Daniel's list of 70-292 prep materials
A free guide to exam prep resources
70-292: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSA Certified on Windows 2000
Needed to upgrade a Windows 2000 MCSA or MCSE to Windows 2003


This exam is expected to go live in August of 2003. It will not undergo the beta process. Too bad. 70-290 & 70-291 are going through the beta process June 4-15. Passing both of them takes the place of 292. That's if you want to take 2 exams instead of 1 for some reason ... such as being able to take them for free. At present, the MS website doesn't make all of that clear but it was explained on news://microsoft.public.certification.mcse by Tom Helms and Andy Ruth.

OK, I passed the test the end of September '04! Passing score was a 700, which, I guess, they all are now. I didn't have that wide a margin ... got a 760 on this one. I read very quickly through the Sybex book linked below. Frankly, though the sources on this page all helped, I have had a hard time finding enough to study for this test. So I bought a book. The Sybex book is pretty good. Expect to read the whole book, not just the MCSA section, before taking 292, though. Even for the practice tests in the book, the first half does not prepare you. I found the practice tests to be significantly easier than the real thing this time, which I found disappointing. The Amazon reviewers say this is not Sybex's best book, and I'd have to agree. Still, it was OK, and the MS book which is even thicker is rated no higher at Amazon. And we all know how incredibly dry MS certification books are. So I'm happy enough with the Sybex one.

The test had questions in which I had to select the check boxes, radio buttons, or proper selection from a droplist that was just like the form in Windows. I thought that was a good addition. Adds realism.

My test had 56 questions and lasted 120 minutes. I got LOTS of DNS questions. I was ready for most of that b/c Windows 2000 relied on DNS heavily as well. I had studied the stub zones since they're new -- and it was a good thing I had. I hadn't studied delegation, so will look for a good article on it to link here. Know which type of zone to implement in any situation. A lot of questions deal with that issue.

There are lots of highly detailed questions on SUS and group policy. If you want to do well on the test, study group policy thoroughly.

Daniel Petri provides a good overview of the upgrade requirements. As far as I understand, MS does not intend to decertify current MCSE/MCSA's. But this exam and 70-296 are available for those who want to stay with the latest technology and upgrade their certs. Microsoft's MCSE FAQ covers several of the general questions as well. I hope you find this guide helpful in your test preparation, as well as my other lists.

Jon N's 70-292 Exam Study Notes are excellent.

Good luck & good studying to all.

Microsoft Press has a book out, Introducing Windows Server 2003, which looks good as far as I've gotten in it.
cover
I have used Sybex' Windows 2003 MCSA / MCSE upgrade book.
As usual, I recomend their offerings, but I found this one needed some supplimentation. cover
Every Server 2003 administrator will want the Resource Kit on his desk. I'm linking to the online version for certain points, so you can start using it before buying from Amazon.
cover


  • Windows 2003 MCSE information
  • 70-292 exam objectives.
  • MOC course 2209 is supposed to cover the material. It's supposed to be available to CTEC's May 24, 2003, but check your local CTEC to see when they'll start offering it.

    The software to play with

    The Windows Server 2003 Trial Edition is available from Microsoft for free. It has a 180-day license - long enough to practice & take at least a couple tests. Until July 31st shipping of the CD is free as well, for those who want the CD or don't want to burn all that bandwidth downloading it.

    General info on Windows Server 2003

  • Paul Thurrot's Windows Server 2003 FAQ is an excellent resource on the product.
  • The list of Windows 2003 HOWTO's from KBAlertz is very helpful.
  • And, of course, there's the Windows Server 2003 official homepage.
  • MS compares the 4 editions of 2003.
  • System Requirements -- anybody still remember installing an OS onto a 20MB HD off of 2 5.25" floppies? Been a while!
  • The Reviewers' Guide is 110 pages explaining why to upgrade to 2003.
  • MVP Larry Samuels' Unofficial FAQ deals with a bunch of questions beta-testers and experimenters have -- like "Why won't my games work on Windows Server 2003?".

    Online resources by exam objective

    Managing Users, Computers, and Groups
  • Role-based Authorization aka AzMan -- this is a big addition to the user-based security in NT4/2000/XP. Good 11-page write-up.
    Managing and Maintaining Access to Resources
  • Marcin Policht overviews security enhancements in the .NET family, including default NTFS and share permissions, file ownership, and authentication.
  • Using Dynamic Business Rules in 2003 AzMan. If you read the 11-page paper a few lines above, the first third of this is review. It does get into some BizRules and provides a couple good examples.
  • Dynamic Groups in AzMan. 8-page description begins, once again, with the concept of role-base authorization. Latter 2/3 has some screen shots that explain setting up the dynamic groups. Slightly helpful, and easy to skim.
  • Technical Overview of Terminal Services under Windows 2003 13-page Word Doc hits the high points. By the way, Terminal Services IS a lot better now than it was under 2000. I use it regularly to support a software installation in Washington state, and am very pleased with the resource redirection. The 16-bit color support allows users in North Carolina to work remotely all the time on a color-sensitive application. This is one time that Microsoft made big improvements ... or bought them from Citrix ... however that worked.
  • Emergency Management Services provide a way to remotely connect to a computer that is not available over the network due to some failure on the system. My experience with servers that quit responding over the network is that you're lucky to get them to respond from the CONSOLE -- never mind an extra service running on them. Maybe it's better now than on the boxes I administered for Worthwhile. At any rate, a 57-page Word doc describes it.
    Managing and Maintaining a Server Environment
  • Web Servers
    • A technical overview of IIS 6.0 29-page Word Doc covers lots of improvements.
    • IISFAQ offers a good introduction to IIS 6.
    • Learning Tree offers a course on IIS 6.

    Managing and Implementing Disaster Recovery Perform System Recovery for a Server
  • Implement Automated System Recovery (ASR)
    • Automated System Recovery (ASR) overview -- very brief. ASR attempts to do what everyone hoped a System State backup or a Rescue Disk would do. Must learn more on this one as it could save a lot of reinstallations of the OS in the future.
    • OK, my 2 cents on ASR:
      • ASR requires some backup medium and a floppy disk as well as your Windows CD
      • When you boot from your Windows CD, you get the option to put in the ASR floppy
      • So ... what about machines w/o a floppy drive?
      • You can still create an ASR backup w/o a floppy drive.
      • Unfortunately... you won't be able to do an ASR restore w/o a floppy drive. Hurrah for the pointless IT solutions!
  • Restore data from shadow copy volumes
  • Back up files and System State data to media
  • Configure security for backup operations
    Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining Name Resolution
  • Stub Zones and Conditional Forwarding -- Webcast on these features that are new for '03.
    Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining Network Security
  • Password and account lockout in 2000 & 2003 -- Webcast
  • Microsoft's Securing the Windows Server 2003 Application Platform is an overview of security under 2003/.NET. 34-page Word Doc. Besides being an incredible way to ward off insomnia, this overviews a ton of stuff. Basically, the .NET Framework, Group Policy, and IPSec solve everything for you. Comically, spellcheck rendered the abreviation for virtual private networks as vans. I guess they're more politically correct than SUV's. Just ask a certain senator whether he owns one! Seriously, this includes a rehash of a lot of stuff elsewhere linked on this page. The IIS lockdowns (which were desperately needed) are reviewed as is role-based authorization.
  • Technical Overview of Application Services -- IIS, COM+, .NET Framework, etc.
  • Security Services -- Authentication, PKI, AD Security, Trusts, etc.




    If you know of more resources which should be listed here, please email a link to me. I very much appreciate other resources to study and will be sure to acknowledge you on this page.



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