Slain the Beast

ZignonZignon Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
Finally slained the beast yesterday. Only got a 760 but a pass is a pass. This was my last test for my 2003 MCSE. Decided to take it last because of all the horror stories that I heard about it.

My path to MCSE was this :

70-089: Designing, Implementing, and Managing a Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Infrastructure
70-620 – TS: Microsoft Windows Vista, Configuring

70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
70-297: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
70-291 : Windows 2003 Network Infrastructure

By far the easiest of the tests that I took were 70-297 : Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure (I am good with case scenarios), and 70-620 - TS: Microsoft Windows Vista, Configuring

I had to take 3 tests in the past week due to pressure for an upcoming job review. Passed 294, 297, and 291 in 1 week.

Word of advice to all. Build a lab environment, go through the MSPRESS books and play with what you are reading. This was my method and worked well for me.

- Ziggy


  • jkstechjkstech Member Posts: 330

    good job on completing your MCSE
    get back to studying!!!
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats! Did you use the new Sybex book for 70-620?
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • laklaklaklak Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats really very good.

    How much time did you spent on this traject?
  • JdotQJdotQ Member Posts: 230
    Wow, busy week! Congrats on this (and the other) passes! icon_thumright.gif
  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    JdotQ wrote:
    Wow, busy week! Congrats on this (and the other) passes! icon_thumright.gif


    congrats on your new title and good luck in your review!
    **** ARE FOR CHUMPS! Don't be a chump! Validate your material with search engine

    :study: Current 2015 Goals: JNCIP-SEC JNCIS-ENT CCNA-Security
  • ZignonZignon Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    It took me a total of about 6 months to complete my MCSE with daily study and simulations. I have a great employer who would allow me to spend about 4 hours of my day to complete these activities. I needed to take the 3 tests in 1 week to to my companies reviews were due at the end of that week and I wanted to get my MCSE in before then to help perhaps getting me more $$ :) Always great motivation.

    To study for the 70-620 exam, I just looked at everything that was new in Vista. Fax, Networking, Sidebar, what is the difference between Vista versions, etc. But, there is a ton of information on on what to study. I went through the forums and compiled a list. This information I am providing below. Sorry for the long message. I believe most of this was by user pllegends but there could have been others and I appologize if I left you off.

    Know your Network and Wireless settings:

    Vista supports three types of network categories: private, public, and domain.
    Private networks are usually home or small office networks. The computers are members of a workgroup and are not connected directly to the internet but usually use a device such as a router to connect to the internet. By default, Vista turns on Network Discovery that enables you to see other computers and devices on your network and file and printer sharing.
    Public networks are usually wireless "hot spot" connections in public places,where you are connected directly to the internet. By default, Vista turns off Network Discovery and file and printer sharing to make the computer more secure.
    Domain networks applies to networks that are part of a corporate domain. By default, discovery and file sharing are allowed.

    IPv4 32-bit addresses are expressed as four separate decimal values, such as
    IPv6 128-bit addresses are expressed as eight 16-bit blocks separated by colons and in hexadecimal format, such as FEC0:0:0:02BC:FF:BECB:FE4F:961D

    If you assign an IP address manually (IPv6) you must have a valid IP address, the subnet mask for this IP and a default gateway to use for internetwork communication.

    Wireless adapters run in one of two modes:
    Ad Hoc- adapter connected directly to other computers with wireless adapters
    Infrastructure- adapter connects to an access point instead of directly

    As a security precaution, some wireless networks are set up with the network namebroadcasting (SSID) disabled. This means that when you display the list of networks within range networks that don't broadcast their SSID don't appear in the list.
    If you know that a network is within range but it doesn't appear in the list of available networks, you can still add the network manually. Click the Set Up a Connection or Network link, click Manually Connect to a Wireless Network, and then click Next. Use this dialog box to enter the network particulars, including the SSID (the Network Name), Security Type, Encryption Type, and Security Key (if required). Click Next to connect. Be aware of these options and choose accordingly:
    Connect automatically when the network is in range
    Connect even if the network is not broadcasting
    Keep this connection active when the computer is on (recommended)

