Starting a new job makes you ponder on which tools you use to get the job done, and which tools you have aquired over the years. I had to start with a white blanket again, and found out I have quite a large tookbox.
Awaiting my test environment for more technical articles, I’ll review my toolbox over the next few weeks, starting with the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack, or more commonly known as “adminpak.msi”.
If you want to start being a system administrator, the Administration Tools Pack is the first thing you will be touching after setting up a Windows Server 2000 or 2003 and setting up your Active Directory. In all Windows Server operating systems, the Administration Tools Pack is included in the installation, and all tools are available in the folder “Administrative Tools” under your Programs Start Menu folder.
The Pack includes the obvious Active Directory Users and Computers Management Console, to administer all common AD elements (users, groups and computers), but also lesser used utilities such as Domains and Trusts, or the foundations of any Active Directory setup: DNS and optional DHCP.
The Pack is not only available for Windows Server operating systems, but also for Windows XP, if you get the x86/x64 installation media from Microsoft. Windows Vista is not officially supported, but since SP1 of the pack, installation on Vista is possible and works without a glitch.
In the end, the adminpak.msi (or its following versions with more elaborate filenames) is the first set of tools I require when starting a system administration position. Where NT4 lacked good tools and you had to resort to Hyena or DameWare NT Utilities, Windows Server 2000 and 2003 actually had decent tools shipped with them.
There are sure other, easier and more elaborate tools which I’ll visit over the coming weeks. But the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack is the basis for any good Windows Server environment.