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Windows XP

Administering Your Network - Broadcasting Console Messages

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3/14/2011 9:22:34 AM
Administering a network sometimes requires that you contact one or more users. For example, you might ask users to disconnect from the network or from a share because you need to perform some maintenance. Similarly, you might want to send an announcement to all users about a new network resource, such as a printer. To handle these and similar situations, you can send a console message from the Computer Management snap-in to one or more computers on the network.

Starting the Messenger Service

To accomplish this, you need to activate Windows XP’s Messenger service (not to be confused with the Windows Messenger instant messaging program). This service is disabled by default in most Windows XP installations (particularly Service pack 2 systems), so follow these steps to enable and start the service:

1.
In the Computer Management snap-in, connect to the computer you want to manage.

2.
Select the Services and Applications, Services.

3.
Double-click the Messenger service.

4.
In the Startup Type list, select Manual (or Automatic if you want the service available each time you start Windows XP).

5.
Click Apply to enable the service.

6.
Click Start to start the service.

7.
Click OK.

Before proceeding, I should warn you that starting the Messenger service can lead to problems because spammers have figured out how to exploit this service to send unsolicited commercial messages to your desktop. Figure 1 shows an example. However, as long you you’re running Windows Firewall, such spam should not get through, and so using the Messenger service is safe.

Figure 1. An example of Messenger service spam.


Sending a Console Message

Here are the steps to follow to send a console message:

1.
You have two choices for getting started:

  • If you want to send a console message to only the computer you’re managing, select the console root.

  • If you want to send a console message to all the computers that currently have open sessions in the computer you’re managing, select the System Tools, Shared Folders, Sessions branch.

2.
Select Action, All Tasks, Send Console Message. The Send Console Message dialog box appears.

3.
Type your message in the Message text box, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Use the Send Console Message dialog box to compose and send a message to the specified computers.


4.
To add another computer as a recipient, click Add, type the computer name in the Select Computer dialog box, and click OK.

5.
Click Send. Windows XP broadcasts the message to the specified computers.

Figure 3 shows an example of the message as it appears on the recipient computer.

Figure 3. An example of a legitimate Messenger service console message.

Other -----------------
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