Starting to study tomorrow! Need lab advice...

rmaster1rmaster1 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone! I just found this site, but I've found it very useful so far. I've started collecting study materials, but I'm going to officially start studying for the 70-680, 70-685, and 70-686 tomorrow. My goal is to finish all three before our baby is born in April. Once I'm done with the Windows 7 tests, I'm planning on going on to tackle the MCITP:SA series of tests. I've committed to taking at least 4 exams this year as work is paying for them, but I can take more if I'm able. I'm trying to be optimistic...

So, I have the Don Poulton 70-680 and the Darril Gibson 70-685/86 books. I'm avoiding the MS 680 book at this point based on what I've heard. I also have access to the Trainsignal for 680 and CBT Nuggets for all 3 exams, so I think I have adequate study materials. Anything else you would suggest for these tests?

My bigger concern is setting up for labs. I have a brand new Dell Optiplex 780 quad core with 8 GB RAM, a 250 GB main drive and a 1 TB secondary drive that I can use for study. I also have a 745 and 755 available to use if I need them. What kind of labs are you guys setting up? I'm considering setting up a dual boot system with 7 Enterprise and Server 2008 R2 with Hyper V. I should be able to setup virtual clients and do most of the labs that way I believe. Any opinions? Is this overkill?

Anyway, thanks for any help and I look forward to learning along with everyone.


  • darkerzdarkerz Member Posts: 431 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Scrap the videos. I am dead serious.

    I used only the MSoft Press book + One other from the book store I'd skim over, some professer messer material but mostly lab, lab and lab. 80% of the stuff on the exam was not theoretical or something anyone told me, it was things I've had to do myself to recognize. It's not an easy exam for the 680.

    My advice; 1 Remote laptop client, 1 Desktop client, and get a small server setup for networking. Use the 30 day Windows 7 Ultimate licenses as need be. You can do it, just make sure to demonstrate and perform every single objective. The MSoft press book for me, objectively, was great besides a few small typos that don't really affect much of anything.

    And yes, the heavy virtualization is overkill besides a few instances where you need to practice deployment, imaging and sysprep best practices for the 70-680. I'm on the 70-685 tract right now and I think it's easier so far with the 680 ingrained in my mind... It's problem solving at this point.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,886 Mod
    The resources you have should be enough. Some people learn better by watching videos so if you feel that would give you and edge in absorbing the material then go right ahead. In my case I am using the 70-680 MS Press book (its not that bad) along with TrainSignal and my lab. I have a full blown VMware ESX setup that I used for by MCITP studies so I leveraged it for Win 7. If you want to go crazy with a lab setup, why not? More knowledge for you. Deploying a VM with Server 2008 R2 will allow you to try out features such as BranchCache and WDS. Definitely worth it in my opinion.

    Also, don't forget about the stickies "70-6xx Resources".
  • PsoasmanPsoasman Senior Member Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I set up Windows Virtual PC with a server and 2 clients. I went through the exercises given in both the MS press 685 and Darril's book. The labbing helped me, as I am more of a hands-on learner. Your lab setup should be fine for this exam and the MCITP: SA later on.

    I also went through the questions in Darril's book and the MS 685 book.

    Good luck!
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I installed the free VMware Server and setup a bunch of VMs domain/Exchange labbing. This was on a single core PC with 2mb RAM so I could only run a maybe 3x VMs at a time.

    I'm a bigger believer of CBTs and the right trainer can really accelerate your learning as well as keep the topic interesting. I found doing this made reading the 800pg books a lot more palatable.
  • Cookie0879Cookie0879 Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    darkerz wrote: »
    Scrap the videos. I am dead serious. ...

    If that's what works for you, great! But I wouldn't go as far as telling others to completely ignore the material. As with lots of things in life, try it and see of it works for you.
    I like them, while a colleague of mine uses the cbt's to help him fall asleep.

    rmaster1, I've got the following setup running in VMware workstation, but any of the free virtualization apps out there will allow you do to the same:

    Virtual Firewall Appliance (free, downloaded from the VMware website)
    -- Server1: DC1, DNS1, DHCP
    -- Server2: DC2, DNS2,
    -- Server3: member server to test out different server roles or apps
    -- client1
    -- client2

    The above is a basic setup that allows me to add just about anything to it, and I can easily revert back to a previous snapshot when things go wrong (note when, not if things go wrong :))
    Using the virtual firewall appliance allows the test machine to access the internet if needed, while keeping them out of my home network.
    Currently Studying For: 70-410 Training Guide - Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
    Goal for 2013: 70-642 (DONE), 70-646 (DONE), 70-410 (studying), 70-411, 70-412
Sign In or Register to comment.