Importance of Support Tools
The Windows Server 2003 support tools are much ignored yet incredibly useful utilities that come as standard with any Server 2003 Windows Installation. However, you won’t find them just by simply installing the server operating system. They reside on the installation disk itself, and you must seek them out and install them yourself if you want to take advantage of their assistance. So, why are they so important?
In addition to providing crucial tools and functions for network administrators (discussed below), students need to be very aware of all the Windows Server Support Tools because questions involving them have a high likelihood of being included on all of the Windows Server 2003 Microsoft Certified Professional exams (the series of exams required, to be awarded MCSA & MCSE).
What Tools are Included?
There are a number of tools installed when you install the full set of Windows Server 2003 Support Tools, and it will take a series of discussions to do justice to them here at Bright Hub. However, some of the more important and useful of these support tools are:
Dcdiag: Dcdiag is a command-line accessed tool that is used for monitoring the Active Directory. When this command is run from the prompt it can:
- Test replication and connectivity and report any errors
- Report on any DNS registration issues
- Do an analysis of the permissions that are required for replication
- Do an analysis of the state of the domain controllers within the forest
An example of the syntax for Dcdiag is:
Repadmin: Repadmin is a command-line accessed tool that is used to view the replication topology from the perspective of each individual domain controller, which helps admins understand how information is being transferred, thereby assisting in isolating any problems that may be occurring with replication. It also can be used to manually create a replication topology in the event that site link bridging is disabled. Other functions include forced replication between domain controllers, and the ability to view the replication metadata for determining the most up-to-date replication information.
An example of the syntax for Repadmin is:
repadmin /showreps server1.domainxyz.com
Replmon: Replmon is a graphical utility that can be executed from the command prompt, or, from the Support Tools program group. This tool helps administrators to:
- View current server status errors
- Check the replication topology and graphically view replication partners
- Synchronize directory partitions and initiate replication across the domain
- Get a status report and export it to a .log file
- View all domain controllers in the domain
- View the forest-wide bridgehead servers
Installing the Windows Server 2003 Support Tools
1. Log on as an administrator.
2. Insert the Windows Server 2003 Installation CD, and click No if you are prompted to reinstall Windows.
3. At the Welcome screen, click “Perform Additional Tasks”, and then click “Browse This CD”.
4. Navigate to the \Support\Tools folder and double-click the Suptools.msi file to begin the installation wizard, which will guide you through the remainder of the simplistic installation process.