    Setting Up Per-User Wireless Network Connections
    By default, when you set up a wireless connection , it is available to all users of your computer.
    You can optionally make a connection available only to the user currently logged on.
    To set this up:
    1. In Network And Sharing Center, click Manage Wireless Networks.
    2.Click Profile Types
    3.Select Use All-User And Per-User Profiles.
    When you set up a new wireless network, Vista asks whether you want the network to be available to all users or only to yourself. You can’t apply this setting to an existing network. You must first delete the network and then re-create the network .
    Setting Up an Ad Hoc Network
    An ad hoc network is a temporary network connecting two or more wireless computers and devices without requiring a hub or wireless access point. The network adapters talk directly with each other. An ad hoc network is handy when you need to exchange files or share an internet connection with someone who is not part of your network.
    To setup an aAd Hoc network:
    1. Open Network And Sharing Center and in the Tasks list, click Set Up A Connection Or Network.2. Select Set Up A Wireless Ad Hoc (Computer-to-Computer) Network and click Next. On the next page, click Next.
    3. Specify a network name..
    4. Specify a security type. Ad hoc networks support only WEP encryption; the only other option is an open, unsecured network.
    5. If you selected WEP, enter a security key
    6. If you plan to use the ad hoc network again in the future, select Save This Network
    7. Click Next. If your computer is connected directly to the internet (through a network adapter other than the wireless adapter you’re using for the ad hoc network) and you want to share the internet connection, click Turn On Internet Connection Sharing.
    8. Click Close
    The network is now set up and ready to use. Others can join the network by:
    1. Clicking the network icon in the taskbar’s notification area
    2. Click Connect To A Network (or Connect Or Disconnect if already connected to a wireless network).
    3. Select the ad hoc network and click Connect.
    4. If the ad hoc network is secured with WEP encryption, another box asks for the security key
    5. Click Connect

    Know your firewall, part 1
    Windows Firewall is enabled by default for all connections. By default:
    • The firewall drops all inbound traffic except traffic sent in response to a request by your computer, and traffic allowed by an exception.
    • All outgoing traffic is allowed unless it matches an exception.
    • Windows Firewall supports both incoming and outgoing network traffic.

    Windows Firewall With Advanced Security console has more configuration options, and it can be configured remotely. Configuration of Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), which provides for authentication, encryption, and filtering of network traffic, is also done in the Windows Firewall. In Advanced Security console, firewall exceptions can be configured for services,

    Windows Firewall maintains a separate profile (settings, rules and exceptions for various programs, services, and ports) for each of the network location types:
    • Domain Used when your computer is joined to an Active Directory domain
    • Private Used when your computer is connected to a Home or Work network in a workgroup
    • Public Used when your computer is connected to a network in a public location,

    Settings you make in the Windows Firewall Settings dialog box affect only the firewall profile for the network location you’re currently using. The settings in a profile apply to all networks (of the particular location type) to which you connect.
    The only reason to turn off Windows Firewall is if you have installed another third-party firewall that you plan to use instead of Windows Firewall

    Know Your Firewall, part 2

    When The Block All Incoming Connections check box on the General tab is selected, Windows Firewall rejects all unsolicited incoming traffic. including traffic that would be permitted by an exception. Use this mode when extra security against outside attack is needed (using a public wireless hotspot).
    Windows Firewall monitors all network connections for unwanted traffic. In some situations, you might want to disable its protection for one or more connections while leaving it on for others. (For a device on your connection that won’t work with Windows Firewall).
    1. In Windows Firewall, click the Advanced tab.
    2. Clear the check box of each connection for which you want to disable Windows Firewall.

