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The Ultimate Windows Server 2003 System Administrator's Guide 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201791068
ISBN-10: 0201791064
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Windows Server 2003 is more an update of Windows 2000 than a new operating system. This latest version of the base Windows NT technology now expands to support Microsoft's .NET Framework and new security initiatives. This book reflects these changes by expanding our previous book, The Ultimate Windows 2000 System Administrator's Guide. Mindful that Windows 2000 will continue to be deployed, this book not only reflects the new features of Windows Server 2003 but also provides continued support for Windows 2000 administrators.

Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 are complex, feature-rich operating systems whose deployment in an enterprise requires highly skilled individuals to support its installation, maintenance, and optimization. These individuals are aided by the abundance of tools and wizards for effective operating-system management that Microsoft has provided. Indeed, many of the enhanced tools should shift the traditional role of administrator to that of proactive manager of computing environments. Thus, the depth of function, flexibility, and granularity of Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 ultimately represents both opportunity and challenge for system administration.

This book is written to help you succeed in the administration of the Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server family. Much of the information it provides is also applicable to the desktop Professional versions of the software. Although the use and management of client software is incorporated, the server side is clearly our primary focus. In this preface we provide a framework for the primary topics covered, define the target audience, and describe how to use this book.


Windows Server 2003 will not eliminate the system administrator. To the contrary, features such as the Active Directory and the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) will vastly broaden this role. Rather than spend time on mundane tasks and the management of dozens of disjointed tools, the consolidated approach provided by Windows Server 2003 will free the administrator to concentrate on more mission-critical activities.

The functions of the Windows Server 2003 system administrator are generally those that support the user population and those that support the system. The following list summarizes the most common responsibilities:


Addition and removal of users

Group management

User application support

End-user customer service, education, and communication

Management of basic services such as mail and printing


Booting, shutdown, and everything in between

Backups and restoration

Hardware maintenance, additions, and removal

System accounting and monitoring

System administration logs

System security and password aging

Network support

General troubleshooting

Obviously, this list only scratches the surface of system administration and IT management. However, as a means of setting the reader's expectations, it does underscore the types of activities for which this book can be a guide.


In preparing this book, we used three primary sources of information. First, we relied heavily on our combined professional experience in application development, system administration, and IT management. Unlike many books written on theory by technical writers, our recommendations did not emerge from a vacuum but are based on reality and experiences. We hope the knowledge and experience we bring to this book will assist our fellow IT professionals to manage an enterprise as effectively as possible.

Second, we used observations from system administrators in the field to provide "reality checks" to our conclusions. Theoretical understanding of Windows Server 2003 is a nice beginning, but it is no substitute for the actual experience of system administrators. Because Windows Server 2003 is a new product, one of our primary sources was Microsoft's Beta Program and the participants' experiences with final beta and final release versions of the operating system.

Finally, we performed numerous tests and simulated real-world environments in an extensive laboratory environment. The tests centered primarily on the Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition server versions; however, Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, and Windows XP Professional were also tested, and we refer to them periodically as client software within the broader enterprise framework. Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, was not available for testing at the time this book was written, so references to it are based on published Microsoft specifications. Where differences exist in the version levels, we call attention to them.


The Ultimate Windows Server 2003 System Administrator's Guide was written for system administrators and other IT professionals who manage a Windows environment. Administrators coming from other operating-system environments, such as UNIX, will find numerous familiar technologies as well as many significant conceptual differences. Seasoned Windows 2000 and NT administrators will find many familiar aspects, but many significant differences as well, that will require a general updating of their technical skills. The addition of the Active Directory, a new domain model, advanced authentication technologies, and the enhanced MMC are just a few examples of entirely new or expanded operating-system features.

Our aim was to produce an intermediate reference guide for administrators, leaving out specialized architectural and programming topics. Thus, this book should be used to gain an understanding of key concepts and for common "how-to" walk-through support. Experienced professionals should find the discussions of operating-system migration and the use of the new enhanced tools valuable. Those with moderate system administration experience can also benefit, but we assume these readers already have hands-on operating-system experience. Novices will need to learn network and operating-system fundamentals.

Attempting to provide useful information to an audience of system administrators was a challenge. Inevitably, some of this book's material may appear either overly basic or too advanced, and depending on a reader's level of experience, some discussions will be more helpful than others. To accommodate this wide variance in knowledge, we cover each major topic first from a conceptual basis and then expand this foundation with discussions on applying specific, advanced Windows Server 2003 functions.

System administrators coming from UNIX might find our sister publication, Windows NT and UNIX: Administration, Coexistence, Integration, and Migration (Addison-Wesley, 1998), very helpful. For Windows 2000 administrators, look at The Ultimate Windows 2000 System Administrator's Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2000).

From the Back Cover

"This book will be a supportive resource to help you know how to use the tools and features Microsoft shipped, but even better, Williams and Walla guide you through enough of the product internals to approach administration more strategically."
—From the Foreword by Brian Valentine, Senior Vice President, Windows Division, Microsoft Corporation

Windows Server 2003, the successor to Windows 2000 and Windows NT, is designed to accommodate the seamless exchange of information through Web services. It delivers the increased flexibility and power needed to administer networks as global entities, but its enhanced management tools and security features present as many challenges as opportunities. The Ultimate Windows Server 2003 System Administrator's Guide will help readers negotiate these challenges and exploit the opportunities.

