In-Depth

Editor's Choice: Windows 2000 Administration

<b>Winner:</b> Microsoft Press Windows 2000 Resource Kit<br> <br> <b>Honorable Mention:</b> <a href="#erdisk">Aelita Software Aelita ERDisk</a>

Windows 2000 Resource Kit $299.99  Microsoft Press; mspress.microsoft.com

When I was told to write about my favorite tool, there was, quite simply one tool for me that’s worth every penny of its $299 average price—the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit. If you don’t yet have it, I have two words for you: Buy it.

Before plunking down your money, however, you need to embrace the fact that these tools fall into Microsoft’s “unsupported” category of software. At first blush, $299 might seem like a high price for a collection of “unsupported” tools but, pound for pound, you get a lot for your money. Actually, you get about 20 pounds of goodies—a whole shelf full of books and a CD full of tools.

This kit is so full of trinkets, I’m hard-pressed to isolate just a few to extol in this limited space. However, I think I’ve narrowed my favorites down to the following.

  • GPRESULT—Why aren’t group policies applying on a desktop? GPRESULT can tell you why. This tool is so important to the Group Policy admin’s daily life, it’s now built directly into Windows XP.
  • KiXtart 95—I hate programming, so this tool helps me be at my batch-file best. With the latest installment of KiXtart 95, I can even trigger conditions based upon which Active Directory site someone is logged in from.
  • Kerbtray and Klist—Am I logged in via NTLM or the industrial-strength Kerberos? Only Kerbtray and Klist know the answer, and they’re in this kit.
  • GP.CHM—This isn’t a “tool” exactly, rather it’s a CHM file, or Compiled HTML help file. GP.CHM allows you to do text searches for items you might be looking for in the Group Policy editor. Don’t know which Group Policy to select to Disable Autoplay? No problem. Search for Autoplay and—voila!—the policy is revealed.
  • L-Bridge—Got Win2K DCs? Got NT 4.0 BDCs? Got logon scripts that need to replicate and co-exist? Don’t pull your hair out; use this script!
  • Clear Screen Saver—Want to make sure the night-shift operator can see what’s on the server console screen, but can’t actually touch anything? Use the Clear Screen Saver to enforce the Ctl-Alt-Del requirement but keep the current status of the system in full view.
Windows 2000 Resource Kit
The Windows 2000 Resource Kit is full of handy tools.

There are literally hundreds of tools, scripts, tips and goodies packed into this CD and book box set. Sure, you’ll need a forklift to get it home or to the office, but you’ll have hours of fun pawing through the CD to grab the tools you need for your utility belt.

Honorable Mention
Aelita ERDisk
$179 per server
Aelita Software
800-263-0036, 614-336-9223 www.aelita.com

However, one good tool does not a full utility belt make. That’s why it was a close call for my “runner up” tool, Aelita’s ERDisk for Active Directory. This product should’ve been named “Job Security in a Box.” Its name makes you think it helps with emergency repair disks (and, yes, they have a product that does this), but this is so much cooler. Quite simply, it restores inadvertently deleted users, groups, OUs and Group Policy objects out of AD—painlessly—all while your DCs are up and running. Wow! It’s pure magic!

About the Author

Jeremy Moskowitz, a Group Policy MVP, is the Chief Propeller-Head for Moskowitz, Inc. and GPanswers.com. He is one of less than a dozen Microsoft MVPs in Group Policy. Since becoming one of the world's first MCSEs, he has performed Active Directory and Group Policy planning and implementations for some of the nation’s largest organizations. His latest books are Group Policy Fundamentals, Security, and Troubleshooting and Creating the Secure Managed Desktop: Group Policy, SoftGrid, and Microsoft Deployment and Management Tools.


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