Add essential functionality to your OS

Even for Microsoft, shipping a software project the size of Windows 2000 and offering all the necessary functionality right out of the box is impossible. Therefore, Microsoft has created a Downloads section on its Web site that contains postrelease security fixes, third-party compatibility updates, and a collection of management and migration utilities. In this Top 10, I show you the most useful Win2K downloads.

10.
The Windows 2000 Evaluation Upgrade Utility. If you've installed the Win2K evaluation CD-ROM and don't want to go through the hassle of reinstalling, the Windows 2000 Evaluation Upgrade Utility lets you upgrade Win2K evaluation code to the legitimate version. You can find this tool at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/ deployment/evalupg/default.asp.

9.
Windows 2000 Compatibility Updates. Microsoft's first priority in addressing Win2K compatibility concerns was business applications such as Microsoft Office and BackOffice. Windows 2000 Compatibility Updates address compatibility problems with popular applications such as the ever-essential Alien vs. Predator, Tomb Raider III, and Microsoft FrontPage 98. You can find these updates at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/deployment/appcompat/default.asp.

8.
Windows 2000 Help Files. If you support multiple Win2K versions, the ability to access Help files specific to each version is useful. You can download all the different Win2K Help files from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/ otherdownloads/helpfiles/default.asp.

7.
Windows 2000 High Encryption Pack. Because of export restrictions, most off-the-shelf versions of Win2K offer only 40-bit encryption security. However, if you reside in the United States or another approved country, you can download the 128-bit Windows 2000 High Encryption Pack from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/ recommended/encryption/default.asp.

6.
AOL Image Support Update for Windows 2000. Support for Johnson-Grace compressed-image (.art) files, which America Online (AOL) commonly uses, was another victim of the push to release Win2K on time. AOL Image Support Update for Windows 2000 gives Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0 the ability to display .art files. You can download this update from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/recommended/aolfix/default.asp.

5.
Windows 2000 Update, "Iomega Tools do not Recognize Parallel Port Drives." Users of parallel-port Iomega Zip or Jaz disk drives will be disappointed to learn that the shipping version of Win2K doesn't support parallel-port drives. The Win2K update, which you can find at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/ recommended/q251381/default.asp, lets Iomega software tools access parallel-port drives under Win2K.

4.
The Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool. As its Windows NT predecessor did, the Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool (SysPrep) version 1.1 lets you create system images that you can use in unattended installations. You can find this tool at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/deployment/sysprep/default.asp.

3.
The Windows 2000 Active Directory Sizer Tool. Migrating to Active Directory (AD) is the biggest hurdle in the Win2K migration path. The Windows 2000 Active Directory Sizer Tool helps you estimate your AD hardware requirements. This tool bases its estimates on your organization's profile, domain information, and site topology. You can find the tool at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/deployment/sizer/default.asp.

2.
The Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer. Although the Win2K installation gives you this tool's functionality, discovering incompatibilities before you begin your OS installation is essential. The Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer analyzes your system's installed hardware and reports any known Win2K incompatibilities. You can download this tool from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/deployment/readiness/default.asp.

1.
The Windows 2000 Active Directory Migration Tool. This tool's wizard helps you migrate NT users, groups, and file permissions to Win2K's AD. You can download the Windows 2000 Active Directory Migration tool from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/ downloads/deployment/admt/default.asp.