Microsoft TechNet Plus 2005 Full Version (C08-04782)
Convenient and portable, Microsoft TechNet is the answer for IT professionals. When you subscribe, TechNet is delivered, monthly, right to your door. Included are information-packed disks with everything to help you stay ahead of the game whether you're … see full wiki
Pros: Extensive technology library; includes Microsoft Knowledgebase articles; provide access to non-time sensitive applications.
The Bottom Line: TechNet Plus is a vital tool in any (Microsoft) administrators tool box, and for one am glad its there.
As a network administrator who supports Microsoft Network /Desktop Operating Systems (OS), and back office applications almost exclusively, it is imperative that I have access to up-to-date support information on the wide range of support issues. Windows is a complicated beast and with each successive release the support curve has only grown steeper; this despite the fact that the OS has become more stable. This is true of Microsofts suite of back office applications; i.e. Exchange, SQL Server, MOM, Internet Information Server etc.
In troubleshooting these software systems, there is no better vehicle then Microsoft TechNet Plus, a robust online resource as well as an off-line subscription service that gives the end user (me) access to latest support from Microsoft and the field.
What is TechNet?
TechNet Plus at its base level is a Technical Information Library that contains the majority of support information an IT professional will need to deploy, manage, and support Microsoft desktop applications, server products, and back office solutions successfully. The TechNet Plus library consists of up to four CD-ROMs (or one DVD; requires the DVD subscription service), that can be loaded on a server or workstation preferable dedicated to sharing the TechNet Plus informational database. Alternatively, TechNet Plus can be setup to run stand-alone on a single workstation under Windows 98/XP.
Since we have the DVD subscription installation of the library is accomplished by loading the DVD and choosing to run the contents from the DVD, or installing the contents to the computer hard drive; I choose the later. Choosing to run the library contents from a hard drive will take up 1.6GB of space.
Once inside the Microsoft TechNet Library application, you will be greeted by a number of panes, the far left of which contain the main contests of the library. The results of browsing the main contents of the library are display inside a smaller pane on the right; the same is true of conducting an index search. You can browse information by Contents, Index, Search, and Favorites, each filtered by year (except Favorites); i.e.
Content from 1997 -1999 Content from 2000 Content from 2001 Content from 2002 Content from 2003 Content from 2004 Content from 2005
And the main contents include:
Master CD/DVD Index Contents Roadmaps and Articles This Month In TechNet Products & Technologies IT Solutions Security Downloads Script Center Columns Troubleshooting & Support IT Security Training, Career & Events Subscriptions Using TechNet TechNet Viewer Help
Each contents subject is further broken down into sub-contents subjects and or articles, which number in the hundreds. In other words, the TechNet Plus library is extensive, far too extensive to detail here, sufficed to say that whatever I am looking for, from informative columns to Knowledgebase articles, from useful tips for deploying applications to pointers on applying best practice security procedures, can be found within.
Searching the TechNet Plus technical library is a fairly simple process; anyone familiar with the search routine associate with Microsoft Help under any modern Microsoft OS will be right at home here. Single word, phrase, or Boolean searches are also available, and the results are displayed in a small pane below the right hand side pane. However, double clicking on the search results will cause the articles based on that search to be displayed in the pane above it. Searches in the form of a question are not acceptable; I have found word searches to be the most effective means of gathering information on a subject.
A word search for TCP/IP will bring up the following articles on the subject:
Routing and Remote Access, Networking Routing and Remote Access, Networking TCP/IP, TCP/IP, Routing, Chapter 22 TCP/IP in Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 TCP/IP Implementation Details the list is quite extensive, and it is left up to me to find the relevant article. The results are ranked but I found this detail to have little use. I could narrow my search by using a (Year) context filter, and probably would if I were searching for TCP/IP details for Windows Server 2003, for instance.
You can conduct searches of the library using the above mentioned Year context filter and by the following additional criteria by placing a check mark in the radio box next to it:
Search in Titles only Match related words Search in previous results Highlight search hits (in topics)
But the TechNet Plus library is only part of the Microsoft TechNet Plus picture, the subscription also includes Beta & Evaluation Software, Hot Fixes, Service Packs, Utilities, Extras, and fully licensed, fully functional non-time constrained Microsoft software. The latter is exclusive to TechNet Plus which contains core Microsoft products; i.e. Microsoft Windows Server and Back Office products. These products are included in TechNet Plus for evaluation purposes. In addition, TechNet has a presence on-line via the Microsoft website.
Whats in the Binder?
All TechNet Plus subscriptions come with a handy binder in which to carry your CD/DVDs, complete with color-coded tabs entitled:
Conversely, the CD/DVDs are also color-coded which simplifies the organizational chores. The TechNet Plus subscription lasts a year and is update monthly. The monthly infusion of CD/DVDs always includes an update TechNet Plus library disc which supersedes the proceeding months disc. I simply install the current month on top of the proceeding months disc in order to gain access to the newest information. The TechNet Plus DVD will detect a prior instance of the library.
Along with the CD/DVDs, a paper listing of what is included in the monthly shipment is included in the shipment along with Product Keys if needed. For example I currently have Product License Keys for Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition, Office FrontPage 2003, Office OneNote 2003, Office Project Professional 2003, along with Product Keys for two versions of Microsoft Windows 2003, and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003.
Throughout the subscription period Microsoft sends new, non-time constrained, evaluation copies together with Product Keys; under the regular TechNet subscription the evaluation copy expires after 180 days. This is a real plus because we are able to evaluate production ready software often-times before Microsoft releases it to the general public, but more importantly, we get to install and test the application in our environment in order to gauge whether or not it will work for us. If it does we can then purchase additional licenses, if not, we know before we purchase a costly application.
Worth the Price?
We paid a little over $500.00 for our subscription to TechNet Plus, and purchased it directly from Microsoft. However, TechNet Plus can be purchased elsewhere including known computer vendors; e.g. CDW, PC Connection, Mwave, Provantage, PC Universe, PC Nation, etc.
For me the entry fee for TechNet Plus is well worth the ticket for what you gain access to. Having the service packs in hand instead of having to download them when needed, is a huge plus, as it having access to a plethora of extra like Resource Kits and Deployment Tools for a wide range of Microsoft applications. TechNet Plus is a vital tool in any (Microsoft) administrators tool box, and for one am glad its there.
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