Take advantage of the OS's native tools

Like the Microsoft Windows 2000 Resource Kit, Win2K's Support Tools folder contains a collection of utilities that can help you manage your network and troubleshoot problems. However, the Support Tools folder differs from the resource kit in that the Support Tools are native to Win2K--you don't need to purchase them separately. In this Top 10, I share 10 of my favorite Support Tools, which you'll find in the Win2K CD-ROM's \support\tools folder.

10. Windows 2000 Error and Event Messages Help (w2000msgs.chm). This tool's HTML-based listing of Win2K events and error messages can help you quickly detect and diagnose common problems.

9. WinDiff (windiff.exe). This graphical file-comparison utility is particularly useful for comparing different versions of ASCII-based files, such as Windows NT shell scripts or VBScript scripts. WinDiff displays differences in the source file in yellow and differences in the target file in red.

8. Application Compatibility (apcompat.exe). This graphical tool lets you run on Win2K many applications that check for earlier Windows versions. Simply start the utility, identify the legacy program that won't run under Win2K, and select the OS version for which the program was intended.

7. Dependency Walker (depends.exe). This graphical utility lists all the modules that an executable program calls. Dependency Walker provides information about the DLL name, entry points, path, and version. When you want to troubleshoot those mysterious Entry point not found error messages, this tool is essential.

6. Remote (remote.exe). This utility lets you run command-line programs on remote computers. Remote has both a client and a server component. To use Remote, first start the server component by running remote /s, then connect to the server by running remote /c from the client.

5. PPTP Ping (pptpsrv.exe and pptpclnt.exe). This client/server tool lets you verify a PPTP connection. First, you must run the pptpsrv.exe component on the server. Then, you run the pptpclnt.exe component on the client. By using TCP port 1723 (PPTP) and the Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) protocol to bounce a data packet between the PPTP server and the client, PPTP Ping verifies that a PPTP connection is possible.

4. Active Directory Object Manager (movetree.exe). This command-line tool lets you move Active Directory (AD) objects between domains in a forest. This capability can be useful for consolidating domains or correcting mistakes that you might have made when you built your AD structure.

3. Nltest (nltest.exe). This command-line network-administration tool lets you perform a variety of tasks, including checking the trust relationships between domains, reporting the availability of PDCs, and synchronizing user-account information between Win2K systems and NT systems.

2. Windows 2000 Domain Manager (netdom.exe). This command-line administration tool lets you manage Win2K domains and trust relationships. Netdom is a useful addition to any administrator's scripting library. You can use Netdom to join a Win2K system to a domain; add, remove, and list computer accounts; and establish trust relationships.

1. Disk Probe (dskprobe.exe). This powerful file-system editor can read and write information to the Windows file system in sector mode. You can use Disk Probe for a variety of tasks, including saving and restoring the Master Boot Record (MBR) and recovering information from deleted files. Disk Probe is a low-level tool, so you need to exercise care when you use it.