Tech Tip: Know your scheduling options/Secure a virtual SMTP server in Win2K

Learn about your scheduling options, and find out how to secure a virtual SMTP server.

Windows 2000 Professional: Know your scheduling options for Windows

Many people need to schedule Windows to take actions at specific times, even when they're not at the computer. For example, you might want to schedule a backup or update for a certain time every day or week.

Windows 2000 includes a command-line tool to schedule events: the AT command. To learn more about the AT command, open a command prompt and type HELP AT.

The AT command isn't exactly user-friendly, particularly if you're not familiar with working with the command prompt. For that reason, many people turn to the Scheduled Tasks folder to schedule events.

To open the Scheduled Tasks folder, go to Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Scheduled Tasks. You can add a scheduled task by double-clicking the Add Scheduled Task icon to begin the Scheduled Task Wizard. The wizard prompts you to select the application and the schedule frequency.

While the Scheduled Tasks folder offers a relatively simple way to schedule events automatically, it still has limitations. If you need to respond to dialog boxes presented by scheduled applications, shut down or reboot the local or a remote computer, or take other actions not offered by the Scheduled Tasks folder, a handful of third-party tools exist that provide simplified but relatively powerful event scheduling.

One example is Splinterware's Windows Scheduler. The free version of the program provides easy scheduling and the ability to send key presses to application dialog boxes. The Professional version offers support for additional actions as well as support.

Windows 2000 Server: Secure a virtual SMTP server

The SMTP service in Internet Information Services (IIS) allows Windows 2000 Server to function as an SMTP relay agent. However, because Windows 2000 doesn't provide full mailbox support, it can't function as a full-blown mail server without the addition of a custom or third-party application to process incoming messages.

For that reason, organizations most often use the SMTP service by itself to process outgoing messages rather than incoming messages.

If you use the SMTP service in your network, it's very important that you secure the server to prevent others from using it for unauthorized relay or spamming. You can use a combination of connection control and relay settings to secure the server.

Open the IIS console, and open the properties for the SMTP virtual server. On the Access tab, click Connection. In the Connection dialog box, select Only The List Below, add the individual IP addresses, range of computers, or domain that should be able to connect to the server, and click OK.

Next, click Relay on the Access tab. Select Only The List Below, and click Add. Enter the IP address, range of computers, or domain that you want to allow to send outgoing mail through the server, and click OK.

Finally, click Authentication on the Access tab, and turn off anonymous access to the server. Then, configure each client or other SMTP server as needed to specify the necessary credentials to access the server. If set up properly, this combination of authentication, connection control, and relay control should eliminate any possibility of unauthorized use of the SMTP server.