    You may want to allow other computers to connect to your computer (to use Windows Meeting Space, play games, etc).For this you set up an exception in Windows Firewall, in the Exceptions tab. The list of programs and services that initially appears on the Exceptions tab depends on which services and programs are installed. To enable an exception, that’s already been defined, simply select its check box. You should clear the check box for all exceptions you don’t need. Exceptions are also created (but not enabled) when a program tries to set up an incoming connection. You can create an exception in any of three ways:
    • Click Unblock when Windows Firewall blocks a program and asks if you want to keep blocking.
    • Set up a program exception on the Exceptions tab in Windows Firewall.
    • Open a port on the Exceptions tab in Windows Firewall.
    Windows Firewall allows the exception only while the program is running, An exception created for a port you open is allowed whenever Windows itself is running, regardless of whether the program is actually running.
    The first time you run a program that tries to set up an incoming connection, Windows Firewall asks for your permission by displaying a dialog box. If the answer to any of these questions is no. click Keep Blocking.
    If you later find that a needed program isn’t working properly, you can open Windows Firewall Settings and enable the exception.
    From the Exceptions tab, you can set up a program exception manually:
    1. Click Add Program.
    2. Select the program for which you want to allow incoming connections. Or click Browse and navigate to the program’s executable file if it isn’t shown in the Programs list.
    3. Click Change Scope to display the dialog box and select the range of computers from which you want to allow incoming connections:
    • Any Computer—any computer on your network or on the internet.
    • My Network (Subnet)- allows inbound connections only from computers in the same subnet as yours
    • Custom List lets you specify one or more computers by their IP address (on your local area network or on the internet.)

    Another way to create an exception for an incoming connection is to open a port, if a program or a service you want to use needs to use a particular port.
    1. In Windows Firewall, click the Exceptions tab.
    2. Click Add Port.
    3. In the Add A Port dialog box, make the following entries:
    • Name box, type a descriptive name for the program or service.
    • Port Number box, type the port number needed by the program or service. Select either TCP or UDP to match the protocol needed by the program or service.
    4. Click Change Scope, select the range of computers from which you want to allow incoming connections.

    Windows Vista Testing Tips #5
    Know the UAC
    Windows Vista has two types of user accounts:
    • Standard user
    • Administrator
    Standard users can perform any general tasks and any support tasks that do not affect other users or the security of the computer. Administrators have complete access to the computer and can make changes that affect other users and the security of the computer.
    Whether you are logged on as a standard user or an administrator, you see a User Account Control (UAC) prompt whenever you attempt to perform a task that requires administrator permissions. If you are logged on with a standard user account, you are prompted to provide administrator credentials. In a local PC, the prompt lists each local administrator account by name. To proceed, you must click an account, type the account's password, and then click OK. On a domain, the prompt shows the logon domain and requires the administrator account username and password , and then click OK. If you are already logged on with an administrator account, you are prompted for consent to continue.
    The process of getting a user's approval prior to running an application in administrator mode and prior to performing actions which change system settings is known as elevation. Elevation enhances security by reducing the exposure to the operating system. It does this by providing notification when you are about to perform an action that could impact system settings, such as installing an application, and eliminating the ability for malicious programs to invoke administrator privileges without your knowledge and consent.
    Windows Vista switches to a secure desktop prior to displaying the prompt. The purpose of switching to the secure desktop is to prevent other processes or applications from providing the required permissions or consent. All other running programs and processes continue to run, it is only the prompt itself that runs on the secure desktop.
    You can disable User Account Control and all its related features on a per-account basis. Rather than completely disabling UAC, you can enable or disable individual features through policy settings. These policy settings are found under Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options.
    On a local computer, you can turn User Account Control on or off for your account:
    1. Click Start, then click Control Panel.
    2. Click the User Accounts heading, then click User Accounts again.
    3. Click Turn User Account Control On Or Off.
    4. You are prompted for permissions or consent.
    5. To disable User Account Control, clear the Use User Account Control checkbox. To enable User Account Control, select the Use User Account Control checkbox. Click OK.
    6. When prompted, click Restart Now or Restart Later. You will need to restart your computer for this change to take effect.
    In a domain, you cannot turn User Account Control on or off, since these features will more than likely be secured so that they cannot be configured unless you are an administrator for the domain.
    *credit to Paul Marquardt, and William R. Stanek , whose excellent article on I used.

