Welcome to article number five in my 70-240 in 15 minutes a week series. This week's article covers Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance and Reliability. This includes a look at scheduling tasks, monitoring performance, synchronizing offline files, system backup, system restoration, and more. This article still falls within the Windows 2000 Professional section of the exam. Note that next week's article will combine two topics, since one of the topics is a little less involved. Doing so will also help move us into the Windows 2000 Server exam material a little sooner, which will benefit those talking the core exams individually - while giving those preparing for 240 another week to study before the big exam!
The material that this article will cover includes:
- Task Scheduler
- Synchronizing Offline Files
- Optimizing and Troubleshooting Performance
- Data Backup and Recovery
- System Startup Options
- Recovery Console
While Windows NT 4 relied on the AT command for the purpose of scheduling tasks, Windows 2000 actually includes the Task Scheduler utility. This tool allows you to schedule a program, script, or backup to run, according to the schedule you provide. Accessible via Control Panel (Scheduled Tasks) or the Accessories menu, you can schedule tasks to run once, daily, weekly, monthly, when the PC starts, or when a user logs on. A few important notes about the Task Scheduler:
- You can schedule a task to run with elevated privileges. That is, you can specify that a task run using the Administrator account, even though the locally logged on user does not have the rights to perform a task.
- If you change the password of the user whom the task is scheduled to run as, the task will fail. The password associated with a task does not change when the user changes their password. (For this reason, you might consider creating a service account whose password never expires).
- In the advanced properties of a scheduled task, you can set things such that a scheduled task will never run when a machine is running off battery power, or that the task should run when the system is idle.
- Note that the Task Service can be stopped or restarted - a possible course of action if a task fails and the username / password is not the issue.
Synchronizing Offline Files
While we've already discussed the offline caching of files, this section involves a look at the synchronization settings relating to offline files and how they can be configured and controlled. Synchronization Manager allows you to control how and when offline files are synchronized. You can find the utility via the Synchronize option on the Tools menu in Windows Explorer. Options include synchronizing offline files, folders, and web pages at logon/logoff, when the system is idle, or at a scheduled time. You may, for example, choose only to synchronize a certain folder, instead of all offline items. You can also control whether synchronization occurs based on the type of connection. For example, you may want to synchronize when connected via the LAN, but not when connected via a dial-up connection.