While it is my hope that this book provides you with enough information to perform most of the tasks you need to do to maintain your Active Directory environment, it is not realistic to think every possible task has been covered. In fact, there is easily another three to four chapters I could have included in this book, but due to space and time considerations, it was not possible for this edition. Working on this book has made me realize just how must stuff Active Directory administrators need to know.
Now that Active Directory has been around for a few years, a significant user base has been built, which has led to other great resources of information. This section contains some of the useful sources of information that I use on a regular basis.
1.5.1 Command-Line Tools
If you have any questions about the complete syntax or usage information for any of the command-line tools I use, you should first take a look at the help information for the tools. The vast majority of CLI tools provide syntax information by simply passing /? as a parameter. For example:
> dsquery /?
1.5.2 Microsoft Knowledge Base
The Microsoft Support web site is a great source of information and is home of the Microsoft Knowledge Base (MS KB) articles. Throughout the book, I include references to pertinent MS KB articles where you can find more information on the topic. You can find the complete text for a KB article by searching on the KB number at the following web site: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx. You can also append the KB article number to the end of this URL to go directly to the article: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=.
1.5.3 Microsoft Developers Network
MSDN contains a ton of information on Active Directory and the programmatic interfaces to Active Directory, such as ADSI and LDAP. I sometimes reference MSDN pages in recipes. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to reference the exact page I'm talking about unless I provided the URL or navigation to the page, which would more than likely change by the time the book was printed. Instead I provide the name of the title of the page, which you can use to search on via the following site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/.
1.5.4 Web Sites
- Microsoft Active Directory Home Page (http://www.microsoft.com/ad/)
This site is the starting point for Active Directory information provided by Microsoft. It contains links to white papers, case studies, and tools.
- Microsoft Webcasts (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;EN-US;pwebcst)
Webcasts are on-demand audio/video technical presentations that cover a wide range of Microsoft products. There are several Active Directory-related webcasts that cover such topics as disaster recovery, upgrading to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory, and Active Directory tools.
- Google Search Engine (http://www.google.com/)
Google is my primary starting point for locating information on Active Directory. It is a powerful search engine and is often quicker and easier to use to search the Microsoft web sites than using the search engines provided on Microsoft's sites.
- LabMice Active Directory (http://www.labmice.net/ActiveDirectory/default.htm)
The LabMice web site contains a large collection of links to information on Active Directory. It has links to MS KB articles, white papers, and other web sites.
- Robbie Allen's Home Page (http://www.rallenhome.com/)
This is my personal web site, which has information about the Active Directory books I've written and links to download the code contained in each (including this book).
This is a very active newsgroup where several top-notch Active Directory experts answer questions posed by users.
This is another good resource if you have a DNS question you've been unable to find an answer for; odds are someone on this newsgroup will have an answer.
If you have questions about ADSI, this is another very active newsgroup where you can find answers.
If you have a question about a particular topic, a good starting point is to search the newsgroups using Google's Groups search engine (http://groups.google.com/). Just like its web search engine, the group search engine is very fast and is an invaluable resource when trying to locate information.
1.5.6 Mailing Lists
- ActiveDir (http://www.activedir.org/)
The ActiveDir mailing list is where the most advanced Active Directory questions can get answered. The list owner, Tony Murray, does an excellent job of not allowing topics to get out of hand as can sometimes happen on large mailing lists. The list is very active and it is rare for a question to go unanswered. Some of Microsoft's Active Directory Program Managers also participate on the list and are very helpful with the toughest questions. Keeping track of this list is a must-have for any serious Active Directory administrator.
- 15 Seconds (http://15seconds.com/focus/ADSI.htm)
Just as the ActiveDir list is crucial for AD administrators, the 15 seconds list is extremely valuable for AD developers. It is also very active and the participants are good about responding to questions quickly.
In addition to the Resource Kit books, the following books are good sources of information:
- Active Directory, Second Edition, by Robbie Allen and Alistair Lowe-Norris (O'Reilly)
This is a good all-purpose book on Active Directory. A few of the topics the second edition cover include new Windows Server 2003 features, designing Active Directory, upgrading from Windows 2000, and Active Directory automation.
- Managing Enterprise Active Directory Services, by Robbie Allen and Richard Puckett (Addison-Wesley)
This is a great resource for anyone who has to support a large-scale Active Directory environment. The book preaches the benefits of automation in large environments and includes over 300 sample scripts written in Perl and VBScript.
- Active Directory Programming, by Gil Kirkpatrick (MacMillan)
This is a great book for those interested in learning the details of ADSI and LDAP programming. The author, Gil Kirkpatrick, is a noted expert in the field.
- Windows & .NET Magazine (http://www.winnetmag.com/)
This is a general-purpose monthly magazine for system administrators that support Microsoft products. The magazine isn't devoted to Active Directory, but generally there are related topics covered every month.
- Windows Scripting Solutions (http://www.winscriptingsolutions.com/)
This is a useful monthly newsletter that discusses automation scripts on a wide variety of Microsoft products including Active Directory.