Ask Dr. Bob Your Windows 2000 Questions
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The Hitachi Traveler 600
In the November 1999 Tricks & Traps, I told you about a noteworthy piece of Symantec software called Norton Speed Disk for Windows NT. This time, I want to tell you about a notebook.
Recently, a friend offered to sell me a new Hitachi VisionBook Traveler 600, a subnotebook that comes with Windows 95 preinstalled. After I found several references to Microsoft Windows NT® in the accompanying manual, I called Zach Rosser, a third-line engineer at Hitachi, to ask about Windows NT support. He told me that the Traveler 600 doesn't support Windows NT but that drivers are available for all aspects of the notebook.
Rosser set up Windows NT on my notebook and gave me all the drivers I needed, including drivers for the onboard 56 Kbps modem and for the cardbus slots. For example, you can enable power management in Windows NT, as Screen 1 shows. I placed the system under Suspend (i.e., for power conservation) for 2 days, after which I recovered everything easily. As Screen 2 shows, the network card reinitialized, and everything returned to usual. The system runs just as well with Windows NT as it does with Windows 95.
Screen 1 Placing the Traveler 600 in Suspend mode
Screen 2 Reinitializing the network card
You can easily change video from the LCD to an external monitor. In addition, you can set the LCD to 1280 * 1024 with 256 colors (I'm running 800 * 600 with 16 million colors—True Color). On the LCD, this setting creates a virtual desktop that requires you to scroll to see the full display. A peripheral monitor, however, supports the full image.
However, the system has a few minor annoyances. The unit ships with FAT32 installed and one Windows 95 partition, which creates problems with the Windows NT 4.0 installation (I haven't yet tried to install Windows 2000). You need to install Windows 95 on a small FAT partition before you copy the Windows NT setup files onto the 3.2 GB hard disk. This necessity is a nuisance, and I'd like to be able to perform a more straightforward Windows NT installation. Hitachi supplies the Windows 95 CD-ROM and a boot disk, which supplies all the files you need to access the CD-ROM and begin the recovery of the Windows 95 partition. Finally, the slim battery pack that ships with the unit isn't very powerful. However, Hitachi is manufacturing an extended battery pack that will double the standard battery life.
Annoyances aside, this system has much promise. To give you some idea of the system's potential, I'm running 160 MB of RAM on the unit, which weighs less than 3 pounds. Also, Hitachi's technical support is superb. Although the notebook doesn't officially offer Windows NT support, Hitachi supplies better customer service than many companies whose products actively support Windows NT.
Q: I want to install Windows 2000 Server on my new notebook, which runs Windows NT 4.0 very well. Will I have any problems?
A: Installing a server operating system on a notebook is unusual, so you might encounter problems with your installation. In Windows 2000, Microsoft has incorporated power management into the hardware abstraction layer (HAL). When Windows 2000 installs, the operating system reads the BIOS and determines that you have a notebook. If the BIOS isn't compatible with the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) in the notebook HAL, Windows 2000 won't install (at least in beta 3).
Microsoft offers a legacy Advanced Power Management (APM) solution, but ACPI is preferable if the system supports it. ASUS and Dell produce the only notebooks I know that have support for the ACPI specification. You can't install Windows 2000 on new HP notebooks that run Windows NT 4.0 perfectly. Nearly all notebook manufacturers require BIOS updates.
Q: My organization is ready to migrate to Windows 2000. What are Windows 2000's hardware requirements?
A: The minimum requirements that Windows 2000 Professional lists are a 133 MHz Pentium processor and 32 MB of RAM (64 MB recommended). Installation requires 650 MB of hard disk space. Windows 2000 Pro supports as many as two CPUs. Windows 2000 Server's minimum requirements are a 133 MHz Pentium processor and 128 MB of RAM (256 MB recommended). Installation requires 1 GB of hard disk space. Windows 2000 Server supports as many as four CPUs.
Windows 2000 requires a serious computer. Even Microsoft's advertisements recommend that you have a 350 MHz Pentium processor or better, with 64 MB of RAM, to be ready for Windows 2000. You'll also face firmware requirements, particularly on those systems with ACPI control of BIOS. Because of these tough requirements, most networks will probably combine Windows NT 4.0 (perhaps even Windows NT 3.51) computers with Windows 2000 computers. Therefore, NetBIOS and Windows NT LAN Manager (NTLM) authentication will still be with us. Add Y2K concerns, and you have a fairly perplexing migration pattern.
Q: My organization is a frequent target of virus attacks. Does Windows 2000 handle these viruses—including viruses that intruders direct toward NTFS—better than Windows NT 4.0 does?
