Questioning Success, Part 1

Digging into practice questions reveals strategies that may help you pass the Windows 2000 Professional exam.

This month I start a four-part series that covers exam question analysis for the Windows 2000 Core four exams-Win2K Professional (70-210), Win2K Server (70-215), Implementing Win2K Network Infrastructure (70-216), and Implementing Win2K Directory Services (70-217).

Each article will analyze sample questions from each of the exams, with emphasis on question-and-answer dissection. This will hopefully not only provide some insight into the type of questions you’ll see on the real exam, but also teach you valuable test-taking skills that will help you when taking any certification exam.

Most prospective MCPs in pursuit of their Win2K MCSE will start by taking the Win2K Professional exam. Of the core four Win2K exams, it’s considered the least difficult to pass, but it covers such a broad range of Win2K knowledge it’s still a challenging exam. On the Win2K exam you’re tested on OS installation (RIS, Sysprep, Syspart, Answer files), hardware installation, driver signing, multilanguage capabilities, user profiles, basic Active Directory Group Policy, application distribution (Windows Installer, MSI and MST files), new features of NTFS (EFS, Disk Quotas, File permissions, auditing), virtual memory, performance monitoring, printing, power options, folder redirection, offline files, backup and restore, OS troubleshooting utilities and recovery options, remote access, Internet Connection Sharing, Task scheduling, and how to install a kitchen sink.

Question 1
You are the administrator of your company’s network. Your network has a mixture of Win2K Professional computers and Win2K server computers. Users on the network save their work files in home folders on a network server. The NTFS partition that contains the home folders has the Encrypting File System (EFS) enabled. Suzy, one of your employees, is fired and leaves the company. You move all of the files from Suzy’s home folder to her manager’s folder. When the manager attempts to open any of the files, he receives the error message, “Access denied.” You want the manager to be able to access the files.

What should you do?

  1. Grant the manager NTFS Modify permission for the files.
  2. Log on to the network as a member of the Server Operators Group. Decrypt the files for the manger.
  3. Log on to the network as a Recovery Agent. Decrypt the files for the manger.
  4. Grant the manager NTFS Full Control permission to the files. Ask him to take ownership of the files.

Question 1 Analysis
The key to answering this question is to know what new Win2K technology Microsoft is trying to promote here. What sticks out is the Encrypting File System (EFS). Notice that I’m taking a gamble here, because this could be simply a permissions problem, where the user as “owner” of the files either didn’t grant permission to, or removed the permissions from, her manager. So the first valuable Microsoft exam lesson learned here is, “What is the central point of the question?” Or, less euphemistically, “What new technology am I being tested on here that Microsoft is really proud of?” Get my drift? (Note: You’ll also be given troubleshooting questions for Win2K-related problems of which Microsoft isn’t proud.)

The next step is to know a little something about how EFS works. When a user encrypts a file, only that user and the user designated as the recovery agent (the administrator, by default) can decrypt the file. If you aren’t one of these users, you can’t open the file, even if you have NTFS Full Control permissions to the file.

Now that you know what to focus on, we can start eliminating some of the answers, namely A and D because they are NTFS permissions-related. B doesn’t work because, as I just pointed out, only certain users (no groups) have the keys necessary to decrypt an encrypted file. We are left with C as the correct answer.

Question 2
You are the administrator of your company’s network. A user named Razhiv runs Win2K Professional on his portable computer. Razhiv wants to be able to work at home on office-related files. Prior to logging off the network and leaving the office, Razhiv enables offline files on his laptop. Later that evening Razhiv calls you from home and complains that copies of his network files are not present on his portable computer.

What do you tell Razhiv he should do to fix the problem?

  1. Tell him that the next time he is in the office to create a shortcut to the Offline Files folder. Razhiv will be able to access his files the next time he logs off the network.
  2. Tell him to make all files he wants to take home available offline. Razhiv will be able to access his files the next time he logs off the network.
  3. Tell him to manually synchronize all Offline Files. Razhiv will be able to access his files at home immediately.
  4. Tell Razhiv to check “Allow caching of files in this shared folder.” Razhiv will be able to access his files at home immediately.

Question 2 Analysis
What’s Microsoft proud of in this question? Why, Offline Files, of course, a feature that takes over where the old NT 4.0 Briefcase left off. Actually, if Microsoft kept the name Briefcase, you’d probably have an easier time guessing the answer to this question. You see, the scenario tells us that Razhiv enabled Offline Files on his laptop before leaving the office, which means he has “briefcase” functionality. The only problem is that he took home an empty “briefcase” with no files inside. Duh...What he should have done was throw the files in the “briefcase” by marking them through a right mouse click to be available offline. Answer A makes no sense, because the “briefcase” would still be empty. Answer C doesn’t work because he has no files in the “briefcase” to synchronize. Answer D isn’t correct because it’s a server-side option that Razhiv would enable on a shared folder he wanted other folks to grab files from to throw in their “briefcases.” By process of elimination, B is the correct answer.

Question 3
You are running Win2K professional with a HP5 Laser printer shared as MYHP5. The name of your computer is SNOOPY. The HP5 has just self-destructed, and you are distraught because your coworkers are screaming at you, wondering what happened to their print jobs. You notice that Bob in Sales also has an HP5 that is shared on the computer Bobster with a share name of MYHP5ISCOOLER. You are afraid to tell your coworkers to reprint their documents (that are already in your spooler) to Bob’s printer.

What do you do?

  1. Swallow your pride and go face your coworkers with the bad news. Tell them to resend their print jobs to the MYHP5ISCOOLER printer.
  2. Tell Bob his printer is not so cool after all, but still haul your computer to his desk and plug his HP5 into your LPT1 port.
  3. Stop and restart the spooler service on SNOOPY.
  4. Change the printer port for MYHP5 from LPT1 to a Local Port with a port name of \\BOBSTER\MYHP5ISCOOLER.

Question 3 Analysis
The problem here is that your printer spooler is chock full of jobs waiting to be printed, but your print device is dead. Answer A is plausible but not highly desirable for many reasons, including the fact that Win2K wasn’t designed to annoy users. Answer B just sounds ludicrous-there must be a better way. Answer C doesn’t work because simple software manipulation doesn’t resurrect your print device. So that leaves Answer D. It may sound strange, but a “local port” is a way for you to redirect print jobs in your printer’s spooler to some other printer’s spooler shared on the network. Since the print jobs are already rendered for the HP5, you just need to physically get them to a working HP5, namely Bob’s way-too-cool print device. Personally, I would simply swap my dead HP5 for his when he wasn’t looking.

It’s More Than Just What You Know
I hope this gives you a taste for the scope and type of questions you may encounter on the Win2K Professional exam. Passing takes more than just knowledge—you also need good test-taking skills. Remember that more than one answer may seem plausible. To find the best answer, focus on finding the central point of the question, which, oftentimes, is the new Win2K technologies of which Microsoft is proud. Additionally, to save precious test time, use the process of elimination to weed out the obviously wrong or misleading answers. It’s often faster to find wrong answers than it is to determine the right one.

Coming next month: Windows 2000 Server questions.

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