Once your PC has rebooted and
you feel the glow of success that comes with a good install of
an operating system, it's time to bring the operating system's
components up to date. This means adding service packs,
defragging the system, and updating any "placeholder"
device drivers that have been installed by the system, such as
the video driver.
The Win2000 CD comes with a fairly large library of
drivers, but it doesn't contain everything, and it certainly
doesn't contain the most recent versions of everything. One of
the first things you need to do once Win2000 is up and running
is get the most recent editions of critical drivers, if you
didn't do so in preparation for the installation.
Video drivers are typically
not up-to-date with the first boot of Windows 2000, and are
sometimes a little thorny in the early going. Some manufacturers
have an automatic setup program that does all the work for you,
while others expect you to do the installation "by
hand." Matrox, for instance, has an excellent setup program
that also installs useful display-configuration System Tray
utilities. They add the ability to switch resolutions and color
depths on the fly, and more. Visit your card manufacturer's Web
site and find out exactly what you need to do to get your video
driver and ancillary software fully installed. It'll help you
get the most out of your Windows 2000 system.
In many cases, manufacturer
instructions will direct you to update the video driver through
the Settings tab in the Display properties box (which you can
access by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Properties).
If you choose Display Type, then Change, you'll get a list of
available drivers for video card makes and models. And clicking
Have Disk lets you install a driver from a floppy disk.
Also note that some cards,
like those that use the NVidia GeForce 256 chip, don't have
Win2000 drivers just yet, but do have Windows NT 4.0 drivers
that may at least work. Do not use a Windows NT 4.0 graphics
driver unless you've got no other choice. It would also be smart
to make a separate Hardware Profile to do this and boot up the
system in it. That way, if your new driver doesn't work or turns
out to be criminally unstable, you can always boot back into the
original profile with no harm done. In fact, making a new
Hardware Profile is a good rule of thumb prior to installing any
device or driver you're not sure of...
Fragmentation of the file system is one of
the most common problems with any computer, especially after a
file system change, an operating system installation, or both.
Win2000 isn't immune to a reduction of performance from a highly
fragmented disk either. Once you're finished installing Win2000,
even on a perfectly clean system, you're going to have a
fragmented file system, and you need to defrag.
There are two ways to do this:
The first is to use the defrag utility included with Win2000,
and the second is to get a third-party defragmenter for Windows
The built-in defragmenter is
actually derived from the source code of an excellent
third-party defrag program, Executive Software's Diskeeper.
Since Win2000 features kernel-level hooks for defragging file
systems, that made it all the easier for the product to be
written. (NT required the defrag program to replace the kernel,
which is never a great idea.) To fire up any disk defragmenter,
right-click the drive you want to defragment, select Properties,
Tools, then click the Defragment Now button. If you've installed
a third-party defragger, it'll run in lieu of the built-in one.
Just in case you haven't heard
this before: Defragging after installation isn't a one-time
thing. If your system gets a lot of use... especially if
you're working with a lot of large files, such as multimedia
formats, defragging regularly will help speed things
and Post-install Patches
At this writing, it isn't clear whether
Microsoft will rely more on Windows Update to distribute Win2000
patches, as it has done for the most part with Windows 98, or
whether it will issue regular collections of patches, or service
packs, as it has done with Windows NT. This section covers both
types of system updates.
A service pack is a collection
of files that upgrade components in Windows. Service Packs are
usually released to address security issues, fix bugs, provide
new functions, and enhance performance -- or all of the above.
There have been six NT Service Packs to date. And even before
Win2000 was officially released, Microsoft had issued a minor
Win2000 patch to address security problems with the Indexing
Service. Anyone running Win2000 Server should learn about,
download, and install that patch right after installing Windows
Service packs incorporate all
the fixes from all previous service packs, making each a little
bit larger than the last. You should always apply service packs
as late as possible in your system setup. They should be
re-applied after any major software upgrade (like installing
Office or Explorer, or even Netscape), or after any changes to
system components like device drivers or network configuration.
You have several options for
getting Service Packs. It's a safe bet that you'll be able to
order any service packs that become available directly from
Microsoft on CD, or if you have a fast enough network
connection, download them directly from Microsoft.
Service packs are available in
two different editions: standard and high-encryption. The
high-encryption service pack is only for distribution in the USA
(although this may change at some point for new service packs),
while the standard version can be downloaded worldwide. Pick an
encryption level and stick with it. In other words, if you patch
with high-encryption, make sure all subsequent patches are also
high-encryption, when there's a choice between the two. Don't
mix and match.
The best way to get interim
patches and updates for Win2000 is through Windows Update.
Originally developed to help keep Windows 98 up to speed with
new components, this Web-based service has been significantly
expanded to support Win2000. A word to the wise: Just because
there's a patch available in Windows Update doesn't mean you
should install it. Other than major service packs, unless you
have a specific reason to install a patch, hang back and let
others jump in first to test the waters. An icon installed on
the Start Menu takes you there, but this link works just as
Note: You won't see the Windows 2000 Windows Update site unless
you have Win2000 installed.
Most Windows Update patches
download and install automatically. Hopefully, though, you'll be
able to download Win2000 service packs and install them
separately. The actual process of installing a service pack
isn't difficult. Once it's downloaded, close all running
applications and double click the service pack's icon. It's a
self-extracting archive that sets up in a couple of moments.
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