Microsoft

Windows 2000: the first 30 days

When we held this Guild Meeting, Windows 2000 had been shipping for just a month. During this Guild Meeting, John Sheesley led a discussion to determine what TechProGuild members thought about the new operating system.


When we held this Guild Meeting, Windows 2000 had been shipping for just a month. On March 17th, John Sheesley led a discussion to determine what TechProGuild members thought about the new operating system. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

When we held this Guild Meeting, Windows 2000 had been shipping for just a month. On March 17th, John Sheesley led a discussion to determine what TechProGuild members thought about the new operating system. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

MODERATOR: Hi there. Welcome to our first Friday Guild Meeting! Twice a month, we intend to hold these Friday meetings during the workday. You can receive updates about timing and topics via the TechProGuild TechMail sign up located inside your My Account information. This week's topic is Windows2000: The first thirty days. Our speaker is John Sheesley.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Welcome to our first Daytime Guild Meeting. Today's topic is

Windows 2000. Exactly one month ago, the trumpets blew, the clouds parted, and Windows 2000 shipped. Did it solve all of your problems? Did it solve any of your problems? Have you even installed it yet? Today, we're going to get together and discuss Windows 2000.

JOHN SHEESLEY: I'm going to let this be a pretty open discussion. I would like to hear about everyone's experiences with Windows 2000.

TLSNC: I have not installed it on one of my own machines yet. But I have attended the Microsoft classes on installation and can see potential.

JOHN SHEESLEY: In Win2k's first month, Microsoft has claimed to have already sold 1,000,000 copies.

SWFCU: Good afternoon. I haven't installed it here yet either but was curious to see what people had to say about it.

JOHN SHEESLEY: That includes upgrades, retail sales and OEM shipments.

TLSNC: I need to get more RAM to do it justice. Right now I only have 64 Mb with a 350mhz.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Also, a memo recently leaked from Microsoft disclosed that Win2k purportedly shipped with 63,000 known bugs. These 'bugs' were reported based on a scanning utility that Microsoft uses to check for errors in code.

Did you see that?
TLSNC: Yeah, I saw that too.

JOHN SHEESLEY: All 63,000 may not be actual errors, however, even if only 1percent are valid, that still means there's over 600 bugs waiting to bite you. And in 40 million lines of code, there are probably more than 600 bugs.

TLSNC: Have you any recommendations on books or references for admin etc yet?

JOHN SHEESLEY: 64Mb and 350mhz is probably the minimum machine that's practical for Win2k Pro. Even though MS says it will run on a P133 and 64Mb, that’s just the minimum requirements. Remember that Windows NT 4 would run on a 486/33 with 16Mb of RAM. Or so MS claimed, but if you ever tried it.

JOAN HARVEY: Has anyone installed Win2000 on a laptop yet? Any tips on laptop configurations?

MODERATOR: I actually installed it on a Dell laptop over Windows 98. The first boot was still attempting to finish when I returned to the original "Stable" OS.

TLSNC: That is why I want to get the extra RAM. I know the difference made by taking W95 from 16 to 32. So figure we will run into the same performance or worse at just the recommended levels.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Most laptops are underpowered for Win2k still, either too little RAM or too weak of a CPU.

ERIK: How are Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Another gotcha will be hardware support. Some PC cards don't support Win2k yet. But that’s still a Win2k bugaboo, poor hardware support. Even though Win2k does support plug and play, as with NT4, you should still check the Hardware compatibility list. What do you mean Erik?

It’s all about power
JOAN HARVEY: Win98 had some power issues, locking up, etc. Does Win2000 get rid of those?

ERIK: Connecting to an NT 4.0 server on the network with W2K.

TLSNC: I guess making the hardware compatibility list you install "Bible" is the best thing to do before even trying on an existing OS.

ERIK: Has Microsoft actually posted a hardware compatibility list to download?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Win2k does have some power management features that Win NT doesn't.

TLSNC: There should be no problem connecting to an NT4 server with W2K Pro. It just won't have any active directory functions.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Erik, NT 4 plays nice with Win2k. Especially where you’re using Win2k Pro. Win2k Server will play nice too, but you may have problems in a couple of areas. One area is your DNS. Another is some security features like Kerberos.

