Client-Side Common Sense
Are you ready to go beyond the wizards of Windows 2000 and dig in to Microsoft's most complex OS yet?
A number of smart IT people have perceived the "client"
certification exams like Windows 95, Windows 98, and even
Windows NT Workstation to be exams primarily for helpdesk
professionals. Whether it's been true in the past, it's
definitely not so with the Windows 2000 Professional exam.
The test covers a broad range of topics, including topics
that touch on the server side of the equation. While you
don't need to know everything about Win2K Server before
tackling this exam, it'll help you eliminate incorrect
answers if you have a broad picture of how the two components-server
and client-fit together.
2000 Professional (70-210)
"Covers a little of everything, from
client administration to installation
and configuration of the OS and hardware
devices. A strong foundation in Windows
NT will go a long way."
Configuring, and Administering Microsoft
Windows 2000 Professional
Who should take
it? Core exam for the MCSE Windows
What classes prepare
- No. 1567B: Preinstalling and Deploying
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
- No. 2151A: Microsoft Win2K Network
and Operating System Essentials
- No. 2152A: Implementing Microsoft
Win2K Professional and Server
If you're expecting to enter the testing
center and face a tricky and detailed exam that asks questions
on minute and obscure details in the product, you'll be
disappointed. The questions you'll face are going to be
straightforward. What I was surprised by, however, was
the sheer volume of text in each. Most questions had several
long paragraphs while others spanned pages. I had to read
each question carefully to ensure I didn't miss anything
In addition to having significantly
longer questions than previous MCSE exams, this test may
give you a few detailed drop-and-select questions in which
you're presented a task and you have to drag the appropriate
pictures into the correct place on the screen. Also, the
old type of scenario question that presented you with
a required result and several optional desired results
is gone. In its place is a similar (but more difficult)
kind of question that presents you with a scenario, the
requirements, and the actions taken. You're then asked
to select which result or results are met by the given
solution. No more guessing!
Can we be successful network engineers
and technicians if we don't know how to install our operating
systems? Of course not! That's like taking the palette
away from a painter! So you'd better be prepared to cover
the essentials of installation of Win2K Professional,
including upgrading from other OSs. You should be familiar
with the hardware requirements. Also know how to install
in a dual-boot environment. Know what file systems are
supported and how they interoperate.
Brushing up on all of the tools used
to install Win2K Professional is a must. From the NT 4.0
realm, we have sysdiff, which allows you to create different
files for unattended installation of custom applications.
We also have sysprep, which removes all computer-specific
information from the machine and prepares it to be imaged
by "your favorite third-party imaging tool." New to Win2K
are two phenomenal tools that provide a welcome change
to the world of unattended installation: Setup Manager
and RIS. Setup Manager is used to generate unattended
installation files. All you have to do is launch a simple
wizard and voila! You have an answer file. No more spending
tedious hours with the Resource Kit writing scripts for
hours! Remote Installation Services is Microsoft's new
strategy for Win2K Professional deployment. You can create
a CD-based image from a Win2K Professional CD, or you
can create your own images and use the RIPrep utility
to image it to a RIS server. From there, if a client has
a compliant network adapter, it can boot up and get a
DHCP lease, select an image, and boom! You have a new
Tip: Brush up on the requirements
for RIS on the server side. Know what the limitations
of RIS are and how to overcome them.
of Windows 2000 Professional.
and conducting administration of resources.
managing, and troubleshooting hardware
devices and drivers; network protocols
and services; and security.
- Monitoring and
optimizing system performance and
- Configuring and
troubleshooting the desktop environment.
Managing and monitoring resources is
also extremely important on a network. This is the area
in which a strong foundation in NT will definitely help
you out. Know how NTFS permissions work with share-level
permissions and how to provide users with the best way
to access shared resources. When you're taking the exam,
make sure you read the questions carefully and choose
the best way. Questions may have more than one "correct"
answer, but only one is typically the "best" answer that
meets the requirements specified.
Be sure to look over some of the new
features implemented in Win2K Professional, like the Internet
Printing Protocol (IPP), which allows you to connect to
a URL and print to or configure a printer. Know how to
install, configure, and troubleshoot printer drivers as
well as how to optimize their performance. Also be sure
you know basic Internet Information Service configuration
and troubleshooting. Naturally, you should expect to have
an understanding of the differences between NTFS, FAT,
and FAT32. For example, NTFS is the file system associated
with Win2K (and NT) and supports file-level security,
whereas FAT and FAT32 are used on legacy versions of Windows.
Remember that NT 4.0 didn't support FAT32. Make sure you
understand the differences between the version of NTFS
that runs on Win2K and the version that runs on NT 4.0;
brush up on what needs to be done to the Windows NT 4.0
installation before you can upgrade to Win2K.