    One-minute testing tips #6
    Control the UAC

    You can customize the User Account Control by using group policies. Go to the Local Security Settings snap-in (press Windows logo +R, type secpol.msc, click OK). Open the Security Settings, Local Policies, security Options. Here you will find policies that control the UAC.

    User Account Control: Behavior of the Elevation Prompt for Administrators in Admin Approval ModeThis policy controls the prompt that appears when an administrator requires elevated privileges. The default is Prompt for Consent, where the administrator clicks Continue or Cancel. You can choose the setting Prompt for Credentials to prompt the administrator to type their credentials. If you choose No Prompt, the administrator will not be prompted at all, preventing administrators from elevating their privileges. They can still right-click an application shortcut and select Run As Administrator, to enter credentials.

    User Account Control: Behavior of the Elevation Prompt for Standard Users
    This policy controls the prompt that appears when a standard user requires elevated privileges. The default is Prompt for Credentials, which require typing in of an administrator’s credentials. You can choose No Prompt to prevent standard users from elevating their privileges by supplying administrator credentials. They can still right-click an application shortcut and select Run As Administrator, to enter credentials.

    User Account Control: Delete Application Installs and Prompt for Elevation
    To enable or disable automatic privilege elevation while installing programs.

    User Account Control: Only Elevate Executables That Are Signed and Validated
    To enable or disable whether Vista checks the security signature of any program that asks for elevated privileges.

    User Account Control: Run All Administrators in Admin Approval Mode Users
    To enable or disable running administrators (except the Built-in Administrator account) as standard users.

    New Features and Tools

    Windows Easy Transfer is a wizard that helps you transfer your user accounts, personal files and folders, email messages, settings and contacts, program data files, media, and Windows and Internet settings from your old computer to your new machine. Programs (applications) are not transferred.
    You can easily transfer your entire user account or all user accounts on the computer, or you can make custom selections of the data and folders to transfer. Windows Easy Transfer provides a number of ways for you to connect two computers to transfer your data.

    Windows ReadyBoost
    Adding system memory is often the best way to improve a PC’s performance. However, cost considerations and limited memory expansion capabilities, make it difficult to add RAM.
    Windows Vista introduces Windows ReadyBoost, a new concept where you can use non-volatile flash memory, such as a USB flash drive, to improve performance without having to add additional memory to the systemboard. The flash memory device serves as an additional memory cache, memory that the computer can access much more quickly than it can access data on the hard drive. Windows ReadyBoost relies on the intelligent memory management of Windows SuperFetch and can significantly improve system response.
    Using Windows ReadyBoost is easy. When a removable memory device is first inserted into a port, Windows Vista checks to see if its performance is fast enough to work with Windows ReadyBoost. If so, you are asked if you want to use this device to speed up system performance. You can choose to allocate part of a USB drive’s memory to speed up performance and use the remainder to store files. You can remove the memory device at any time while using Windows ReadyBoost without any loss of data or negative impact to the system; however, performance returns to the level experienced without the device. Finally, data on the storage device is encrypted to prevent inappropriate access.

    RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
    Web feeds allow you to avoid having to constantly check a news site or blog to find out if anything new has been posted. When you use Internet Explorer as a feed reader, you can subscribe to an RSS feed and allow the browser to download the feed on a schedule you set up. When a new post appears, the link for that site turns bold and clicking it shows the unread material in your browser window. To get started with RSS feeds, click the orange RSS icon on any webpage.To view all feeds on your subscribed list, open the Feed list in Favorites Center. After you add a feed to your list of subscriptions, you can adjust its properties by right-clicking the feed name in the Favorites Center and choosing Properties. You can give the feed a new name (but you can’t change its URL). You can choose a different value from the Use Custom Schedule drop-down list to change the retrieval schedule for the feed from its default of once per day to a custom schedule of your choosing. To change the default retrieval schedule, click Settings and adjust the options. You can also control the number of items stored for each feed (1-2500, 200 is the default).