A: Windows 2000's Repair Console, which requires you to log on as an administrator, is a powerful tool for fixing an infected system. You access the Repair Console from the 3.5" boot disks (Windows 2000 uses four 3.5" disks instead of the three that Windows NT 4.0 uses) or the Windows 2000 CD-ROM. Simply select Repair from the Welcome screen. The Recovery Console lets you change an errant SCSI driver, fix the boot sector, and fix network drivers. Windows 2000 is easier to fix than earlier versions of Windows NT. (When you press F8 at boot, you'll see options similar to those you see in Windows 95.)
However, the Recovery Console isn't a substitute for virus-detection software. You still need to run quality antivirus software, particularly on systems that access the Internet.
Q: My organization would like to dual boot Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0, but Microsoft has changed NTFS in Windows 2000. Does this alteration create any problems with dual-boot systems?
A: If you intend to create a dual-boot system with Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 as the only installed operating systems, you must install Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4). Windows 2000 will automatically upgrade any NTFS partitions it finds on your system to NTFS 5.0 (Windows 2000's recommended file format). However, Windows NT 4.0 requires SP4 to be able to read and write files on an NTFS 5.0 volume.
Furthermore, you need to install the two operating systems on different drives (my preference) or partitions. Thus, you'll need to reinstall applications for Windows 2000.
Q: Do Microsoft's changes in Windows 2000 security include password changes?
A: Like Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 creates an Administrator account that requires you to simply enter a password with as many as 14 characters. Don't use a blank password, because it provides no security. Windows 2000 enhances computer names. You can now enter as many as 63 characters. Thus, pre-Windows 2000 computers will recognize the system by the first 15 characters. I would use simple computer names.
Q: We typically run operating systems on mirrored hard disks. Will this preference interfere with our upgrade to Windows 2000?
A: The Windows 2000 upgrade is straightforward, but you'll need to disable mirroring before you run the installation. After the installation completes, you can reenable mirroring.
Q: Windows 2000 lets you have multiple domain controllers. Does this capability have any specific installation requirements?
A: Planning your network is more important in Windows 2000 than in any earlier version of Windows NT. Most significantly, you need to disconnect any BDCs before you upgrade the PDC. You can install servers as domain controllers or as member servers. Unlike Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 lets you promote member servers to domain controllers and demote domain controllers to member servers. This capability gives you great flexibility in your Windows 2000 environment.
Q: What is Kerberos, and what does it mean to Windows 2000?
A: In the early 1980s, MIT—in conjunction with IBM and Digital Equipment—began its 8-year Athena project to place computers into the university environment. The project used VAX 11/750 servers connected to dumb terminals. As Athena evolved, numerous workstations started to appear on the network. These systems were fast, had reasonable hard disks, and had Ethernet interfaces. The workstations soon led to serious security breaches. Users began to eavesdrop on the network and thereby gain access to passwords and presumably secure information (e.g., grades). MIT developed Kerberos to solve this security problem.
Since then, Kerberos has evolved into a serious authentication scheme. Microsoft is using the Kerberos model to add quality network security to Windows 2000. Kerberos V5 is the primary security protocol for authentication within a domain. To learn more about Kerberos, see Jan De Clercq, "Kerberos in Win2K," October 1999.
Q: I installed Windows 2000 Advanced Server beta 3 on a 200MHz dual-Pentium Pro computer with 128 MB of RAM. The system is painfully slow. I also installed Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1). When I try to run Windows NT 4.0, I get an INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE message. I can boot Windows 2000 Advanced Server, so viruses aren't the problem. What do you suggest?
A: Microsoft is targeting Windows 2000 Advanced Server toward robust departmental servers that deliver high levels of scalability and availability. Therefore, Microsoft's target platform is typically bigger than a Pentium Pro with 128 MB of RAM.
Your problem might also be because the Windows 2000 installation upgraded NTFS 4.0 to NTFS 5.0. You need Windows NT 4.0 SP4 or later to read NTFS 5.0. Remember to install the two operating systems on different drives or partitions.
Q: Has TCP/IP changed much from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000?
A: Windows 2000 enhances many aspects of TCP/IP. Microsoft has added performance enhancements such as Protocol Stack tuning, increased default window sizes, TCP Scalable Window sizes (Internet Engineering Task Force—IETF—Request for Comments—RFC—1323 support), Selective Acknowledgment (SACK), and TCP Fast Retransmit. Also, the TCP/IP stack is now standards-compliant and easy to administer.
To provide a secure and Internet-ready TCP/IP environment, Microsoft added such standards as IP Security (IPSec), logical and physical multihoming, Quality of Service (QoS), and VPNs. As you did with Windows NT 4.0's TCP/IP, you can enable NetBIOS and run standard command-line applications such as Finger, Telnet, and Ipconfig.
About the Author
Bob Chronister is a contributing editor for Windows NT Magazine and president of Chronister Consultants in Mobile, Alabama. He is coauthor of Windows NT Backup and Recovery (Osborne/McGraw-Hill). You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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