TLSNC: Can you explain Kerberos for me?

JOHN SHEESLEY: If you want to use Active Directory, you'll need to deploy DDNS on your Win2k server. It should play nice with other DNS servers, but there have been some reports that if the other DNS servers aren’t configured properly, the Win2k DDNS can wreak havoc on your network. Kerberos is an authentication system. It does away with the traditional WinNT challenge/response system. It uses a system of private and public keys to allow access to the server and network resources.

TLSNC: Is it difficult to configure Kerberos.

JOHN SHEESLEY: It's all done in the background as part of Active Directory. However, the only clients that can use it are ones that support Active Directory, i.e., Win2k Pro and Server.

Be a part
TLSNC: So it is part of the setup of AD?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Although Microsoft is supposed to be working on, or may have shipped by now, Active Directory clients for Win9x and NT. It's part of AD, the same way that NDS uses RSA encryption and authentication on Novel networks. There's an article about Kerberos available on TPG.

ERIK: Is DDNS a separate product or bundled with W2K Pro?

TLSNC: Oh good. I must have missed that one. I will check for it later.

JOHN SHEESLEY: DDNS is part of Win2k Server, not Pro. It replaces the traditional DNS server in NT. Active Directory requires DDNS. The first D stands for Dynamic. Active Directory uses DDNS to store information it needs to find resources on the network. It's a legitimate extension to the DNS standard, but Microsoft has really pushed it to the limits and added new records that some other DNSes can't handle.

MODERATOR: Is anyone running Win2000 in a multiple OS environment? How's it working?

TLSNC: Anything for job security, eh?

JCARLISLE: We have a few Win2K Pro machines running as desktops, but we run Novel on the servers.

MODERATOR: Experienced any kind of problems communicating with the servers?

TLSNC: Not yet. I plan a test installation though with Win95, Win2k Pro, and Win2k advanced server.

SWFCU: How does Win2K work with Novel?

How does it work?
JOHN SHEESLEY: As with everything W2K, you've got to look at it at 2 levels. Server and Pro.

MODERATOR: Did you have to use MS's client for Novel, or did you download Novel’s?

ERIK: Are you using Client32 on that W2K Pro system, Jcarlisle?

CHINGTAI: One question about upgrading to Windows2000, how much would my company save by upgrading only the workstation to Professional but leave the server running as NT.

JOHN SHEESLEY: For Pro, you must install Novel’s client to get the full functionality. The current version is 4.7. Version 4.6 ships with Win2k Pro to get you started, but you should immediately upgrade to 4.7.

CHINGTAI: I mean how much would my company gain

JOHN SHEESLEY: As for Win2k/Server and NetWare, they play nice together but in separate worlds. There are several tools you can use to integrate AD and NDS.

ERIK: That 4.7 is strictly for W2K or all Win OS. I thought 3.2 was the latest for Win98.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Novel recently shipped eDirectory for Win2k which will allow you to administer both OSes at once. 4.7 is for Win2k and NT. Yes.

TLSNC: Greater stability for one thing, Chingtai. I have heard it is worth upgrading to W2K Pro even if the server products are not installed yet.

JOHN SHEESLEY: 3.2 is the latest for 9x. Chingtai. You'd gain several advantages doing it that way. First, you'd get a more stable desktop, support for USB, plug and play, and some of the other nice features on the desktop, but not have the networking headaches on the back end.

JOAN HARVEY: During Win2K set-up, my desktop keeps locking up. The 'Set-up is Starting Win2000" appears but then it locks up. What gives?

SWFCU: Tlsnc, does the Win2k deliver on the promises it makes to improve stability or is it still just a Microsoft promise with nothing behind it?

Let’s get personal
JOHN SHEESLEY: Personally, I like Pro as a desktop.

CHINGTAI: Tlsnc how about performance?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jharvey, that's usually a problem during the hardware detection portion of Win2k's setup. Usually it's a BIOS problem, or a problem with the plug and play hardware.

SWFCU: Jsheesley, does it deliver on the promise of greater stability or are there still the usual system crashes that Win 9x users are plagued with?

