Book Reviews

Into Win2K's Essentials

In an easy-to-use format, this book offers a wealth of information on Win2K.

The best part of a new operating system is learning new tips and tricks. It's also the worst. When you most need access to these tips and tricks, you don't have it. So, for Windows 2000, enter Windows 2000 Essential Reference. This book lives up to its name by providing a wealth of information on Win2K, and it does this in an easy-to-use format.

Each of the volume's subchapters starts with a contents description and a section titled, "You Need to Read This Section If You Want To:" Here, you can quickly determine if you've found the information you need. And if you haven't? The next section, "Related Topics", will direct you to other parts of the book where you might find it. Either way, you find specific information without thumbing through a dozen pages.

The book's contents are organized and concise. There's a refreshing lack of filler and topics are covered without running down numerous tangents. Internal cross-references make sure you can follow a particular topic-regardless of where it appears in the volume. Each chapter is loaded with tables, step-by-step instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). My favorite? "What do you do if you get a STOP error during setup?" The answer consists of a list of things to check and refers you to the Microsoft Knowledge Base. While this question may seem like a no-brainer to experienced systems administrators, it's this attention to detail and lack of assumption that make this book solid.

Active Directory is one of the most discussed aspects of Win2K, and this volume treats it accordingly. Chapter 1 starts off with an introduction explaining security, organization, and implemented features. By the time you're finished, you're into domain controllers, replication, and conflict resolution. Chapter 4 digs in even more and is referenced where appropriate throughout the book. Administrators moving from Windows NT 4.0 to Win2K will find the appendix, "A - Migrating NT 4.0 Domains to Active Directory," informative and helpful. Be sure to read this before commencing your migration.

The book also incorporates three other appendices: "B - Command Prompt Quick Reference," "C - Sample Batch Files," and "D - Resource Kit Utilities". I think Appendix B could benefit from syntax and parameter guidelines, while Appendix C could stand some revision to make it more useful.

It's key to note that this book isn't targeted at a particular user level. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced administrators are well represented, along with developers and trainers. This is thanks to the volume's 13 authors and five reviewers, who present a well-rounded array of knowledge.

The book's only obviously weak area is in its coverage of Virtual Private Networks. But it does point out that the coverage is inadequate, stating "The following section simply introduces the concept of a VPN." I found this strange in an otherwise highly detailed book.

Still, if you're working with Win2K, or soon will be, you'll do well to have this book in your library. You'll almost certainly need it at some point.

About the Author

Paul G. Brown, MCSD, a developer, speaker, and a frequent contributor to, lives in New Berlin, Illinois. When not in front of the computer, he can be found chasing Jerry, Wesley, Jordan and Dillon for Mom.

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