On March 9, 2000, Microsoft Press authors Sharon Crawford and Charlie Russel, and contributing author Jason Gerend, writers of the hefty Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator’s Companion, joined us to answer your questions. If you couldn’t join us then, we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting.
Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.
Moderator: Evening all.
Sharon Crawford: charlie’s train is late but he’ll be here any minute.
Sharon Crawford: Hello.
Moderator: It’s good to see you all here today.
Moderator: Tonight we have (or will have shortly) 3 special guests. Sharon Crawford, take a bow.
Mikkilusa: hi, all. Welcome to the land of knowledge.
Sharon Crawford: Hello, Mike. Hello everyone.
Moderator: Jason Gerend, and Charlie Russel, as soon as he arrives virtually and in reality.
Jason Gerend: That’s me. Hi, everyone. : )
Moderator: All are Microsoft Press authors. Tonight we’ll be discussing “Windows 2000‑Upgrading and networking.”
Mikkilusa: smile signs do not work here. Bummer, huh?
Moderator: And, as usual, we have some prizes to give away for the most awesome chatters.
About the book
Moderator: Sharon, do you want to say a few words about your book?
Awasa: hello, everyone.
Sharon Crawford: Sure. It’s one of those very big books as befits a very big program. We spent about a year and a half on it. It’s for administrators of a network, whether they’re upgrading right away or in bits and pieces. There are chapters on installation, security, tuning, all the usual suspects, I guess.
Moderator: We look forward to giving copies away soon as prizes (as soon as we get them).
Huevos: Is that book one of the prizes?
Moderator: But not tonight, Huevos.
Sharon Crawford: I volunteer to send one to the best chatter—as determined by Mike.
Moderator: Can everyone take a sec to introduce themselves for our guests? And what you do…
Mikkilusa: cool. My name is Mike too. Do I get to decide?
Darryellrandle: Hi. Computer Engineer for the Detroit Zoo.
Jason Gerend: Well, I’m Jason Gerend, one of the contributing authors for the book. Amazingly enough, I write computer books.
Tlsnc: Hi, I am an independent contractor in Asheville, NC.
Mikkilusa: I am a PC support specialist in Kennewick, Washington.
Chevy: Hello. I’m the manager of IT at a software company in Tucson, AZ.
Huevos: PC support in WA, thinking of going to Win2000 as company. Not solely my decision, though.
Corsair: Hello everyone, I’m the software guy at a computer company in MT.
Mikkilusa: Huevos is my partner‑a brilliant young cohort.
Awasa: Hi, I am a system engineer from Boston.
Upgrade and networking concerns
Moderator: Thank you. Well, we’ve all heard the buzz about 2000—but I know we’re all wondering about it. So I’ll throw the meeting open to questions. What are your upgrade and networking concerns?
Darryellrandle: When will we see a version of Windows with DOS not included?
Mikkilusa: Well, I hear it is self healing. It was finishing its install when I left work. Tomorrow I make it bleed. How does it heal itself?
Huevos: Support for old programs/peripherals.
Tlsnc: Do you know where the utility to generate boot disks for workstation setups from the network lives in Win2k?
Moderator: Great start—Sharon? Jason? Have fun. 😉
Corsair: My biggest concern is having to reload all the software packages for my clients.
Chevy: Support for new hardware like laptops.
Huevos: Also the high min requirements for install and quick running.
No DOS per se
Jason Gerend: OK—there’s no DOS per se in Windows 2000 (or NT for that matter). But there is DOS support.
Sharon Crawford: Support for old programs is actually quite good. Even my old creaky DOS programs are running fine. I haven’t seen any that won’t run, except the ones that didn’t run on NT either.
The new Application Compatibility tool
Jason Gerend: There are some apps that don’t like Windows 2000, but these apps often can be made to work by using the Application Compatibility tool, located on the Windows 2000 CD.
Huevos: How does the Compatibility tool work?
Chevy: What types of applications will not run on Win2K?
Jason Gerend: The tool lets you specify what version of Windows you want to pretend to be running—Windows 95 to Windows NT 4.0 SP5 (?).
Mikkilusa: The latest client release for Novell we have is 4.6. Do we use it on 2000 to talk to our Novell network?
Corsair: Do I upgrade the server in the network or the workstations first? Going from NT server and workstation…
Jason Gerend: You can also deal with path issues, and some other things like that.
Huevos: Sounds cool if the tool works as advertised.
Jason Gerend: I’ve gotten many that don’t like NT to run in Windows 2000.
Mikkilusa: is the tool like the one 95 has?
Jason Gerend: Hmm, no, not like anything in Windows 95. I think you’re thinking of the ability to specify DOS box settings?