    Windows Vista Testing tips #8

    Windows Sidebar
    Windows Sidebar is a area on your desktop for mini-programs called gadgets . By default, Windows Sidebar is found on the right edge of your screen, but you can move it to the left or to a secondary monitor. You can make it rise above all other windows at all times , you can make it start automatically when Windows starts ( default ), and you can close and open it. You can also easily add or remove gadgets.
    • There is a gadget gallery that comes with Windows but there is a link to a much larger online gallery. To add a gadget, right-click anywhere in the sidebar and choose Add Gadgets. The gadget gallery then pops up. To install a gadget, you can either just drag it to the sidebar or right-click it and choose Install. To remove a gadget, right-click it and choose Close Gadget.
    • If Windows Sidebar is not currently open, you can open it by clicking the Start button and typing Sidebar in the Start menu’s Search box. Then click Windows Sidebar on the menu.
    • To customize Windows Sidebar, right-click any part of the sidebar other than on a gadget, and choose Properties. There are severval options. You can select a checkbox if you want the Sidebar to be on top of any open windows rather than having windows on top of the Sidebar. Clear another check box if you don't want the Sidebar to start every time you start Windows. You can also specify on which side of your Desktop you want the Sidebar to be displayed.
    • To close Windows Sidebar and hide all your gadgets, first drag any gadgets that lie outside
    the sidebar back into the sidebar. (otherwise they remain open ) Then right-click Windows Sidebar and choose Close Sidebar. If you don't want to use the Sidebar at all, right-click the Sidebar icon, and choose Exit . If you want to use the Sidebar again, you'll need to start again it from the Start menu.
    Laptop Presentations
    If you have a laptop, Vista has two features designed to help with your presentation, Presentation Settings and External Display. In Presentation Settings, you can:
    • Diasable Window’s popups and notifications
    • Control the speaker volume
    • Disable the screen saver
    • Display a desktop background to reduce distraction or to display your logo
    • Disable the automatic shutdown (sleeep)
    To go to Presentation Settings, click Start>Control Panel>Mobile PC>Adjust Settings Before giving a Presentation.
    If you use a certain projector or external monitor, you can tell Windows to use these presentation settings automatically whenever that display is connected. To do this, attach the monitor or projector, click Connected Displays and check “I always give a Presentation when I use This Display”, and save your prefered settings by clicking OK. Whenever you give a presentation with this equipment, open the Windows Mobility Center (Windows Key + X) or Start>All Programs>Accessories>Windows Mobility Center. Then in the Presentation Setting tile , click Turn On.
    To use an external display, attach an external display or projector to your PC. Then go to the Windows Mobility Center,in the external display tile, click the Connect Display button. The New Display Detected box appears, which you can setup settings. The settings are:
    • Duplicate my Desktop on all Displays- to display what you see on your laptop screen
    • Show Different Parts of My Desktop on Each Display- to show your audience one thing while you view something else on your laptop screen. You can drag windows back and forth between the displays.
    • Show My Desktop on the External screen Only- to blackout your laptop’s screen

    Testing Tips #9
    Configuring Add-ons in Internet Explorer
    IE allows you to install add-ons to extend the functions of the browser.
    To install, enable or disable add-ons, you should expand the Tools toolbar option in IE and select Manage Add-ons. The Manage Add-ons menu contains two items: Enable or Disable Add-ons and Find More Add-ons. Add-ons can be installed by clicking Find More Add-ons and selecting the desired add-on from the list. The add-on will be downloaded and you can install the add-on. Once installed, you can enable or disable the add-on by accessing the Manage Add-ons menu and clicking Enable or Disable Add-ons. Any add-ons that are currently loaded in IE will be also be displayed.
    The Show list of the Manage Add-ons dialog box provides several options for viewing and
    managing add-ons installed in IE.
    • Add-ons That Have Been Used by Internet Explorer -Displays a complete list of all the add-ons installed

