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INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

We would like to thank you for purchasing or considering the purchase of Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. It's amazing the changes that 15 years can bring to a computer product such as Windows. When we wrote our first Windows book back in the mid-eighties, our publisher didn't even think the book would sell well enough to print more than 5,000 copies. Microsoft stock wasn't even a blip on most investors'radar screens. Boy, were they wrong! Who could have imagined that a little over a decade later, anyone who hoped to get hired for even a temp job in a small office would need to know how to use Microsoft Windows, Office, and a PC? Twelve Windows books later, we're still finding new and exciting stuff to tell our readers.

Some people (including the U.S. judicial system) claim Microsoft's predominance on the PC operating system arena was won unethically through monopolistic practices. Whether or not this is true (we're going to stay out of the politics in this book), we believe that Windows has earned its position today through reasons other than having a stranglehold on the market. Consider that Windows NT 3.1 had 5 million lines of code. Windows 2000 weighs in with over 29 million. This is a lot of work, by anyone's accounting. Who could have imagined in 1985 that any decent operating system a decade and half later must have support for so many technologies that didn't even exist at the time: CD-ROM, DVD, CD-R and CD-RW, Internet and intranet, USB, APM, ACPI, USB, RAID, Web-TV, email and newsgroup clients, UPS, fault tolerance, disk encryption and compression…? The list goes on. And could we have imagined that a Microsoft Certified System Engineer certificate (MCSE) could prove as lucrative as a medical or law degree?

Although rarely on the bleeding edge of technology, and often taking the role of the dictator, Bill Gates has at least been benevolent from the users'point of view. In 1981, when we were building our first computers, the operating system (CP/M) had to be modified in assembly language, recompiled, and hardware parts soldered together to make almost any new addition (such as a video display terminal) work. Virtually nothing was standardized, with the end result being that computers remained out of reach for average citizens.

Together Microsoft and IBM changed all that. Today Joe and Jane Doe can purchase a computer, printer, scanner, Zip drive, keyboard, modem, monitor, and video card over the Internet, plug it in, install Windows, and they will probably work together. The creation and adoption (and sometimes forcing) of hardware and software standards that have made the PC a household appliance the world over can largely be credited to Microsoft, like it or not. The unifying glue of this PC revolution has been Windows.

Yes, we all love to hate Windows, but it's here to stay. Linux is on the rise, but for most businesses, at least for some time, Windows and Windows applications are "where it's at." And Windows 2000 ushers in truly significant changes to the landscape. That's why we were excited to write this book.

Who Is This Book For?

We all know this book will make a hefty doorstop in a few years. (You probably have a few already. We've even written a few.) Yes, it is a large book. If you think it contains more information than you need, you can think of it as a reference that will be there as you grow into this product. We couldn't possibly cover all the features of the product, even with 1,400+ pages, so don't worry that we had to make up stuff! And we all know that computer technology changes so fast that it's sometimes easier just to blink and ignore a phase than to study up on it. Windows 2000 is definitely a significant upgrade in Windows technology—one you're going to need to understand. Because Windows 2000 is the next step in the NT line, rest assured it will be around for some time.

Is Windows 2000 so easy to use that books are unnecessary? Unfortunately, no. True, as with other releases of Windows, online help is available. As has been the case ever since Windows 95, however, no printed documentation is available (to save Microsoft the cost), and the Help files are written by the Microsoft cronies. You won't find criticisms, complaints, workarounds, or talk of third-party programs there.

By contrast, in this book's many pages, we focus not just on the gee-whiz side of the technology, but why you should care, what you can get from it, and what you can forget about. The lead author on this book has previously written 12 books about Windows, all in plain English (several bestsellers), designed for everyone from rank beginners to full-on system administrators deploying NT Server domains. The co-author has designed software and networks for more than 20 years. We work with and write about various versions of Windows year in and year out. We have a clear understanding of what confuses users and system administrators about installing, configuring, or using Windows, and (we hope) how to best convey the solutions to our readers.

We spent close to a year considering and reconsidering our table of contents, testing Windows 2000 betas through numerous builds, participating in the Microsoft beta newsgroups, documenting and working through bugs, and installing and reinstalling Windows 2000 on a variety of networks and computers. The result is what you hold in your hands.

While writing this book, we tried to stay vigilant of four cardinal rules:

  • Keep it practical.

  • Keep it accurate.

  • Keep it concise.

  • Keep it interesting, and even crack a joke or two.

We believe that you will find this to be the best book available on Windows 2000 Professional for the intermediate to advanced user. While writing it, we targeted an audience ranging from the power user in the small home office to the Workstation system administrator in a major corporation. Whether you provide PC support in your office or company or you need a user-level book for the folks you support, this book will cover it all.

We're also willing to tell you what we don't cover. No book can do it all. As the title implies, this book is about Windows 2000 Professional. We don't cover the Server versions of Windows 2000 (Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter). However, we do tell you how to connect to and interact with other operating systems, including Windows NT Server, 2000 Server, Mac OS, Linux, and variants of Windows, over the LAN.

We worked hard not to assume too much knowledge on your part, yet we didn't want to assume you aren't already experienced with Windows. The working assumption here is that you are already conversant at least with some form of Windows, preferably 9x, and possibly with NT 4. However, we provide a primer on the Windows 2000 interface to cover the likelihood that many shops will be upgrading from Windows 3.x into 2000 and will be new to the Windows 9x-style interface.

How Our Book Is Organized

Although this book advances logically from beginning to end, it's written so that you can jump in at any location, get the information you need quickly, and get out. You don't have to read it from start to finish, nor do you need to work through complex tutorials.