Awasa: What kind of configuration do you need other than straight install for dual booting Win98 and Win2K?
Sharon Crawford: Shows what I know. ;-).
Jason Gerend: To dual boot Windows 2K and Windows 9X, preferably install Windows 9X first.
Jason Gerend: BTW: Sharon knows way more than I do; I think I just type faster (and talk faster too : ) ).
Jcarlisle: Didn’t Win2k beta have a problem dual booting with Win98? Did they fix that?
Mikkilusa: Dual booted with an MBR program so far very nicely, and I used FAT32, which will be sweet.
Jason Gerend: Windows 9X can be installed on a FAT16 or FAT32 partition (Windows 2000 likes both).
Jason Gerend: When you install Windows 2000 after Windows 9X is installed, it will offer to upgrade or perform a clean install.
Moderator: Everyone—Charlie Russel (applause!).
Mikkilusa: Welcome, Charlie. We heard a lot about you.
Huevos: It will be nice to have FAT32 support.
Jason Gerend: obviously, to dual boot, perform a clean install.
Charlie Russel: Hopefully some of it’s true.
Jason Gerend: Yeah! Hi, Charlie. I’m covering dual boot right now.
Mikkilusa: clap clap clap clap.
Charlie Russel: Only dual boot, Jason? Shame. I’ve had as many as 5 on this machine at one point.<G>.
Jason Gerend: Anyway, once you install Windows 2000, install it on another partition (preferably NTFS, but FAT16 and FAT32 work fine too).
Jason Gerend: OK Charlie, you’re asking for it. I think I’ve had 4 or 5 also. : )
Moderator: uh—by the way—what’s the title of your book?
Sharon Crawford: Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator’s Companion (whew!).
Moderator: Great—some lucky winner will get that—courtesy of Sharon.
Jason Gerend: But unlike you, four of those weren’t UNIX flavors: ).
Sharon Crawford: OK, you two. Get back to answering questions!!!
Win2K installs an NT-like boot loader
Jason Gerend: When you install Windows 2000, it will overwrite Windows 9X’s MBR with its own boot loader, giving you the NT boot menu we’ve all grown to know and love.
Moderator: For those of us who recently joined, Sharon, Jason, and Charlie are MS Press authors speaking tonight.
Charlie Russel: For full functionality, you really need NTFS. With the addition of encryption and file system limits, as well as mount points, it makes sense now.
Mikkilusa: Novell client question when you get chance please?
Moderator: That’s right all—don’t be bashful to repeat your questions as they get lost in the scroll.
Jason Gerend: You should then (preferably) install your programs separately in each OS.
Making boot disks, the server-workstation upgrade order, and Novell compatibility
Tlsnc: So, can any of you point me to the boot disk generating utility for Win2K?
Jason Gerend: I’ll cover boot disks—Charlie you talk on Novell.
Corsair: Which should you upgrade first, the server or workstation? (NT server and workstation current.)
Charlie Russel: I missed the Novell question, so speak up. I’ll try to answer it, but admit up front that it’s my weakest OS.
Mikkilusa: We have 4.6 as our latest Novell client. Will it work on 2000?
Charlie Russel: Mikkilusa—I’m honestly not sure. And I don’t have it here to test. Check the program compatibility list that’s part of the installation process.
Sharon Crawford: Upgrade the server first. The PDC (primary domain controller).
Huevos: That is the NetWare client for NTWS.
Jason Gerend: Windows 2000, like NT, can’t really be booted off a floppy disk. Not completely anyway. You can boot from the three boot floppies (included), and then use the CD to boot to a command line and securely access your NTFS partitions. This is called the Recovery Console.
Mikkilusa: thanks, Huevos.
Jason Gerend: Ya, but it’s OK to have Win2K clients on an NT4 network.
Mikkilusa: oh, well. Will try it tomorrow and see if it bleeds. Bill G. says it will heal itself, hehehehe.
Sharon Crawford: Then backup DCs (domain controllers) to Win2K, then workstations. It’s the cleanest. But as Jason says, you can go the other way too. The only thing that’s a MUST is that the PDC must be upgraded first of the controllers.
Charlie Russel: You can make boot floppies from the CD using “\i386\winnt /ox”.
Jsheesley: The current Novell Client version which is certified for Windows 2000 is 4.7.
Jason Gerend: these are setup boot disks.
Moderator: Thanks John. Jsheesley is our TechRepublic NetWare Guru.
Mikkilusa: Thanks Jsheesley.
Charlie Russel: yes, correct Jason.
