Several months ago, I wrote a series of articles about Group Policy that generated many requests for more information about Group Policy implementation and troubleshooting. In response, I wrote about two utilities, gpresult.exe and gpotool.exe, which you can find in the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit. Let's look at two more resource kit utilities this week.
FAZAM 2000 RFV
I recently became aware of Full Armour Software's FAZAM 2000, a free utility that helps you administer and manage Group Policy. Microsoft has included a reduced-functionality version (RFV) of the product in the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resources Kit Supplement One and has posted the software for download at its Web site. If you're having trouble implementing Group Policy in your environment, FAZAM 2000 RFV is worth a look. If you’re a consultant, FAZAM 2000 is a good addition to your troubleshooting toolbox—especially because it's free.
If you implement it correctly, Group Policy is one Win2K technology that can justify the expense of your migration effort. However, if you implement Group Policy incorrectly, you might find yourself wondering why you ever thought about abandoning your Windows NT 4.0 environment. FAZAM 2000 can help by eliminating much of the guesswork as you implement and make changes to Group Policy Objects (GPOs). One of FAZAM 2000's most promising features is its Resultant Set of Policies (RSoP), which lets you see what Group Policy settings will apply to particular users when they log on to specific machines. FAZAM 2000 also makes it easier to modify Group Policy settings and back up and restore GPOs.
RFV most definitely stands for reduced functionality version—the free version of FAZAM 2000 is missing several features. To see the additional functionality that's available with the full version of FAZAM 2000, visit the Full Armor Web site.
User State Migration Tool
The User State Migration Tool (USMT) is another useful tool that's available with the resource kit supplement and on the Microsoft Web site. The USMT lets you perform a clean Win2K installation (instead of upgrading from NT 4.0 or Windows 9x) while salvaging a lot of user-specific information, such as application settings. Importing settings into your Win2K installations can help you minimize disruption because users won't have to spend as much time setting up their systems. You can download this tool from the Microsoft Web site.
The USMT migrates users' application settings—not applications—so you still need to install applications on your new Win2K machines. The USMT migrates user settings from different OSs to Win2K, often between systems with different file systems and registry structures, so you will want to test it thoroughly before deploying it in a production migration environment.
I hope these resource kit tools make your migration to Win2K and your life as a Win2K administrator a little easier. When you run into trouble with Win2K, remember that others have undoubtedly experienced similar problems and that, in response, someone has probably invented a tool or a workaround. FAZAM 2000 and the USMT are great examples of such tools.