Since I happen to have a CAL for a Windows 2003 server instance and plan to put together a home network using Win2k+3, I am wondering what books or other resources there might be out there giving advice, detailed or general, on how to do this. Also thinking as an alternative that I might be better off with Windows Home Server?

Keep in mind that I am a developer, not a network admin.

My primary goal here is to have a functioning small network so that I can, for instance, print documents from my laptop while using WiFi downstairs, have access to documents on a fileshare that I can work on while either upstairs or downstairs, and so on. I expect to have the server and two to three workstations on the network.


Try these:

  1. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Inside Out

  2. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Pocket Consultant

  3. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion

  4. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit

  5. Windows Command-Line Administrator's Pocket Consultant

Nos. 1 & 2 are a good pairing of more in-depth + handy reference, and are written by the same author.

No. 3 I've looked through, but don't recall how good it looked.

No. 4 is if you really want to know Server 2003, but any of the books should be considered where appropriate, especially the Windows Internals book, which is also available separately. In fact, if you are also a Windows developer, I would rate the Windows Internals book as a "must-have". The 2003 RK contains version 4, which is pre-Vista; V5 includes Vista+. As an fyi, the Server 2003 RK "tool" are available for download at Microsoft, and there are some good utilities.

No. 5 is just a good handy command-line reference. It's available in 1st ed. (pre-Vista) & 2nd ed (Vista+).

Although you're asking for 2003 Server books, I'll just add that the "Resource Kits" for the client OSes are also very good.

Lastly, I highly suggest the Windows Sysinternals utilities & website, as well as MS Technet, including Technet magazine.


I'd recommend spawning your windows 2003 instance inside a VM on your PC first, and playing around with it to figure out how bits and pieces work. If you're anything like me, you'll learn a lot more by prodding around than from reading (although that has its place). The nice thing about a VM is that the install is device-driver-hassle-free, and you can take snapshots before making changes, then roll right back if it all goes pear shaped.

The basic server install is pretty much the same as windows xp. Nothing's likely to trip you up there.

Careful with your licensing though - A Windows 2003 CAL is not the same as a Windows 2003 server license. A CAL grants you the right to access a server as a client, not the right to install the OS on a server. That said, if your company has an MSDN agreement and you are a developer, you may be licensed for training/development purposes.

For a learning resource, technet is the daddy. Your entry point is here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc706993%28WS.10%29.aspx

  • This won't be any kind of commercial operation -- just me at home. – Cyberherbalist Feb 25 '10 at 6:52
  • @Cyberherbalist: That doesn't negate your need to properly license your software. – Zypher Feb 25 '10 at 6:58
  • Didn't think that it did! :-) – Cyberherbalist Feb 25 '10 at 7:10

Windows Server 2003 is quite easier to manage than its successors, which introduced a lot more features and the somewhat convoluted roles/features system (not to mention UAC...).

That said, the basic concepts remain the same across every Windows Server version: you need to become familiar with networking (of course), Active Directory, IIS if you want to have a web server, and general Windows system administration.

I don't have any specific book to recommend, the field is quite large here; what's your main target in setting up this home network? What do you want the most to practice with?

  • See my edited question above for my goal... – Cyberherbalist Feb 25 '10 at 6:46

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