Jason Gerend: Charlie—you’re quick with your command line references! There’s a command line guru…
Corsair: I have a mail server and a PDC and workstation; do I upgrade the server, the mail server, and then the workstations?
Charlie Russel: Corsair, yes, that is the order I would use.
OS, heal thyself?
Sharon Crawford: As far as self-healing is concerned—it’s a kind of weird phrasing, but I’ve been running Win2K Pro on my main machine for many months and the only time I’ve had to reboot was when a program boinked. I often have to use Task Manager to close down processes or apps, but then I go right on. It is pretty cool.
Awasa: The installation and boot menu prompt went fine. I tried to install it on my current system which is 98. However I can’t access 98 (hangs up), Win2K works fine.
Jason Gerend: Awasa—Check the Knowledge Base at support.microsoft.com on this issue. I cover an issue similar to this in our book, but there are so many reasons Win9X won’t boot. Can you get to Safe Mode Command Line Only?
Jason Gerend: Ya—but I only reboot when I can’t get the program running again. I’ve never had a program cause system instability.
Corsair: Has anyone heard of any problems with Web equipment and 2000?
Charlie Russel: Not sure what you mean by Web equipment.
Jason Gerend: Always the first server to upgrade is the PDC.
Web ramping, laptops, and other questions
Tlsnc: I need boot disks with NIC drivers on it to do an install from the server.
Corsair: I meant Web ramp equipment. Oops.
Chevy: Would upgrading several laptop clients to W2K throw a wrench into a server upgrade later?
Mikkilusa: I see on the Web page MS has already released updates. Is there a corporate site for downloads like 98, so can download once?
Jason Gerend: Tlsnc—you can try using the Network Client Administrator tool. It’s hidden though in Windows 2000.
Tlsnc: That is my point. I can’t find it.
Charlie Russel: No, upgrading the laptops first shouldn’t cause a problem. We’re doing that on my day job.
Awasa: Thanks, jgerend: In Win2K there is no Wins server. What is the substitute for that?
Jason Gerend: Otherwise, you can do a network boot if you have an NIC with boot PROM and you set up a Remote Installation Server.
Sharon Crawford: W2K is a *great* laptop OS. It installed on our elderly laptops without a qualm. If I couldn’t upgrade anywhere else, I’d do the laptops.
Yes, there’s WINS in Windows 2000
Jason Gerend: Yes, there is WINS in Windows 2000. Improved too. : )
Charlie Russel: Dynamic DNS—and actually there is WINS until you go away from any NT4.
Jason Gerend: Just a second on the boot disk, have to rummage for that… : )
Chevy: Doesn’t it require more resources than other MS operating systems?
Jcarlisle: Aren’t you basically FORCED to install DDNS on a Win2K server if you want to use Active Directory?
Minimum requirements are high
Ezra: What is the minimum processor & RAM for a laptop upgrade?
Corsair: I read that I can upgrade my workstation from my server. Is this right?
Tlsnc: That is a big roger, Jcarlisle!
Tlsnc: sorry that was for Chevy.
Charlie Russel: Minimum processor is Pentium something—I’m using it on P166 without problem. RAM is at least 32 MB, in my opinion. More is better here.
Mikkilusa: Pent 133.
Ezra: How much space will W2K take up on the hard disk on a laptop install?
Trplshot: Can legacy DOS programs run in the Win2K environment a la FAT32? What is the downside of this choice?
Tlsnc: How much RAM are you running with that P166?
Charlie Russel: P133 should be fine. Again, RAM is the critical. I would max out the RAM on older laptops to get acceptable performance.
Charlie Russel: HD space—a lot. I think the install wants ~700 MB free to not choke.
Mikkilusa: Bill G. must have invested in a lot of RAM companies when he made this OS.
Charlie Russel: Legacy DOS—most seem fine. I run an old DOS communication program just fine in FAT32. Or NTFS.
Sharon Crawford: Resources: The more you need to do, the more resources are needed. I’ve installed Advanced Server (as a test) on my 166Mhz laptop with 80 MB of RAM. But if I wanted to manage a database or a few dozen workstations, it would definitely need more resources. You can’t get the same mileage on an 18-wheeler as on a Yugo.
Yes, it really is very stable
Huevos: Sharon, is Windows 2000 really that stable? (few reboots in months?)
Ezra: What accounts for the size? Is it DLLs? Kernel? other things?
Mikkilusa: Any ideas on the corporate website (see above question)?
Charlie Russel: And it’s important to understand that Active Directory requires a LOT OF RAM. So any DCs should be not less than 256 MB for real networks.
Tlsnc: Huevos, that is what I have heard from many other sources too.
Corsair: When I upgrade my server to 2000 does Exchange have to upgrade or will it work with Exchange 5.5?
