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Love it or hate it, part of every net admin's job is making your infrastructure work with Microsoft software. In this Windows networking Crash Course, we've assembled our best tips and tricks to make your job easier.
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Planning a network management system: Six easy steps
By planning your system, you'll avoid spending hours of fruitless time trying to manage it later.
Building VPNs around Windows 2003
Windows OSs have always made good VPN clients, but Windows Server 2003 can also help you to build out those virtual private networks.
Focus Windows port scanning with the netscan command
Learn how to use the netscan command to focus Windows port scanning.
Planning for Windows Server 2003
Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 can be a good idea if you're implementing it at the right sized company.
Updating your Windows network
The biggest chore in maintaining a network is managing upgrades. If you have a responsibility for a moderate to large number of Microsoft servers, you should look at Microsoft's new Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) software. It provides better functionality than SUS and does so at a reasonable cost.
Microsoft's Network Load Balancing
Microsoft's NLB is a popular choice for network load balancing, but consider how it will affect switching and how that could affect your network before installing it.
Keeping your cool during a Windows XP SP2 installation
This desktop Windows refresh is no ordinary service pack, and its complexity will test the skills of administrators deploying it.
Switching between multiple network configurations in Win2k
Rainer Schlosshan explains how to use the "netsh" utility to manage multiple network configurations.
Speed up remote access to network resources
Sometimes applications run slowly when a remote user connects to a corporate resource. Here's how to speed up that process.
Freeware tool logs file system events
Ever wish Windows could "watch" a given file and "act" if it's modified? Now it can with FileNotify.
Remotely manage Exchange
There are two different methods you can use to remotely manage your Exchange servers -- remote desktop or an HTML-based terminal server session. Learn about both methods and the pros and cons of each.
Teach users how to patch their own systems
If you are unable to completely automate patch management, you need all the help they can get in keeping Windows machines maintained. Get help training end users to patch.
Internet Explorer 7: Browsing and security enhancements
Microsoft released the beta version of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and hopes it will solve the security concerns of IE6 as well as add RSS functionality and anti-phishing protection. Contributor Tony Bradley discusses these latest security enhancements in this tip.
Script reveals any patch installation issues
While you're busy with a particularly cantankerous patch installation, do you sometimes wish a genie would appear and tell you exactly where all the problems are hiding?
Eight steps to prevent malware outbreaks
It's impossible to prevent a malware attack that you've never seen, but the having the right security measures in place could you'll be your organization's saving grace.
Rule your network's behavior
NetLimiter uses rules and schedules that let you control network speeds for applications. Among its features: You can "grant" bandwidth from one application to another.
NetworkView: Re-discover your network topology
The NetworkView program automatically builds a map of your network so you have an up-to-date topology at your disposal with customized details.
Tools take the terror out of systems management
If you don't have the budget for MOM or SMS, here are two free tools from Microsoft, one of which is the little-known but very effective Log Parser.
MOM puts Windows systems data on tap
Microsoft product manager Michael Emmanuel describes MOM's advantages over "generic" competitors and offers best practices.
Troubleshooting Windows VPN servers
There are several aspects of the Windows remote access server that can create issues when a VPN client connects. This article focuses on some common trouble spots on the server side and offers steps to help pinpoint the problem.
Testing Group Policy security
So you've hardened Group Policy settings to protect Windows from attacks -- but are you sure all of those settings are working? Contributor Kevin Beaver offers several methods for testing Group Policy.
Don't let remote management problems get you down
This checklist describes some common problems you may encounter with Terminal Services/Remote Desktop and offers suggestions on what to do to solve the issues.
Fixing bugs in Windows XP
What are the most important rules in keeping Windows systems bug free? Contributor Brien Posey outlines some basic procedures to help you take advantage of hotfixes, patches and various best practices in the Microsoft Knowledgebase.
EventCombMT: Search for specific events on Windows event logs
If you've ever wanted to do quick and dirty searches on event logs for multiple Windows machines, contributor Serdar Yegulalp says don't go without EventCombMT. Find out how to use this Microsoft tool.
Tools give you a heads-up to server problems
You can avoid server crashes before they happen if you use the right tools. Here, we look at four server management tools on the market -- some of which take steps proactively to dodge a potentially harmful situation.
Read more Windows-related tips here.
ASK THE EXPERTS
Are there any good network monitoring tools for Windows?
Expert response: While there are many network monitoring tools available for Windows, the ones I find useful are...
Can you help me create a network of three computers running a Windows2000 server?
Expert response: Here is the procedure to connect PCs in this way: Connect the PC with two network cards to the other two PCs. Assign following IP Addresses to PCs...
Can you help hook up two Windows XP machines to a peer to peer network?
Expert response: Make sure to check the settings of the firewall in XP. Since Windows XP has more security than Windows 98, you also need to...
CHAPTER DOWNLOADS & WHITE PAPERS
Building High Availability Windows Server 2003 Solutions
Chapter four of Building High Availability Windows Server 2003 Solutions focuses on building a solid network and backbone before any high-performance, highly available architecture is put in place with respect to the actual systems themselves.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion, Second Edition: Chapter 6, Configuring New Windows 2000 Server Installations
The expanded, updated version of this popular operations guide is packed full of practical information to help IT professionals plan the installation, deployment, and maintenance of Windows 2000 Server. In addition to updated material on core topics such as security, disaster planning and recovery, and interoperability with NetWare, UNIX, and Linux, it also includes new sections about Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server, scripting, all the features released in Service Pack 3, 128-bit encryption, and other vital topics.
Protect Your Windows Network from Perimeter to Data, Chapter 1
Chapter one of Protect Your Windows Network from Perimeter to Data by Jesper Johansson and Steve Riley explains how you can best protect your systems network by balancing security and usability/usefulness.
Read more Windows-related white papers here.
Dig Deeper on LANs (Local Area Networks)