Windows 2000 Tips

ENT’s reader survey of Windows 2000deployments turned up a lot of interesting comments from those of you who areknee-deep in the planning and deploying of Windows 2000 and Active Directory.

For thiscolumn, I’ve picked out some comments and suggestions that might help you withyour Windows 2000 planning and migration. You can find analysis of the surveyresults in the story found here.

Onereader’s tip wasn’t rocket science, but it’s worth repeating until it’s drilledinto every head: “To all who want to migrate to Windows 2000, remember thesetips: Create a test environment for servers; research drivers for your hardware;and copy user accounts, files, and profiles onto a test box. Then upgrade.”

Anotherreader warns of trouble getting systems to run cleanly: “Three systemsidentical in configuration will have three totally different stabilities underWindows 2000. You just have to run the event logs and clean up the problems oneat a time until the system runs smoothly.”

Failing todo thorough application testing is another trap many users fall prey to.Software vendors’ support of the Windows 2000 environment was one reader’sbiggest Windows 2000 migration challenge. “Currently we are looking at only 50percent of our apps running with Windows 2000 Professional.”

SQL Serveris an application with a big Windows 2000 migration upside, but it alsorequires extensive testing in an upgraded environment, according to anotherreader.

Were wetalking about testing? Before you can get into that, planning is key. “[I]cannot stress up front planning and communication enough,” a reader said.

Anotheradvised leaving some wiggle room. “Do not hold yourself to a timetable. Issueswill crop up throughout the whole process that need to be dealt withthoroughly.”

Planningthe Active Directory appears to be the bane of many IT managers. One readerdrove home the point, citing “The one shot at getting AD correct,” as thebiggest Windows 2000 challenge.

On arelated note, Exchange 2000 Server, which requires Active Directory to beinstalled, is also the first major application to leverage the ActiveDirectory. One user called the complex co-dependency a “Catch-22.” Well said.

Ignore thepolitics at your own peril, other readers warn. Battles lurk on many fronts:from corporate management demanding the business justification, toanti-Microsoft bias among high-level IT -- including one reader who noted “Unixis king!” -- to users resistant to learning a new operating system.

Manyreaders, however, are still in the evaluation phase of Windows 2000.

Some advisea strategy of migrating as you need to replace desktops.

“We havenot been successful in migrating existing systems to Windows 2000, hence we arepurchasing it as a part of new systems, which works great for us,” one readernotes. Others feel Whistler may be the time to jump on board the ActiveDirectory bandwagon.

“With acommon and long overdue code base for 98/ME/NT/2000 coming sometime in the nextyear or so with Whistler, it doesn’t make sense to migrate to Windows 2000 nowwhen all of our workstations are already running Windows NT.”

Anotherreader, reflecting on his experience, urges others to cross the chasm. “Ibelieve that migrating to Windows 2000 is a wise IT decision for companies thatcurrently have a Microsoft-centric infrastructure. Companies with otherproprietary software configurations, such as Novell, may want to considermigrating to a Windows 2000 environment as well.”

There was asizable group of readers that hope to decrease the number of Windows desktopsand servers over time. “While [Windows] NT became reasonably stable after[Service Pack 4], Linux has proven to be extremely reliable. Once you go withLinux, it is hard to justify shipping [dollars] to Redmond.”

There are alot more comments where these came from. We’ve included a comprehensive onlinetreatment of the survey at,where space constraints are no object.