When Windows XP shipped in October, a curious omission rendered the OS useless to most IT professionals and administrators. With its previous Windows NT-based product, Windows 2000, the company shipped a set of tools on the product's CD-ROM that let users with Win2K Professional Edition administer Win2K Server machines from their desktops. This set of tools, dubbed the Administrative Tools Pack, was conspicuously missing from the XP CD-ROM, however, and the Win2K versions don't work with XP. After checking with Microsoft several times during the past few weeks, I confirmed that new versions of the tools are on the way.
Late Monday, Microsoft released a beta version of the tools for free download, and Microsoft says that the final version will be available by the end of the year. The tools consists of a set of Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins that give XP Professional the full set of administration tools that a usual Win2K Server installation contains, including all the Active Directory (AD) administration tools.
For more information and the free download, visit the Microsoft Web site.