Windows NT Server help for rookies

You don't know anything about Windows NT? Don't worry. Brien Posey explains how the Administrative Tools Wizards can get you started until you learn more.

It can be a scary thing when you’re forced to add a new operating system to your network, especially when you don’t know anything about that operating system. If you’ve been thrown to the wolves on a Windows NT Server but know absolutely nothing about Windows NT, don’t despair. There’s a way to set up the server and get it running and configured until you have time to learn more about it.

When Microsoft designed Windows NT, the company apparently knew just how brutal the world of a typical network administrator could be. Microsoft included a special set of Administrative Tools Wizards that allow you to perform the most common Windows NT tasks, even if you have only a minimal knowledge of Windows NT. I’ll show you where to find these wizards, and I’ll give a brief explanation of what each one does.

Accessing the Administrative Tools Wizards
As with any type of administrative tool, you need to be logged in either as an administrator or as someone with administrative rights. You can access the Administrative Tools Wizards by selecting the Programs | Administrative Tools (Common) | Administrative Wizards command from the Start menu. After you do that, you’ll see the main Administrative Wizards screen, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
The Administrative Wizards main screen allows you to perform a variety of tasks.

The main Administrative Wizards screen allows you to choose from eight different tasks that you can perform. You can create user accounts, manage groups, set permissions on files and folders, set up printers, install or remove programs, set up a modem, configure network clients, or check up on your licensing issues.

Add User Account icon
The first wizard that we’ll be discussing is the Add User Account wizard. When you click on the Add User Account icon, you’ll be prompted to select the domain in which you want to create the account. If you’re new to Windows NT, it will be a no-brainer because there’s probably only one domain on your entire network.

Click the Next button. You’ll be prompted to enter some basic information, such as the user’s full name, the username, and an optional description of the user. When you’ve entered this information, click Next. Now, you’ll need to assign the user’s password and to set the expiration criteria for the password. Click Next. At this point, you’ll see a list of all of the groups that are available in the domain. Select the appropriate groups to which the user will belong and click Next.

The remaining screens of the wizard involve optional steps. You can configure login scripts, user profiles, and login restrictions. Simply fill in the desired options on each screen until you reach the end of the wizard.

Group Management icon
Clicking on the Group Management icon launches a wizard that asks whether you want to create a new group or work with an existing group. If you choose to create a new group, you’ll be prompted to enter a name and a description for the group. Upon clicking Next, you’ll be asked whether you want the group to reside on the computer that you’re using or on another computer or domain. If you want the group to become accessible through the network, you must select the On Another Computer or Domain option and click Next. The following screen will allow you to select the domain or computer in which you want to create the group. Remember, if you want the group to be network accessible, you must create it at the domain level. When you click Next, you’ll be asked if you want to create a global group or a local group. The wizard provides a nice explanation of what these options mean. Make your selection and click Next. At this point, you’ll have the chance to select the group’s members. Select the desired group members and complete the wizard.

Managing File and Folder Access icon
When you click on the Managing File and Folder Access icon, a wizard will ask whether the files or folders are located on the computer that you’re using or on another computer. After making your selection, you’ll see a list of available resources in that location. From the list, you can select the file or folder that you want to work with, or you can enter the name of a new folder in the space provided. Click Next to continue. At this point, the resource and its current permissions will be displayed. You can retain the current permissions or change them, and there is a list of options that you can use to change the permissions. Click Next to finish.

Add Printer icon
Selecting the Add Printer icon launches the Add Printer wizard. The first question that the Add Printer wizard asks is whether the printer is located on your computer or on the network. Select the location and click Next. Next, you’ll be asked to provide either the local port number (LPT1, LPT2, etc.) or the network path to the printer. Make your selection and click Next. Now, you’ll see a list of available printer drivers. Select your printer’s manufacturer from the column on the left and the model of the printer from the column on the right. You can use the Have Disk button to use your printer’s driver disk instead. If you’ve selected a network printer, the rest of the configuration process will be mostly automatic.

If you’re setting up a local printer, however, there are a few more options that you should understand. When you’ve selected your printer, you’ll be asked to choose a name for the printer and to decide if you want Windows NT to use the printer as a default printer. Make your choice and click Next. Now, you’ll be asked if you want Windows NT to share the printer. If you decide to share the printer, you’ll have to provide a share name. You’ll also need to add any other operating systems that you want to be able to print to this printer; you must provide drivers for any operating systems that you select. The rest of the wizard is pretty self-explanatory and involves simple tasks like printing test pages.

Add/Remove Programs icon
Clicking the Add/Remove Programs icon launches the Add/Remove Programs Properties sheet. Select the program that you want to remove (or add options to) and click the Add/Remove button. Windows NT will remove the program or launch the program’s Setup program, which allows you to change the options that are installed. The Windows Setup tab of the Add/Remove Programs Properties sheet displays all of the programs that are installed by Windows, including Accessories and Accessibility options. You can select any of the categories that are listed on this tab and click the Details button to see which programs are installed. By selecting or deselecting the check boxes, you can install or uninstall the various Windows programs.

Install New Modem icon
If you click the Install New Modem button, the Modems Properties sheet will open. You can install a new modem by clicking Add. This wizard will try to detect your modem automatically. If the wizard finds your modem, it will configure it for you automatically. If it doesn’t detect a modem, the wizard will allow you to select the type of modem and the port to which it is attached manually.

Network Client Administrator icon
Clicking the Network Client Administrator icon launches the Network Client Administrator program. This program allows you to create a set of disks that you can use to boot a client computer. After booting, the workstation will connect to the network and automatically install either Windows NT or Windows 9x onto itself. (Be aware that it can become a somewhat complicated process.)

License Compliance icon
The last wizard is the License Compliance wizard. The first thing that this wizard needs from you is the location of potentially unlicensed products. Select either the current domain or another domain and click Next. The wizard will search the location that you specified for unlicensed products. Afterwards, the wizard will display a list on any products with suspicious licenses or without any licenses. It’s up to you to determine the legal consequences of having these products.

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance technical writer and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. If you’d like to contact Brien, send him an e-mail. (Because of the large volume of e-mail he receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)

The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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