System Management with Windows 95

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The Windows 95 system architecture supports security and centralized system management for configuring remote computers on the network. This chapter summarizes the features that support system management in Windows 95.

The system management tools and agents provided with Windows 95 support system management for three management areas:

  • Operating system software, including drivers, system services, and user interface components. These require system software distribution, system and user configuration management, security, and data backup.

  • Hardware, including the computer's motherboard, add-in cards, hard disk and CD-ROM drives, monitors, tape drives, pointing devices, and keyboards.

  • Application software that must be licensed and installed.

Windows 95 provides Registry-based support for remote management of configuration settings for hardware and software settings — either on individual computers or (through system policies) on multiple computers on the network. In addition, the Windows 95 compact disc includes agents for remote system administration using other management software.

The following summarizes the important features in Windows 95 that support system management on corporate networks.

Security for system logon and resource access.

The administrator can take advantage of centralized user accounts on Windows NT or Novell® NetWare® networks to restrict network logon and access to shared resources on computers running Windows 95. Windows 95 provides password caching to make it easier for users to manage connections to password-protected resources, yet also allows network administrators to restrict users' capabilities and, consequently, enforce strict security policies. For information, see Chapter 14, "Security."

User profiles.

When user profiles are enabled, individual users, desktop configurations are available wherever they log on to the network. This solution permits multiple users to share one computer and "roving" users to log on to other networked computers while maintaining their personal settings. Administrators can also enforce a "mandatory" user profile, which can be useful for managing a common desktop for novice users. For information, see Chapter 15, "User Profiles and System Policies."

System policies.

The administrator can use system policies to specify required system settings and to restrict network access, security privileges, and system settings from a convenient central source. Policies can be specified for groups, for specific users, and for multiple computers, providing administrators significant control over users' ability to configure computer and desktop settings. For information, see Chapter 15, "User Profiles and System Policies."

Remote administration.

Built-in capabilities for remote administration assist administrators in managing networking computers from a central location, reducing the burden of supporting system configuration and troubleshooting on the corporate network. For information, see Chapter 16, "Remote Administration."

Backup capabilities.

Backup agents used with Windows 95 support network-based data backup without requiring user intervention. Windows 95 includes network backup agents from Arcada and Cheyenne. For information, see Chapter 16, "Remote Administration."

System administration agents.

The Windows 95 compact disc includes agents that run as services for use with system management products from various vendors, including Microsoft Systems Management Server, HP® Openview, Intel® LANDesk™, IBM® LAN NetView®, Sun® NetManager, and Novell NMS. For information, see Chapter 16, "Remote Administration."

Windows 95 Registry.

In Windows 95, the operating system collects information about the hardware, system configuration settings, and applications and stores it in the Registry. The Windows 95 Registry is a structured database that consolidates configuration and status information for hardware and software components. As a result, this information is available to system management applications ensuring flexible system management capabilities.


Sources for Windows 95 System Management Tools

The tools and agents that network administrators can use for system management are available from various installation sources. System management software can be installed during Setup or from Control Panel after Windows 95 is installed.

When you install Windows 95 from the installation floppy disks, System Policy Editor is installed automatically with the operational system files. This tool can be used to modify INI files, CONFIG.SYS, and AUTOEXEC.BAT. When you install Windows 95 from the compact disc, Setup installs Registry Editor, the utility used to modify the Registry. The following tools can be installed optionally from the Windows 95 installation disks (either floppy disks or compact disc):

  • Disk Defragmenter, DriveSpace, ScanDisk, and Microsoft Backup, as described in Chapter 20, "Disks and File Systems."

  • Net Watcher, as described in Chapter 16, "Remote Administration."

Some agents and tools are provided only on the Windows 95 compact disc (in the directories shown in the illustration), and not the Windows 95 floppy disks. This software can be installed directly from the compact disc, or the administrator can copy the software to the shared network directory that contains the Windows 95 source files. This software can be installed from custom setup scripts during Windows 95 installation, or by using Control Panel after Windows 95 is installed.

The following administrative tools can be installed from the Windows 95 compact disc by using the Network option in Control Panel:

  • Arcada® Backup Exec agent

  • Cheyenne® ARCserve agent

The following tools are available only in the ADMIN\APPTOOLS directory on the Windows 95 compact disc. You can run these tools directly from the compact disc or install them locally by using the Add/Remove Programs option in Control Panel:

  • Password List Editor (in the PWLEDIT subdirectory), as described in Chapter 14, "Security."

  • System Policy Editor (in the POLEDIT subdirectory), as described in Chapter 15, "User Profiles and System Policies."

The following agents and services are available only in the ADMIN\NETTOOLS directory on the Windows 95 compact disc. You can install them on a local computer by using the Network option in Control Panel.

  • For remote administration:

    • Microsoft Remote Registry service (in the REMOTREG subdirectory)

    • Microsoft SNMP agent (in the SNMP subdirectory)

    • Microsoft Network Monitor agent (in the NETMON subdirectory)

For information about including options from the ADMIN directory on the Windows 95 compact disc — such as the Microsoft Network Monitor agent, SNMP, or SLIP — when installing Windows 95 from a network source, see Chapter 5, "Custom, Automated, and Push Installations."