Tech Tip: Configure Active Desktop content/Manage DNS zone transfer settings in Win2K

Learn how to configure Active Desktop content and manage DNS zone transfer settings.

Windows 2000 Professional: Configure Active Desktop content

When Microsoft first introduced its Active Desktop, it created a handful of sample Active Desktop items, including the Microsoft Investor Ticker, MSNBC Weather Map, and a few others. While there are relatively few content items developed specifically for Active Desktop, you can use almost any Web content on the desktop.

Adding dynamic content to the desktop is easy. Right-click the desktop, choose Properties, and select the Web tab. Click New, which opens the New Active Desktop Item dialog box. Enter the URL, and click OK.

When Windows launches the Add Item To Active Desktop dialog box, you can click OK to add the item with its default settings. Or you can click Customize to launch a wizard that lets you specify synchronization settings and enter authentication credentials if the remote site requires them.

You can only specify synchronization once a day at a specific time. However, you can tweak the properties of the existing schedule to change the frequency.

On the Web tab, select the site, and click the Properties button. On the Schedule tab, select the synchronization schedule, and click the Edit button. On the Schedule tab, choose a synchronization frequency from the Schedule Task drop-down list. Use the additional options to configure the schedule.

Windows 2000 Server: Manage DNS zone transfer settings

DNS supports zone transfers, which enable DNS servers to exchange information about the DNS zones they manage. For example, let's say you host your own DNS server but your ISP hosts a secondary copy of your zone.

Zone transfers enable the secondary server to pull the records from the primary server on a periodic basis, eliminating the need to synchronize two unlinked copies of the zone using other methods. In short, zone transfers provide that synchronization.

In most situations, the only reason to use zone transfers is to allow a secondary server to pull a copy of your zone from the primary server. For security reasons, you might want to restrict zone transfers to only those servers that host secondary copies of your zone.

You can configure zone transfers on a zone-by-zone basis in the Windows DNS service. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | DNS.
  2. Expand the Forward Lookup Zones branch, select the zone you want to configure, and click the Properties button on the toolbar.
  3. Select the Zone Transfers tab.

At this point, you have two options to secure zone transfers. The first restricts zone transfers to only those servers listed on the Name Servers tab. The second restricts zone transfers to only the servers whose IP addresses you specify on the Zone Transfers tab.

If you choose the former, make sure the Name Servers tab lists the secondary DNS servers, and add them if this isn't the case. Otherwise, enter the IP addresses of all secondary servers on the Zone Transfers tab. Click OK when you finish entering the necessary server information.