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Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2003 upgrade: 8 Hours Later...

You want to know how I spent my day here at work? I spent 8 hours converting a beat up Compaq ML370 Server Windows NT 4.0 server to Windows 2003 Web Edition. Initially, I knew the thing couldn't do a jump from NT 4.0 to 2K3, but I knew it could jump from 2000 to 2K3, so I tried to install 2000 first. Why did I even bother...? Long story short, after a couple failed attempts at just getting Win 2K server to install on another partition (it never took my admin password), I gave up, and did the advance install for 2K3, installed it on top of my 2K directory, and life was good. Thankfully Compaq/HP released drivers for the Ultra-Wide SCSI controller on the thing, otherwise it would've never made it through install.

But what are my initial impressions? 2K3 is FAR better than NT 4, but that's a given, right? I did run into a few quirks, but I kind of expected them. Why? Because I'm running the Web edition of 2K3 which, by its nature, is heavily locked down to make sure that nobody could break into it. It also meant that stuff that used to work before didn't quite work right before. I had to change some of my ASP code, I had to edit some permissions on some files that I (personally) don't think I should've had to, and I had to change some MIME type settings, but I can see why they locked it down like they did (considering all the problems folks have had with IIS).

Here's the biggest problem I ran into: I have a batch file that loads on startup a DOS program required by our online reservation system here at Sunray. That DOS program processes online reservation requests, so it's needed (though I really hate 16-bit programs). So my batch file loads the DOS program with some command-line parameters. Here's the problem: By default, if you're logged into the system as anybody but the administrator account, you can't execute batch files without clicking on a button to make them run. Obviously, I don't want to have to log in as administrator to have a batch file executed, as the system has to stay logged in for the system to work. So I create an account with less user privledges, and let that log into the system, and run that batch file -- and nothing else.

It took me a very long time to figure out how to turn that thing off. I happened to look into the very locked down MSIE install (it was set to "High" in the security settings). I tweaked the settings a bit, and suddenly, the batch file ran without prompting me. What does that mean? It means that Win2K3 uses MSIE's permissions when it comes to executing files. I don't know if I like that all that much.

Regardless, everything is finally running smooth on the server. IIS 6.0 is (obviously) far more powerful than IIS 4.0. I haven't really had a chance to dive into things very deep, but will do so when I have a chance. Right now it's running (short of my SSL certificate -- that's coming tomorrow), so I don't want to screw with it.

Posted by Jake on 11/09/03 @ 05:40 PM
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