Mastering Windows XP Professional
A guide to installing, supporting, and maintaining Windows XP Professional in your Active Directory or NT-based domain for support professionals
|XP Professionalfor support
Go beyond Mark's bestselling Mastering Windows XP Professional to learn the details you need to support XP. In addition to tips and tricks you'll learn the "so that's how it works!" concepts and see the "so that's how to do it!" demos that will enable you to make implementing, managing and troubleshooting XP a snap.
a two-day course by Mark Minasi, author of Mastering Windows XP Professional from Sybex and Windows and .NET Magazine columnist
This course is offered both as a public class and as an on-site seminar -- that is, we'll come to your organization and teach this class to your techies. For details on where we're running public classes, visit www.minasi.com/pubsems.htm or drop us a line at Assistant@Minasi.com if you'd like us to mail you when public dates become available.
To schedule a class on your site, please contact our office at Assistant@Minasi.com or call (757) 426-1431 between the hours of 12 Noon - 5 PM Eastern time, weekdays. Thanks!
At first glance, XP seems nothing more than a pretty new face. And while it's true that it's not as large a leap from Windows 2000 as 2000 was from NT 4.0, XP offers some visible upgrades over 2000 Pro and is of course an undeniable improvement over Win 9x, ME, or NT 4.0 desktops. But it'd be easy to miss those new benefits. This course zeroes in on the new benefits (and, occasionally, pitfalls) of XP Professional.
The course's objectives are simple: to take existing desktop support professionals and make them skilled at supporting XP desktops. Unlike most XP classes, it's not certification-oriented how-to-pass-an-exam class, it's a how-to-get-your-job-done-as-quickly-as-possible class.
As always, we've held the course's length to just two days. More time would be great, but we know that today's IT schedules and budgets can't support classes longer than that. This way, you save money from the shorter class, and your techies aren't off-line for as many days. Two days also means that it's possible to teach the entirety of even the busiest desktop support staff in less than a week: in just four days, you can schedule two classes back-to-back and train one half of the support staff at a time.
This course assumes some familiarity with desktop support in an NT 4, Windows 9x or 2000-based domain networking environment.
Most of the folks that we see going to XP are either coming from environments that currently run Windows 9x, NT, or, less often, Windows 2000 Pro on their desktops, and some version of NT Server -- NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 Server -- in the back office. That's who this class is geared to.
A Demonstration-Driven Approach
This course is heavily skills-driven. To that end, we employ frequent demonstrations and in many cases the accompanying PowerPoint presentation includes instructions to duplicate those presentations as well as sample screen shots, making it simple to take the course handbook back later and solidify what you've learned.
What we'll cover, some tools that you'll need to be able to use XP policies (an essential item) on your Windows 2000-based Active Directory.
Even old hands at Windows 2000 support will need to know about XP's new networking features, both because of what they do for you and to you!
The single most important technology that Windows 2000 introduced for desktop
support, and that XP expands upon tremendously, is group policies. This
section explains them from A to Z. Group policies were a useful tool under
2K, but XP expands the number of policies available from the mid-300s to about 500 and tops it
all off with a much-needed GP troubleshooting tool, GPRESULT and yes,
it's much more powerful than the one in the 2000 Resource Kit. Put simply,
if you don't get GPs, you don't get XP support.
It's always been true and probably always will be true that the two most effective Windows repair methods are reboot and reinstall. But it's also true that reinstalls are a pain. While Microsoft has made the process of wiping and rebuilding a system far easier with tools like Remote Installation Services and Sysprep in tandem with disk cloning tools like Ghost or Drive Image Pro, installing a fresh OS isn't the hard part getting the system back the way the user had it all set up is the tough part.
Microsoft actually offers three tools to assist in that: roaming profiles, group policy desktop settings, and two user state migration tools. Any or all of them can make getting a user's desktop back to "normal" far easier than it once was. Many shops don't use roaming profiles because they tried them and didn't like them -- but the trick is to set them up in a certain way, and you'll see how here.
Roaming profiles have been available since NT 4.0, but XP offers yet another way make a new, rebuilt, or upgraded machine "feel like home" -- two tools that Microsoft says let you
"migrate the user state." They're a neat pair of tools that are well worth knowing -- the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard and
the User State Migration Tool. Both make it quite easy to migrate user settings to an XP box from a Windows 9x, ME, NT 4, 2000 Pro, or XP box.
What do desktop support people need to help keep their user's desktops stable? What's that you say desktop lockdown? Sure, that's a common answer. But the fact is we don't care all that much what users do with their desktops, settings-wise. (Unless they set all of their desktop and font colors to black. That's kinda troublesome.) No, in many cases we just want to keep certain programs off the desktop. But NT's intrinsic structure and remember that XP Pro is nothing more than just NT 5.1 Workstation makes it flatly impossible to keep users from installing any software at all. So XP takes a different tack it lets an administrator control very closely what can and cannot run on a desktop.
It does that through a bushel of new policies that fall under the heading of "software restriction policies." These might be
XP's single most appealing feature for support folks, but sadly very few seem to know about them, and there's no wonder about that:
while they are indeed powerful, they're also fairly cryptic. This section demystifies them.
Too often, upgrading to a new operating system meant not only swapping out an OS but swapping out our applications some
little OS quirk kept an circa 1995 program from running, forcing us to leave a few systems behind when upgrading. ("What's a
Windows 95 system doing here, didn't you guys upgrade?" "Yeah, but our marketing contact tracking database program only runs on
Wintendo, so there's no choice. We just pray the system never dies.") Windows 2000 Pro had a few tools for backwards compatibility,
but XP goes light-years beyond that with its built-in "Application Compatibility Toolkit." It contains 199 different on-the-fly
"fixes" to solve incompatibilities with older apps.
Windows 2000 brought a much-needed tool for remote control of servers: a built-in Terminal Services feature. But desktops
were left with only minimal remote support in the form of NetMeeting. XP sets things to rights with not one but two different
remote control features Remote Desktop Connection and Remote Assistance.
We spend tons of money on hardware and software for our desktops (and
servers, for that matter), but are often unsure of whether or not we're getting
the most from our investment. Ever given up on Performance Monitor
because you can't figure out which of the millions of things that it offers to
watch? This section will answer that question.
Despite our best efforts, buggy software and drivers, faulty hardware or power sometimes keeps our systems from coming up or staying up.
In this section, learn what you can do to smoke out the troubles that keep systems from running.
Windows 2000 brought two new tools (Offline Files and Encrypted File System) that were good but that needed some work. XP
improves upon them but brings some issues of its own. And while XP can support fast drives, it sometimes needs a kick in the
pants to realize that they are fast drives. But that's not all... this section takes up all the new stuff in XP storage!
A quick roundup of some new enhancements to the command line. It's not your father's C:\> any
more -- if you've not looked at XP's command-line tools (Openfiles and
Eventquery are two useful examples) then you'll be extremely
A pile of fast tips and tricks to solve some bedeviling problems and speed up your system
This is not an "exam cram" class. Our goal in this class is to help your network professionals acquire essential job-related skills rather than to focus on particular testing concepts. Don't misunderstand — there's nothing wrong with exam-focused classes — but this class isn't one of them. Its focus is to help your administrators plan for and learn to manage XP desktops in an Windows 2000 or Server 2003-based network.
The class works from PowerPoint presentations with many demonstrations.
Please contact our office at (757) 426-1431 or Assistant@Minasi.com to discuss scheduling and fees.