MODERATOR: Along that line, has anyone noticed a big performance improvement?

TLSNC: It will take more resources as mentioned earlier but what I have heard from those who were beta testing. It lives up to the promises pretty well.

JOHN SHEESLEY: SW, a nice lawyerly answer, it depends.

JDAVIS: John, when you put Pro on your desktop, how much RAM did your machine have?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Many applications don’t officially support Win2k. These ones will have problems. However, when they do crash, it should be rare they take out the whole OS as does happen under Win9x

JDAVIS: Hey Tlsnc, weren't you at our Guild Meeting last night, too?

JOHN SHEESLEY: JD, 64's the minimum , but I wouldn’t do it with less than 128.

TLSNC: That's right. I think I am hooked on these meetings. Great info here.

JDAVIS: That's the reason I think a lot of businesses won't embrace Pro for their client machines—they're still amortizing the costs of the 200+ MHz machines they bought last year!

JCARLISLE: I've noticed that 2k Pro is much faster than my 9x desktop. Especially with disk operations.

 

SWFCU: Why is it that so much software currently available, even for Win9x, still has numerous problems with it, especially with kernel32.dll

JDAVIS: I think the question has to be, if I install W2K on my desktops, will my users notice any difference in speed? I'm afraid that with only 64 MB RAM, they won't.

JOHN SHEESLEY: JD, You’re right. Remember it took a while for the hardware to catch up to NT's needs. By that time, the old computers were expensed.

JDAVIS: I mean, I used to go to my boss (a CFO/CPA) and say, "We need new machines." And he'd whine about the costs. "Can't we just upgrade the old ones?"

JOHN SHEESLEY: As with the speed differences between NT and 9x on the desktop, you'll see a definite speed difference on identical hardware just because of architectural differences. Remember that Win2k is fully 32 bit. 9x, even 98, is still a mix of 16 bit and 32-bit stuff. The computer constantly has to shift gears.

JDAVIS: So John, you're saying W2K handles memory and swap files/disk operations more efficiently?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Mostly I/O operations, yes.

SWFCU: So if it is fully 32 bit, how well does it handle files from the Win9x machines?

JOHN SHEESLEY: There's still a lot of DOS stuff lingering in Win9x.

JOAN HARVEY: Is anyone having a problem migrating from 98? On one install I could get through the upgrade but couldn't seem to get the computer to make the leap from 98 to 2000. Could I have missed a step?

MODERATOR: I had the same problem moving from 98 to 2000. I ended up switching back.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Files are no problems. The 32-bit difference comes in performance, not compatibility.

I had no trouble
EECKEL: I had no trouble with my migration from Win9x. I ran two, in fact. A-O-K!

ERIK: So you realistically have to save your data format, your drive and then load W2K.

TLSNC: That would also include stability of the app then, wouldn't it?

SWFCU: How much of my current software will operate effectively on a Win2k machine?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jharvey, you goofed during the first restart of Win2k's setup. You selected Win9x instead of Win2k. You have to reinstall Win2k again.

JDAVIS: I think we'll see a lot of shops where W2K is the network OS and the client machines linger in Win9x limbo.

EECKEL: I use two drives in my PC. So, I backed up data to one, then migrated the Win9x to Win2K with just a few clicks.

JLWALLEN: I'll just chime in if you don't mind. May I speak? May I ask a question?

EECKEL: No reformatting required for me.

JOHN SHEESLEY: SW, most of it should with little problem. Anything that directly accesses hardware won’t work. But then again, it won’t work under NT.

EECKEL: No.

ERIK: Does Microsoft have a hardware & software compatibility list posted?

JDAVIS: Jwallen, you already have! <g>

EECKEL: Microsoft has a hardware compatibility wizard on its site!

JLWALLEN: Darn. Guess I just lost my chance eh?

TLSNC: Yes, they do Erik.

EECKEL: I'll get the link, one second.

Let me get the link
JDAVIS: Compatibility wizard—a.k.a. the "who's paid off MS" database?

JLWALLEN: Just how stable is Win2k? I’ve heard all the nasty rumors. Mind you I’m coming from a Linux camp,so I just want to know how it really fares?

