A solid understanding of NT 4.0 will help you understand Windows 2000. This book spells out a track of attack for you.

Separating NT 4.0 from Win2K

A solid understanding of NT 4.0 will help you understand Windows 2000. This book spells out a track of attack for you.

Let’s face it. The learning curve on Windows 2000 is huge—in fact, it’s downright overwhelming. You’ll need lots of time to grasp all the new concepts, services, and bells and whistles that Win2K has to offer. You’ll be at an advantage if you have a solid understanding of how NT 4.0 works, since Win2K borrows all of NT 4.0’s features and adds a good chunk more. To keep you from becoming overwhelmed, it’s essential that you separate the core Win2K services that you should initially learn (for both testing and deployment purposes) from the other services that you can graduate up to. Concentrate first on mastering the TCP/IP protocol, DNS, DHCP, WINS (maybe), Active Directory, and Group Policy.

Product Information

Upgrading to Microsoft Windows 2000 Training Kit Beta Evaluation

Microsoft Press
ISBN 1-57231-894-5
$79.99, 431 pages

Unfortunately, if your goal is to pass any of the certification tests that will be introduced this year, you’ll have to add Routing and Remote Access, Terminal Services, Remote Installation Service, software publishing, Distributed File System, Internet Connection Sharing, Certificate Server, and a few more to the list. So take it one step at a time. It’s like flipping through a college catalog at the beginning of freshman year. Start with the basics and work your way up to the more difficult elective courses. By all means don’t jump into number theory.

Normally, I review study guides, software, and books that prep you for an MCP exam; in my reviews I do some detailed question analysis to judge whether the product is worthy of your time and money. However, since Win2K is such a new product, such study products are few and far between. Microsoft in its wisdom has decided to get you moving on your Win2K upgrade path in an expedient manner by retiring the core NT 4.0 exams at the end of 2000, so it’s important that you plan early for your upgrade. Any products that can help you in that endeavor now are worthy of review. I hope that by the time the Win2K exams are released (betas in March), we’ll see a steady stream of prep tools.

Now, About This Book

I read Upgrading to Windows 2000 Training Kit Beta Evaluation from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I found it easy to read, as the concepts were well presented. I caution you, however, that this book is not for beginners. It’s intended for experienced NT 4.0 administrators who want to get up to speed quickly on Windows 2000, at least from a conceptual standpoint. Essentially, that’s what this book is all about: It introduces you to the major concepts and services of Win2K and the major differences between NT 4.0 and Win2K.

The book begins with an introduction to the four versions of the Win2K platform and ends with a chapter on upgrading. The other 11 chapters in between are filled with essential information for understanding the positioning, installation, major networking services, security, and support skills necessary to initially deploy the new platform. Throughout the book are numerous hands-on practice exercises, and at the end of each chapter is a mini-review set of questions.

This kit is billed as a self-study guide and to really make the most of it as a training aid, you should have at least two networked computers at your disposal for trying out the practice exercises. You’ll have to provide your own copy of Windows 2000, however, as it doesn’t come with any software (the book was written with Release Candidate 1 in mind). I highly recommend that you progress through the book sequentially, as the practice exercises build upon one another. If you’re installing a version of Win2K later than Release Candidate 1, keep in mind that menu and dialog box changes between the various Win2K versions may affect your practice exercises.

I was really impressed with the clarity of content that this book offers. Although it’s technical in nature, an experienced NT 4.0 administrator can easily grasp the major concepts of the Win2K platform. After you read the book and perform the hands-on exercises, you’ll have had just enough exposure to Win2K to get past the intimidation slope of your Win2K learning curve. The next step is to really dig in deep and figure out how Win2K ticks.

The book does a fairly good job of covering the similarities and differences between the various Win2K platforms. It also provides enough information and hands-on for understanding how to perform a basic Win2K installation (CD and over the network). Even though unattended installs, SYSPREP, and Remote Installation Services (RIS) are discussed, there are no relevant practice exercises for these methods. I highly recommend that you perform these other install methods as supplemental exercises, because you’ll need to know how these work before attempting the MCP exams. Upgrading to Win2K is covered conceptually to a comfortable degree at the end of the book but again is lacking in practice exercises. To really grasp how an upgrade works, I recommend setting up a practice NT 4.0 network (domain environment) complete with users and groups and then performing a hands-on upgrade to Win2K.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to the highlights of planning and configuring DNS, Active Directory, Group Policy, Remote Access, DHCP, and WINS, with the remainder dedicated to understanding the tasks of file systems and disk management and disaster recovery. From an MCP exam standpoint, the book lacks sufficient conceptual detail on Internet printing, hardware troubleshooting, Plug and Play, Advanced Power Management, file synchronization, Kerberos authentication, Terminal Services, routing, Internet Connection Sharing and NAT, Certificate Services, and Active Directory design and server roles.

Primer for Experts

If you’re an experienced NT 4.0 administrator, consider this book to be a primer on updating your support skills to Windows 2000, to be supplemented later by other self-study training kits, instructor-led classes, white papers, and hands-on experience. Don’t attempt to take any of your Win2K MCP exams, (especially 70-240, Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Windows NT 4.0) by using this book as your primary study tool. Having said that, I highly recommend this book to the aspiring NT 4.0-to-Win2K upgrade MCSE as a starting point for figuring out how to tackle the upgrade track. If you have the discipline for self-study, it’s an excellent tool for getting your Win2K certification momentum going.

About the Author

James Carrion, MCM R2 Directory, MCITP, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CISSP has worked as a computer consultant and technical instructor for the past 16 years. He’s the owner of and principal instructor for MountainView Systems, LLC, which specializes in accelerated Microsoft Certification training.

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