Robert Williams and Mark Walla take readers from an understanding of basic concepts to the application of advanced functions. This comprehensive book begins with the fundamentals of Windows 2000 system administration and applies them to Windows Server 2003. The book then details the planning, deployment, administration, and management of a Windows Server system, and follows up with complete coverage of advanced tools and theory. This book concludes with a quick reference to the most important Windows .NET commands and utilities.

Key topics include:

  • Windows Server 2003 features, structure, planning, and installation
  • Migration from Windows NT and Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Management Console
  • Active Directory management and use
  • User management
  • Group Policy
  • Security, including IP security
  • Printer and file services and networking basics
  • Virtual private networks
  • Disk and backup management and disaster recovery
  • Terminal and Internet Information Services
  • Cluster and indexing services, and message queuing
  • System Management Server
  • Windows 2000 administration support

In this book, system administrators and other IT professionals will find the essential information needed to succeed in the administration of the Windows .NET and Windows 2000 Server families.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (April 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201791064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201791068
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,866,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book provides precisely the level of information required for Windows Server 2003 migration, maintenance and functional improvements. The authors use an approach that reviews basic concepts and then marches directly into how-too examples. Unlike other Windows books that include hundreds of pages on trivial items, these authors have pinpointed the most important and complex elements of the operating system and made them easily understandable. They also provide helpful notes and precautionary statements in areas where an administrator should not venture without proper planning. This has saved my bacon more than once. In our Windows administration team there are dozens of titles available for reference ... this is the one book that always get to the heart of the issue.
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Format: Paperback
I often choose books on Amazon based on the reviews I read here. In most cases, I get it right. However, I think I got it wrong this time.

I still do not understand who would give this book 5 stars. Did these reviewers actually use this book? Did they try to perform simple networking tasks using this book as a reference? Did they look for guidance when performing tasks that were familiar in Windows 2000 but done differently in Windows 2003? I did, and I was disappointed.

This book is full of a rehash of the online documentation. In fact, in some cases, it is scantier than the freely available documentation. You will be forced to read through reams of boring pages just to get to the stuff the authors really have to say.

If you want lectures about the history of Windows servers and the active directory, this is your book. But if you need a solid book that can help you answer those quirky networking questions then you'll have to look elsewhere. A book on networking administration ought to be task oriented. It should also have tons of troubleshooting tips. This one is full of fillers and useless information.

I rarely give negative reviews, but this book is an utter disappointment. I really regret buying it.
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Format: Paperback
I have never written a book review before but I am extremely impressed by The Ultimate Windows Server 2003 System Administrator's Guide. It is written with authority yet very easy to understand. It begins with a forward by the Microsoft executive in charge of Windows ... that alone is a solid endorsement. However, the real proof came when I needed to understand otherwise foreign concepts like Active Directory and the various security technologies. The book gave me the theory and then provided very human instructions on how to pull these concepts together in the real world. I have six other Windows Server 2003 including the sub-standard Manasi book that has now become a door stop. The "Ultimate ... Guide" is always at my finger tips unless of course a co-worker borrows it.
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Format: Paperback
Often I pick up an "administrator's guide" and find myself staring at 300 pages of screenshots explaining how to insert the CD-ROM for installation and resize the task bar for better time/date viewing, written by someone who appears to be learning the topic while writing the text. Rarely do I encounter a resource such as this book that not only intelligently covers the basics but successfully tackles advanced topics as well, leaving the reader's intelligence un-insulted and providing a reference guide that will serve you well long after your initial read.

The foundational information is here, from planning out the network on paper to installing and configuring the basic domain services. The deployment information is here, from server deployment to remote OS installations. General administration, including AD design, IP addressing, DNS, replication, user and group management, and group policies are all thoroughly discussed. More complex systems, such as VPN, security certificates, disaster recovery, terminal services, and indexing are also presented with just as much detail and knowledge as all other topics. Beyond what you would otherwise expect from this style of book are advanced topics that are typically not covered and therefore overlooked by many administrators. Such things as extending the AD schema, real-world security issues and solutions, clustering services, message queuing services, and a very extensive commands and utilities section are demystified, easily adding them to your skill list and making them a real possibility for inclusion in your environment.

The title also provides an introduction to Microsoft SMS, Microsoft MOM, and the Windows Script Host (WSH).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reads like a speech by a stuffed shirt: lots of words - very little actual content. There are numerous errors that show that this edition is a quick rehash of their 2000 edition (Windows 2000 listed where you would expect Windows 2003).
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Format: Paperback
This book does an exceptional job of explaining the functions and features of Windows Server 2003. As an administrator responsible for managing many favors of Windows for a major university I particularly liked the cross references to older versions of Microsoft server products. Where functions or adminitsrative tools differed, a notation is provided so I can easily glide between the various operating systems.
The authors provided a straight forward approach to installation and an excellent review of new administrative tools. For anyone concerned with security, the book provides in deepth explanations and practical guidance ... almost 400 pages worth. The chapters on active directory and networking were also stand-out. As an administrator, I also appreciated the quick reference appendix to command line administration. This is a solid winner.
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