Sure, you understand plenty about implementing server software, which could surface in this exam; it's the new functionality of Win2K that can trip you up.
- By Greg Neilson
As the objectives list states, this Windows 2000 exam
tests your ability to implement, administer, and troubleshoot
the operating system as a file, print, and application
server. Surprisingly, although there's a separate test
for Win2K networking as part of the MCSE program (70-216),
a number of questions test basic network connectivity
as well. Also, I assumed that because I've worked with
and been certified on Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0, I would
find this test easier than other new exams, since I could
rely on my existing NT knowledge for some of the questions.
Not so! Time to drill down on what's new in the product
line—there's little room for complacency.
2000 Server (70-215)
"Time to drill down on what's new in
the product line-there's little room
for complacency in this exam."
Installing, Configuring and Administering
Microsoft Windows 2000
Who should take
it? Core exam for the MCSE Windows 2000 track.
What classes prepare
- No. 2151: Microsoft Windows 2000
Network and Operating System Essentials
- No. 2152: Implementing Microsoft
Windows 2000 Professional and Server
Although you'll find the questions primarily to be in
the multiple-choice format, don't be surprised by the
existence of scenario questions (with screens of text
to read that describe a scenario, the desired results,
and the actions undertaken) and graphical simulations
that have you work with Win2K to prove your hands-on knowledge.
- Installation of the server.
- Installing, configuring, and troubleshooting
access to resources.
- Configuring and troubleshooting
hardware devices and drivers and network
- Managing, monitoring, and optimizing
system performance, reliability, and
- Managing, configuring, and troubleshooting
- Implementing, monitoring, and troubleshooting
Let's look at the main areas you'll need to understand
before tackling this exam.
Sure, we're all getting
plenty of practice doing this (even if only in a lab setting),
but as you would expect, Microsoft is more interested
in confirming your knowledge of how to automate the Win2K
installation process. Make sure you know how to use an
unattended file with a Uniqueness Database File (UDF)
that contains specific overrides for the current server
being installed. Also memorize how to prepare a machine
for a network installation and create the bootable disk
that starts the install.
Tip: Do you know the differences
between winnt.exe and winnt32.exe and when each should
Although exam 70-222
tests how to migrate from NT 4.0 to Win2K, make sure you
understand the rules of what machine roles are upgradable
and what other steps are needed to complete the migration.
For example, if you had an existing NT 4.0 domain that
was to be added to a Win2K tree, which servers would you
Tip: Spend time studying
what levels of security are required to run Win2K service
Spend plenty of time
working with permissions: determining the effective permissions
for users when NTFS permissions are combined with share
permissions (remember, the most restrictive access level
from either applies). Now that we have the new Distributed
file system (Dfs) feature in Win2K, keep in mind that
it doesn't have its own security; it uses the security
of the underlying file shares.
As for network printing,
you should be familiar with how to set up and share a
networked printer that uses LPR to communicate from the
server to the printer. Also, how do you make your Windows
2000 printers available to Unix machines?
Tip: You should have an
idea of what the Gateway Services for NetWare does and
how you would set this up for your clients to access shared
NetWare resources via GSNW.
Hardware Devices and Drivers
You should know each
of the three driver signing options available and how
each level works when you attempt to install an unsigned
driver. As the exam objectives point out, you need to
be able to configure hardware devices, update device drivers
(do you recall how to do this in Win2K?), and troubleshoot
hardware. This roster of topics should be straightforward
if you've dabbled with drivers on a Windows 2000 server;
spend time working on it during your exam preparation.
I'd like to comment
on two main areas of interest here: how to work with System
Monitor (which used to be called Performance Monitor)
and how to back up and restore Win2K. You'll need to understand
how to use System Monitor to determine the source of any
bottlenecks-and this includes knowing which counters to
check for the typical server performance problems-lack
of memory, slow disk writes, and CPU overload.
with the use of the Win2K ntbackup tool for backups and
restores. Now that we have Active Directory, you'll need
to understand exactly how you should back it up and restore
it using servers across the enterprise. Similarly, you'll
want to understand the concept of system state data-what
it is, what it isn't, and how to back up and restore it.
Safe Mode and the
Recovery Console are two neat features in Win2K you'll
want to understand well, especially in terms of what these
can and can't do so that you select the best tool for
Tip: You should experiment
with Task Manager to learn how it operates and what its
function is, as well as to learn what information it provides
about the server.
Given how important
disk storage is to a file server, it's not surprising
that you'll want a firm grasp on the way Win2K works with
disks. You'll need to understand the differences between
basic disks and dynamics disks and when to use each. Learn
what's required for software-based RAID disk configurations
(RAID 1 and RAID 5) and how to fix your array after a
with the new Disk Management tool and understand exactly
what all of the information it presents actually means
to you as the system administrator.
Tip: You'll need to understand
how to use the new disk defragmentation tool and how to
work with quotas and disk compression.
Even though Microsoft
offers a separate network exam (70-216), you'd better
come prepared to tackle the topic of networking; after
all, we're talking about a network server. Have a solid
working knowledge of TCP/IP concepts and really understand
the meaning of each of the parameters you use to configure
your TCP/IP settings. Although subnetting is left for
the 70-216 exam, you'll need to be familiar with the network
prefix format representation. For example, 126.96.36.199/16
tells you that the first 16 bits from the left of this
address are the network address, which gives a subnet
mask of 255.255.0.0.
Tip: You need to be aware
of the new Automatic Private IP Addressing feature, where
a computer on the network can auto-assign itself an IP
address from the 169.254.0.0 network if a DHCP server
is unavailable. Conversely, if a machine has an address
assigned from that address range, then this probably indicates
a problem with that machine's communication with a DHCP
server to request an IP address. I can tell you that the
first time I saw this problem surface on a network (Windows
98 also does this), I thought I'd go nuts trying to work
out what had happened. Keep this in the back of your mind
and save yourself some grief.
There are a few new
parameters available in Win2K for the ipconfig command
that relate to DNS (/registerdns, /displaydns, and /flushdns),
so you'll need to know what each of these does.
You'll want a firm
grasp on how to set up RRAS for remote access and the
meanings of all the configuration options available. This
is covered in much greater detail in the network exam,
70-216. My suggestion: Take this exam first and then work
up to 70-216. (Similarly, given the focus of Group Policy
in the objectives for this exam, you might want to take
this exam as a warm-up to the AD Design exam (70-219),
which covers the subject in greater detail).
Tip: Make sure to work with
Terminal Services in preparation for the test. Although
it really deserves its own exam, the topic is a suitable
one for a test on Win2K Server since the functionality
comes in the box.
Study the basic concepts
of security, especially the steps involved in auditing
NT resources. Make sure you've worked with Group Policy
to the point where you can troubleshoot problems with
Local Policy and System Policy.
Look at how to implement
the Encrypted File System (EFS) on your important data.
You should also understand how the Security Configuration
and Analysis snap-in works and how to interpret the results
of the analysis that details the security configuration
of the server against a security template.
Where I Started
In all, this is a pretty fair test of your abilities
in working with Win2K Server. As a study resource I used
Microsoft Press' Windows 2000 Server MCSE Training
Kit (ISBN 1-57231-903-8, $59.99), which covered many
of the objectives of the exam in much more detail than
you need to know. However, it won't give you the whole
story. For that, you need to set up your test lab and
work with the product. Then move through the objectives
provided by Microsoft and make sure you know every topic
referenced. When you're done with your studying, you'll
be in an excellent position to join your organization's
Windows 2000 server deployment team. Good luck!