windows books. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

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