Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 - Part 2

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Mar 27, 2002


by Andy Goodman

Welcome to part two of my series on Microsoft Small Business Server 2000. Article One of the series covered the basics of installing SBS 2000, including planning the install and ensuring your hardware meets the basic requirements.

Now that you have your hardware picked out, have decided how to partition your drives, picked a name for your forest, chosen the administrator passwords and written them somewhere safe, the next thing you want to do is actually install SBS 2000. This is a much easier and less painful process then the older versions. In case you missed all the fun of the NT4 SBS versions, you can take a look at an actual install log here

Keep in mind the following very important point. You must use the wizards to accomplish tasks with SBS. Many an experienced network administrator has been driven to tears from not following this simple rule. Just because you know how to do something on a 3000-user network, do not assume you know how to do it on an SBS network. It is different, it is by design, and if you try to bypass the wizards you will pay sooner or later. 

This brings up another point before you start. Microsoft's Active Directory is a great milestone for large networks. It allows for a number of different ways of grouping and delineating users, computers and network resources. Please remember AD was designed with large networks in mind. Unfortunately, you have to use it with SBS 2000 as Exchange 2000 is dependent upon it. Do not fall into the trap I have seen a number of people fall into where they chop up their network and make it a real pain to administer. The whole idea of SBS is to make administration easier. Leave the users in the users OU (Organizational Unit) and the computers in the computers OU. Manage them using security groups not OUs -- your life will be much simpler. Using all the power and diversity of Microsoft's Active Directory to manage a maximum of 50 users is like using a chain saw to cut kindling.

Unlike earlier versions of SBS you can now pick and choose which servers to install. You can also add or remove individual servers at any time. From my experience, the servers most people use are "Exchange", "ISA" and "Fax". I recommend starting with those. If you find a need for "SQL" or "Modem Sharing", you can add them later. By not loading a server you are not using you will save system resources for those you are using.

You're almost ready to start, but before you reformat those drives, make sure you have good readable copies of any data you want to save. If it's on tape, do a restore and make sure the data is really there and you can read it. I can't tell you how many times I have picked up a new customer and they have proudly shown me their stack of tapes and their backup strategy, only to find the tapes are blank or unreadable. I always try to restore a file from each backup I do to prove it is readable. You should too.

If you have mail, calendar info and contacts in an older version of SBS you need to get that out also. I recommend manually exporting the data to .pst files. There is a utility on the SBS media to do this, but I have heard rumors of it losing calendar information. When you get down to it, the most you probably have is 25 users anyway. That utility was created for mass migrations of thousands of users (remember the chain saw). If you are not clear on how to do the export, log on as each user, one at a time. Click File, Import and Export, Export to a File, PST. Make sure you start at the top of the mailbox and check the Include sub folders option. Do not take the default name of "Outlook.pst" or "Backup.pst" -- name the files with the user name so you can tell them apart. Before going on to the next user, open the .pst file and make sure the data is in there. Save these files to CDs or Jaz disks or somewhere safe so they don't get killed when you format the drives.

OK, finally the moment you've been waiting for. Put in the SBS CD1 and reboot the machine. If your machine will not boot from a CD, it is most likely not adequate to run SBS 2000. There are instructions in the readme to make boot disks, but if you need them, go back to the HCL and make sure your machine will fit the bill. Don't forget, if you need to load a special storage driver (like for a RAID Array) hit F6 as soon as it starts loading the OS. 
Basically from here all you have to do is answer the questions, and they are pretty straightforward. One more gotcha to watch out for -- do not make the primary partition larger than 7.8 gig. I know it is tempting, and it will allow you to do so, but don't. Down the road somewhere some utility or hotfix is going to rely on that old int13 standard and you won't be able to boot. Better safe than sorry. Make the other partitions as large as you like but not the system partition. The system partition is the one with ntldr and boot.ini on it.

After you run through the initial install you will have a machine with Windows 2000 Server on it. The SBS install does not start automatically. This is to give you a chance to work out any hardware issues. Go into device manager (right click on "My Computer" and choose Manage, Device Manager) and correct any yellow or red icons before continuing.

See you next time to install the Servers, create the User Accounts and restore the Exchange Data. The second articles of Andy Goodman's Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 series takes a look at preparing to move your users' mail and data to a new SBS 2000 machine, an important step before actually installing SBS 2000.

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**Author and/or Publisher assumes no responsibility, use these suggestions and guidelines at your own risk

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