Any book that claims to be an essential reference assumes an increased burden. In addition to having to deliver on the regular value propositions all IT texts face (covering the right material, presenting content in an orderly fashion, ensuring the content is technically accurate, and pricing the book appropriately), there’s the added weight of ensuring an essential reference is, in essence, the definitive reference source.
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After all, essential is defined as absolute, complete, perfect, and pure. That’s a pretty tall order for a Windows 2000 essential reference released close to the delivery date of the operating system itself.

So the big question for me was whether Windows 2000 Essential Reference, written by Steven Tate and a score of other authors, would do justice to its moniker. I think it does. Ultimately, you’ll have to make your own determination. Here’s why.

Windows 2000 Essential Reference, written by an army of qualified writers and published by New Riders, can be yours for $28 from Fatbrain.

What you’ll find
Pick up a copy of Windows 2000 Essential Reference, and you’ll find a text that’s chock-full of feature explanations, reference charts, technical descriptions, and quick how-to tips. What you won’t always find is detailed guidance or extensive step-by-step instruction. (That would be nice in a book that’s billed as an essential reference.)

For example, I could find only two paragraphs in the 672-page book addressing the use of disk quotas. Network administrators have long sought the storage enforcement feature. Additional documentation would have been appropriate.

The same is true for VPN configuration and troubleshooting. The topics are covered, but in-depth documentation is missing.

However, you will find detailed information on other applications and utilities. For instance, the text provides excellent descriptions of Kerberos and clearly defines steps for installing and configuring Internet Connection Sharing (ICS).

The authors should also receive kudos for having such a small errata. This book was published in April 2000, just weeks after the final code for the new operating system was available in stores.

Furthermore, the authors have done an excellent job of covering most elements and features that you’ll discover yourself wanting to look up as your reliance upon Windows 2000 systems increases.

The final word
If you’re preparing for Windows 2000 certification exams, I’m certain you’ll find this text helpful. While it won’t provide the lengthy how-to descriptions for all the features and applications you’ll need to master, it will help fill in important blanks.
If you’d like to share your opinion, please post a comment below or send the editor an e-mail.