Ever wondered about the Windows 2000 boot process? The RK will explain it, and which files Windows 2000 uses during the startup process, as well as what they do.
Even if you're not so interested in the techie nitty-gritty details of the OS itself, the RK contains lots of handy how-to stuff, such as how to configure TCP/IP networking properly, how to set up Virtual Private Networks, remote access, and hints and tips on how to manage the system and its users.
If you need to install Windows 2000 Professional on a large number of computers, the RK has a step-by-step plan for automated, unattended deployments, with hints and tips for different scenarios.
The Resource Kit also has a troubleshooting section, which could come in handy when something goes wrong with your Windows 2000 Professional installation. This includes a listing and description of those mysterious STOP "blue screen of death" messages, as well as the Event Viewer ones, which can be equally indecipherable for mere mortals.
For the tweakers, there are perfor-mance monitoring and tuning guides in the RK. The companion CD-ROM contains some 200 different utilities. These range from deployment tools to computer and network management utilities, as well as tools to monitor performance, security, and diagnostics programs.
The Registry system configuration and settings database is what I like the least about any version of Windows. However, the Windows 2000 Professional CD-ROM toolkit contains a Registry reference to help people find their way around the database, plus it has detailed descriptions of the keys. I hope this will shorten those Regedit sessions considerably.
The Resource Kit also contains a copy of ActivePerl for Windows 2000. This is the famous script language developed by Larry Wall, with enhancements for the Microsoft Win32 platform, such as the "Perl for ISAPI plug-in for running CGI applications on Internet Information Server, and PerlScript, which integrates with Windows Scripting Host. ActivePerl makes it easy to run your existing Perl scripts on UNIX servers on Windows 2000, and it's based on the recent Perl 5.6 version.
The Windows 2000 Resource Kit costs around $140, and can be found in most good book shops that carry IT material. Details of what you get in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit are on the Web at www.microsoft.com/australia/mspress/books/book13597.htm
If you don't want to fork out $140, much of what's in the Resource Kit is also available on Microsoft's Web site. Check out the TechNet (www.microsoft.com/technet/default.asp) and Microsoft Developer Network (http://msdn.microsoft.com/default.asp) sites - both contain heaps of valuable information, and the search engine seems to have been improved lately so you can actually find it. The Resource Kit is undoubtedly easier to use, however.
The RK tools are a different matter. I haven't been able to find a downloadable archive of all the tools, but Microsoft makes a sample set available at www.microsoft.com/windows2000/library/resources/reskit/tools/default.asp. The more useful ones include debugging tools such as the NTDETECT.COM utility, which is used for diagnosing hardware detection problems during startup, and the installation monitor that tracks Setup changes made to the Registry as well as .ini files.
The above-mentioned site also has new and updated tools, such as the User State Migration tool, which migrates user settings before installing Windows 2000 and a reduced-functionality version of FAZAM 2000 for Group Policy management.