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Windows Server Reference Guide

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Introduction to the Reference Guide

Last updated Sep 26, 2003.

This is the first page of an evolving document. Reference books are static things. Like a wild tree, parts of it retain their livelihood when and where the light continues to fall on it, but where it fails to be new, it withers and dies. What you are reading now is a cultivated product. Every week, someone comes in to trim it where it’s old or fails to grow, and add to it whenever and wherever there’s new revelation.

As an active participant in the information technology industry, you have a seat directly opposite the mere spectators to this industry, with a view they don’t have. The spectators see I.T. as a fast moving, rapidly changing, constantly improving trade. You get to see all its age spots and wrinkles the moment they appear, and for you, the trade cannot mature and evolve nearly fast enough.

We in the technology publishing field try to see your world from your vantage point. The books we publish are snapshots of that world—articulate and often exhaustive renderings of the facts and statistics and methodologies that characterize your world at the time we go to press. Today, these publications become historical documents very, very fast. From the spectator’s view, this is progress. From the participant’s view, this is cause for change.

Anyone who purports to work in the information technology field, whether she’s a developer, administrator, systems analyst, systems architect, or documenter, must be in the change business. What you are reading now is our way of addressing change with documents that change.

The InformIT Windows Server Reference Guide—as with the other Guides available on our network—is an evolving almanac on the topic of system administration with this operating system. In and of itself, it is not a comprehensive source on the topic. But it is an updated and maintained directory that points you towards the books, references, and Internet-based resources that are current, timely, and applicable to the topic of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 as they are used now. Collectively, all these resources brought together by this one Guide present you with a replete and abundantly detailed picture of the world in which you work.

Every week, something is different about this Guide. A topic is updated or amended with new and fresh information. The links are freshened, the conclusions are tuned, and the old, wild conjectures are replaced with new and wilder ones. What no longer applies and no longer evolves (like, for instance, a section on deploying Office 2003 using administrative images) is pruned.

What we have learned from decades of watching you read (that’s right, we’re peering over your shoulder even as we speak) is that you don’t follow the neatly assembled path we lay out for you. You don’t always start at the beginning. As an Internet-based document, this Guide enables you to leap into the middle of the topic you need to know about, into the center of where everything is happening now. This Guide points you in the right direction and then propels you that way. Perhaps “Web” is an imperfect metaphor for this information model. A web captures and holds the prey of the creature that built it. This is a “jet.” It transports you non-stop to where you need to be.

With that colorfully expediting metaphor out of the way, it’s time that we demonstrate what we mean.