I run a mostly-Linux hosting company with many staff who are Linux experts. I'm looking for some good books to shorten my learning curve so I can help our customers administer their Window systems. We run thousands of Linux hosts, but only a handful of Windows ones - what are the essential titles to bring us up to speed on Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2007, Active Directory and other technology staples of the Microsoft world?

My impression is many titles are full of business planning advice over technical detail, and not a great deal on command-line / scripted operation which is more our style of system administration. Any recommendations for a slightly UNIX-slanted, hosting-slanted audience would be appreciated.

2 Answers 2


The best books I've seen about Windows are Mark Minasi's Mastering series. Windows Internals is a great book AFTER you understand the basics. If you are doing the hosting gig with windows there are reference architectures available from the hosting partner site. For exchange administration you'll want Tony Redmond's book (I haven't read Paul's book but I can certainly say that I've not needed anything but Tony's). For the command line stuff (since you are on 2008) you have powershell available. This is likely to be your biggest challenge because unlike the unix command line, text it not piped from one command to another- objects are. Bruce Payettes powershell in action is good as well as the powershell cookbook. There are also a bunch of webcasts available from microsoft on te technet website about many of these topics. (note the topic bar to the left on the link provided)


One book I strongly recommend to any sysadmin I meet is "Windows Internals." It explains the programs and data structures that make up the OS and explains how they work. In some areas (e.g. device drivers) it's only an introduction, but it covers all the systems and sub-systems.

I missed getting a copy of the first edition, but I've got all three since then and now I see there's a new one I'll have to get.

I don't have all my books here, one that I found extremely useful for Win2000 and 2003 was this one by Williams and Walla. As someone else mentioned, Minisai's books are also excellent.

For exchange, I haven't actually gotten around to buying any books on 2007, some of the other guys on the team did the bulk of the work on our upgrade from 2003. I'd start with anything written by Paul Robichaux

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