Sharon Crawford: I can’t speak for EVERYONE, but yes, in my experience the darn thing just keeps on ticking.
Huevos: How did they break the trend and make it so stable?
Trplshot: Do I sacrifice security support in the FAT32 format?
Charlie Russel: Exchange 5.5 is fine, but it must be Service Pack 3 for Exchange.
Charlie Russel: Yes, security in FAT32 is no different from FAT. You need NTFS for security.
Sharon Crawford: Yes, FAT32 is not as good as NTFS. You lose a lot of security options.
Ezra: Would you recommend FAT or FAT 32 for the OS and NTFS for file security?
Jason Gerend: OK—I’m striking out on the Network Client disk. I believe that they pulled it from the final release. It was in and out of the betas. I would recommend using the Ncadmin tool on an NT 4 machine if you must, otherwise, consider throwing Win9X on to gain network access and then install from the network that way (or maybe spring for a CD-ROM drive). If you’re doing this on a large scale, you should look into the Remote Installation Service, which allows booting across the network, and semi-auto.
FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and NTFS5
Charlie Russel: Frankly, I used to use FAT for the OS to make life simpler in NT4. But with the command console option, I now use NTFS exclusively.
Tlsnc: Don’t you also lose some advanced disk management features if you don’t run NTFS?
Chevy: On a fresh install of Win2K, do you have to use the new NTFS, or can you use the WinNT version?
Corsair: can I, and how do I find out how to upgrade 30+ workstations from a file server already upgraded to 2000?
Charlie Russel: Yes, you lose much without NTFS.
Charlie Russel: No, you must always use NTFS5.
Tlsnc: Thanks jgerend.
Chevy: What are the benefits of NTFS5?
Charlie Russel: Quotas, transparent encrypting file system, mount points.
Huevos: Where can I find more about the NTFS command console?
Jason Gerend: NTFS is always upgraded to version 5 whenever Windows 2000 touches it. Then you need NT 4 with SP5 or greater in order to read from the drives.
Mikkilusa: Note: if you have a parallel zip drive you need the patch from MS to make it work on 2000.
Recovery Console and Mount Points
Jason Gerend: Ahh, the Recovery Console. It’s covered thoroughly in the help system, as well as in our book (more thoroughly).
Sharon Crawford: The thing about Windows 2000 is that you don’t *have* to use a lot of these features, but with every one you use, you get access to some additional functionality. That includes NTFS.
Huevos: Shameless plug.
Sharon Crawford: Shameless, indeed.
Jason Gerend: When you boot into the Recovery Console, you can type help and get a command reference. I believe there’s also a KB article talking about it.
Jason Gerend: Sorry, I don’t get royalties, so it’s not that shameless… : ).
Charlie Russel: Let me expand on “mount points.” This allows you to end up with a single tree across multiple drives. It is directly analogous to mounting file systems in UNIX.
Huevos: Is Recovery Console where you choose to repair, instead of install NT?
Jason Gerend: No, that’s the Emergency Repair Process. But you get to the Recovery Console that way.
Chevy: Can that tree extend across servers?
Jason Gerend: You choose to repair, then choose repair using the Recovery Console instead of one of the other options.
Moderator: We have 10 minutes—so I want to make sure everyone’s questions get covered. Is there anything else that got lost in the suffle?
Moderator: Sorry, not the suffle, the shuffle.
Huevos: Jgerend, thanks again.
Charlie Russel: Yes, the tree can extend across servers but only by using Active Directory—not quite the same as using transparent NFS mounts.
Jason Gerend: No problemo : ).
Mikkilusa: Corporate website for one time downloads: any ideas?
Sharon Crawford: Clarify please, Mikkilusa?
Chevy: Thanks, Charlie.
Sharon Crawford: Don’t understand the question…
Mikkilusa: in 98 there is a website to download updates. Instead of download and installing does 2000 have same website yet?
Sharon Crawford: yes. Windows Update on the Start menu goes there.
Automatic upgrade report and other upgrade issues
Jason Gerend: Somebody wanted to know if they’d have to reinstall their apps when they upgraded. If you’re upgrading from 9X, you will see a compatibility report before you actually do the upgrade. It will show you what’s going to make it and what won’t. I can’t remember if you get this in an NT upgrade, but really most everything should make it—at least just about every program will.
Charlie Russel: Yes, you do have it on an NT upgrade as well, Jason.
Jason Gerend: If you do need to mass deploy apps, Win2K has an excellent tool for this—Intellimirror. You can publish applications in the Active Directory with a lot of control.
Huevos: Can the patch be salvaged so that it can be used on other machines w/o downloading again?
