Archive for 70-290

Hot 70-290 Study Tool

I was looking at some recommended Windows links over at Networkworld and happend upon these very nice flash cards.

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Quick Recommendation

I stumbled upon a video cast that is pretty good, and certainly helpful for anyone studying for the 70-290 test.

I personally am starting with the older versions of the ITIdiots show, but the newer ones may be more applicable to those who are on the cuttting edge of Microsoft Server technology.  These guys have some well done videos, their content is free and easily subscribed to, and the cute accents don’t hurt the entertainment value either.

The videocast won’t be able to replace your training videos, but it is a nice supplement to them.  If you have found some really great free resources, or you have some of your own, let me know.

Still Studying. . .

Well, still studying for the 70-290 test and getting more and more frustrated.  I am now reading my second book, it is a Syngress Book and I am absolutely amazed at how much more information is in this book than is in the Microsoft Press book.

I guess reading multiple books though is the norm, based on the feedback that I see on Amazon’s site for this book and others.  Since I am fairly new to Windows Server 2003 I guess it only makes sense that I will have to read multiple books.

If anyone has any books that they recommend please let me know.

Studying: Command-Line Utilities for Account Management

Today I am studying about the command-line tools used for account management that are tested on the 70-290 certification exam.  I need to know what they do, and how their arguments are setup.

 dsadd.exe – when used it adds objects to AD (computers, users, quotas, groups, ou)

dsget.exe – when used it shows the properties of objects in AD

dsmod.exe – when used it modifies attributes of objects in AD (computers, users, groups, ou)

dsmove.exe – moves objects in AD

dsquery.exe – allows you to query AD for objects that match specified criteria 

gpresult.exe – shows the RSoP for a target user and computer 

whoami.exe – displays user and group info for current logged-in user

cmdkey.exe – manages stored username and passwords on the pc

Still Studying for 70-290

I am trying to not get frustrated, but I am.  I have used a plethora of study tools, and each time I change tools, and test on that tool, I fail the practice exams.

 I seem to have the hardware sections down cold, but everything else is questionable.  I have used two different video programs; TestOut and QuickCert.  Neither video program seems to have prepared me well enough.  I also went through the Microsoft Press book, but that did not prepare me completely either.  I am now going through the Syngress book, which I have to say has been the most comprehensive tool yet.  There are tools mentioned in this book that I have not heard of from the other tools.

If anyone has any tips/tricks for studying for and passing this test, I would be most grateful for any help.  I had set a goal for myself of November 2007, but that date of course has come and gone and I have not  yet sat for the exam.  My only consolation is that I have only been working on Server 2003 for just under a year, and have to study in my “spare time.”

So, if you are an MCSE, or have at least passed the 70-290 test, please let me know what worked best for you?

Managing Windows 2003 Server Tips

There are 3 main tools, according to Microsoft, that a System Admin should use to monitor and maintain Windows 2003 Servers.

1. Performance Console- there are two parts to this, the System Monitor that has all the different settings for hardware on your server and the Performance Logs and Alerts that has a standard set of logs and customizable logs and alerts that you can set.

2. Event Viewer – has the different log files on events that the server records. Application, System and Security logs reside on every server. Directory Service and File Replication Service logs will exist on a DC. A DNS Server will contain an additional log file called, appropriately, DNS Server.

3. Task Manager – this handy tool is still the best one for looking at actual process threads. An additional tool that most techs I know use is Process Monitor, as it shows more detail than the built in Task Manager.

Fixing Software RAID-0

harddrive.jpgI had to fix a stripped array this morning, and that got me thinking (yes, and reading) about the correct way to fix software RAID volumes. 

So, I thought I would quickly put down here the steps to restore RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-5 software arrays if you loose a disk and have to replace it for some reason, like I did this morning.  I will spend the next three posts explaining how to do this for each one.  Today, RAID-0 or a striped array.

RAID-0 (striped)

While stripped volumes do provide the best performance and storage option, they are not fault-tolerrant, so I sure hope you have a good backup of the lost drive or have the software handy to recreate the data on this drive. 

Once you have determined that your drive is bad, or you have had to fix an error on the drive more than once, you can go ahead and delete the volume by right clicking on it in the bottom pain of the Disk Management screen (right click on My Computer, Manage, under Storage choose Disk Management).

If your new drive isn’t installled go ahead and do so now.  Once it is installed, Rescan Disks (on the View menu in Disk Management) if you don’t see it as unallocated space in the drive view window.

Before you can create the new volume, you will have to make this a Dynamic Disk by right clicking on the disk name.  Once this is done, you can right click on the drive and choose the option New Volume.  From there, follow the promts to add the new drive to the Selected disks.

 This is by no means a step-by-step or complete guide, there are other sites that do this much better than I can here, and I highly recommend the first one, as it has pictures and all:  

Beginners Guide at PCStats

Disk Management from the Microsoft TechNet

Backup Changes on Graphics Server & Spooler changes

Backup Changes

I was studying for my 70-290 this weekend by reading through some chapters in my Microsoft Press book. As I was reading and actually beginning to understand some of the backup information, I realized I need to make a couple of changes to my backup schedule here at work. I was again convinced that I need to do a bi-weekly normal/full backup of the main graphics server, and then run Differential backups each night for the next two weeks. This insures that I need only the full backup tapes (of which there are 2) and the differential tape in case of a system failure. I thought I had set this, but it turns out I was running incremental backups and so I switched that today.

I also turned off the verify switch. I had sort of thought before that I didn’t really need to do it, but with the new tapes I just got, it seems silly.

Spooler Changes
I changed the location of the spooler on the main server. It was on the C drive, it is now on E:\spool\PRINTERS.

Confirmation and Perfmon

Blogging Confirmed
I needed to use this blog today to go back and look at what I had written back in February about moving icons around on the Blackberry, so I learned a valuable lesson today; keep on blogging!

I enjoy blogging, and know that in order to remember some of the tips and tricks I am picking up I need to have a central repository of information, hence Computer Pooh. However, it is not every day that I get confirmation that an idea of mine is a good one, yet here I am blogging about one.

I am continuing to study for my first MCSE test. As a matter of fact, I really want to take the first one here in September, yet I am not sure I am ready.

I have been looking at the performance monitor this week, and wanted to quickly blog here the items that are best to monitor so I can log in an see this from the web.

  • Networking: Network Interface- bytes sent/sec and bytes total/sec; Server – bytes rec’d/sec and it should be no more than 50% of bandwidth; TaskManager – Network Utilization should be 30% or lower
  • Disks: Physical Disks – %disk time should be less than 50%; Physical Disks – Current disk queue length should be between 0 – 2%
  • Memory: Memory – pages/sec should be 0 – 20%; Memory – Available bytes should be 5% + of RAM; Memory – Committed bytes should be less than RAM; Memory – Pooled Non-paged bytes should be steady; Memory – Page faults/sec should be below 5
  • Processor: Processor – % Processor Time should be less than 85%; System – Process queue length should be less than 10%; Server Work Queues – Queue length should be less than 4%; Processor – interrupts/sec should be steady to low