See the main Active Directory pages
See the Activating Microsoft Windows Operating Systems page for information on activating Windows Server 2008 and above (volume licence editions of Windows 2003 Server and below do not require activation).
See the pages at WINS, Naming Standards and Network Browsing
These pages really are essential reading. Many Microsoft operating systems rely on NetBIOS naming in order to locate domain, servers and clients and every Windows PC must be identified by a unique NetBIOS name. OUCS offers a central WINS Service for name resolution of NetBIOS names. Essential to this service are naming standards designed to prevent name conflicts that could disable networking on clients or servers.
With the advent of Windows 2000, Microsoft introduced the use of DNS for name resolution, meaning that NetBIOS name resolution is not necessarily required. However many systems still make use of NetBIOS names to locate machines, so don't disable this unless you understand the implications.
See the pages at Backing up Using TSM
Oxford has a Hierarchical File Server which can be used for backing up 2000 and 2003 servers, including Active Directory, using the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) client. It is a good idea also to have your own local backup solution.
Oxford University has a site licence for Sophos Anti-Virus software. In addition to a standard local installation, Sophos can be installed onto Windows workstations from a central installation directory on a server so that when the central copy is updated, the workstation installations will automatically update themselves, which can save considerably on support time.
In a managed desktop environment, application deployment generally needs to be automated. There are many tools and application suites that may be used to deploy applications across multiple computers. Those known to be in use across the University include Group Policy via Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft SMS, Novell Zenworks for Desktop and Altiris Deployment Solution. There are many other products available.
Application installations may need to be customised in order to deploy them via these methods. Broadly speaking there are two main approaches to package customisation; scripting using the existing installer mechanism, or repackaging. They each have advantages and disadvantages, and the method chosen may depend in part on the method chosen to deploy the application. Often a combination of methods is used, depending on the application.
- AppDeploy.com — Tips, FAQs, articles and a large database of packages.
- Silent installation overview from Sourceforge — useful starting point for scripted installations that summarises the key points on the main installers
- Installshield Setup.exe and Update.exe Command-Line Parameters — for scripting Installshield installations.
- Sysinternals — great source of free utilities particularly to help diagnose problems caused by file and registry permissions issues on locked down workstations. Look for RegMon and FileMon in particular
- WindowsNetworking.com — articles, tutorials and more