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Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell

Windows Server 2003 Add-Ons, Part 3

by Mitch Tulloch, author of Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell and the upcoming Windows Server Hacks

In my two previous articles, Part 1 and Part 2, I described some of the feature packs for Windows Server 2003 that are freely available for download from Microsoft's web site. These feature packs extend the capabilities of Windows Server 2003 in different ways to help you deploy, manage, and maintain the security of your Windows-based network.

In this article I'll look at some other free tools you can download and add to your toolbox of must-have utilities for Windows administrators.

Migration Tools

The Active Directory Migration Tool version 2.0 and Domain Rename Tools are helpful if you plan on upgrading or migrating your Windows NT domains to Windows Server 2003. They are also indispensable if you currently have Active Directory deployed and want to consolidate domains or restructure your forest to simplify administration and improve network performance.

These tools are fairly complex to use and a number of things can go wrong if you're not careful, so read the documentation included with these tools carefully. Fortunately, the Microsoft Knowledge base also has some helpful how-to articles on ADMT 2.0 and renaming domains to get you started in the right directions.

FRS Troubleshooting Tools

The File Replication Service is at the heart of a number of important functions in Windows Server 2003, including replication of the SYSVOL share, domain controller announcements, and the operation of the Distributed File System (DFS). When replication fails the results can be catastrophic for users trying to log on to the network and access resources, so Microsoft has created some helpful tools for monitoring and troubleshooting FRS.

Using these tools lets you peek under the hood to watch replication at work and figure out what's wrong when replication fails. Before you get these tools however, check out this how-to article on troubleshooting FRS from the Knowledge Base. The article gives some basic tips on where you can begin your troubleshooting, and if these fail then go for the heavy-duty tools instead.

IIS Tools

Microsoft has created a whole slew of useful tools for IIS, including tools for migration, stress testing, log parsing, certificate enrollment, authentication packages, and troubleshooting. Also available for download is the IIS 6.0 Deployment Guide, which gives you scenario-based guidance on how to deploy IIS to meet your business needs.

Log Parser 2.0 is also available for download, but don't use this version -- use version 2.1 instead, which is included in the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit Tools and is part of the main download above. Note that there is also a Support WebCast on the topic of migrating earlier versions of IIS to version 6.

Windows Server Hacks

Related Reading

Windows Server Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
By Mitch Tulloch

Remote Desktop Add-Ons

Remote Desktop Connection for Windows Server 2003 is a Remote Desktop client you can install on machines running earlier versions of Windows to enable them to remotely connect to a Windows XP machine running Remote Desktop, or to a Windows Server 2003 machine running Remote Desktop or Terminal Services.

Remote Desktop Web Connection, on the other hand, is an ActiveX control that lets client machines use Internet Explorer to access an IIS 4.0 or later machine running Remote Desktop or Terminal Services over the Internet. Both of these downloads enhance earlier Windows platforms with improved Remote Desktop/Terminal Services functionality.

Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack

To manage backroom servers running Windows Server 2003 from a Windows XP desktop in your office, you need to install the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack, which is available as a downloadable Windows Installer package (adminpak.msi). Installing adminpak.msi on your desktop machine installs the full slate of administrative tools, but be sure your Windows XP machine has Service Pack 1 installed first. Note that this package is also available in the I386 folder on your Windows Server 2003 product CD, but be sure to check the download area in case a newer version of the tools gets released.

Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools

Finally, make sure you download the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools and begin familiarizing yourself with them. Since there are over 100 tools in the download, I'll simply echo what those old commercials use to say on TV: "They're fun for the whole family!"

Mitch Tulloch is the author of Windows 2000 Administration in a Nutshell, Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell, and Windows Server Hacks.

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