Product Reviews

Taking Shortcuts that Count

NT Service Account Manager 2.0 offers relief for those admin tasks that you might classify under "repetitive and boring."

There is a time in every Windows NT administrator’s life where it is necessary to start or stop a service, add or remove a service, or modify a service account on one or more NT machines. Services can easily be managed remotely, or locally, one system at a time, with Server Manager. But what happens, for example, if you have to add Client Services for NetWare, or RAS, to a hundred NT workstations? Do you want to add the service to one workstation at a time, or would you rather be able to concurrently add the service to all those workstations?

NT Service Account Manager 2.0 by Lieberman and Associates is designed to allow administrators the option of doing maintenance on large groups of services and service accounts concurrently. This is an ideal product for administrators of any size NT network. The ability to maintain services, service accounts and their passwords from a single interface screen makes an administrator’s day-to-day life much easier.

NT machines and Win2K machines on multiple domains or workgroups can be managed as well. The systems need not reside in a single workgroup or domain. To manage services on an NT system you must be an administrator of the local system. With NT Service Account Manager 2.0, an administrator can manage services across multiple domains, as long as they have a valid administrator login and password for each domain. This is done with the “Connect As” feature or the “Impersonation/Alternate Administrator Accounts” feature. The Impersonation feature permits an administrator to have numerous administrative identities. With this capability all systems can be viewed on a single screen without having to logon/logoff multiple times managing domain by domain, workgroup by workgroup, or system by system—we’re talking real convenience.

To install NT Service Account Manager 2.0 you must have an NT workstation with 64M RAM, 200M of free HD space, and a screen resolution of 1024x768.

Once you install and launch it, you define a service group to manage. Basically, you give a group of machines a name, select that service group, and it’ll pop up on the main management screen, Manage Systems in Group. From this interface you can then manage NT services on systems in domains and workgroups. Management includes starting and stopping services; adding and removing services; changing service accounts and their respective passwords and more.

NT Service Account Manager 2.0 doesn’t need any special software or agents to be loaded on the managed systems, nor does it require gobs of overhead. Each machine being managed has a single thread dedicated to managing its services.

The main weakness I found with NT Service Account Manger 2.0 is the main interface screen, which appears very cluttered. In an attempt to do everything possible with services in one screen, too much was included. If the screen were a bit less busy it would be easier to digest. That, in the grand scheme, is a minor point.

Except for the cluttered interface, Lieberman & Associates' NT Service Account Manager has a host of life-saving features, such as the ability to manage several machines without having to log on and off of each one in the process.

On the whole, NT Service Account Manager 2.0 is easy to use and administrator-friendly. It makes service management on any number of NT systems simple. If you have been using Server Manager to remotely administer services in a single domain, multiple domains or workgroups, try NT Service Account Manager 2.0. It will make your service-related tasks a snap.

About the Author

Warren E. Wyrostek, M.Ed., MCNI, MCT, MCSE+Internet, CIW CI, CCNP is devoted to technology education. Warren's main joy comes as a Contract Trainer in Prosoft, Microsoft, and Novell technologies. At heart he is a teacher who loves what education offers.

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