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I've recently taken over management of a Windows 2003 Small Business Server and network for a small, less than ten person company.

I have some (antiquated) sysadmin experience, but I've little experience with Exchange.

The documentation of the existing infrastructure leaves much to be desired, and I was wondering if there's any sort of "So you've just become sysadmin" guides that anyone could recommend.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Really, just hang in the community of SysAdmins and let the goodness rub off and the badness roll off. Read blogs, hang on forums, don't be afraid to ask questions and let the flames burn the dross off (should any come your way... which I hope not).

I'll give you some pointers to groups and resources I like:

  • SysAdmin Network (A little slow, but there are helpful, friendly people over there that perk to life when good questions are asked)
  • Petri Forums and site (Microsoft centered, great forums, a few SBS MVPs over there)
  • ServerFault (duh)
  • has great video training if you have a budget that can afford it. Google! It is your best friend. It makes people think I'm smart. Ask Google. He/She/It will tell you.

BTW, when you go to a forum, just make sure you read and understand How to Ask a Question the Smart Way. I review that once in a while for myself.

As for your specific Exchange concerns, is decent and has a message board. Experts-Exchange (yes, I muttered that evil entity's name -- and yes, you can get a truly free account in spite of their filthy, filthy lies) has some good Exchange gurus on it.

If you plan on staying a SysAdmin or furthering your responsibilities, read two books. If you only ever read two books on this profession, these are the two:

Finally, keep your head up and stay positive. It can get kinda depressing with the demands, expectations and your own colleagues. Find good people to hang around and shun the burdensome ones if they refuse to lighten up.

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I'm reading The Practice of System and Network Administration now and it's a great book. The second book of the same author (Time Management) did not really impress me and I would rather replace it with something like USAH (…). Yes, even for a Windows sysadmin. – minaev Apr 20 '10 at 6:53
Fair enough. I'll keep USAH in mind. I've seen it here and there, but never thought much about it. It's always good to cross-pollinate methodologies and general information between the different camps. – Wesley Apr 20 '10 at 6:55
Upvote especially for Petri! – dyasny Apr 20 '10 at 10:20

I'm not sure a guide exists, but there's a great community at that focuses on all flavors of Small Business Server.

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There's a lot of documentation available on the Internet but it can be quite a chore to filter the dross from the content that you require. I don't use SBS, so I'll leave that to others to address.

For Exchange 2003 I found two books to be a great help. One is supplied when taking the Microsoft course, although I can't recall its title. Try and find someone near you you can beg or borrow a copy from if you don't want to take the course itself. The other book is Mastering Exchange Server 2003.

Another resource you should give serious consideration to are the various video training courses. The ones that helped me through Microsoft exams are CBT Nuggets, especially the one for Exchange 2003.

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I would also suggest getting your hand's dirty with some Powershell, fantastic ability to automate many tasks.

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If you can still find them, there were a few "pocket consultant" books by William R. Stanek that are very good for their size. They would be a good place to start. Note I say "if you can still find them" because you'll need the *2003 versions, which have been replaced by newer.

See Amazon

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