Microsoft® Windows 2000 Knowledge Center
Using the Tools At Hand
The Windows 2000 Support Tools
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An Intro to the Windows 2000 Support Tools
Windows 2000 comes equipped with two sets of support tools, those built into Windows 2000, and the additional tools that you can install from the \Support\Tools\ directory of both the Professional and Server CD-ROM disks. If you talk to the average Windows 2000 user and mention Support Tools, they usually refer to those found in Programs | Accessories | System Tools.
On the other hand, if you speak with a “power user”, and we use that term loosely, they tell you all about the support tools included on the Windows 2000 installation CD-ROM in the \Support\Tools directory, or those found in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit.
Ironically neither group speaks of “all” of the support tools available in Windows 2000. Maybe they equate tools with “broken” rather then “prevention”. Anyway, there’s a ton of them included with your Windows 2000 installation, and here we will try and cover most of them.
The Basic Tools Built into Windows 2000 consist of the following:
NTBackup has been around for quite some time, and frankly for an entire system backup, there are better third-party programs. However, one of the better NTBackup features included with Windows 2000 is the ability to backup the System State, including the registry. We won’t take you through the NTBackup program itself, but if you want to learn more about backing up the System State and the registry, click here.
- Character Map
You can use the Windows 2000 Character Map to view the characters that are available in a selected font. Character Map displays the following character sets: Windows, DOS, and Unicode. You can copy individual characters or a group of characters to the Clipboard and paste them into any program that can display them. Or, depending on the program you are using (such as WordPad), you can even copy characters by dragging them from Character Map directly into an open document. Using Character Map, you can search for characters by Unicode character name or Unicode subgroup (such as arrows or mathematical operators) or by other special classifications. You can also use Character Map to view and copy private characters that you have created using Private Character Editor. To learn more about the Windows 2000 Character Map, click here.
- Disk Cleanup
By using the Windows 2000 Disk Cleanup tool, you can free up disk space by removing removing temporary Internet files, downloaded program files (ActiveX controls and Java applets downloaded from the Internet), empty the Recycle Bin, remove Windows 2000 temporary files, remove Windows 2000 components that you are not using as well as remove installed programs that you no longer use. To learn more about the Windows 2000 Character Map, click here. See also: Using the Windows 2000 Recycle Bin.
- Disk Defragmenter
Drive or volume fragmentation can negatively impact an operating systems speed and performance. At times, this impact can be so severe that it will have every appearance of a hardware related problem. By not following a regimen of routine defragmentation to maintain peak performance, the condition of your drives or volumes could degrade to the point where they cannot be effectively defragmented, resulting in the need for some other form of drastic action to return the system to optimum performance levels. Using the Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter.
- Scheduled Tasks
Using Scheduled Tasks, you can schedule any script, program, or document to run at a time that is most convenient for you. Scheduled Tasks starts each time you start Windows 2000, and runs in the background. Using the Scheduled Task wizard (available by double-clicking Scheduled Tasks in Control Panel, and then double-clicking Add Scheduled Tasks), you can schedule a task to run daily, weekly, or monthly, change the schedule for a task, and customize how a task runs at a scheduled time. Using the Task Scheduler.
- System Information
The System Information tool is used to collect and display your system configuration information. You can use this specific information about your computer when troubleshooting your configuration. You can use System Information to quickly find the data needed to resolve your system problem. Using the System Information Tool
- Safe mode
If your computer will not start, it may start in safe mode. In safe mode, Windows 2000 uses default settings such as a basic VGA monitor, basic mouse driver, no network connections, and the minimum device drivers required to start Windows. As an example, let’s say you’ve just installed some new software, and now you’re unable to start Windows. By starting in Safe mode with minimal services you may be able to then change your computer settings or remove the newly installed software that is causing the problem. In Safe mode you can reinstall Service Pack 1 or the entire operating system, if necessary. If startup problem disappears while you are in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and minimum device drivers as possible causes.
Safe Mode Startup Options (click an option for more) * Safe Mode * Safe Mode with Networking * Safe Mode with Command Prompt * Enable Boot Logging * Enable VGA Mode * Last Known Good Configuration * Directory Service Restore Mode * Debugging Mode
How to Start Safe Mode
Safe Mode Switches
- Device Manager
A Graphical View – Device Manager provides you with a graphical view of the hardware that is installed on your computer. You can use Device Manager to change the way your hardware is configured as well as the way your hardware interacts with your computer’s microprocessor.
