Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
By Peter Norton, John Mueller, and Richard Mansfield
Published Feb. 2000 by SAMs Publishing, a division of Macmillan USA; ISBN 0672317788
Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Published March 2000 by SAMs Publishing, a division of Macmillan USA; ISBN 067231777x
In many computing circles, the name Peter Norton represents excellence in software products and technical information. He is now retired, having sold his software business, famous for its utility and anti-virus suites, to Symantec Corp. in 1990. Over the years, the software entrepreneur has authored such books as Peter Norton’s Inside the PC and Peter Norton’s Computing Fundamentals. This month we review two Windows 2000 books, Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Server.
Several talented collaborators join Norton as co-authors for the Windows 2000 books. On the Server team are Tom Burke, a network engineer at NetAbacus Corp., a company being acquired by Rivio Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., and Irfan Chaudhry, a consultant with experience in several Microsoft technologies. On the Professional team are Richard Mansfield, an accomplished technical author (The Comprehensive Guide to VB5) and John Mueller, a freelance writer and editor.
Each book targets the primary users of the respective operating systems: end users for the Professional edition and systems administrators for the Server edition.
For the End User
In the corporate world, an increasing number of inexperienced, nontechnical people are required to use Windows 2000 Professional. Uninitiated users tend to demand a lot of handholding to master this complex OS. When corporate users approach their computers with insufficient technical knowledge, help-desk expenses increase and systems administrators spend too much of their valuable time educating users.
While the authors of Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional could have taken the easy path and written their book in a for dummies genre, they were wise enough to follow a higher path. The authors carefully walk the reader through the theoretical underpinnings of Windows 2000, explaining the why along with the how.
For example, when instructing readers how to choose a file system for Windows 2000 Professional, the authors could have written a terse–and misleading–statement like NTFS is always superior to the FAT system. So, here’s how you format and use NTFS and provided a list of steps. Instead, they dedicate an entire chapter to the file systems’ structures and mechanics, empowering users and allowing them to make informed computing decisions. Step-by-step instructions (replete with screen shots) are included, mixed in with the under-the-hood education.
Companies should consider making this book mandatory reading for their Windows 2000 users.
Server Side, Too
Most experienced systems administrators will find the Server book a bit too basic; they will have to look elsewhere to solve some of their nitty-gritty issues. It tends to adhere to a format of technical discussion followed by step-by-step instructions.
For example, the chapter on remote access services (RAS) explains the structure of RAS, the various connection types and considerations of each; security issues; and protocol support. It then walks the reader step-by-step through the installation and administration of RAS.
Windows 2000 Active Directory Survival Guide: Planning and Implementation by Richard Schwartz, covers all relevant topics related to a successful and rapid deployment of Active Directory.
One of the more exciting uses of the Server book will be for those who find themselves new to systems administration. As Microsoft aims to ease the burden of systems administration, many workers without previous systems experience could find new and challenging computer-related tasks listed in their job descriptions. Combined with proper instruction and mentoring, the Windows 2000 Server book will give this breed of administrator much of the information needed to begin tackling his or her new responsibilities.
Administrators will appreciate the many tips sprinkled throughout the book. Whether reminding users to back up their registry or to assign a static IP address, these pointers have been acquired through the authors’ hands-on experience, and they will help administrators avoid many pitfalls.
If you are an end user confronting Windows 2000 Professional with trepidation, buy a copy of Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and read it from cover to cover while exploring your new OS. When finished, you’ll be armed with enough information to put your fears to rest.
If you are a new systems administrator or an experienced one who wants to make sure all the basics are covered, read Peter Norton’s Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. You won’t find all the answers, but it’s a great place to start. You also might want to consider asking management to provide your end users with copies of the Professional book. It could keep your telephone from ringing out of control! //
David Fisco is an Internet media consultant and developer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.