I often suggest that readers use the reference materials that Microsoft provides, and some of Microsoft's best materials are the OS and application resource kits. The Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Professional resource kits have been available online in bits and pieces for a while, but Microsoft has now organized the online resource kits into a much more usable format. You still need to purchase the resource kits to get all of the utility software (although more than 60 resource kit utilities are available online for free download), but the online resource kits are excellent starting points for your support needs. You'll find the kits here.

Many readers have requested additional information about the registry tips that run in this newsletter, and those information requests run the gamut from detailed questions about additional modifications to requests for information about the basics of registry editing. The Windows 2000 Registry Reference is a good place to start your registry learning process. Unfortunately, the information is incomplete. The reference drills down into only the HKEY_CURRRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtrees and covers only the registry entries that Microsoft thinks have the most value to the greatest number of users. If you're new to the world of registry editing or just looking for basic information about what the registry is and how it works, this Web site is the place to start. Old regedit users will likely find the information pretty basic, but it will give you the Microsoft view about handling registry changes.

This Web site includes two other important references: the Windows 2000 Performance Counters Reference and the Windows 2000 Group Policy Reference. The first reference contains descriptions of the performance counter and provides the algorithms that the system uses to derive the information for many of the counters. The algorithms can tell you whether the information that the counter is providing is what you're looking for and whether the reports will help you solve your problem.

The Group Policy Reference is useful for administrators who design and use group policies. You can find the registry entries that group policy settings affect here.

This Web site will get you started on your own explorations into registry hacks—and will give you plenty of opportunities to foul up a computer beyond recovery.