Lab for 70-685

mmesor226mmesor226 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I finally decided to start earning certifications. I've worked in a level 1 Help Desk role for a year now (although before I worked in assistance with the Help Desk at the same company for about 3 years).

I have little network/server knowledge or experience, so I figured MCSA Windows 7 would be a good first step.

I passed the 70-680 last week (2/26!) by studying guides and watching Professor Messer's videos. I read part of the Microsoft Press book but mostly used it to follow-up on things I was not certain on.

I intend to fully go through the 70-685 MS Press book and any study guides out there, but I'm worried I won't get enough practical experience. I do have my job, but it feels like the experience I've gained in my role is very focused and not challenging me much any more.

However, I don't make a lot of money, and I don't have access to much in the way of resources at work. I paid for the exams myself.

Is there a cheap (and legal!) way of setting up a lab? I feel like it would also give me Windows Server experience for going into a System Admin or Network Admin role next.

I'm sorry if this has been asked and answered. I tried a quick search but not a whole lot of luck. I've seen posts about going on Ebay for old servers and using Virtualization. That sounds great, but I'm baffled about licensing issues or the kind of logistics issues it would cause in my small, shared apartment home network.

Thanks in advance for your help!


  • ScrawnyRonnieScrawnyRonnie Member Posts: 112
    If your computer has enough RAM and a decent CPU, you could set up a virtual lab for free. I use VirtualBox on my PC. I've got Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 virtual machines installed. You can download the ISOs from Microsoft. They are only trial versions, but are the full Enterprise level OS so you have access to all features. Server is active for 180 days and 7 is good for 90. When the time runs out, just create a new virtual machine and use the same ISO.
  • BucklesBuckles Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Labs are incredibly important. The MS Press MCITP Books do not cover enough content to get you through the exam. According to other blogs I've read done by people who teach the course, 60-70% of the book is applicable to the test. I can tell you right now I've had questions in the 685 exam that put simply aren't covered in the 680 or 685 content I've read or Labbed. It comes down to real, on the job experience.

    VMWare offer an OK (Free) solution for running a Virtual Lab in the form of VMWare Player. I find their virtual networking functionality leaves a bit to be desired though.
    VirtualBox (as Scrawny said) would be a good place to start though the initial configuration is tad fiddly.
    You can get a month out of a Windows 7 Instance.. take a "snapshot" of it and jump back to that when you hit the 90 day mark!

    180 days is ample for W2k8 R2 so you can have a solid play with its Role and Feature functionality. Good luck!
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