In the course of my job, I see a lot of Windows 2000 books. A huge number of these books are targeted at the professional working on some sort of IT certification, usually MCSE or MCDBA. Many other books are technical references--books that you want to have because you're sure, at some point, to have questions that the books will answer. Neither book type usually makes for very good reading. They have lots of information but are narrowly targeted. A couple of Win2K books have come across my desk that I feel are good resources and worth the read if you're interested in the topic.
The first book is the "Windows 2000 Security Technical Reference." Unlike most Microsoft Press titles containing the word "reference," this one is actually a very readable, well-organized introduction to almost all of the security-related Win2K features. The book combines task-based (how-to) editorial with technical explanations that won't scare away people who aren't dedicated security specialists. The author credit goes to Internet Security Systems, a security-related test and firewall products vendor. Despite that, it's a vendor-neutral look at Win2K security.
The second title is of more interest to the serious OS techie: "Inside Microsoft Windows 2000 Third Edition," by David A. Solomon and Mark E. Russinovich. If you're a fan of Mark's Windows 2000 Magazine Internal's columns, this book is for you. The book contains a detailed look at the internal architecture of Win2K and is a major enhancement over the original "Inside Windows NT" book. If you really want to know what's going on under the covers, read this book. Its well-written and lucid explanations of the technology and implementations within Win2K make it accessible beyond its target audience of programmers and developers.
This week's tip:
I received an email from a friend who's a computer science student. He asked a question about getting information from MS-DOS-style batch files in Win2K. He needed the information in file form and wondered whether I knew of any commands that could create everything he needed. In this case, all he needed was the lowly DIR command and to redirect its output to a file. Those of us who've been around long enough to have written entire libraries of batch files and those who are used to just using the GUI tools are probably unaware of all of the options that have been added to the DIR command. With piping and redirection, you can create some pretty detailed reports using this command. Here are the details:
DIR /? returns the following information:
Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.
DIR \[drive:\]\[path\]\[filename\] \[/A\]attributes \[/B\] \[/C\] \[/D\] \[/L\] \[/N\] \[/O\]sortorder \[/P\] \[/Q\] \[/S\] \[/T\]timefield \[/W\] \[/X\] \[/4\] \[drive:\]\[path\]\[filename\] Specifies drive, directory, and/or files to list.
/A Displays files with specified attributes.
attributes--D=Directories, R=Read-only files, H=Hidden files, A=Files ready for archiving, S=System files, -=Prefix meaning not.
/B Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).
/C Display the thousand separator in file sizes. This is the default. Use /-C to disable display of separator.
/D Same as wide but files are list sorted by column.
/L Uses lowercase.
/N New long list format where filenames are on the far right.
/O List by files in sorted order.
sortorder--N=By name (alphabetic), S=By size (smallest first), E=By extension (alphabetic), D=By date/time (oldest first), G=Group directories first, -=Prefix to reverse order.
/P Pauses after each screenful of information.
/Q Display the owner of the file.
/S Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.
/T Controls which time field is displayed or used for sorting.
timefield--C=Creation, A=Last Access, W=Last Written
/W Uses wide list format.
/X Displays the short names generated for non-8dot3 filenames. The format is that of /N with the short name inserted before the long name. If no short name is present, blanks are displayed in its place.
/4 Displays four-digit years.
Switches might be preset in the DIRCMD environment variable. Override preset switches by prefixing any switch with - (hyphen)--for example, /-W.