Final Class Meetings

November 22, 2006

Chapter 12 Concept Map

Chapter 11 Concept Map

A fascinating comparison of RAID performance in a database environment. You’ll be surprised at the results!

A good explanation of how disks fragment

Wikipedia on NTFS

Defrag the XP/200x page file with PageDefrag!

ARC Paths

The ever-confusing boot.ini file’s structure is explained most comprehensively in this Microsoft article.

ARC Paths graphic

Information on Int 13h


Meetings 10 & 11 (May 15 and 17, 2007)

November 6, 2006

Not much to add to the class discussion! We covered chapters 8 & 9.

70-290 Schedule v6

Chapter 8 Concept Map

Chapter 9 Concept Map

This webcast (look at the bottom of this page) has information on upcoming changes to Microsoft’s certification program in light of Windows Server 2008.

Free disk imaging software for Seagate and Maxtor drive owners!

Meetings 7, 8, & 9 (May 3, 8, & 10, 2007)

October 25, 2006

Sorry about the dead air! For meetings 7, 8, &9 I’ve got a few helpful readings, the concepts maps, and an updated class schedule:

70-290 Class Schedule v5

Chapter 6 Concept Map

Chapter 7 Concept Map
More information on “Reversible Encryption” for passwords:

Kerberos Information:

Server 2003 and Kerberos

Wikipedia on Kerberos

(Somewhat) Simplified explanation of Kerberos


Nice how-to on using CSVDE (this author has a great sample spreadsheet that helps you do the most difficult part of using CSVDE: creating the Distinguished Name field for the import file!)

A Visual Basic script to add users to AD

Roaming Profiles

The book neglects to mention that you don’t have to visit each client computer to enable roaming profiles on a network (page 197 seems to indicate that this is the only way to enable this feature). This change can be made through… you guessed it: GPO.

Meeting 6 (May 1, 2007)

October 22, 2006

We had a good discussion of service packs, hotfixes, and SUS. Next class meeting we will discuss licensing and begin Chapter 6 where we’ll discuss:

  • User Accounts
  • Groups
  • Profiles
  • Account management

Chapter 5 Concept Map

70-290 Schedule v4

The License Logging Service has a troubled history in Microsoft Server products: erroneous usage counts, never releasing un-used licenses, etc. Here are some links to read on the sbuject:

Software Update Services, now Windows Server Update Services

Microsoft has changed Software Update Services (SUS) to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). This change, they say, was “based on customer input.” The change focuses on WSUS’ role as an overall patch management and distribution system (SUS was meant only for Windows operating system patches).

Main improvements in WSUS:

  • WSUS can update more than just the OS. Updates to SQL Server, Exchange Server, Office, and others can be distributed through WSUS.
  • You can target updates to specific subsets of your network. This facilitates testing prior to network-wide rollout of patches. Testing is good 🙂
  • WSUS uses Backgrount Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to avoid swamping network links with traffic.
  • WSUS has better management and reporting capabilities
  • WSUS uses a database for storing update approval information rather than an XML format text file.

Should you study SUS or WSUS for the 70-290 exam? Everything I can dig up says focus on SUS for the exam. Should you use SUS in production? It won’t be supported past Dec 6, 2006 so I would definitely choose WSUS for a new update infrastructure deployment.

Here are some helpful links:

Using disk imaging tools with Virtual Hard Drives

Command Prompt Reference for Server 2003

More abbreviated cmd reference

WSUS compared to two other patch management solutions:

Download Point for WSUS:

Migrating from SUS to WSUS:

Deploying WSUS:

Information on differences between SUS and WSUS:

WSUS Step-by-step Installation:

WSUS editorial:

Nifty piece on what’s new in WSUS:

WSUS resource page:

And finally, here is the download link for SUS SP1 (Microsoft says it won’t be available much longer…):

Meeting 5 (April 26, 2007)

October 17, 2006

Good discussion of backup software, technology and VSS!

70-290 Chapter 4 Concept Map

Further Readings:

Backup Technologies

Interesting Virtual Tape Drive software

Backup Rotation Schemes

Backup Rotation Schemes by Seagate

The TAO of Backup

Good information from Msft on Automated System Recovery

Overview of Server 2003 Backup

More on the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)

VSS White Paper

VSS in 10 minutes

The Authoritative Restore

Microsoft Overview

Using ntdsutil.exe to mark objects authoritative

Restoring an entire subtree (like an ON) using ntdsutil.exe

Distinguished Name Examples

Becomeing facile with the task of translating Active Directory object names from their everyday format to Distinguished Name format is important for completing an Authoritative Restore of AD. Below are two examples which illustrate this process:

  1. Computer called workstation1, a member of the contoso.local domain, located in an OU called developers which is inside another OU called Seattle:
  2. User called user001, a member of the contoso.local domain, located in an OU called Users:

From these examples, we can see that Distinguished Names (DN) go from specific to general as you read from left to right. DN’s are arranged just like DNS names but instead of using periods for separators, DN’s use commas; and instead of using an implied name structure DN’s use an explicit name structure (the attribute=value pairs that you see in the DN. Ex: OU=developers).

Meetings 3 & 4 (April 19 & 24, 2007)

October 13, 2006

We spent meetings 3 & 4 delving into server management with MMC and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and monitoring via System Monitor and Performance Logs & Alerts.

70-290 Chapter 3 Concept Map

70-290 Schedule v3

Obtain the public Beta of Windows Server “Longhorn”!

Here are some links to supplement the book:

A good explanation of how disks fragment

RDP Error Messages:

How to run OS X under VMWare:

Server Performance Tuning

What’s up with svchost#?

Excellent utility utility for picking apart svchost

Virtual Memory Information

Pagefile Optimization

Another Pagefile Optimization article

Check Pagefile Fragmentation

Memory usage snapshot tool

Nice Explanation of the Windows Virtual Memory Manger (VMM)

A nice overview of 2003 internals

Geeky description of the 2003/2003 file cache mechanism (related to VMM)

One of the most demanding applications for workstations is video editing. These users tend to have good advice on tweaking their systems for maximum performance.

This is THE MOST UP TO DATE article from Microsoft (that I can find) on the real how-it-works of Windows Server virtual memory. The article is dated 1992. Some specifics have surely changed, but the main memory management approach remains in use.
Tangent Alert!

You can do yourself a big favor as a system administrator and Microsoft exam-taker by familiarizing yourself with Group Policy Objects. Here are some resources which may help:

GPO Interactive Simulation

Microsoft’s page on Group Policy Management Console

Useful whitepaper/book on managing a network with Group Policy

Great website on Application Deployment via GPO

Work with Group Policy in a Virtual Lab environment on Microsoft’s Servers! (Scroll halfway down to page to see the Virtual Labs that relate to GPO). This Virtual Lab is a great resource. It uses a RDP-like connection within a web browser to connect over the Internet to a virtual server farm set up for experimentation. It’s a great free resource to gain hands-on time with Microsoft technology.

For class meeting 5, we will cover chapter 4 in the 70-290 book. See you Thursday!

Meeting Two

October 12, 2006

We had a good second and class meeting with discussion of:

  • Active Directory 
  • MMC introduction

70-290 Chapter 2 Concept Map (These are created with Freemind)

70-290 Schedule v2

Below are some links to expand upon Chapter 2.

Customizing MMC

Example of making a Taskpad
Creating Custom MMC Consoles

Working with RDP

RDP over SSL (Short Version)

RDP over SSL (Microsoft’s Longer Version)

Enabling Remote Desktop for Administration

How to “Shadow” another User

Further information on RDP

Information on what permissions are needed to use RDP