SWFCU: So if my software directly accesses system hardware on a Win95 machine it will not function in Win2K? Is there any fix for that?

TOM: More stable then any crappy Linux box.

JOHN SHEESLEY: According to MS, Win2k's stability far surpasses NT's, Not quite 5 9's, but getting close.

JLWALLEN: Ouch! Now you're hitting below the belt. I’m going have to take my nice gloves off.

ERIK: Does anybody have a dual boot system with W2K and Win9x?

JDAVIS: Hey I've lived through OS upgrades since DOS 3.x (yes, I'm old), and W2K is just another brick in the road, imho.

VITALIY: I made fresh clean installation of Win2k, it hangs all the time. NT at least gave some output in such case in form of blue screen.

TOM: Plus I can go to the store and buy software for it! Amazing!

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jack, it depends where you want to run Win2k. The desktop seems very stable. The Server doesn’t always play well with others. In a Win2k ONLY shop, it should be very stable.

JDAVIS: Erik, why would you want to dual-boot? Are there any 9x-only apps out there that won't run under W2K?

You’ve got to have class
TLSNC: The instructor I had for the Microsoft classes did. He was having no problem.

EECKEL: I do.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jdavis, old DOS apps, like games especially, won’t run under 2k, but will under 9x.

JLWALLEN: Does Win2k (vanilla release here) act as a server? ftp (anonymous?), web?, chat?

TOM: I dual boot 98 and 2k with no problems at all.

ERIK: Cool.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jack, Win2k server, yes. Pro, no but it will act as a simple peer-peer server.

JDAVIS: I just think dual-boot systems are overrated. All that trouble just to play games? I don't need the headaches.

EECKEL: Here's the HCL Wizard URL: http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/hwtest/hcl.idc

SWFCU: As a heavy Access user, what would you say are the minimum recommendations for using Win2K and still get the benefits it offers?

JOHN SHEESLEY: On one of our test machines, we quintuple boot Win3.1, WinNT, Windows 2000 Pro, OS/2 and Windows ME. All using System Commander. Works like a dream.

KEVAND: I heard that Win2K will have another release later this year that will increase the gaming possibilities.

JLWALLEN: Does Win2k use the standard MBR? Same as 98, or is it more like NT?

JDAVIS: But getting away from the memory and compatibility concerns for a moment, what about MS's decision to retire NT4.x certs? Do they really expect the majority of mainstream IT shops and professionals to throw away their investments in NT4x?

Sharing the Internet
ERIK: Jsheesley, does W2K server have the ability to share the Internet over the network?

TLSNC: Jdavis, some of us still have to support more than one OS. So dual boot serves that purpose without added hardware expense.

JDAVIS: Tlsnc, I'll buy that. I guess I have seen some proprietary third-party apps that customers cling to that only run under 3.x or 95. But I try to wean them off the old stuff.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Kevand, that release is Windows ME for home users. It's an upgrade to 9x. Actually, it’s a downgrade. Reports have surfaced on the beta that MS is stripping out support for most networks in order to force-march ppl to Win2k Pro.

JDAVIS: Windows ME? What's the "M" stand for?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Millennium Edition.

MODERATOR: Mundane.

JOHN SHEESLEY: It’s an update to 9x. Supposedly the last.

JLWALLEN: Mostly Eradicated.

JDAVIS: Oops. How could I have not seen that one coming?

JOHN SHEESLEY: But 95, and 98 were both supposed to be the last too.

JLWALLEN: You mean the boot loader?

JOHN SHEESLEY: It's for home users mostly. Or so is the official line.

JLWALLEN: What about boot loaders?

JOHN SHEESLEY: What about them?

TOM: Personally, I don't see why they are not pushing 2k as a home OS. 2k configured more of my hardware by itself then 98 ever could.

You’re being a little pushy
JOHN SHEESLEY: Tom, because 2k doesn’t play most games that people are pirating left and right.

JLWALLEN: What type of boot loader is Win2k using? Is it the same as 98? Or is it more like NT?

JOHN SHEESLEY: If Johnny comes home with a game from Billy and it doesn’t work. It's almost identical to NT's.

