The first step in setting up Windows 2000 is to
make sure you've got everything at hand you need to do it right.
You definitely don't want to install an operating system
without the proper preparation, facts, files, and resources.
Here's everything you need...
Which version of
Windows 2000 comes in a few different versions.
Windows 2000 Professional retails for around $300 (Win95/98
upgrades are $219 and NT upgrades are $149). The Pro version is
designed for desktop Windows users, and equates to Windows NT
4.0 Workstation or Windows 98. Windows 2000 Server (with 10
Client Access Licenses) goes for about $900, and it corresponds
to Windows NT Server.
Windows 2000 Server is really only needed if
you're running a bona-fide server, and have the expertise to
deal with it. If you're using desktop-type applications, you'll
do fine with Professional. Don't buy what you don't need.
Actually, Windows 2000 Pro includes a stripped-down,
10-connection version of Internet Information Services (IIS)
5.0, which is useful for prototyping Web sites or learning ASP.
If you don't want to install Windows 2000 Server to play with
this stuff, you don't have to.
excellent Windows 2000 resources
Before you actually get going with Setup, be sure to
visit the Web pages Microsoft created to aid you in this
issues that needs to be considered installing.
Drivers for disk
controllers, especially RAID arrays
This is probably the first and most important thing
you need to have handy. Remember that you can't even get through
the first stage of the installation without access to mass
storage devices. Windows2000 has an up-to-the-minute driver set
on its release CD, chances are you won't need to dig up a driver
for the average desktop PC, but as time goes on and newer
hardware gets released, the chances increase that your
controller(s) won't find a compatible driver on the Windows 2000
If you do use a vendor-provided driver, be sure
to follow the manufacturer's instructions for creating a
Windows2000 boot-time installation diskette for it, since you'll
most likely need to supply the drivers in the initial stages of
booting. These drivers are generally loaded during the search
for disk controllers, outlined below, and are also usually
loaded a second time when the file-copying process begins. The
installation program will prompt you for a vendor-provided
driver disk at the right times. Make sure you have it handy
before you start the install.
RAID arrays get special treatment during setup,
and you'll need to bone up on that in advance at your hardware
Drivers and firmware
for all other needed hardware
Although Windows2000 has a remarkably large library
of hardware driver files on its installation CD, it's far from
complete. Many manufacturers plan to release Windows 2000
drivers for their hardware later on. Do the research and find
out if a vendor has provided third-party drivers for your
hardware. If they have, save yourself the trouble of scrambling
around later and get them before you start the installation. The
same goes for hardware released after the Windows 2000 CD went
to manufacturing in late December 1999.
This is especially important for system-critical
drivers like network cards, disk controllers, and video
adapters. That way you'll be able to add them then and there,
without having to get a network connection running, which will
be a real relief if you have trouble getting networking to
Firmware is also important and frequently
underrated. Many manufacturers offer a revised flash BIOS and
firmware upgrade that fix bugs, possible Y2K problems, and add
enhanced features. This includes motherboards: many motherboards
need to get the most recent flash to work properly with
Windows2000, especially for things like power management. Flash
your machine before entering setup, and make sure it works with
your existing Operating System, (if there is one), before
Microsoft's Important Upgrade Issues page for more information.
Backup of all
This should go without saying, but I will say it
anyway. If there's anything on the target machine that isn't
backed up... back it up. You'll be very glad you
did in the event the installation process heads south. Also, if
you can afford the space, backing up your system partition
couldn't hurt either. Never turn down a chance to make a backup!
Most removable drives, such as SCSI-based drives or
ATAPI-driven removable disks like the Zip drive, will work fine
in Windows 2000 for basic operations without a native driver.
Formatting disks or doing other low-level operations, however,
will often require a manufacturer written driver, so be sure to
track those down and keep them handy for when you've finished
the initial stages of the install. This also goes for
magneto-optical drives and any devices that use UDF (Universal
Data Format), such as DVD-RAM or DVD-RW drives.
Windows 2000's built-in list of graphics card drivers
is extremely impressive, but newer, more powerful cards are
coming out all the time, and the drivers on the install CD may
not be the fastest or most up-to-date.
The NVidia GeForce 256, for instance, isn't
supported by the Windows 2000 release CD. If it's available as
you read this, get the latest Microsoft-certified driver
(sometimes listed as "WHQL certified") from your
vendor. A Microsoft certified driver has been quality tested to
ensure it performs to spec and will not bomb your system. Note
that the most recent drivers from a given manufacturer may not
be Microsoft-certified, and they may more likely be optimized
for a slight performance edge than for reliability. We strongly
recommend you go with a certified driver for stability, when one
is available. (Note: In the case of the GeForce 256, the NT 4.0
driver works. That's a temporary workaround until a Windows 2000
driver is made available.)
Keyboards, mice, and thumbprint scanners (to name a
few) count as input devices, and some will require the right
software layer to work properly. Again, if this is extremely
recent hardware, chances are you won't find the drivers on the
Windows 2000 install CD; check with the maker. Even so, Windows
2000's Setup should automatically detect such devices without
This includes not only sound cards but peripherals
like cameras and scanners. Windows 2000 supports the vast
majority of Plug-and-Play multimedia devices released before the
end of 1999, although there are a few exceptions. UMAX's older
scanners, for instance, like the PowerLook II, are not yet
supported with native Windows 2000 drivers.
Be warned that while some network cards will claim
"compatibility" with a certain chipset, they really
won't work at their best without a vendor driver. Intel's
controllers (especially their OEM models for Compaq's computers)
are notorious for behaving like this. The good news is, the
Windows 2000 driver for Intel network cards is far better
behaved than the NT 4.0 driver.
In some cases you'll find important device
configuration utilities are available only from the
manufacturer's Web site. They don't ship with the Windows 2000
driver. Never try to set up a network device without checking
this first... you may wind up wasting time and energy
getting it running without knowing exactly what you need to do.
Vendor drivers for printers often have substantially
more functionality than the drivers that ship with Windows 2000.
This is especially the case with PostScript-enabled printers,
where the vendor driver may support added features, like
watermarking, while the Microsoft driver does not.
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