Zero Administration Kit for Windows: An Implementation Guide (Prentice Hall Series on Microsoft Technologies)

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9780130847867: Zero Administration Kit for Windows: An Implementation Guide (Prentice Hall Series on Microsoft Technologies)
From the Inside Flap:

Preface

In the research for this project, one of the first questions that came up was "What is the Zero Administration Kit?" The question is not an easy one to answer.

If you read the Microsoft promotion of the product, then the Zero Administration Kit is a welcome addition to the Microsoft Management Tools family, provided free of charge to help administrators and IS management come to grips with the ever-escalating costs of running a networked computer system.

If you listen to the more skeptical souls in the Information Technology (IT) industry, the product is a late attempt to make up for the fact that features such as user profiles were provided in Windows NT with no real means of management. This tool is really an attempt to reduce rising costs that are being fuelled by the growing complexity of the Microsoft operation systems, and the fact that the tool is free is simply a testament to this idea.

As always, the reality can be found somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. User profiles have always been an excellent tool for controlling the desktop environment, but they are very difficult to implement and manage in a focused manner without a management tool. System policies have been a helpful feature of Windows NT also, and the management tool was delivered at an early stage. Again, the ability to use these as part of a coherent desktop management plan did not really exist. If used, system policies have been used in a standalone manner.

One of the answers to the question is that the Zero Administration Kit brings together in a coherent manner the features that already exist within the operating system. Examples and test users contained in the kit help you to understand what can be achieved with these features. The kit acts as a catalyst, providing the initial ideas and designs from which you can build your desktop control scenarios.

Zero Administration Kits are available for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, and Windows 98 operating systems. The methodologies behind the implementation and use of the Zero Administration Kit are the same regardless of which of the three supported desktop operating systems you are using. Indeed, you can use ZAK to implement and control a mixed desktop environment using all three supported operating systems.

A large amount of the implementation and configuration of the ZAK is repetitive between the different operating systems. This is one reason why I have chosen to focus on one of the operating systems supported by ZAK. Another reason for this focus is that the ZAK is primarily aimed at the larger organization where many desktop installations take place and real savings can be made if time is shaved off this process. It is in these organizations that costs can be lowered dramatically if the workstation can be installed with a minimum of effort and the desktop can be secured from unwanted user interference. The desktop operating system of choice for these organizations is generally Windows NT because of the need for security as well as a robust platform from which to operate. Windows NT installation through the ZAK is almost unattended, whereas the installation of Windows 9x desktops is still quite involved. Audience

Zero Administration Kit for Windows targets systems and network administrators, IS management, and anybody with an interest in finally taking back control of the desktop environment.

Total Cost of Ownership is of ever-increasing concern in the business world today. The ability to reduce costs can give a competitive edge. It is rare to find an organization that is not actively pursuing the reduction of costs in "nonprofit" areas such as the IS department.

To fully leverage the discussions and step-through exercises in this book requires a good administrative knowledge of Windows NT systems. Less technically aware readers and Information Systems (IS) managers will be able to use the book to gain a perspective on the control issues involved in a networked computer system environment and on measures to regain an element of control. Organization

The main focus of this book is on the setup and implementation of the ZAK for Windows NT 4.0. I have chosen to feature this operating system for the reasons outlined above and because the ZAK setup and configuration is more involved here than with the other two operating systems. Where there are differences between the instructions for setting up for Windows NT and those for Windows 95 or Windows 98, they are exposed. The book is divided into three parts.

Part One begins with an introduction to the ZAK and looks at how it can be used to lower the total cost of ownership for your Windows-based systems. The discussion moves on to the installation and configuration of the ZAK in an evaluation environment and the building of test workstation installations. By the end of Part One you should have built an environment in which you can experiment with the various ZAK settings to see how they can benefit your organization and also have a sound understanding of how the ZAK processes work during an unattended workstation installation.

Part Two looks at the central theme of the ZAK, which is controlling user environments by means of the user profile and system policy features provided with Windows-based systems. User profiles are discussed in great detail, and then the Windows default system policies and templates are covered. The discussion moves on from the ordinary user profiles and system policies to those used by the ZAK to put in place the required controls. This part also contains lab exercises at the end of each chapter to reinforce the discussions of each topic.

Part Three takes you through the customization process. The default installations that the ZAK provides are only the starting point from which you should work. The customization procedures in this part use step-by-step instructions that show you how to make changes that will benefit your own environment.

From the Back Cover:

  • Master system policies, user profiles, and other key TCO tools
  • Standardize on easy-to-support configurations
  • Prevent users from installing unauthorized software
  • Customize Microsoft's built-in ZAK templates, step by step
  • Comprehensive lab exercises and troubleshooting tips

Slash the costs of administering Windows systems!

Microsoft's Zero Administration Kit (ZAK) for Windows makes use of powerful tools for centrally controlling and managing user workstations--and dramatically reducing your total cost of ownership. However, implementing these tools can be extremely complex. Now, a Windows expert with extensive ZAK experience walks you through every stage of the process, giving you all the real-world help and insight you need to deploy and manage ZAK successfully.

You'll discover how to use system policies and user profiles to secure your desktops--and how to avoid the costly support calls that result from unauthorized changes. Learn how to streamline your system rollouts by standardizing on one (or a few) easy-to-support configurations. Master ZAK's powerful tools for controlling desktop access, preventing users from adding unauthorized, unlicensed, and difficult-to-support software.

Walk step by step through adapting ZAK's built-in AppStation and TaskStation templates to your own specific needs, no matter how complex.

Zero Administration Kit for Windows comes with lab exercises you can use to test your knowledge--so when you're ready to deploy ZAK, you'll get it right the first time.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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