Microsoft

Build Your Skills: Admin tools move to Win2K Control Panel

Find out which utilities, formerly housed under the Windows NT 4 Administrative Tools menu, have found new homes in a Control Panel applet in Windows 2000.


Many utilities formerly housed under the Windows NT 4 Administrative Tools menu have found new homes in a Control Panel applet in Windows 2000. Several of the older utilities have also been integrated into Microsoft Management Console (MMC) views, with each boasting numerous snap-ins.

Accessing the administrative tools in Windows 2000 is simple. From Control Panel, double-click the Administrative Tools applet, and you’ll find links to six management consoles.

Component Services

The Windows 2000 Administrative Tools applet features several utilities previously found under Administrative Tools (Common) in Windows NT 4.


The first utility is the Component Services console, which facilitates the installation, monitoring, and administration of COM and COM+ applications. The Component Services root allows connection to other computers’ COM and COM+ services. Once connected to another system, you have options to configure COM applications, which are actually built from a number of individual components acting as one application.

The Windows 2000 Component Services MMC includes access to various component configuration utilities.


Below Component Services is a menu to administer the Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC). The DTC manages transactions distributed across multiple databases, file systems, message queues, or other sources of transactions. Finally, the IMDB (In-Memory Database) is a new method of connecting directly to databases hosted by Microsoft SQL servers and resident in memory.
Check out Microsoft’s IMDB Seminar here.
The Event Viewer and Services options were part of the Administrative Tools menu in previous versions of Windows NT. Event Viewer, of course, is used to view logs that record critical system information. Double-clicking the Event Viewer reveals an Application log, a System log, and a Security log.

Within these logs are events of several types. Error events are critical errors represented by a red circle with a white X inside. Warnings are represented by a yellow triangle with a black exclamation point, and they may or may not be critical events. Events designed strictly for informational purposes are marked with that traditional white bubble containing a blue “i.”

Computer Management

The Computer Management applet provides critical components in Windows 2000.


The Computer Management utility collects a number of critical applications. System Tools contains many system-specific settings. Performance Logs contains settings for Counter Logs, Trace Logs, and Alerts. The Local Users And Groups folder replaces the local User Manager. System Information provides a convenient method to view current system settings, much like the Windows NT Diagnostics application.

The Services applet has also moved to an MMC snap-in. The Shared Folders option allows management of shares as well as views of current activity. The Event Viewer applet is here also, and the familiar Device Manager from Win 9x makes an appearance.

The Storage snap-in provides utilities for all types of storage devices. The Removable Storage applet controls drives such as CD-ROM, Zip, and tape. A welcome presence here is Disk Defragmenter. Logical Drives allows viewing of the drives, while Disk Management permits drive configuration. Finally, the Server Applications and Services applet contains select components of the operating system.

Data Sources (ODBC)

The Data Sources (ODBC) console is used to configure connections to data sources.


The Data Sources (ODBC) utility enables customization of database connectivity settings. An ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) connection to a data provider is called a DSN, or Data Source Name. To create a connection that will be available only to you, click Add on the User DSN tab. After selecting the appropriate driver, provide the name of the DSN and the path to the database. The same process can be used to create a System DSN that is visible to all users of the current system. Another type of DSN is the File DSN, which is not limited to any user or machine.

You'll find a listing of installed drivers under the Drivers tab. Turning Tracing on can be useful for troubleshooting data connections. Connection pooling conserves resources by allowing connections to be reused by applications.

Event Viewer

Just as in Windows NT 4.0, crucial system information is logged by the Event Viewer.


The Event Viewer contains crucial logging data from Windows 2000 and any applications that integrate with Windows 2000. Events are placed in the Application Log, Security Log, or System Log. Right-clicking on a log and selecting Properties reveals the size and allows you to filter the log view for convenience. The Action menu has a selection for Clearing All Events, as well as the Save Log Files As command for archiving log files.

Performance

The Windows 2000 Performance console offers an enhanced “perfmon” experience.


The Performance console splits the old perfmon utility into two MMC snap-ins. The first, the Performance Monitor selection, allows the collection of real-time information about particular counters. A counter is an attribute of an object, such as the % Time counter for the Processor object.

The Performance Logs and Alerts snap-in allows the capturing of performance data and a facility to perform actions based on that data. Counter logs and trace logs can be configured to capture data for use in databases and spreadsheets, while Alerts can send net messages based on certain alert conditions.

Server Extensions

The Server Extensions console is used to manage Web sites and Web site configuration.


The last applet in this group is the Server Extensions console. This is the interface used to control FrontPage Web sites and their configuration. According to Microsoft, “with FrontPage Server Extensions, administrators can view and manage a Web site in a graphical interface.”

The Server Extensions applet also permits the addition of administrators for sites and customization of Web parameters.

The Administrative Tools applet in Control Panel is one of the most valuable applets for technicians and administrators. Everything from computer management to performance monitoring can now be found in one convenient location.

Ron Kauffman is a network engineer, IT consultant, and trainer with more than a decade of hard-core IT experience. He’s earned MCP+I, MCSE, MCT, and a host of other industry designations.

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