Become a Group Policy King
All your Group Policy information in one place
Searching for dedicated Group Policy resources will yield few results
currently. That forces most people to dig through books on Windows 2000
Server or the Win2K Resource Kit to try to find the knowledge and tools
needed to handle their GP implementations. Windows 2000: Group Policies,
Profiles, and IntelliMirror
simplifies the process by pulling all
the information together into one collected resource. [Note: The author
of this book is a contributing writer to MCPmag.com.—Editor]
The book is not geared toward the certification side of Group Policy
under Windows 2000, although chapter one goes through most of the groundwork
that you might see on the 70-217, Directory Services Exam. The real audience
is administrators who are attempting to manage their environments through
Group Policy settings and software deployment methods. To help admins
further, a 10-case scenario section is provided in Appendix B. This section
shows how policies apply under different client operating systems (9x,
NT, 2000), which will help you to prepare for certain known limitations
you may encounter.
Maybe you've gone through the trouble of moving your environment to Windows
2000 specifically because of the promises of easier management through
policies and then you find that it's not as easy or friendly-looking as
you hoped. The book takes you through the awkwardness of setting it up
and then, in chapter three, an entire chapter is dedicated to the troubleshooting
techniques necessary for when problems arise. This is an incredible time
saver because the maze of potential problems with GP's are pulled into
a logical step-by-step routine of investigation for you. In addition,
Resource Kit materials and third-party utilities (like FAZAM 2000 from
FullArmor Corp.) are also highlighted to help you thread the maze.
The fun really begins with a great two-part section on IntelliMirror.
The book shows you how to handle the simple side of redirection of folders,
using offline folders and disk quotas, but that isn't the real meat of
it. An entire chapter is devoted to software deployment. This covers how
to assign and publish software and how to use Group Policy to manipulate
all the processes like upgrading software packages, packaging your own
software into .msi files, or even working with applications that cannot
be packaged, forcing you to use .zap files.
Those are the highlights. There are some portions you may never use in
your environment, like Security Configuration and Analysis, or Remote
Installation Services, but chapters exist for these to round out the subject,
along with a standard review of Profiles with Win2K that experienced admins
might skim (or skip).
One topic that has limited understandable materials these days is ADM
Templates. These allow you to create almost any desired change by storing
Registry settings that can be manipulated through GP. The book contains
an entire chapter on the subject of using ADM templates, and also includes
an Appendix on ADM template syntax coding, which is monumental.
Whether you're a first time player in the Group Policy world or an advanced
Group Policy admin, Windows 2000 Group Policy, Profiles, and IntelliMirror
will enhance your knowledge greatly on the subject. The material flows
smoothly and is anything but dry for such an in-depth subject. It's worth
adding to your resources.
J. Peter Bruzzese (Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCITP: Messaging) is a longtime contributor to Redmond, an InfoWorld journalist and the Exchange 2010 instructor for Train Signal. You can reach him at email@example.com.