    • Add-ons Currently Loaded in Internet Explorer -Displays a list of add-ons used for the currently loaded Web page

    • Add-ons That Run Without Requiring Permission-Displays a list of add-ons that have been preapproved by Microsoft

    • Downloaded ActiveX Controls -Displays a list of ActiveX controls installed on the computer

    Sometimes add-ons may cause the browser to become unstable or may interfere with other applications. To find out if add-ons are causing problems, IE provides the ability to load into “Add-ons Disable Mode” where only critical system add-ons are loaded. To load IE without loading any installed add-ons, you should click Start>All Programs> Accessories >System Tools>Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).If you find that an add-on is causing IE to become unstable, you can use the Manage Add-ons dialog box to disable the add-on.
    1. Open Internet Explorer> Tools> expand Manage Add-ons>click Enable or Disable Add-ons.
    3. Select the “Add-ons That Have Been Used by Internet Explorer” to display a list of add-ons installed on your computer.
    4. Select an add-on from the list, and click Disable, then click OK.

    Configuring the Pop-up BlockerPop-up Blocker is a to prevent pop-ups from being displayed by web pages.
    By default, Pop-up Blocker is enabled. When visiting a site that displays pop-ups, a message appears in the Information Bar indicating that a pop-up was blocked. You can disable Pop-up Blocker by opening IE>Tools>, expand Pop-up Blocker, and click Turn Off Pop-up Blocker. In the Pop-up Blocker dialog box, click Yes to disable Pop-up Blocker. Disabling Pop-up Blocker will allow any site to display pop-ups.
    If you want to enable pop-ups for just select sites, add those sites to the Allowed Sites list of the Pop-up Blocker Settings instead of disabling Pop-up Blocker.

    Testing tips #10
    Know the Calendar

    Windows Calendar is scheduling application where you can record appointments and tasks. The program supports iCalendar which lets you share your own schedule with others. You can e-mail specific appointment information or an entire calendar to someone else or publish your calendar to a website.
    You can also subscribe to public schedules which can be updated automatically at set schedules.

    To share your entire calendar, select its name in the Calendars section> choose Share> Send Via E-Mail.
    A message form in your e-mail program will appear, with an .ics file attached, which you then can email. The recipients will then be able to import the attachment into their calendar programs.

    To publish a calendar to a website, select the calendar name in the Calendars section> choose Share> Publish. Supply a URL, select the check boxes to indicate the level of detail you want to include, and
    then click Publish

    Testing tips #11
    Know you Meeting Space

    Windows Meeting Space is a program for the sharing of documents, images, and desktops between as many as ten users in a peer-to-peer setting. Each of the meeting participants must be running Vista. The first time each user runs Meeting Space, he or she will be prompted to enable file replication and sign into People Near Me. These steps require administrative credentials.
    You can either start a new meeting or join one in progress. If you choose to start a new meeting, you’ll be asked to name it and create a password that your attendees will have to use. By default, a meeting you create will be available to others on your network who have signed in to People Near Me and happen to be running Windows Meeting Space. If you prefer that your meeting not be available, click Options on the screen where you establish your meeting and select Do Not Allow People Near Me To See This Meeting.
    After you have named the meeting and created the password, clicking the green arrow to the right of the Password box takes you to the meeting screen. You can use the Invite button on the command bar to let people know about the meeting. The Invite People dialog box lists everyone on your local network who has signed in to People Near Me. To invite someone who is not on this list, click Invite Others. This will let you send invitations by e-mail or instant messaging.
    To begin sharing programs or your desktop, click the Share button. Windows Meeting Space will display a list of your open programs and documents. You can then select the item you want to share (or select Desktop). If what you want to share isn’t on the list, you can click Browse For A File To Open And Share. If you initiate the sharing, you control the action. A banner across the top of your screen indicates that you are sharing, and a Give Control button in the upper right corner allows you to pass the control to another participant
    To leave the meeting, choose Meeting> Leave Meeting or Meeting,>Exit. The meeting will still continue until all participants have left.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to post your Vista tips.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
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