You've finally convinced your boss (be it the next level of management or your spouse), that it's time to upgrade both the hardware and software of your client machines. New systems running Windows 2000 Professional are on the way. Then you start to think about the task you've actually set for yourself. You'll need to configure all those new machines with the applications that you want, and all your users will need to back up their data files and perform all those little personalization tweaks to their desktops that they would have retained had you just upgraded their Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 9x systems to Win2K Pro.

But, if the machines are network attached, the task is not as bad as it sounds, thanks to a handy little utility in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit: the User State Migration Tool (USMT). USMT lets you read the state of a user's machine and migrate that state and data to a network server. Then you can move that information to the user's new machine. The utility won't move applications or DLL files, but it will move all of the users' settings, application data files, and personal data files (e.g., address books) to the server storage.

The USMT is actually two scriptable command line utilities: scanstate.exe, which moves the data from any NT 4.0 or Win9x system to the server storage; and loadstate.exe, which moves the information from the server to the target Win2K Pro machine. Each application's text configuration files control the how and where of which files are stored and written.

You don't need to buy the resource kit to get the tool; you can download it from Microsoft's Web site.

I'm a firm believer that any power user or systems administrator should own a copy of the Win2K Server Resource Kit. I recommend that you get the server version of the resource kit, even if you deal only with Win2K Pro at this point. The Win2K Server Resource Kit is a superset of the Win2K Pro Resource Kit and contains all sorts of useful information beyond the utilities included on the CD-ROM.

I've also discovered that if you go directly to the Microsoft Press Web site, you'll see that it offers up to a 34 percent discount on the $299 list price of the Win2K Server Resource Kit. When I clicked "Add item to cart," I received the discounted price on the kit and was offered the option to shop with another vendor. Take this option, and select SoftChoice as the vendor. As I write this, at 3:00 A.M. Monday, SoftChoice is offering the Win2K Server Resource Kit for only $156, which is a heck of a bargain for this seven-volume plus CD-ROM reference work. I have no idea what happens if you try to order the kit from outside the United States.


This week's tip:

You've upgraded your new system to Win2K Pro and think, "Now I'm finally going to get top performance out of the Ultra DMA/66 IDE hard drives I've been using," only to find that your disk performance hasn't improved. By default, Win2K doesn't enable UDMA/66 support. You need to add a UDMA 80-pin ribbon connector to the drive (be sure that your system supports UDMA) and manually enable this support.

  1. Open Regedit.
  2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318\}\0000.
  3. Open the Edit menu, and select New | DWORD Value
  4. Name the new value EnableUDMA66.
  5. Set the data value to 1.
  6. Close Regedit and reboot.