Saturday, 19 April 2008

Passed 70-649! Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist

Failed my 70-649 on 11 April - 4 days after my 70-296. Just to try my luck as I think I manage to know most of the answer base on the damp given by my engineer.
70-642: 700
70-643: 760
70-640: 350 (This one failed badly)

This exam is not simple, questions asked are very wide. Search the entire Internet for study guide but found none. No choice but to fall back to my usual way, setup Windows 2008 and try. After one weekend of labs and study with whatever material that I could find on the Net, I realised that this is a painful torture as I am hitting all over the shop and decided to end my mental pain; go for my second try on 19 April 2008(Today).

Passed! with the following score,
70-642: 850
70-643: 850
70-640: 760

Monday, 7 April 2008

Passed 70-296!

Finally, passed my MS 70-296 Exam. After two days of revisions on GPO, I managed to Pass 70-296 with a score of 700. Passing score for this Exam is 700! Just managed to keep my nose above the water. How I pass? I think it got to do with my luck today. The exam questions this round is not as tough as two days ago, or rather, I managed to understand most of the question objectives as compare to the set of questions two days ago. Anyway, I passed! Will revisit Windows 2003 Server again on Certificate Server when I have the time.

Next targeted Exam is 70-649 and 70-620 for Windows 2008 MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional); Microsoft changed the name for MCSE after 12 years of MCSE certification. Total of three Exams, but 70-647 is not out yet. So, will clear 649 and 620 first.

Exam 70-649: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
Exam 70-620: Microsoft Windows Vista, Configuring
Exam 70-647: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator

Will take a week break before I start my engine to clear these two exams.

Thereafter, VCP Exam!!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

70-296, Failed!

Failed! Total score is 624, Failed by 76 marks! 120 mins paper with 50 questions. I immediately felt the hit after the first 5 questions. "In-band" and "out-band" remote management with modification needed in boot.ini, what the hell was that? Ok, even if there is such a feature in Windows 2003 server, but it is not cover under the MS Press 292 & 296 books. Neither it is cover under MS Press 293 or 294. If that is the case, why is it cover in the Exam? Is Microsoft giving me a refund on the lousy MS Press Books that does not cover the knowledge require to clear Microsoft Exam.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Microsoft 70-296, killer??

I think Microsoft must be crazy on this paper, 10 objectives for the 296 exam. The amount of information required for this exam is huge! From AD Multiple Domains setup and configuration, GPO and software distribution, Performance and logging, DNS and DHCP, Backup and Restore, Remote Access and Termial Services with policy, Radius(IAS), Certificate Server, IPSec, Wireless Security, Clustering and NLB etc. This paper seem to me like a 292 retest and ++. My brain is shutting down or damaged by now! Nuts!

One more day before my 296 paper. Will have to revise some concept on GPO again. So many grey area in Microsoft study guide.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Last stage for 70-296

Finished reading 293 and 294 after 6 days of studies. Now left with GPO labs. Hope to complete everything by tomorrow and have a good revision on Thursday before my Friday paper. Preparing this paper is not as tough as compare to 292. I believe 292 has build most of my foundation for 296 paper. Wish me luck...

For those people that don't understand what is 290, 291, 292, 293, 294 and 296. Here are the explanation.

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

These are the four core paper that you have to take to be a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). There are also one client operating systems, one design exam and one elective exam to complete the certification of MCSE 2003 (on Windows 2003 Servers).

Microsoft Extend 70-292 and 70-296 to 24 May 2008!

Saw these two posting on

"I called Microsoft earlier today and was confirmed that the exams have been
extended up to May 24th, 2008. I've also tried to schedule the exams on
Prometric web site right after that, and sure enough those exams are still
available. So keep studying on your 70-296 and try to take the test before
the date. Main focus will be on GOP, Security Template, Global Catalog, and
WSUS. Good luck."

and this

"Thank you for your e-mail regarding Exam date Extension.
We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
We would like to inform you that the dates for the exams have been extended
for the entire world and not just for Australia and the date it is extended
till is 24th of May.

To determine availability for an MCP exam at a Prometric Testing centers
please contact Prometric.

Phone: 1-800-755-3926 (USA)

If there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know. Thank you
for contacting Microsoft."

:-) I got safety line liao... if I fail this coming Friday...

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

My PCs and my test lab

For those out there who want to know how I manage to get my Windows forest up and running with 7 domains. I have two PCs. Each configured with Intel Q6600 2.4GHz Quart Processors and each has 8GB 667Mhz DDR2 of Memory. Of course, I always use Asus motherboard, never failed with Asus Motherboard before. One with Asus P5K-R and the other one with P5K-Pro, both come with Intel P35 Chipset. As per usual, I build my own PC. I reused back my Casing, Power Supply, Floppy and DVD from my old P4 2.4Ghz. Everything looks the same from outside.