This book is broken down into six major parts. Here's the skinny on each one in a nutshell:

Part I, "Introducing Windows 2000 Pro," introduces Windows 2000 and explains its features, new elements, and the design and architecture behind Windows 2000. It then explains how to read your hardware and software in preparation for installation and describes the installation process itself.

Part II, "Getting Your Work Done," is, well, about getting your work done. Perhaps the bulk of workstation users will want to study and keep on hand this part as a reference guide. Here, we cover using the interface, running programs, organizing documents, sharing data between applications, printing documents, and managing fonts.

Part III, "Windows 2000 and the Internet," introduces you to Windows 2000 networking, Internet style. We start with Internet connection options and then move into the Internet tools. We provide in-depth coverage of Outlook Express for mail and newsgroups, Internet Explorer for Web surfing, and NetMeeting for audio and videoconferencing; we also describe how to create your own Web sites with FrontPage Express and serve them with IIS. We also included sections on Internet diagnostic utilities such as Ping, Telnet, and ipconfig.

Part IV, "Networking," deals with networking on the LAN. Our development editor said this section "has more hands-on, get-dust-bunnies-in-your-hair advice than I've ever seen in any Windows book." Of course, he gets paid to say things like that, but it might well be true. In Part IV, we explain the fundamentals of networking and walk you through planning and installing a functional LAN. We cover the use of a Windows 2000 network, whether it's a worldwide corporate network or a small workgroup LAN; give you a chapter on dial-up, remote, and portable networking; and finish up with crucial security tips and troubleshooting advice that the Windows Help files don't cover.

Part V, "System Configuration and Customization," covers system configuration and maintenance. We tell you how to work with Control Panel applets, provide tips and tricks for customizing the graphical user interface for most efficiency, and describe a variety of ways to upgrade your hardware and system software (including third-party programs) for maximum performance.

Part VI, "System Administration and System Maintenance," dives even deeper into system administration and configuration, with coverage of supplied system administration tools such as the new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and its plug-ins. We also provide techniques for managing users; information on policies and LAN administration; means for managing the hard disk, including multiple file formats such as NTFS5; and details on setting up multiboot machines with Windows 9x, DOS, Linux, and Windows 2000. We cap off this part with coverage of the Registry and with an introduction to automating Windows 2000 via the Windows Script Host.

The two appendixes in this book are on the accompanying CD-ROM.

Appendix A, "Command-Line Reference," contains a guide to Windows 2000's command-line interface, listing all commands by function and explaining the new command-line interpreter.

Appendix B, "Keyboard Shortcuts and Mouseless Survival Guide," consists of a collection of keyboard shortcuts you can use when or if you mouse dies, or you simply prefer to use the keyboard. It's an exhaustive list. We think you'll be surprised by some of the useful shortcuts.

Conventions Used in This Book

Special conventions are used throughout this book to help you get the most from the book and from Windows 2000 Professional.

Text Conventions

Various typefaces in this book identify terms and other special objects. These special typefaces include the following:

Type Meaning
Italic New terms or phrases when initially defined.
Monospace Information that appears in code or onscreen or information you type.
Initial Caps Menus, dialog box names, dialog box elements, and commands.
Words separated by commas All Windows book publishers struggle with how to represent command sequences when menus and dialog boxes are involved. In this book, we separate commands using a comma. Yeah, we know it's confusing, but this is traditionally how the Special Edition Usingbook series does it, and traditions die hard. So, for example, the instruction "Choose Edit, Cut" means that you should open the Edit menu and choose Cut. Another, more complex example would be "Click Start, Settings, Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager."


Key combinations are represented with a plus sign. For example, if the text calls for you to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, you would press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time.

Tips from the Windows Pros

Ever wonder how the experts get their work done better and faster than anyone else? Ever wonder how they became experts in the first place? You'll find out in these special sections throughout the book. We've spent a lot of time under the Windows hood, so to speak, getting dirty and learning what makes Windows 2000 tick. So, with the information we provide in these sections, you can roll up your shirt sleeves and dig in.

Special Elements

Throughout this book, you'll find Notes, Cautions, Sidebars, Cross-References, and Troubleshooting Tips. Often, you'll find just the tidbit you need to get through a rough day at the office or the one whiz-bang trick that will make you the office hero. You'll also find little nuggets of wisdom, humor, and lingo that you can use to amaze your friends and family, not to mention making you cocktail-party literate.

Bob and Brian's "Signature" Tips

#0

We specially designed these tips to showcase the best of the best. Just because you get your work done doesn't mean you are doing it in the fastest, easiest way possible. We'll show you how to maximize your Windows experience. Don't miss these tips!


Notes

Note

Notes point out items that you should be aware of, but you can skip them if you're in a hurry. Generally, we've added notes as a way to give you some extra information on a topic without weighing you down.


Cautions

Caution

Pay attention to cautions! They could save you precious hours in lost work. Don't say we didn't warn you.


Troubleshooting Note

We designed these elements to call attention to common pitfalls that you're likely to encounter. When you see a Troubleshooting note, you can flip to the end of the chapter to learn how to solve or avoid a problem.

Cross-References

Cross-references are designed to point you to other locations in this book (or other books in the Que family) that will provide supplemental or supporting information. Cross- references appear as follows:

→ To learn more information about how Windows 2000 already has a good head start at becoming a standard in the corporate network environment, see "Windows NT/2000 Evolution in a Nutshell," p. 14.

Sidebars

Sidebars

Sidebars are designed to provide information that is ancillary to the topic being discussed. Read this information if you want to learn more details about an application or task.


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