Complete Guide to Windows 2000 Professional

Complete Guide to Windows 2000 Professional

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by Peter Norton, John Mueller, Richard Mansfield

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Peter Norton's Complete Guide to Windows 2000 Professional is the one source reference that gives you everything you need once you pass the initial Windows learning curve. Windows 2000 introduces many new technologies designed to improve system performance and capabilities, and this book explains the underlying technologies as well as their practical implications of… See more details below


Peter Norton's Complete Guide to Windows 2000 Professional is the one source reference that gives you everything you need once you pass the initial Windows learning curve. Windows 2000 introduces many new technologies designed to improve system performance and capabilities, and this book explains the underlying technologies as well as their practical implications of each. Topics include customizing the new interface, installation and configuration wizards and options, next generation web integration, new security features, support for next generation hardware and peripherals, and taking advantage of the new mobile user and synchronization support.

Editorial Reviews

Norton offers step-by-step instruction on the features of Windows 2000 Professional, including an overview of how the system functions. The book provides assistance with internet use, installing and fine-tuning the system, moving it to a laptop, using it with specific programs, security, and troubleshooting. The intended reader is the intermediate to advanced Windows 2000 user. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Publication date:
Sams Professional Series
Product dimensions:
7.45(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)

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Chapter 1: Choosing Windows 2000

You made a wise choice when you decided to go with Windows 2000. I believe that Microsoft would like nothing more than to have everyone choose Windows 2000 as his or her operating system; then Microsoft could quietly retire the mixed-code, all-too-pliable, built-on-DOS, but still wildly popular Windows 95/98 systems. Windows and NT have been converging now for several years-now even the name NT has been dropped. And on the surface, they're functionally identical now. Take a look at a computer running Windows 98 and compare it to a machine running Windows 2000. You would be hard pressed to tell them apart. The Windows and NT technologies have merged already, if you limit your comparison to their user interfaces, their desktops, the browser they share, and many, many other features.

Windows 2000 is more expensive than Windows 98 and it's a bit bulkier, and generally a bit slower (compare how quickly you see the Start menu after clicking the Start button, for instance). Some games won't run on Windows 2000, and some peripherals don't have good Windows 2000 drivers. Windows 2000 requires marginally better hardware. But if you want stability (who doesn't?) and need strong security features, there's no comparison: You'll definitely want to go with Windows 2000. Windows 2000 also boasts various efficiencies you won't find in Windows 98, such as NTFS (the Windows 2000 File System) and pure 32-bit code. In any case, eventually the various Windows will coalesce, leaving Windows 2000, possibly by some other name, the sole Microsoft operating system. My guess is that the name Windows 2000 will evaporate in favor of a more accurate name; perhaps it will be called, simply, The Browser. After all, even Help files are now being written in HTML. And, if you stop to think about it, the old distinction between information on your hard drive and hard drives all over the world on the Internet is becoming a little blurred. This chapter is an overview of Windows 2000 Professional and what you can expect it to do for you. The purpose of this chapter is to help you see the big picture. Future chapters take a detailed look at each of Windows 2000's features. For now, we'll take a brief tour of the origins of Windows 2000 to get a sense of its place in the world of operating systems, and then we'll compare it specifically to Windows 98.

Windows 2000: A Brief History

The first version of Windows NT (Windows 2000 was called Windows NT until this latest version) was Microsoft's third attempt at a new operating system. (The first two operating systems were DOS and OS/2.) I've always maintained that the first few versions of Windows NT were an operating environment akin to DESQview-not a full-fledged operating system. In Windows NT, however, users got a full-fledged GUI operating system.

By the way, Windows NT was originally a text-based operating system! The primary Windows NT developer, Dave Cutler, was actually pretty upset about having to add a graphical interface. What's more, that GUI was originally going to be the OS/2 interface but ended up being a modified Windows for Workgroups interface. Later still, of course, it was modeled on the Windows 95 interface.

