Emory Report

March 27, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 26

Technology Issues:

Windows 2000: Where do you want to go today?

Windows 2000 is not a single operating system but is split into four different versions, and you should choose the one right for you.

Win2k Professional is designed for desktop and notebook computers. The remaining three are designed according to the server platform: Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server.

Win2k Professional is designed with the office computer in mind and replaces Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. Microsoft has integrated NT and Plug and Play technologies and added an improved Windows 98 user interface to create a reliable and user-friendly operating system. New features include: increased stability, reduced reboots, multilingual support, file security, faster performance and support for mobile laptops.

The Win2k Server family is designed for file, print, intranet and Internet hosting, e-commerce, running applications, online transaction processing (OLTP) and large data warehousing. Win2k Server replaces Windows NT 4.0 Server. It incorporates the same improvements and features from the Professional version and adds many new directory services features in a package called Active Directory.

Active Directory is designed to simplify Windows 2000 in a networked environment. So why haven't massive lines appeared outside your local computer store? Microsoft has been very careful to market this product to the corporate customer. Home users and small business environments will not be able to take full advantage of new features designed for larger networked environments. Microsoft has targeted a new product code-named "millennium" for individual customers.

Large institutions, including Emory, have taken a wait-and-see approach to rolling out Windows 2000, citing reports of bugs, lack of skills (Microsoft has yet to finalize their own official curriculum and tests) and the high cost of upgrading or replacing existing infrastructure as cause for caution.

Should you upgrade your computer to Windows 2000? Read and consider the Information Technology Division Statement On Windows 2000. (www.emory.edu/ITD/HELP/ Win2000.html) It states, "While many will wish to purchase and install this new system on their University workstations, it is imperative that you not take this action until our software vendors have certified that their products are Win2k compliant, and we have fully tested these products in our own environment."

If you have already made the decision to use Windows 2000, there are several tools and resources available to assist you. If you plan to upgrade an existing computer, you will need to confirm that your computer meets the minimum system requirements.

Microsoft provides a free readiness analyzer at www.microsoft.com/windows2000/upgrade/ compat/default.asp. Download and run this tool on your system to get a report that lists known hardware and software compatibility issues you might encounter when upgrading. The site also details which operating systems can and cannot make the upgrade.

If you currently operate an NT 4.0 server, it is strongly recommended that you wait to upgrade in order to participate in the future enterprise architecture currently being tested and designed by ITD. This will allow your server to take advantage of Active Directory and other Win2K benefits.

How do you get training for this new operating system? ITD offers both computer-based training (CBT) and instructor-led classes in Windows 2000. The CBT software is available from Software Distribution for $8, and classes are coordinated through the Customer Support Center: www.emory.edu/ITD/training.html. Microsoft also provides information on training on its web site.

-Kevin Sisson is the Help Desk team leader in ITD's Customer Support Center.

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