A bit more information about the environmental background to this blog being set up and written will help you to understand why the blog exists and the subject material that it will cover.

I have extensive computing experience and vocational qualifications specifically related to programming. However in recent years my work focus has shifted to desktop software and hardware support in the Windows environment. In the last 12 months this has been extended to network servers (mainly Windows) with additional training, including MOC Windows Server.

The workplace has also transitioned, firstly to modern desktops running modern versions of Windows, and latterly from a Linux Samba server environment to Windows Server 2003. The first two WS domain controllers were brought on-line in January of this year. The school has two distinct sites which are linked by a 10Mbps wireless connection. There are leased laptops in use by some of the staff in addition to about 80 desktops, virtually all running Windows XP. The school has signed up to the NZ Microsoft Schools Software Agreement.

In addition to two Windows Servers, we also have one Linux server which runs our inhouse mail server, firewall server and Internet content filtering. It is running Suse Linux Enterprise Server. There are also several PCs running OpenSuse.

The support resource background is affected by the following considerations:

  • My experience with Windows Server is mostly theoretical, with as yet limited practical knowledge.
  • I’m still studying some of the MOC courses for areas of WS other than Active Directory.
  • The WS environment and Active Directory is a new system in this workplace.
  • The Linux server is maintained by another person as I don’t have much of the knowledge needed to install/configure it.
  • Outside support is largely adhoc.

On the other hand, there are some positive considerations:

  • Most of the desktops are in two distinct hardware configurations as they were bought in batches.
  • The desktop supplier is a specialist in the education market with wideranging experience.
  • Most PCs are modern (Pentium III minimum) and all are running at least Windows XP SP2. No horrible old Windows 98 PCs (phew!)
  • One of the servers is running WS2003 R2 (the other is SP1).

The purposes for setting up this blog are severalfold: to provide a documentation reference for me to use when referring to procedures that I don’t perform that often, to share those experiences with others who may find them useful, and to encourage discussion and networking between computer support professionals in NZ schools.