Moderator: Any other cool upgrade or networking tools in Win2K we should know about?
Sharon Crawford: The NT upgrade works somewhat better than the Win98 upgrade, however.
Mikkilusa: thanks, Huevos for clarifying.
Huevos: de nada!
Jason Gerend: It’s kinda my impression that the Windows 9X upgrade isn’t quite an upgrade, but a clean install which tries to take as many settings out of Win9X as possible. This is good in my opinion, because it means the OS won’t be as junky, but it does mean that it’s harder to get everything to transfer.
Jason Gerend: Although, it does write over the old Win9x directory so you can’t dual boot.
Huevos: why is Windows 2000 more stable?
Sharon Crawford: mikkilusa did you go to www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/default.asp.
Charlie Russel: I’d generally suggest that one take this opportunity to clean things up during the upgrade. Do a fresh install wherever possible. It’s just cleaner and faster in the end.
Trplshot: Is there any REAL reason to delay upgrade until the first service pack is released? I have a gun-shy IT manager.
Charlie Russel: trplshot—personally, I wouldn’t. What I would do is start a “test environment” and see how it goes. This will make your IT manager much happier.
Sharon Crawford: the downloads for the Win2K server are there.
Mikkilusa: COOL Sharon THANK YOU.
Images and ghosting—watch your PIDs
Awasa: What kind of image do you recommend? Is Ghost still preferable?
Ezra: Does Win2K have unique PIDs like Win NT? I’m thinking of when you clone images with Ghost if it will be a problem.
Huevos: Thanks Sharon.
Jason Gerend: Norton Ghost, latest version, works great with Win2K I believe.
Mikkilusa: Another note: Windows 2000 does not need the first partition. Nice, very nice.
Jason Gerend: But yes, you do have to watch your PIDs.
Charlie Russel: Same problems as other ghostings. But the tools should be able to handle it.
Cool net tools
Jason Gerend: Cool net tools: Intellimirror (software deployment, roaming profiles and data (!) ), Remote Installation Service, Internet Connection Sharing, better Routing and Remote Access Service, better DNS, etc. etc.
Sharon Crawford: Waiting for the first service pack does no harm.
Jason Gerend: Look into SysPrep.
Trplshot: Thanks Charlie, I will begin that project immediately.
Moderator: This has been an awesome meeting.
Sharon Crawford: And the new Terminal Services—very, very cool.
Jason Gerend: But Win2K is really great now, so it’s not too early to start.
Moderator: I’d like to have a round of applause for our speakers, Sharon Crawford, Charlie Russel, Jason Gerend -.
Ezra: clap clap clap.
Emoore: clap clap clap.
Chevy: Thanks Sharon, Jason, and Charlie. Great discussion!
Tlsnc: clap, clap, clap.
Corsair: clap clap clap.
Jason Gerend: Thanks everyone, it’s been fun. Hope we helped. : )
Awasa: Thank you all.
Sharon Crawford: Thank you, thank you very much.
Moderator: And also for our chatters today—who helped make it terrific. And now prizes.
Moderator: My head hurts trying to figure this out. Luckily, Sharon offered a copy of, I’ll just call it the BIG BOOK, which I award to Huevos, who can use it!
Jason Gerend: It weighs 5 lbs.
Moderator: A copy of Active Directory 2000 by O’Reilly—to Chevy.
Huevos: You got that right. Thanks!!!
Charlie Russel: good for doing curls.
Jason Gerend: I think the mail carriers threw out their backs carrying it.
Moderator: Another Microsoft Press book—Advanced Windows—to Corsair.
Sharon Crawford: Great—you gotta think someone with that name has…well…Huevos.
Moderator: And finally—2 TechRepublic t-shirts—to Awasa, and to Trplshot—you both deserve them!
Jason Gerend: Also doubles as a dictionary in a pinch. Just geekier.
Mikkilusa: Congrats Huevos and Chevy.
Mikkilusa: means eggs heheheeeh.
Huevos: Oh yes!
Moderator: You all did fantastic—keep coming back. This will make a terrific transcript, too, which I’ll try to get up Tuesday.
Trplshot: Thank you! : )
Moderator: Thank you all for coming—prize winners, please send your real name, snail mail address, and phone, ASAP, to email@example.com.
Mikkilusa: Congrats to all and thanks GUEST SPEAKERS.
Huevos: Thanks again.
Tlsnc: Thanks, all. See you back here next Tuesday.
Jason Gerend: bye everyone, have a good evening. : )
Mikkilusa: ‘Night. Same bat channel next Tuesday.
Ezra: great—thanks all -.
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.