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Mark Minasi Q&A: Tuning Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003, part 3

Mark Minasi answers more questions left over from his Jan. 9 tuning webcast: What to tweak and what to replace. Read on for advice on partitions, service packs, disk defrag and lots of other tips and tricks. Click here to download Minasi's PowerPoint presentation. How can I set up WINS on an Apple computer?
A WINS server? I guess you'd run Samba (I assume you're at OS/X); it can emulate a WINS server. Is fiber optic the best option for networks we are installing? Is it really necessary for companies with less than 50 PCs?
Fiber's nice but for 50 users it's a bit pricey. I'd think that cat6 would pretty much do the job. I suspect that your biggest network headache will be supporting wireless, rather than some kind of cable -- people love to roam! Fiber CAN make sense if distance is a factor -- if you have a large campus then fiber makes sense. Tell me more about no Windows 95 on Win2000 SP3 -- am I going to lose my Win95 boxes when I apply SP3 to the DC?
If you do, just shut off SMB signing on the Win2k boxes. That'll do it. Can I prevent a certain range of IP addresses (within my intranet) from connecting to the Win2k server?
Absolutely. Use IPsec. Is better to install DNS on the PDC when upgrading to Windows 2000 or .NET Server?
It depends. If you're doing AD-integrated zones, then yes. If not, then just look at how heavily loaded the DC is. On a Windows 2000 Professional, Server and XP Pro if restricted to only one physical hard-drive but two or more logical partitions, is it a good practice to set pagefile size (i.e., initial & max) to 100MB over the physical RAM size?
Page file sizing algorithms should NEVER include the size of physical RAM, it is completely irrelevant. Your page file size is a function of the programs that you run, not the RAM size. I hope this helps. Any tips for installing service packs on a Win2k Advanced Server that is running Active Directory and is currently the only domain controller as well as authentication server currently on the network?
Well, I hate to say it, but you should NEVER have just one DC -- you're asking for trouble. I cannot guarantee that installing an SP on your one DC won't crash that DC -- no one can -- and so you're in too precarious a position. Consider the value of your time and the network's time -- what would it cost your firm if you were out of network for a day? Surely that's worth more than the cost of a cheap PC and a copy of Win2k Server.

All I can suggest otherwise is to do really good backups and then do the operation early one Saturday so you've got all weekend to put things back together if they blow up. Please consider getting another DC. Understand I am NOT trying to sell you anything, I'd just hate to see a service pack ruin your life! Best of luck. Apart from Microsoft's site, what Web sites do you go to for advanced information?
Windows and .NET Magazine has a lot of great stuff. There are some absolutely terrific articles from people like Sean Daily, Christa Anderson, Doug Toombs, Brett Hill and, well, far too many other people for me to name. Certified Professional Magazine has articles from some very smart people including two friends of mine, Roberta Bragg and Bill Boswell. Roberta is possibly THE premier 2000 security expert and Boswell  (who is also a contributor to has a brain the size of a small planet. Both sites are great resources! And, of course you can interact directly with Hill in Brett Hill's IIS Support Forum and with Bragg in Ask the Experts. When logging on to domain, the mapped drive (home) does not map on client. It can, however, hard map.
Depends on the OS, but a Win2k or XP client will map to a home directory on a domain. If not, then that runs counter to my experience. Look in the Event Viewer to see if you get any clues. After installing the patches from Windows Update on Win2k Server SP3, Win95 cannot log on anymore. Any ideas?
Interesting. I'd try turning off SMB signing. It seems with Win2000,after some long period of use, it's spending a long time in shut down and start up "saving" or "restoring" user settings. What causes this? Is it a problem and is there some way to avoid it?
Try defragging your disk and go to and get pagedfrg.exe to defrag the page file. Also, check to see if your profile is huge -- you've got to save it every time you log off, and that takes time. Is there a script or a way to redirect all users of the My Documents directory on my network to a server location instead of on their hard drive, so that I don't have to do each one individually?
Sure -- group policies lets you do that with folder redirection.

Mark Minasi is a best-selling author, popular technology columnist, commentator and keynote speaker. Mark is probably best known for his books
Mastering Windows NT Server, Mastering Windows 2000 Server and The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide. Mark has also authored 17 other technology books, spoken on technical topics in 20 countries, and written and performed in a dozen technical education videos. His new book in Windows Server 2003 is due out in April.

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