JLWALLEN: Plus the cost of Win2k is just not 'home budget' stuff.

JDAVIS: Tom, home users are more sensitive than business users to changes in OS. I doubt MS has a lot staked on the home market for W2K, though OEM vendors will certainly push it for them with new systems.

TOM: Oh, right I forgot. That is why I have to dual boot, pirated games.

JOAN HARVEY: What happened to the MSINFO utility? I can't find it in W2K?

JLWALLEN: So dual booting with Linux will mean stripping the boot file from Linux and adding it to the NT boot loader. Better test that one out.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jack, the 'cost' is relative. It doesn’t cost a dime more to sell 2k than it does 9x. MS could just as easily give away 2k as it does 9x.

JDAVIS: Pirated games? Our official position is we know nothing.

MODERATOR: Less than ten minutes left!

JLWALLEN: Right. I’m talking about from a home users perspective. That's why most home users won't up/downgrade to Win2k.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Jharvey, MSINFO's not a separate utility anymore. It's part of the Computer Management console.

 

ERIK: Does W2K server come with any kind of Internet security software?

JOHN SHEESLEY: A lot of stuff that you’re used to with NT and 9x has moved around in 2k. For example, finding running services has moved from Control Panel to the Computer Management console as well.

JDAVIS: All I know is I'm not touching W2K until at least SP3.

TLSNC: So Jsheesley, what have you seen in the first 30 days from your perspective?

TOM: The most amazing thing about W2K is the CD Player!

JOHN SHEESLEY: TL, I'd have to be like Jdavis. I like 2kPro on the desktop not so much on the server side. I'll wait a few SPs before telling people to go for it. What does everyone one else think? Tom, the fading menus are cool too.

VITALIY: Speaker, how to find out why W2K hangs?

TLSNC: Vitaliy, I would start with the compatibility listings.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Vitaly, the best way to find out why is to just go through basic troubleshooting. Watch to see what worked last and what seemed to cause the failure. Then take a look on TPG, Usenet or MS's knowledge bases to find out what the cause may be. JDAVIS, speaking of menus, I'm not sure I'm too thrilled with Office 2000 either. Shortened menus, multiple instances of Word instead of multiple documents within a single window. What have they done to my beloved Office suite?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Beloved?

VITALIY: It hangs by itself at any moment when nothing happens at all.

JDAVIS: Well, okay, be liked. I was originally a Corel Suite fan, but then they ruined WordPerfect.

TLSNC: Here, here jdavis!

What about the problems?
ERIK: Has anybody come into problems with W2K and Office2K?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Vitaliy, that's probably a hardware problem. Most likely screwy memory.

VITALIY: NT on the same machine worked just fine before.

JDAVIS: It wasn't on a W2K machine, but I had a misbehaving box that hung intermittently, no obvious pattern. It turned out to be a bad memory chip. They discovered it on the "bench" at the shop where I had it tested. Another popular cause of machines hanging for no apparent reason: too hot. Make sure there's room for air to circulate; make sure the fan's running. If you've upgraded memory or processor, you also need to upgrade the heat sink.

TLSNC: I have heard W2K is more "sensitive" to flaky memory and CPUs.

MODERATOR: CPU's?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Ok gang. It's 3. I want to thank everyone for attending our Friday Daytime Guild Meeting. We'll continue to have them about twice a month. Thank you for your attendance and participation. Now back to our moderator.

MODERATOR: Now for the moment everyone's been waiting for: the winner of a brand new TechRepublic T shirt is, TLSNC.

JDAVIS: Tlsnc, all I'd say is if the equipment isn't on the certified/tested list, I wouldn't be surprised if you got less than satisfactory results trying to upgrade. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Thanks everyone
VITALIY: Thank you

MODERATOR: TLSNC. Please send your name and address to me so I can get the shirt right out to you and thanks to everyone for participating this afternoon.

JDAVIS: Way to go TLSNC!

MODERATOR: This meeting is now adjourned! Send your address information to jharvey@techrepublic.com.

JOAN HARVEY: When's the next meeting?

MODERATOR: The next meeting is Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m. EST and the topic is an open discussion with Ron Nutter as the speaker.
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

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