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Accomplishing familiar Windows NT tasks in Windows 2000

Even though Microsoft derived Windows 2000 from Windows NT, it made significant changes to the ways in which you perform administrative tasks. Many of the tools and techniques you were accustomed to using in NT won't work or have changed. In this article, Brien Posey provides a step-by-step method for accomplishing familiar Windows NT tasks in Windows 2000.

Summary

File compression

With file sizes constantly increasing, it's often necessary to compress large or seldom-used files for the purpose of saving hard disk space. The method for doing so under Windows 2000 is simple, and Brien takes you through the process.

Windows Explorer

The first thing you'll notice about this utility in Windows 2000 is that its location on the Start menu has changed. Instead of being under Start | Programs, as in Windows NT, Windows Explorer is now found under Start | Programs | Accessories. Brien also shows you how the entire layout of Windows Explorer has changed.

Setting permissions and auditing

The Windows 2000 permission structure has changed as well. Brien explains how to overcome and set permissions to your own specifications.

Setting up printers and accessing services

When you need to set up a new printer, you'll find that the Add Printer Wizard is no longer in My Computer. Instead, you access the wizard through the Printers icon in Control Panel or through the Start | Settings | Printers menu. The Add Printer Wizard in Windows 2000 can make all of the printer options easily accessible.

The Services icon no longer exists under Control Panel. Brien reveals where you can access services in Windows 2000 to set specific options for your needs.

Adding and managing users and changing passwords

The method of managing users and computers has also changed in Windows 2000. You'll learn the simplest methods for managing and adding users in Windows 2000.

Another hidden item in Windows 2000 is the dialog box for changing passwords. Brien shows you how to reset your passwords in Windows 2000.

Accomplishing familiar Windows NT tasks in Windows 2000

If you've begun using Windows 2000, you've no doubt discovered that certain aspects of it are very different from Windows NT. I'm often asked how to perform everyday tasks in Windows 2000. In this article, I'll explain how to do those tasks so that you can use Windows 2000 with much more confidence.

File compression

With file sizes constantly increasing, it's often necessary to compress large or seldom-used files in the name of saving hard disk space. The method for doing so under Windows 2000 is simple. As with Windows NT, file compression in Windows 2000 may be applied only to files and directories that reside on an NTFS partition. To compress a file, first right-click on it and select the Properties command from the context menu. When you do, you'll see the file's properties sheet. Next, click the Advanced button to reveal the Advanced Attributes dialog box, shown in Figure A. This dialog box allows you to compress the file simply by selecting the Compress Contents To Save Disk Space check box. You can also use this dialog box to perform other functions, such as encrypting the file for security purposes.


Windows Explorer

Perhaps one of the most used Windows NT tools is Windows Explorer. The first thing you'll notice about this utility in Windows 2000 is that its location on the Start menu has changed. Instead of being under Start | Programs, as in Windows NT, Windows Explorer is now found under Start | Programs | Accessories. If you don't see Windows Explorer listed on the Accessories menu, simply hold your mouse over the menu's up or down arrow for a few seconds. Windows 2000 often hides menus of the less frequently used menu commands until you actually need them.

As you can see in Figure B, the entire layout of Windows Explorer has also changed. It now looks much more similar to My Computer, although it still contains the familiar tree structure on the left-hand panel of the screen.


Windows Explorer now looks much more like My Computer.

In addition to the cosmetic changes, Windows Explorer is even more useful than ever. To see the true power of Windows Explorer, simply select the Details command from the View menu. Doing so will switch to a view that resembles the one you're probably used to seeing in Windows NT. (If you need more room on the screen, you can close the Folders tree by clicking on the X.)

Once you've switched to Details View mode, you'll notice that the screen is divided into several columns. To sort the files by category, simply click on any column heading. You can also add columns. To do so, first right-click on one of the column headings. You'll then see a context menu containing several column headings. The headings that are currently in use have a check mark beside them. You can turn on the other columns by clicking on them. If you want even more detailed columns, select the More command. When the Column Settings menu, shown in Figure C, appears, you can enable or disable a wide variety of column headings. You can also set the default column width.


Setting permissions and auditing

The entire Windows 2000 permission structure has changed as well. To see an example of this, select any file on an NTFS partition and right-click on it. Next, select the Properties command from the context menu. When the file's properties sheet appears, select the Security tab. The first thing you'll notice is some familiar Windows NT permissions. These permissions, however, are grayed out, as shown in Figure D, because the existing permissions are being inherited from a parent directory.


