It’s coming. Windows 2000 is coming. Even though the ship date has slipped (again!), you know that eventually Microsoft is going to get it out the door. So lately, like Pinky and the Brain, you’ve been pondering just what you need to do to get ready.

You grab a cold one and stretch out in your favorite recliner, the one you bought with your bonus last Christmas, and you ponder—trying to be like The Brain but afraid Windows 2000 is going to make you look like Pinky. You need information, you need knowledge—in a word, you need training! But the budget is toast, and anyway, you’d rather sit in your recliner and train than travel to some junky classroom, stay in some funky motel, and listen to some clunky instructor drone on for five days.

Guess what? Me too. So I headed on over to Microsoft’s training home on the Web and scouted around for Win2000 info. I looked specifically for online and downloadable training material that you could grab while online and look at later.

Then I scooted over to MS Press to see what was available. Finally, I checked out Amazon and Barnes and Noble , but I didn’t find as much there as I thought would. Almost everyone is waiting to release his or her books until the product gets closer to actually shipping.

So, Pinky, let’s see what I found!

Downloadable Course: Getting Ready for Windows 2000
This is a 6+ MB compressed file that blows out to almost 20 MB. But once you’ve got it, I think you’ll agree that the content is well worth the download time! It includes an HTML-based course (number 1555) that details all the steps you should take to prepare your current network for Windows 2000. The course is well designed and thorough, with a document navigation bar, a toolbar, and excellent linking. Also included is a best-practices checklist and a large set of white papers covering everything from technical materials on new Windows 2000 features to practical guides on setting up DNS and DHCP. This is an excellent resource that I would highly recommend to anyone getting ready to deploy to Win2000. Cost: Free except for download time. Check it out here .

Beta Training Kit: Microsoft Windows 2000
This official Microsoft Training Kit is available through MS Press and can be ordered online. The kit includes both lessons and hands-on labs and covers the beta editions of Win2000 (Server and Professional). Some of the modules include configuring the Win2000 environment, working with Active Directory, setting up accounts and permissions, and using the new Management Console. This kit is aimed at all levels and is not tied to any exams as far as I know. Still, if you learn better through hands-on exercises and if you have access to the current betas, this kit might be a good choice for you. Cost: $79.99. You can learn more, or order it, here .

Book: Introducing Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
The Web page describes this as the “official first look inside Microsoft Windows 2000 Server” and says that it contains “essential information for IT professionals who need to evaluate and prepare for this next-generation enterprise operating system.” Since this is an MS Press book, it probably has the latest information. It includes some detailed planning and upgrading information. For many network administrators, the section on migration paths should prove useful. The book also includes discussion of the new version of COM (Component Object Model) and Windows DNA (Distributed interNetworking Architecture), both of which may be more interesting to developers than to network engineers. Still, if you want the official line, this is the book for you. Cost: $29.99. Take a look at it here .

Book: Mastering Windows 2000 Server, Preview Edition
So you’re one of those folks who wants a non-Microsoft source, eh? If you think an independent author may give you the straight scoop, check out this book by Mark Minasi. He is a columnist for NT Magazine and is touted in the book’s review as the “#1 best-selling NT book author.” The book was on back-order the day I checked, but by the time you read this it may be back in stock. In any event, you should get it before Windows 2000 actually ships! J Cost: $39.99. The publisher is Sybex, and the ISBN is 078212447X.

Information: Microsoft Official Curriculum for Windows 2000
This site is a thorough discussion of the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) for Win2K and includes a curriculum path based on your previous experience with NT. Seven different courses are described, complete with topics and prerequisites. This is a good document to help you plan your training once Windows 2000 comes out. If you are concerned with Win2000 certification, this is the site for you. Cost: Free.

Hope these various resources help—and that you are ready and able when Windows 2000 finally gets out the door and onto your servers. Once you show your expertise on Win2K, you’ll be able to ponder all the accolades you’ll gather. Happy pondering!

Bruce Maples is a technical trainer and writer. Bruce is certified in several Microsoft technologies and frequently travels to client sites to troubleshoot problems and train employees. Follow this link to send Bruce an e-mail.