Installing Windows 2000

Learn how to install Windows 2000 Professional in this Daily Drill Down by Steven Pittsley.

In this Daily Drill Down, my goal is to ensure that you understand how to install Windows 2000 Professional by providing you with an overview of the procedure. Please note that in this Daily Drill Down, I’ll use Windows 2000 to mean Windows 2000 Professional. If another Windows 2000 product is mentioned, I’ll specify it, such as Windows 2000 Advanced Server. That said, let’s begin our Windows 2000 installation journey.

Preparing to install Windows 2000
Once you have decided to install Windows 2000, you must verify that the computer you’re installing it on meets the minimum hardware requirements. These requirements are listed below and finding a computer that meets them should be relatively easy, since many organizations are retiring computers that are packed with at least this much processing power:
  • Pentium 133-MHz processor (Windows 2000 Professional supports either single or dual processors.)
  • 32 MB of RAM (A minimum of 64 MB is recommended.)
  • A 2-GB hard disk with at least 650 MB of free space
  • A VGA video adapter
  • 12x CD-ROM if you are installing Windows 2000 using the CD-ROM (This is not necessary if you’re installing over a network.)

After finding a computer that meets the minimum hardware requirements, you must ensure that all of the hardware components in the system are on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Because the Windows 2000 operating system must have complete control of your computer’s hardware, you have to use drivers that have been written especially for Windows 2000. If you find your hardware components listed in the HCL, you can rest assured they will be compatible with Windows 2000.

You can access the HCL by browsing to \Support\HCL.txt on the Windows 2000 installation CD. It will look similar to what is shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Check the HCL before installing Windows 2000 on your system.

Because the HCL that is included on the Windows 2000 CD is a static document, Microsoft provides an up-to-date version on its Web site. At the time of this writing, the HCL is located here.

This version of the HCL is divided into three categories—Computers, Hardware Devices, and Software—which you can access by clicking on the category. After clicking on the category, you must enter the company name, model number, and device type of the hardware you want to verify.

After searching the HCL for all the hardware devices in your system and resolving any issues, you will be ready to move on to the next steps in the Windows 2000 installation: selecting a file system to use and partitioning the hard drive.

Selecting a file system and preparing the hard drive
As with Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 allows you to use either the NT file system (NTFS) or file allocation table (FAT). (If you have two partitions—one with NTFS and one with FAT—NT can read both partitions.) New to Windows 2000 is support for the FAT32 file system.

To decide which file system to use, you must first determine your needs. If you are going to install Windows 2000 on a dual-boot workstation with DOS, Windows 9x, or Windows Me, you must use FAT or FAT32. The setup program will determine which FAT file system to use. If the partition is less than 2 GB in size, the partition will be FAT; if it is larger than 2 GB, FAT32 will be used.

Unless you are dual-booting the workstation, it’s probably a good idea to use NTFS. You will gain file and folder level security, disk compression, and encryption capabilities with NTFS. For more information on NTFS and Windows 2000, see the TechProGuild Daily Drill Down, “The essential Win2K multiboot troubleshooter: Planning partitions and file systems.”

Installing Windows 2000
After choosing a file system and preparing the hard drive, you are ready to install Windows 2000. To begin the installation, insert the Windows 2000 CD in the drive and turn the machine on. The computer’s BIOS should be set to boot using the CD-ROM. If it does not have this capability, boot the computer using a floppy disk containing CD-ROM drivers. (A Windows 98 Startup Disk or DOS boot disk with CD-ROM support will work.) Then, run \I386\WinNT.exe to begin the installation; the Windows 2000 CD’s Setup program will not work in DOS mode.

Installing from DOS mode
When you start installation from DOS, you’ll be asked to provide the location of the Windows 2000 installation files. The default value will be X:/I386, where X is the drive letter of your CD. Accept this value.

Next, the installation program checks to see if you have SmartDrive turned on. You can install Windows 2000 without it, but installation may be faster if your DOS disk has this enabled.

Setup then copies files to your hard drive and asks you to remove any floppy disks prior to rebooting.

The remainder of the installation is identical to booting from a Windows 2000 CD, which I’ll cover in the next section.

