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Basic Server Usage? How to's?


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I am in the computer field & have never played with servers Win2k Servers before. Where could I read up on how to setup servers? I have a new client that has an old 2k server setup & wants to migrate a new 2003 server into its place.

How much different is playing with a server than a normal workstation?

I know WinXP Pro, pretty much inside & out. How tough would it be to mess around with a Win 2003 server? Is it night & day?



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I can tell you from exeprience its a big step, whilst interface is almost identical, the features get very complicated quickly, almost all being controlled using Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins.

I have been running 2000 server for over a year now, and have trialed 2003 server as well a number of times.

I won a Microsoft administration book, which is a great asset as a relative novice, though there are many useful resources online which i frequently use by doing a google search on my desired subject.

Installation is straight forward, pretty much just like installing a client OS. Server settings are then applied after the initial installation.

if you are prepared to learn, and have resources and even better personal help to hand, you can pick up the basics very quickly.

The most important area with servers in my view is security, especially when they can be such important or powerful assets.

So to answer your questions, playing with it is very similar to client software, but more complicated!

Quite alot of it can be configured as "night and day", though there are plenty of more complex grey areas as well.

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From my understanding, the office I am going to visit on Wednesday has a windows 2000 server that was setup with only a few PC's in the network.

They have a new 2003 server that they want to replace the old one with.

If its in a basic server environment, a server doing very basic things, is it that hard to look at it & figure out what is doing what?

Like domains, why use a domain instead of a workgroup on a Win2000/2003 server?

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Depends on your needs.

Active Directory has the advantages of stronger security and central authentication, though this is not everyone's cup of tea for a casual home network.

This setup is best for paranoid users (like me) who desire security or have a large infrastructure to manage.

A workgroup configured server is simpler to access from local computer accounts and so makes life easier for the user. Where security is not a great issue this is fine.

A workgroup-based server is much simpler to manage, and so is indeed quite easy to work out :)

I actually find experimenting with servers is actually good fun :D

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Like domains, why use a domain instead of a workgroup on a Win2000/2003 server?

like mendi said, for multiple reasons.

if internal security is not a big issue, stay with the workgroup setup. but its nice having a domain setup. adds more security, centralizes everything, and opens up alot of new doors to play with :thumbup .

if you have access to the current 2k setup, take a look and see what its doing right now (ad? iis? dns? dhcp? ics/gateway? etc.) then see if can take the new server home to play with :w00t:

one of the nice aspects of 2k3 is the fact that it comes locked down out of the box, and you add roles from there.

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As an Admin, you want simplicity... Loose the Workgroup and do Active Directory. You don't really wnat to touch each machine every time you have to configure something. You can roll out upgrades via AD and Group Policy. You have Secondary Login to use "Run As." Publishing printers is a breeze!

Make your life easier... Learn AD... it will pay out in the long run...

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um....yeah...i'll tell you one thing though if you're going from 2k to server 03...wow! whoa! hold on to your horses b/c when i migrated i was like whoa it's cool n all, but i must say i was like giddie for like 1 month! i'd smile every time i saw the server. i was at such peace...with 2k it was the same feeling but then soon died out b/c it just flat out when corrupt on me. 03 been runnin smooth with the *ehm* one bsod that i "found" and fixed in like 2 hours.

but yeah, my knowledge of servers isn't too crazy, i got my first hands-on experience and training with NT, then came 2K and then now server 03.

i picked up this book


and Master AD to study from to "upgrade" my cert to mcse 03 i guess would be the best way of putting it.

Although AD isn't much different from 2k to 03, like mendipjohn it's driven mainly from mmc now which really takes full advantage of the AD system

Think of it this way, would you want to give each and every user rights and privliges of what they can't and can't do? Why not jsut create a Group and add people to it. See even the sentence is shorter :)

Most likely they have some sort of file serving and print serving going on. Perhaps they have a type of email system running. At most terminal services(which i don't really see a need for them having by what you said)

but you never know ;)

i wish you best of luck!

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Hey all,

Ok, so I got to take a look at the office today & I was able to find out the whole story (its a short one).

The office has 13 WinXP Pro "Client" PC's & 3 Macs (the macs can share files using a program called "Davids Software" - No idea what that is about but it lets the Macs log into the server & see the shared space).

The XP clients, all have a login & password to a domain DAC.com (server domain name not a website). If the server is down, the XP Clients still need their username & password to access the client PC itself.

The clients then log into a 2003 server which has storage space. The whole network is setup pretty simply, filesharing is the only thing they do (& Printsharing, but thats a Jet Direct issue, not a server issue).

I am unsure on how to setup a 2003 server with a login & domain but I have a disk & VMWare so I will start messing around with it tonight.

Here is where the story gets interesting. The office's prior IT person installed a "bootleg" version of Win 2003 Server on the server. So at some point it stopped working & failed. The Office manager ended up getting Win XP Pro installed on that same server (old 2003 machine) so the now XP server is only a file sharing storage spot.

All the old XP Pro clients still need a username & password to get in, but they cant log into the DAC domain because the server is no more.

They purchased a new Dell server & a legitimate copy of Server 2003 (25 user license) but the place they got it from online wont send it for some reason (not important to this story).

Shortly the server will have 2003 server installed & I will need to set it up so that:

1. Clients can log in again

2. When clients delete files, the files aren't really deleted off the server but end up in a holding spot till the admin (hopefully me) can approve a deletion.

3. When an employee is fired, the PC needs to be locked down. Hopefully the server can handle this functionality so it can be done from there.

4. They have a username/password list, can I use their old usernames & passwords to enter into the new 2003 server so the client PC's don't have to learn a new task to log into the network? I would like it to be seamless on the employee end.

Thanks again for all the help!


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Oh, for testing I have Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition (5 Cd's) or I have Windows Server 2003 - Web Edition (1 CD), or Windows Server 2003 - Standard Edition (1 CD).

What should I use for learning on?

Will that be the same as whatever 25 user licence product he bought (or close enough?)

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Do you know how much all that is worth! :lol: I would be running all of them simultaneosly if there were enough PCs ;)

But if I had to choose, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition would be the one.

Its an all round version of the 2003 server platform and any experience with it can be quite easily applied later on to Enterprise Edition if you eventually migrate.

I learnt 2003 on a Standard Edition Trial and it is suberb (be sure to install the updates, the Service Pack 1 RC1 seems very good so far and might as well me applied).

I much prefer it to 2000 Advanced Server, but cant afford the license fee! :unsure:

I did want to try a trial of SBS 2003, but there was a setup error, something wrong with the CD me thinks :wacko:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll second that on the new AD. I got my hands on a copy W2K3 Enterprise (I was helping the IT people with data recovery...some very important stuff on a destoyed system...took me a week, but I got the data for them). I took it home and now use it on a home server (complete overkill, I know). It is much easier to use than other things I have played with. AD makes it great, I can mange the computers on the network from one location. It also allows me to play with AD even more. The MSC sanp ins work great for AD.

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