- Performance Tool
The term “Windows 2000 Performance Tool” is somewhat of a misnomer as it is composed of a minimum of two parts: System Monitor, and Performance Logs and Alerts. With System Monitor, you can collect and view real-time data about memory, disk, processor, network, and other activity in graph, histogram, or report form. Through the use of Performance Logs and Alerts you can configure logs to record performance data and set system alerts to notify you when a specified counter’s value is above or below a defined threshold.
- Registry Editor
- Windows Report Tool
- Windows Update
- MS-DOS Commands
This diagnostic command displays all current TCP/IP network configuration values. This command is of particular use on systems running DHCP, allowing users to determine which TCP/IP configuration values have been configured by DHCP. More….
This diagnostic command displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections using NBT (NetBIOS over TCP/IP). This command is available only if the TCP/IP protocol has been installed. More….
The NetShell utility (netsh) is a command-line, scripting interface for configuring and monitoring Windows 2000. The configuration tool provides an interactive shell interface to the user. The front end is the command shell that accepts your commands, and the back end is a helper that corresponds to a system component or utility. More….
This diagnostic tool displays information from Domain Name System (DNS) name servers. Before using this tool, you should be familiar with how DNS works. Nslookup is available only if the TCP/IP protocol has been installed. More…. For a list of subcommands, see Nslookup Subcommands
A route tracing tool that combines features of the ping and tracert commands with additional information that neither of those commands provides. The pathping command sends packets to each router on the way to a final destination over a period of time, and then computes results based on the packets returned from each hop. Since pathping shows the degree of packet loss at any given router or link, you can determine which routers or links might be causing network problems. More….
- Network Monitor
Windows 2000 Server only! You use Network Monitor to capture and display the frames (also called packets) that a computer running Windows 2000 Server receives from a local area network (LAN). Network administrators can use Network Monitor to detect and troubleshoot networking problems that the local computer might experience. For example, as a network administrator, you might use Network Monitor to diagnose hardware and software problems when the server computer cannot communicate with other computers. Frames captured by Network Monitor can be saved to a file and then sent to professional network analysts or support organizations.
Windows 2000 provides two versions of Registry Editor: Regedt32.exe and Regedit.exe. Regedt32.exe is automatically installed in the systemroot\System32 folder. Regedit.exe is automatically installed in the systemroot folder. You can modify the registry by using either of the Registry Editor utilities. You can read a brief overview of the Regedit 32 (Regedt32.exe) Registry Editor here or you can review a more in depth discussion by looking for our Regedit Overview or Regedt32 Overview in our Windows 2000 Hot Topics menu.
You can use the Windows Report Tool to collect information about your computer that can be used by technical support professionals to diagnose and troubleshoot problems on your computer. Follow this link to review more about the Windows Report Tool.
Windows Report Tool takes a snapshot of your computer settings and selected system and program files. This snapshot can then be submitted to a computer manufacturer, software vendor, or technical support professional in various ways, such as via e-mail or fax. The Windows Report Tool is meant solely for use by technical support professionals to assist them in troubleshooting your problems.
Windows Update is the online extension of Windows 2000 that helps you get the most out of your computer. Using the Product Updates section of Windows Update, you can scan your computer for outdated system files and automatically replace them with the most recent versions. You can learn more about adding/removing drivers and other software by following this link. Using the Windows Update tool.
Additional Tools on the Windows 2000 CD
In addition to the tools listed above, there’s an additional 40+ tools contained on the Windows 2000 Professional and Server CDs. These additional support tools can be easily installed using the provided Setup application. There is also a Microsoft Installer file (.MSI) included for easy distribution to multiple clients if desired. These additional support tools are located in the \Support\Tools folder on the Windows 2000 CD. Follow this link for a brief overview of the Additional Support Tools on the CD. There is more than 200 additional tools in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit.
Undocumented Windows 2000 Tools
It never ceases to amaze us how so many undocumented operating system features tend to surface after all of the “How to” books have been written and published. Especially those that portend to be the “last word” in uncovering the all of the secrets hidden in the inner depths of the operating system. Here are some of those hidden tools for which we haven’t found anything meaningful written anywhere.
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