Installing from a bootable CD
When you boot from the CD, Setup loads files onto your hard disk. The Windows 2000 Welcome screen then appears, offering you the choices of setting up Windows 2000, repairing a Windows 2000 installation, or quitting the setup program. To continue the setup program, you should press [Enter].

The Windows 2000 License Agreement screen appears next. If you agree with the terms outlined in the license agreement, press F8 to continue.

The next task is configuring the hard drive. The setup screen provides you with a couple of options. You can press [Enter] to set up Windows 2000 on the highlighted partition. You can also create a partition in the unpartitioned space by pressing C, and pressing D will allow you to delete the selected partition.

After managing the partitions you will be asked to select the file system that will be used in the partition. Highlight either NTFS or FAT and then press [Enter].

Graphical portion of setup
The setup program will continue by formatting the partition with the selected file system. Once the partition is formatted, the GUI portion of the installation will begin. The Regional Settings screen gives you the opportunity to adjust many of the settings that are particular to your geographic location.

On the General tab, you can set your geographic location and the language to be used on the system. The Numbers tab allows you to select the many settings available for you to use. You can specify settings for the appearance of currency using the Currency tab. The Time and Date tabs are used to configure the time and date settings on your system. Finally, the Input Locales tab provides you with options for hot-keying between different locale settings and selecting various keyboard settings.

When you have configured all of the Regional Options settings, click Apply and then click OK. You will return to the Regional Settings screen, where you can click Next to continue the installation.

As the installation continues, the Setup Wizard provides you with the opportunity to enter your name and organization name. After entering the appropriate information, click Next to continue.

The next step in your Windows 2000 setup is to enter the product key. The key—on the back of the CD’s jewel case—consists of five fields that contain five alphanumeric characters. After entering your key, click Next.

The Setup Wizard then suggests a computer name for your system. You can either accept the default name or enter one of your own. If your computer is connected to a network, you may want to devise an organizational standard for computer names that will help you identify them. Avoid using employee or department names, as well as room numbers. In large organizations, the employees and equipment can move around quite a bit, causing your once very helpful and descriptive name to become incorrect and confusing. Generic names, such as Company_Name_0001, might provide a better solution. While not fancy, they do the job and will save you time in the long run.

The Computer Name And Password screen also provides you with the opportunity to enter the Administrator user’s password. This password can be up to 14 characters in length, and it is case sensitive. Because this password provides complete access to the local machine, you should use a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, as well as numbers. This password should be very difficult to decipher and should be kept secret. It should also be one you won’t forget.

After entering the appropriate computer name and administrator password, click Next to continue the installation. The next screen provides you with the opportunity to set the system date and time, as well as choose the time zone. The option specifying that the system automatically adjust the system clock for daylight savings time is selected by default. Once you have selected the appropriate information, click Next.

The Setup Wizard will install the networking software at this point. After copying some files, the wizard asks you to choose either a typical or a custom installation of the networking software. Since most network administrators don’t like to leave any setting or configuration to chance, I suggest you choose Custom Settings.

Custom installation
Because every network is configured differently, the settings you use when going through this section of the installation must correspond to how your network is designed. This section will serve as a guide to show you some of the possible settings. Figure B shows you the Local Area Connection Properties screen.

Figure B
Install your networking configurations in the Local Area Connection Properties screen.

The default network client is the Client For Microsoft Networks, which is basically self-configuring. Highlighting the choice and clicking Properties will take you to the Client For Microsoft Networks Properties screen, where you can choose the name service provider, as shown in Figure C. The default setting is Windows Locator, and the alternate choice is DCE Cell Directory Service. If you are unsure of which name service to use, you will probably want to accept the default setting of Windows Locator.

Figure C
Choose your name service provider.

On the Networking Components setup screen, you also have the choice of installing File And Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. Again, depending on your network setup, you may elect to use this service. Because my network has Novell printers already configured, I highlighted this choice and deselected it.

The final component that you can configure from the Networking Components setup screen is Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). The default settings will allow the workstation to use DHCP and DNS servers, as shown inFigure D. You have the option of specifying a static IP address as well as a preferred and alternate DNS server. Clicking the Advanced button will provide you with more options for customizing your TCP/IP configuration. In addition to configuring DNS settings, you can configure WINS, IP security, and TCP/IP filtering.

Figure D
Adjust your TCP/IP properties.

