I always like to scan through new Microsoft products to seek useful utilities that will help me in my day-to-day administrative and support tasks. In the area of useful new utilities, ZAK didn't disappoint me. After you expand ZAK files you've downloaded from Microsoft's Web site, look in ZAK distribution files. Under \i386 you'll find a folder called Tools. The Tools folder contains several familiar resource kit utilities ZAK uses, such as Floplock, Instsrv (for installing services), and Shutdown. ZAK also contains three new utilities you might find particularly useful: con2prt.exe, fixprf.exe, and runapp.exe.

Con2prt is a command-line utility that lets you map to and disconnect from printer shares. You can also use this utility to set a printer to be the default printer.

Fixprf is useful in an Exchange environment. This simple utility lets you plug user-specific values into the appropriate fields in an Exchange Preference (.prf) file. The newprof utility can then use the .prf file to build a user's Exchange profile on the fly.

Runapp is a shell program with a twist. You can use runapp to start another application, such as Internet Explorer (IE), but when the user shuts down the application, runapp will automatically restart the application. In a kiosk situation (such as the TaskStation mode), this feature can be useful.