From my admittedly biased viewpoint, system administrators don't get enough credit. The system administration profession doesn't get the same kind of respect as the law or medical communities, even though system administrators are constantly asked to diagnosis highly technical problems and perform intricate surgery on both hardware and software issues. And sometimes there may even be lives at stake! OK, perhaps I'm over-dramatizing the situation, but my point is that system administrators are the unsung heroes of the IT revolution and don't get the recognition they deserve.

There are thousands of programs, tools, commands, screens, scripts, buttons, tabs, applets, menus, and settings that system administrators need to know about and understand to do their job. And it has only been in the past couple of years that Microsoft's documentation has actually been more of a help than a hindrance. But it still isn't enough. What Windows system administrators really need is quick and easy ways to find what they need to get the job done.

There are plenty of books that go into all sorts of detail about the theory behind a particular technology or application, but what if you don't need that? What if you know the theory but just can't (or don't want to) remember the exact command-line or graphical sequence to configure an application? Or perhaps you need some barebones code to help automate a task. There are very few books that cut through the fluff and provide only the essentials for getting the job done. This book is intended to do just that. This book also provides added value by describing exactly when a task can come in handy and listing additional pointers for more information.

Based on my own experience, hours of research, and years of hanging out on newsgroups and mailing lists, I've compiled over 300 recipes that should answer many of the "How do I..." questions one could pose about Windows Server. And just as in the Perl community where the Perl Cookbook was a latecomer that sells well even today, I believe the Windows Server Cookbook will also be a great addition to any Windows system administrator's library.

Who Should Read This Book

As with many of the books in the Cookbook series, Windows Server Cookbook can be useful to anyone who has to deploy, administer, or automate Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000. This book can serve as a great reference for those who have to work with Windows Server on a day-to-day basis. And because of all the scripting samples, this book can be really beneficial to programmers who want to accomplish various tasks in an application. For those without much programming background, the VBScript solutions are straightforward and should be easy to follow and expand on.

If you like the format of this book, but crave more recipes on Active Directory, I highly recommend checking out Active Directory Cookbook. It is similar to this book in structure, except has over 320 recipes devoted only to Active Directory. I gave up trying to remember all the nerd knobs and tweaks you could do to Active Directory; I wrote Active Directory Cookbook so I would have them all in one place. O'Reilly is in the process of publishing additional Cookbooks on topics such as Windows XP, Exchange Server, and Windows Server Security to name a few.

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