Once again, the configuration of all of these services and components will be determined by the current configuration of your network. For the purposes of this Daily Drill Down, we used the default settings.

To continue with the Setup Wizard, click Next to move on to the Workgroup Or Computer Domain screen. From this screen you can choose to join an existing domain by selecting the choice to make the computer a member of a domain that you specify. The default choice of the Setup Wizard is that the workstation is not a member of a domain or is not a network computer.

At this point in the installation, the Setup Wizard will copy files and install Windows 2000 components. Depending on the computer you are using, this can take a few minutes. As long as the progress bar is moving, you can patiently wait for it to complete what it’s doing.

After the file copy completes, the Setup Wizard will do some more behind-the-scenes work, such as installing the Start menu items, setting registry components, saving all of the settings that have been made, and finally removing all of the temporary files used during the installation. This step of the installation takes a while, and I recommend doing something else while the setup continues. When this step completes, you will be asked to remove all floppy disks and CDs and click the Finish button. The computer will reboot, and Windows 2000 will start.

Some more behind-the-scenes setup procedures will occur, and the Network Identification Wizard will launch. This wizard will help you configure the network settings for the computer. To begin using the Network Identification Wizard to configure the network settings for your Windows 2000 workstation, click Next.

The first screen in the wizard asks you to specify how you would like the computer users to log in. The default choice assumes that the same user will be using the workstation most of the time, and you can enter a username and password for that person so that he or she can automatically log in. To keep your network secure, you will want users to specify their own usernames and passwords each time that they attempt to log in. You can do this by selecting Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer.

After clicking Next to continue, the Network Identification Wizard is completed, and you can click Finish. Windows 2000 will finish starting, and you will be greeted with a friendly Getting Started With Windows 2000 screen. To prevent this screen from being displayed when Windows is started next time, deselect the Show This Screen At Startup option located in the lower-left corner and then click the Exit button.

Installing the Novell Client
If you are going to connect your Windows 2000 computer to a Novell network, you should use the Novell client software that is available from the download section of Novell’s Web site. The Novell client that Microsoft includes with Windows 2000 relies on IPX and cannot be used in a pure IP environment.

After you download and unzip the client software, you can run the setup program to begin the installation. The first screen asks you to read the license agreement and after doing so, you may accept the terms by clicking Yes.

Figure E shows the Novell Client Installation screen. You may choose to perform a typical installation, but as with Windows 2000, you’ll probably want to do a custom installation.

Figure E
You will most likely want to choose a custom installation of Novell Client.

As you can see in Figure F, Novell has elected to make Novell Distributed Print Services a default choice in its client software setup. Unless you need this service, it’s a good idea to deselect it before clicking Next and moving on, in order to minimize system overhead.

Figure F
Deselect Novell Distributed Print Services before continuing with the Novell Client installation.

The following screen will provide you with the opportunity of selecting the correct protocol to install. Your choice will depend on your network configuration. For the purpose of this example, we will select the default setting of IP And IPX, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G
Select your network protocol to use with Novell Client.

The subsequent screen asks whether you are using NDS or Bindery. Again, your choice here depends on your network configuration. Chances are good that your file servers are running NetWare 4.x or better, which is the default choice.

After clicking Next, you are told that the client configuration is completed. You can click the Finish button to begin the file copy and install the Novell client for Windows NT/2000. When the file copy has completed, you will be prompted to reboot the computer so that the changes will take effect.

When Windows restarts, the Novell client software will be running, and you will be able to locate an NDS tree and authenticate to a NetWare file server. To do this, click the Advanced button and use the browse buttons to locate a tree, context, and file server. Once past the Novell security, you will still need to log in as Administrator on the local Windows 2000 workstation.

A little trick that can save you some confusion later is to rename the local Windows 2000 Administrator user to Admin, which is the default name of the administrator account on a Novell network. You may also want both accounts to use the same password, although this would provide an unauthorized user with the password for both Admin accounts.

Your installation of Windows 2000 is now complete. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Microsoft has done a good job of making this installation rather straightforward, and many of the default settings should work well in many environments.

Windows 2000 seems to be a stable product, and you should have quite a while to become familiar with it, as more and more organizations are beginning to use it as their primary desktop client.
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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