Archive for MCSE

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.

Group Policy Resources

I don’t use Group Policy a lot here.  I am only one admin in a much larger group, but I do need to know a bit about Group Policy for the MCSE tests.  That is why, when I got an email from Windows IT Pro that they were hosting a web seminar on “How To Implement an Effective Change Management Strategy for Group Policy” I signed up.

The web seminar was ok, and I always enjoy hearing and seeing presentations instead of having to read yet another article or book.  I think though, that the best thing I got out of the seminar was a link to one of the speakers websites, which I had not heard of before.

Jeremy Moskowitz has written a book or two on Group Policy, and comes recommended by another favorite Microsoft author of mine, Mark Minasi.  He has a decent website called with a newsletter which I just signed up for. 

If Group Policy is something that you use and need help with, I recommend Jeremy’s site as a good starting place, that is, of course, once you have finished reading all you can on Microsoft’s site.

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?

I Started a Mentoring Program Today

I started a mentoring program today. I am being mentored by a good friend of the family, and I want to document what I am learning and also encourage everyone to find a mentor and learn as much as you can from them.

I realized a while back that unless I looked for a mentor or teacher, there was a good chance I would not get my MCSE. I have the study tools, and the books, and the server license that expires in 3 months. All of these things are valuable, but what I started to see was that the parts of the practice test I was scoring the highest consistantly on were those things that I had actually had to do in my work environment. This seems obvious, but it was then that I decided to take my friend up on the offer of learning by doing.

I also had been wondering how I could possibly stay in the network admin position I am in without a senior Windows person there to guide and direct me and make sure that I learn how to do the important things. By beginning the mentoring program, I realize that I can stay at my current job while I spend time out of work learning and asking questions.

Many of my future posts will be a breakdown of what I have learned in my mentoring sessions so that I can keep a record of my progress, and perhaps help someone else through this very long process.

Notes from today:
1. It is important before beginning to build any kind of network to lay it out on paper as completely as possible, with server names, functions, and relevant information.
2. It is very good practice and recommended by my mentor to always create two Domain Controllers in any configuration. Having an extra one if one fails is the main reason for this.
3. DCs have no local accounts.

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