Update: 04/29/95 08:45 PM

NT Reinstall

Having decided that I had not been careful enough in tracking the problems I encountered when I installed Windows NT Server, I decided to do it again, and take better notes this time. So here they are.

Domain Controller or Server: I can't decide whether I'm supposed to set up as a Domain Controller or a Server. And if I make the wrong choice, the installation program tells me that I'll have to completely re-install NT to correct my error.

The default is Server, and I believe that's the right choice. I'm not real clear on what a Domain Controller is (even after having read descriptions in various parts of the documentation), but it seems to involve networks with multiple servers, whereas I'm setting up a webserver on what is basically a stand-alone PC (although I may want to link up one or two other PC's at some point).

The main reason I'm uneasy about not choosing to set up as a Domain Controller is that there seem to be some security considerations involved in the choice. At first, I thought that if I didn't set up as a Domain Controller, I wouldn't be able to implement password security on the system, which would obviously be unacceptable. After reading further, I now lean toward the view that I can implement security even if I set up as a Server. If I'm wrong, I get to do this all over again, one more time.

Network Card Problem: The installation program tells me that "The current netcard parameters are not verifiably correct and may result in usage problems or system failure." I'm using a Linksys Ether16 LAN Card that doesn't have any DIP switches; instead, you configure it by using a utility program that comes with the card. I configured the card before I installed NT, but I wonder if the fact that the card is configured via software rather than hardware is confusing NT.

I'm hoping that the card will work anyway. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but the message says that the card may not work, which is not the same as saying that it will not work.

Network Protocol:The installation program wants me to select one or more network protocols from among NWLink IPX/SPX, TCP/IP, and NetBEUI. I don't think I need NWLink IPX/SPX because I'm not running NetWare. I think I do need TCP/IP because that's Internet protocol and I am, after all, connecting to the Internet. I'm not sure about NetBEUI; will I need it if I decide to link another PC to the server? Beats me. I think I'll go with just TCP/IP for now (the exact opposite of the default setting, BTW), and hope that I can change my mind later if I need to.

TCP/IP Configuration: The installation program wants me to configure TCP/IP, but it's asking me to supply values that I don't have (IP Address, Subnet Mask, etc.). I'm assuming that I can get this info from my Internet service provider next week.

When I continue the installation without supplying the TCP/IP information, I'm told that "The dependency service or group failed to start. This error prevented the network from starting." I'm hoping that this problem will disappear when I get the necessary info from my Internet service provider. (Hope springs eternal.)

When I complete the installation and start the system, it tells me that "At least one service or driver failed during system startup. Use Event Viewer to examine the event log for details." And tomorrow, after I figure out what Event Viewer and the event log are, that's exactly what I'll do.

Netscape Server Beta

Netscape has announced that they're distributing beta versions of the next level (1.1, I think) of Communication Server (their low-end webserver). Level 1, the current product, runs only under UNIX; 1.1 is supposed to run on other platforms, including NT. (From the announcement, I couldn't tell whether the beta will be available in NT format.)

I signed up for the beta, but I'm not holding my breath, because Netscape indicated that not everyone who wants to get in on the beta program will be accepted. (Unlike O'Reilly, who gives away a WebSite beta to anyone who has a pulse, I guess that Netscape figures that they're in a position to be choosy.) And once I install WebSite (in a day or two, I hope), I'll switch webservers only if it looks like Netscape's product offers something important that WebSite lacks. I'll keep you apprised of further developments.


A quick and relatively minor note: I went to Computer City this morning and bought an Uninterruptible Power Source. (I always thought that UPS stood for Uninterruptible Power Supply. Shows what I know.) It's an APC 600; I paid a little extra for the ability to hook up a serial cable so that it can tell NT when it's running out of juice so NT can take appropriate action and shut itself down gracefully. According to the documentation, I'll need to get some additional hardware and/or software to actually implement that feature. But I'd have to experience at least a 30-minute blackout before that even becomes an issue.

The main reason I bought the UPS today is that we're supposed to have electrical storms here in Dallas tomorrow, and I want to be able to work straight through them. I usually shut down my computers as soon as I hear thunder; now I won't have any excuse not to keep working <sigh>.

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Hank Mishkoff (hank@webfeats.com)