A user has discovered a limitation in Windows NT Server which could have potentially disastrous repercussions for network administrators if wrongly diagnosed.
Stuart Ross, director of Brody, a company which specialises in data security auditing, found the shortcoming while carrying out an audit for a client, a finance house. He noted that the NT Server Admin and User Profile utilities in NT Server 3.51 were unable to determine last login times on networks containing multiple servers.
Ross thought he could get round the problem by using the NET command from the NT command-line, but the information returned was incorrect, leading him to make the wrong diagnosis that NT Server's User Account Database (UAD) had been corrupted.
The UAD holds all information about NT users such as user-name and passwords.
If a UAD becomes corrupted, it will prevent users from logging on to the system, with potentially disastrous consequences.
QA Training, which runs courses for NT network administrators, said it was aware of the limitation, which applies to all versions of NT Server.
Paul Roddick, senior NT lecturer at QA, said: "Even on NT 4.0, there is no way to check when a user has logged out." He suggested Microsoft build a feature into NT 5.0, the next release of the operating system due in the second half of 1997, for checking logins.
Rob Lane, a systems engineer at Microsoft, confirmed the limitation but said network administrators could use a utility called UserStat to determine last login times across multiple servers. Ross acknowledged UserStat is not included with NT Server as standard. "It is only available with the Windows NT Resource kit which costs #140."
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