Tip: Don't assume that permissions
are exactly the same as they were in NT 4.0. If you don't
study how they work in Win2K, you could run into trouble.
Devious Devices and
For me, one of the most tedious and
grating tasks as a network administrator and all-around
technical guy is installing and configuring new hardware.
Although the Win2K Professional exam isn't an explicit
test of hardware, the more you know, the better off you'll
be. It makes sense that if you're proclaiming yourself
an expert in the newest OSs, you're also up to speed on
the newer advances in hardware technology-especially those
implemented in Win2K Professional.
Likewise, you should understand the
basics of hardware that's been around awhile. Know about
Advanced Power Management (APM) and how to configure it
and troubleshoot problems that may arise. Understand what
can cause USB devices to fail and how to remedy the situation
as well. Driver signing is a technology that Microsoft
introduced with Win2K that allows the OS to detect whether
or not a driver is tested and comes from an official source.
Know how to configure the OS to get around driver signing
problems. For example, know how to change driver signing
settings to allow users to install unsigned drivers.
Tip: Know your disk devices.
Be familiar with the differences between Basic and Dynamic
disks and which operating systems can support which. Know
how to install and configure SCSI drivers during and after
the installation of Win2K Professional.
The key to success in any network infrastructure
is performance. If your network doesn't perform and you're
not inclined to do something about it, then you'll probably
want to consider other forms of employment. Make sure
you're familiar with changing system configurations in
Win2K to best suit the user. Know how to optimize and
change virtual memory settings. Also learn how to synchronize
offline files to suit the purpose of the user. It's also
a good idea to know how to recover a system if worse comes
to worst. The key tools in this arena are Windows Backup
and the Recovery Console. Know when to use each and what
it supports. Understand the difference between using an
Emergency Repair Disk and the Recovery Console.
Tip: Be sure you understand
how the recovery of a Win2K machine differs from an NT
machine. Know about the different varieties of Safe Mode,
as well as when to use the Last Known Good Configuration
or the Emergency Repair Disk.
The Profile of an Average User
Managing the desktop environment of
your users isn't always an easy task. If you work in an
international or multilingual organization, you could
have a serious job on your hands to ensure that your users
have access to the tools they need to complete their work.
You should know how to configure Win2K Professional to
support multiple languages on one computer. You also need
to be familiar with application configuration and installation,
especially the Windows Installer service. Know the different
file types associated with a Windows Installer package
and what they're used for. Also be able to troubleshoot
a failed installation and correct it.
Tip: Make sure you know
what Local (and Group) Policy is and how it works. Just
because this is the Professional exam doesn't mean that
you don't necessarily need to know what the server's configuration
needs to be!
The Leg Bone's Connected to the Knee
It's extremely important to know how
to deal with network issues when they arise. Be able to
install and configure TCP/IP on Win2K. For example, when
does DNS come into play vs. WINS? What's the job of a
DHCP Relay Agent? How do you configure basic TCP/IP properties?
Win2K Professional has several ways to provide Internet
access to clients, a primary one being Internet Connection
Sharing. You should know how to enable it and how to configure
it to provide access to common Internet protocols. Also
know how to configure Dial-Up Networking to provide access
to a variety of places such as a LAN or the Internet.
Know how to configure a Professional client to connect
to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) through the Internet.
Tip: Be sure you know how
to interoperate with heterogeneous environments like NetWare
Under Lock and Key
These days, securing our data is incredibly
important. We need to ensure that hackers can't get into
our servers from the outside. We need to make sure prying
eyes can't get into the company's salary list located
on a network drive. Win2K has made large strides to improve
the security of our network so we can all sleep a little
more easily at night. Encrypting File System (EFS) is
a new addition to Win2K. It allows a user to encrypt files
on an NTFS partition. Know how to recover a file that's
been encrypted if the user has left the company or had
his or her account removed. Also know about Local Group
Policy and how to change it to allow users to perform
tasks they've initially been restricted from performing.
Be sure you're familiar with how to enable auditing on
files and directories as well.
Tip: Check out the white
paper on EFS at www.microsoft.com/windows2000/
True Study Time
When faced with one of the new Microsoft
exams, the old advice holds true: Spend time reading the
question in front of you before assuming you know the
answer. If you skim a question, you might find that you
miss out on important details that would make you give
an entirely different answer. If you have a good background
in NT 4.0, spend time familiarizing yourself with the
differences in Win2K before tackling this exam. The Windows
2000 Professional exam is a great place to begin your
technical career-and a dandy place to continue building
on the one you already have going. Good luck!