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Using the Windows 2000 Resource Kit Tools

Beginning back in the early days of Windows NT, Microsoft has always offered aResource Kit (RK) to supplement each of its enterprise operating systems. Resource Kits are designed to augment the tools found in Windows NT with a wider range of tools. Historically, many of these tools have been command line oriented, offering scriptable and event-driven execution but no pretty face. For Windows 2000, Microsoft is preparing a new Resource Kit that contains some old favorites, some nice improvements, and some totally new tools that take advantage of new Windows 2000 features such as Active Directory. And like previous editions of the RK, you'll need to be comfortable with the command line to truly take advantage of this package.

For purposes of this overview, I'm looking at the Resource Kit Support Tools, a subset of the full Resource Kit that will ship this Fall.

Resource Kit Setup

The Windows 2000 Resource Kit, predictably, use a Windows Installer setup program that works nicely. Though there are options for a custom install, the only option is to setup the whole thing or not set it up at all (Figure 1). I suspect this is related to it being a beta and/or the fact that this is only a subset version of the RK.

The Windows 2000 Resource Kit Support Tools, as they're called, occupy about 14 MB of space on your hard drive. This includes about 6.5 MB of HTML Help files: These look to be the binary version of what will be the printed Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit when all is said and done. The HTML Help is quite nice, including sections on the core technologies in Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Server deployment, an Internetworking guide, TCP/IP core networking guide, and the Distributed Systems guide. There is also a separate HTML Help file the describes the tools.

Ah, the tools. That's what this is all about isn't it?

Using the GUI tools
There are only 10 Win32 GUI tools in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit (Figure 2). And a good many of these--Windiff, DiskProbe, Dependency Walker, and the like--are basically identical to their NT 4.0 RK equivalents. New to the Windows 2000 edition are the following:

  • Active Directory Replication Monitor - A tool that enables administrators to view the low-level status of Active Directory replication, force synchronization between domain controllers, view the topology in a graphical format, and monitor the status and performance of domain controller replication through a graphical interface. It actually has a decent Wizard-based interface.
  • ADSI Edit - This MMC plug-in allows administrators to add, delete, and move Active Directory objects at a low level. ADSI (Active Directory Service Interfaces) is an API for developers that wish to access AD objects programmatically. The tool is an example application that uses this interface.
  • Security Administration Tools - A set of tools, inlcluding Security Migration Editor (SME), which is housed in a nice MMC snap-in. The SME helps you upgrade NT 4.0 systems to Windows 2000 by mapping old security identifiers (SIDs, unique identifiers for each user) to new ones during migration.

Yes, Windows 2000 has a command line interface
Windows NT administrators with any amount of real world experience will tell you that mastering the command line is crucial for success. And the tools in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit bear this out, offering a wide range of capabilities. Stalwarts from past RKs return, such as the ever-popular TLIST and KILL, which make NT just that much more comfortable for the ex-UNIX admins out there. But the Windows 2000 Resource Kit also includes a few new goodies, including:

  • APMSTAT - Windows 2000 was originally going to only support the newer ACPI power management specification, but complaints from users brought Microsoft around. With Beta 3, APM power management support has been added, though not all computers are supported fully. This utility will tell you whether your APM power management is working properly (Figure 4).
  • MEMSNAP - This tool takes a snapshot of memory and writes it to a log file for later examination. The log file contains a list of all of the resources being used by each running process (Figure 5).
  • NETDIAG - The Network Connectivity Tester, an amazing diagnostic tool for finding networking problems (Figure 6). This tool runs a series of tests, determining whether the network client is functioning. If it isn't, the tool will attempt to isolate the problem. 
  • WSREMOTE - Winsock Remote Console, an update to the Remote Command Line tool from previous RKs, that likewise allows you to open a remote console on other networked machines. However, Winsockk Remote Console works via TCP/IP sockets in addition to named pipes, making it useful over the Internet.

There are a variety of other tools as well, but you get the idea: Anyone administering a Windows 2000 network is going to want to get the Resource Kit the second it comes out (Expect the printed version with CD in October; MSDN subscribers should get it in December). 

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