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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Zero Administration for Windows
Author:
Craig Zacker
ISBN:
1 56592 508 4
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
544pp
Price:
£23-50
Reviewer:
Dave Rutlidge
Subject:
MS Windows
Appeared in:
13-1
This book is directed at professional Windows NT system administrators who are faced with the task of installing and configuring large numbers of similar systems, for whom the techniques described in the book may be relevant. It's not aimed at the administrator managing tens of machines as the work required to create the installation scripts exceed the time taken to build the systems manually.

It describes the various components of the Zero Administration Kit (ZAK), how to plan and test and implement a Zero Administration strategy, including the automatic installation of applications. However, the examples are limited to well-behaved Microsoft titles such as Office. It would have been much more interesting to have included some perhaps less well-behaved third-party applications in the discussion.

User profiles and system policies benefit from extensive discussion, but this falls short of providing behind the scenes information as to what registry changes are implemented as a result of policy decisions. Almost half of the book is devoted to three appendices that detail the tools in the ZAK and the content of various configuration files.

The book has no published errata and I am not qualified to say how well the advice given in the book would apply if creating ZA scripts to perform large scale automated installations, but I can say I found the discussion of profiles and policies, as well as the ZAK tools, useful and informative.

While the book is out of print, it is widely available from the online booksellers I checked.