Regardless of the tortured history of the Windows NT GUI, the main question remains: Why should anyone even consider buying a hardware-intensive operating system like Windows 2000 when the Windows 95/98 product is so successful and so relatively cheap?

The quick answer: mission-critical and heavy-duty applications. You're not going to host a Web site with Windows 98 or use it as a database server, for example. What if the server went down in the middle of a transaction? The results could be devastating, even in a workgroup setting.

Windows NT/2000 solves this kind of problem by getting rid of DOS altogether. It provides a pure environment that looks like the other operating system interfaces but nevertheless runs completely in protected mode. Windows 2000 provides many other features as well. For one thing, it isn't restricted to the Intel family of processors. The initial version of Windows NT came out with support for the Hewlett-Packard Alpha processor as well. Later versions added support for the MIPS R4x00 and PowerPC processors (note, however, that Microsoft is now phasing out support for MIPS and PowerPC, eventually leaving only Alpha and Intel as the supported processor lines).

The original version of Windows NT, this new and improved Windows, came with a big price tag. Microsoft first designed Windows NT as a server operating system. Some users complained that the high hardware price tag required to host Windows NT just wasn't worth the additional security Windows NT provides. Corporate America, on the other hand, moved rapidly to embrace Windows NT. Microsoft, itself, pointed corporations toward NT Workstation rather than toward Windows 98. This strategy is working, in spite of the hoopla surrounding the release of Windows 98. What's more, Europe in general went directly to NT rather than Windows 95 because it saw NT as more secure and stable.

Microsoft finally came out with a Workstation version of Windows NT that required a bit less hardware power. But these days, even notebook computers have the hardware capacity to host Windows 2000.

Windows 95 and 98

Undaunted by originally slow Windows NT sales, and still wanting to give users an alternative, Microsoft developed Windows 95. It appeared in August 1995, but just barely. The OS was delayed so often that many beta testers jokingly renamed it Windows 96. Deadlines caused a lot of problems in the development of the first version of this operating system. I was surprised at the number of times Microsoft cut the feature set-cuts that made it possible to release the operating system on time but probably killed it as a contender in the corporate environment. (Microsoft included many of the cut features in an add-on package called the Plus Pack.) The delays Microsoft experienced also forced it to make some concessions that really were not in the best interest of the user. A lot of 16-bit code is still included with Windows 95, for example, and this OS was supposed to get rid of most, if not all, of that old code. Fortunately, most of the important subsystems are 32 bit, and that has greatly improved Windows reliability and performance. The 32-bit interface also enables the user to load 32-bit applications-a big plus from a reliability and performance standpoint.

Even Windows 98-although closer to Windows NT than Windows 95-is still riddled with aging 16-bit code. Although the Windows 98 and Windows NT/2000 Registry structures and API sets are quite similar, DOS compatibility is still an issue in Windows 98, and that holds it back. From here on, for convenience, I'll refer to them collectively as Windows 95/98. (I won't refer to Windows NT/2000 very often, though.)

Despite the long development time and the jettisoned features, Windows 95/98 does have many positive qualities. For one thing, it doesn't rely on DOS when running Windows applications-at least not on a newer machine. All the Windows DLLs and supporting code run in protected mode. Windows 95/98 does rely on a copy of DOS running on a virtual machine to run DOS applications, to provide some low-level BIOS support on non-Plug and Play machines, and to support antiquated devices that use realmode drivers. This level of DOS activity is far less than what previous versions of Windows required, however. Windows 95/98 also uses a subset of the Windows NT 32bit programming interface and runs completely in protected mode (except for real-mode drivers).

Those qualities and the interface aren't the only things that Windows 95/98 users have to boast about; other valuable features are also offered for the user. Windows 95 was the first version of Windows to include Plug and Play as an integral part of the operating system, for example (Windows 2000 also boasts Plug and Play). It also provided support for the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) and the Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI). The peer-to-peer network was greatly enhanced, and system configuration was a snap compared to earlier operating systems. All these features really set Windows 95 apart from its predecessors...

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