I have tried to over-clock both motherboard to 3GHz, running fine for two months, but later faced some problems on some applications. Tried most of the setting in BIOS, bus speed, memory speed, memory voltage, CPU voltage. Still got "Blue" screen when applications is heavily loaded. Suspected my "cheap" 667Mhz Memory is giving me issues, what to do... it's cheap. 2GB per piece is SGD $70 and that price was in Nov 2007. It works! but cannot over-clock above 667Mhz. Mr. "Blue" will visit my computer when it reached 800Mhz. :-P

Believed it or not, I got 2.6T of storage. Each PC has 1 x 320GB (reuse) and 2 x 500GB (new). No choice, the current best valued hard disk per GB is 500GB. Was forced to purchased 500GB base on this logic.

I've also got two 19" Samsung 910T LCD monitor that I brought 2 years back. Both PC have Dual DVI ports linked to both monitors, one using DVI, the other using DVI-to-VGA convertor. With this, I am able to switch between two PC by pressing the "source" button on the monitor. Too bad, I can't find any dual DVI input KVM switch in the market. So, this is still the best method. Again, why two monitor? One Monitor for VM and the other monitor for eBooks and web. So that I can read and perform my lab at the same time. Is kind of effective. Sometime, I will have both PC VM up on each screen and use a simple 2 port KVM switch to toggle the keyboard and mouse between both PCs. I think my next upgrade will be two years later. When Intel desktop Motherboard is able to support 16GB memory.... I hope.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Microsoft 2003 Servers, One Forest, Two Domain Tree and 5 Child Domains

Finally, managed to setup One Forest, Two Domain Tree and 5 Child Domains for my 70-296 upgrade Exam. Of course, 296 does not require me to setup this lab. But I think it will be fun to know more rather than reading from the 293 and 294 books.

Hit into some major problems when I starts to join Child Domains. I don't think my procedures is wrong! But two errors message kept appearing, "domains exists" and "hard disk failures, after xx tries". Trust me the domains did not exists.

After much troubleshooting, I realised that it might be my VMware workstations 6 giving the problem. It may be related to SID, I suspected. But I never got a chance to test it out. I get the problem resolved by joining all my 6 2003 Server VMs to the root domain as DCs using dcpromo. Then demote all the DCs from the root domain using dcpromo. Thereafter, all 2003 Servers will be automatically configured as 2003 member server. Disjoin the 2003 member servers from the root domain. Rebooted, and join to the Root Domain as Child domains using dcpromo, it Works!

I used back the same child domain name that gives me the error messages. It Works! Have downloaded a program to change SID. Will try and use it next time. The best part of this troubleshooting is that it only affects the Child Domain creation. Why????? Never mind, after this I will move to 2008... Don't have to know why in 2003... oh, by the way, I think I should use sysprep for all 2003 servers, which I didn't.

MS 70-292 Cleared on 24 March 2008!

After 7 days of studies, managed to pass MS 2003 Upgrade Exam 70-292 with 813 on 24 March 2008. This exam is tough, consist of 70-290 + 70-291. Used Microsoft Press 290,291 and 292+296 upgrade, a total of 1,800 pages in 5 days with all the labs.

I will not post the exam questions here, as this exam is going to be expired on 31 March 2008. 210 mins with 40 questions. Need 700 to pass. Maximum score is 1000. Took me 90 mins.

This is one of my hardest paper in Microsoft exam. Not in term of the actual Exam, but the amount of time I need to prepare myself for this Exam. Taking 70-290 and 70-291 at one go is insane! I was thinking to complete my study of MS Press 292+296 within 3 days, but later realise that I got difficulties in understanding some chapters in 292+296 upgrade. Fall back to read 290 and 291 chapter by chapter. It took me one week to complete with all the labs. No time to do extra labs and play around with my own labs. My advise to people out there, don't try this upgarde paper unless you are very sure that you understand all details in 290 and 291.

Oh, please stuck with the exam objectives of 292. No Files Share, No Hardware Raid, No IP addressing, No routing questions. So, if you are rushing for time to complete your study for this exam, don't study extra. I believe Microsoft think that all MCSE 2000 should be able to answer to those questions.

Be prepare to know how DNS works in 2003 together with AD. Know your Primary, Secondary and Stub Zone. Forwarder question is also asked. Know backup and system state. I believe I got two questions wrong on system state backup. Both different questions but same answer, Restore System state with Certificate Server. Should you back up Physical Certificate Directory? I answered yes for both questions, and I believe I got it wrong when I saw my marks on this area of test objective. Out of 6 test objectives, I got 3 objectives in full marks. Of course I don't know which is wrong. As per all people that took the exam, you will only answer what you think is the right answer. And you don't know where went wrong. All the best for people that is taking this exam before 31 March. Hope you do well!

Booked Exam 70-294 on 31 March, and shifted it to 4 April. It works! I just buy myself another 4 days after 31 March. Let's see how is my result on 4 April.

Thomas Low New Site

Signed up on 30 March 2008.... Give me some time to put up the content.