This week, I present yet another installment in the occasional series of Windows 2000 Ready columns that I devote to defining new Windows 2000 (Win2K) terms and concepts. With this series, I'm compiling a Win2K glossary for the Windows 2000 Magazine Web site.

Data Recovery Agent
A data recovery agent is a person who can recover files that a user has encrypted using Win2K's Encrypting File System (EFS. You might need to recover encrypted files in cases where you lose private keys (e.g., due to hard disk crashes) or to recover files that former employees have encrypted. By default, the system designates the domain administrator of the first Win2K domain in a forest as the recovery agent.

DirectX enhances the multimedia capabilities of Win2K with accelerated sound and video drivers that provide 3-D animation, high-quality graphics, and theater-quality sound. DirectX consists of APIs that let applications access your computer hardware directly. Win2K includes almost a dozen APIs grouped into components known as the DirectX foundation layer and the DirectX media layer that provide support for DirectX 7.0. Examples include DirectAnimation, DirectDraw, DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectShow, and DirectSound.

IEEE 1394 Bus
IEEE 1394 is a high-speed Plug and Play (PnP)-compatible bus that you can use to add or remove high-speed serial devices to your Win2K computer. For example, if you have an IEEE 1394-compatible printer, Win2K automatically detects the hardware when you plug it into the IEEE 1394 connector on the back of your computer. Although you can disconnect an IEEE 1394-compatible device from a Win2K computer while the system is running, Microsoft recommends that you use the Control Panel's Add/Remove Hardware application so that the OS can inform you when the device is ready to be unplugged. Examples of IEEE 1394-compatible devices include external hard disks, DVD drives, and scanners.

Infrared Data Association
Infrared Data Association (IrDA) is an industry standard that supports infrared communication between computers and peripherals. Because Win2K supports IrDA, the OS will automatically detect and install IrDA devices that you attach to your computer, as long as your hardware includes built-in support for the standard. If your computer doesn’t support IrDA, you can still use an IrDA device by connecting an IrDA transceiver to the computer’s serial port and using the Control Panel's Add/Remove Hardware application to install it. You can then click the Control Panel's Wireless Link icon to establish a connection with another IrDA device. Examples of IrDA devices include network adapter cards, modems, keyboards, and printers.

Intellimirror, a combined group of Win2K features under the Change and Configuration Management umbrella, lets you remotely deploy OSs on client computers, centrally control user desktop environments, manage user data, and remotely deploy and maintain software programs.

The Magnifier, one of Win2K's accessibility tools, enlarges selections on the screen for users with vision problems. A person with administrative authority can use another accessibility tool, the Utility Manager, to configure the Magnifier. For example, you can set the Magnifier to start automatically for certain users. You can also set the contrast, change the magnification level, and invert the screen colors. For more magnification utilities, check out the Microsoft Web site.

Mounted Drives
Win2K lets you connect local drives to an empty folder on a local NTFS volume, a process known as mounting a drive. Instead of assigning a drive letter to the mounted drive, Win2K simply assigns a path to it. Mounting local drives has several advantages. For example, you don’t need to worry about running out of drive letters because you can connect to more than 26 drives with mounted drives. If you're running out of disk space for the Temp folder, you can mount an additional drive and point the folder to the mounted drive. Unfortunately, the current version of Win2K doesn't support remote drives.

Windows Report Tool
The Windows Report Tool is a Win2K utility that gathers information about a computer for support staff to use when troubleshooting. Users can run the tool and save the information in a text file, which they can then email to support personnel. You can start the tool by typing winrep at the command prompt.