By default, file permissions are inherited from a parent directory.

To override the inherited permissions, deselect the Allow Inheritable Permissions From Parent To Propagate To This Object check box. You'll now be able to gain control over the file's or directory's security attributes. You can grant or revoke access to individual users and groups by using the Add and Remove buttons.

To set other permissions, click the Advanced button, which will open the Access Control Settings dialog box for the file. Look at the Permissions tab, and you'll see a basic summary of the permissions that are set on the file. For a more detailed view, you can select a user or group and click the View/Edit button. Doing so will reveal a very extensive list of permissions that can be granted or denied to the user or group in question.

You can also use the Access Control Settings dialog box to set the auditing information and the owner of the file. As you might guess, such tasks are performed through the Auditing and Owner tabs, respectively.

Setting up printers

When you need to set up a new printer, you'll find that the Add Printer Wizard is no longer in My Computer. Instead, you access the wizard through the Printers icon in Control Panel or through the Start | Settings | Printers menu. Whichever route you follow, when you double-click the Add Printer icon, you'll activate the Add Printer Wizard. The wizard first asks you if the printer is local or if it resides on the network. While this question is pretty much the same as that asked by the Windows NT Add Printer Wizard, Windows 2000's wizard contains an option to automatically detect and install the driver for local plug-and-play printers.

If you decide to set up a network printer, you'll notice another nice feature of Windows 2000. The next screen in the Add Printer Wizard asks for the location of the printer. As you can see in Figure E, you can choose among browsing the active directory, specifying a printer name, or connecting to a printer on the Internet.



If you decide to search the current directory for a printer, you can search for a specific printer name, location, or model. You can also search for a particular feature, such as double-sided printing, color, or the ability to staple. You can even search based on paper size, the speed of the printer, or the printer's resolution.

Services

If you've ever tried to stop or start a service under Windows 2000, you've probably discovered that the Services icon no longer exists under Control Panel. Instead, you must access the services through a Microsoft Management Console snap-in. The easiest way of doing so is to select the Computer Management command from the Start | Programs | Administrative Tools menu. You'll then see a Microsoft Management Console screen that's dedicated to computer management. To access the services on the machine, simply navigate to Computer Management (Local) | Services and Applications | Services. At this point, you'll see the machine's services displayed in the right-hand pane, as shown in Figure F.


To access the services on the machine, simply navigate to Computer Management (Local) | Services and Applications | Services.

To control a service, first right-click on it. Next, you can start or stop the service by selecting the appropriate command from the context menu. You can also select the Properties command from the context menu to access the service's properties sheet. The properties sheet allows you to set up things such as which service account the service uses and in which profiles the service is to be used. You can also set recovery options and track the dependencies of a given service.

Adding and managing users

As you've probably already guessed, the method of managing users and computers has also changed. User Manager and Server Manager still exist; however, they are accessible only from the command line (unless you create an icon). They can be used to manage pre-Windows 2000 domains. Therefore, they exist only for backward compatibility purposes.

With Windows 2000, you must manage users through the Microsoft Management Console. The easiest method of doing so is to select the Active Directory Users And Computers command from the Start | Programs | Administrative Tools menu. The Microsoft Management Console will load along with the Active Directory Users And Computers snap-in. This snap-in is available only on machines running Active Directory.

To add a user, simply navigate through the tree structure to Active Directory Users And Computers | your domain | Users. Now, right-click on Users and select the New command from the context menu. The New menu contains commands for adding users, groups, computers, shared folders, and printers, just to name a few.

Changing passwords

Another hidden item in Windows 2000 is the dialog box for changing passwords. Changing passwords used to be done through User Manager For Domains. As you might have guessed, it's now accomplished through Active Directory Users And Computers. However, there's no obvious menu command for changing passwords. To change a user's password, right-click on the account and select the Reset Password command from the context menu.

Conclusion

Even though Microsoft derived Windows 2000 from Windows NT, it made significant changes to the ways in which you perform administrative tasks. Many of the tools and techniques you were accustomed to using in NT won't work or have changed. In this article, I provided a step-by-step method for accomplishing familiar Windows NT tasks in Windows 2000.

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