70-680 passed

dcgjdcgj Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
So I passed the 70-680 yesterday.

Since I've used this forum as a primary resource for hints, tips, and advice, I thought I would share my experience with you guys.

I used the following materials for studying (in the following order)
  1. Book: 70-680 self paced training kit - Ian McLean and Orin Thomas
  2. Video: Professor Messor's
  3. Book: Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring - Don Poulton
  4. Video: CBT Nuggets
  5. Book: Configuring Windows 7, Rapid Review - Orin Thomas
For labbing I used the following setup in VMWare Workstation
  • 2 x Windows 7 Enterprise as ordinary work stations
  • 1 x Windows 7 Enterprise as a reference computer for imaging
  • 1 x Windows 7 Enterprise as a technicians computer
  • 1 x Windows 7 Enterprise for testing images
  • 1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as AD, DNS, and file/branchcache server
  • 1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as WSUS server
  • 1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as WDS and MDT server
I was originally really frustrated with all the errors in the 70-680 self paced training kit book. After I merged the errata with the original it was not that bad a read though. It was a little droning and I sometimes read several pages, only to have to read them again because the writing was kind of tedious. This is probably subjective and I will for sure recommend it anyway.

The Professors videos was not bad but I did not think they had the same dept as the Nuggets videos. On the other hand, the Nuggets videos were very fast paced and I sometimes had to pause them in order to try something out.

Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring was a really good read (and a little lighter than the self paced one), but will not be enough on it's own.

Lastly, reading the Configuring Windows 7, Rapid Review a couple of days before the exam, really helped me feel more confident on a lot of the subjects. It's only 200 pages and stuffed with great questions and gets right to the core without unnecessary text.

I studied on/of for about 5 months and could probably have done it in 2-3 if I hit it harder. But since this was my first exam, I spent a lot of time taking many notes and doing extra labbing (I must have applied 30 images or so by now).

I believe I might have overdone the studying part, but I really wanted to feel confident when taking the exam. I have read many scary stories regarding this exam online and was really afraid of failing it. I did find the questions challenging but not impossible and actually scored higher on the exam than on the practice tests. The wording of the actual exam questions were also better than the ones on the practice test. This is of course also subjective.

I thought about taking the 70-685, but have changed my mind and will go for the Windows 8 MCSA instead.

I really have gotten a lot of good advice and tips from reading this forum. Thanks to all those who shares.

Update: I have uploaded my study notes at the following location. Please take into account that most were written on the fly while studying and that they might not be very explanatory. Use and abuse.



  • doublehunterdoublehunter Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats on the pass! I am doing the same study path as you did and hopefully will pass the exam too.
  • dcgjdcgj Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks. If you study hard and lab a lot you will pass for sure. Good luck to you.
  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    Congrats! That exam is a damn hard one; I failed it 3 times! Even though it wouldn't help my career at all, I'm tempted to study for the exam again and pass it, out of the sheer amount of disdain I have for it
  • UrmekUrmek Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for listing your practice material. I will be begin studying for the 70-680 next year after I tackle Network+ and Security+.
  • dcgjdcgj Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks! @Verities: I've had the same experience with other types of exams and can relate! So frustrating at times! @Urmek: Best of luck to you on all of them.
  • doublehunterdoublehunter Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hi dcgj question about this one:

    1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as AD, DNS, and file/branchcache server
    1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as WSUS server
    1 x Windows Server 2008 R2 as WDS and MDT server
    do you really need to have separate Os for those servers or i can merge them into one? I allocated 20GB for WinServer and I am planning to use that as the AD, DSN, branchcache and also for deployment WDS and MDT. Is 20GB sufficient for all those functions? Do i need to increase the space or i need to create multiple servers?

    Also, I think I am having issues setting the DCHP for my server when I go to the client machine it shows that DHCP enabled is no. I created my domain and I set the DNS server the same as my server's IP address.
  • dcgjdcgj Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Keeping the roles somewhat seperated and installed on different servers, really helped me not getting confused. I believe that it is possible to run all of it from 1 server (except for WSUS which I recall should never be installed on a domain controller). I would also like to mention, that seperation of server roles is the rule to live by in a real-world scenario. Anyway, as long as this is only a study lab, I don't see the reason to not simply try. You could snapshot the virtual machine before installing each role.

    I've deleted my lab in order to set up a new Win 8 / Server 2012 R2 lab, and I don't recall how much space the different installations took up. I don't think that 20 GB will be sufficient for all the roles. Perhaps 40-60 GB will do if you're installing them all onto one server.

    Regarding the clients not getting a DHCP offer. I installed a virtual firewall/router using pfsense in order to keep the lab network kind of seperated from my home network. If you're not up for this, you can install DHCP server on your AD server or possible let the lab into your home network in order to use your home routers DHCP server.

    Hope this helps.
  • doublehunterdoublehunter Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I setup the labs to use my network card instead of the NAT option and they were able to receive IP address thru DHCP. I thought it is required to receive an IP from the server if I run a DHCP role since I have to set the IP of the server to static? If I will be installing an all in one, is 60GB enough? How about for your clients how much size did you allocate?

    Also the reason why I want them to be in just one server is because of my limited amout of RAM. Have not tried it yet but I think running the server, 2 lab all at the same time and the host will consume all my memory which is currently only 4GB. I see that you are experienced in this unlike me that has no knowledge at all on servers. Can you share a link like videos or tutorials where it shows on how to setup the AD, DHCP, DNS, WDS and MDT? I really appreciate your reply!
  • dcgjdcgj Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Sorry for the long reply time. I'm not on this site that often when not studying.

    I think 60 GB would be enough for the server, yes. I usually give the clients 20 GB space. I'm not really sure what you are trying to say regarding the DHCP. The server usually is set up with a static IP and the clients use DHCP.

    With 4 GB of ram, you will be probably be limited to running the server and 1 client, but don't be afraid to try and run both the server and 2 clients at the same time. The software will usually warn you when you reach the limit.

    I do not have any good links to guides for setting up the server and roles / services. I hope someone else might be able to help out regarding this.
  • doublehunterdoublehunter Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I dont mind the DHCP if thats the case. The server is configured with static IP and the clients use DHCP from the router as long as I can deploy images over the network. Looking forward on getting certified.
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