Windows 2000 brought Active Directory to life, and Windows Server 2003 gives it legs to stand on. Microsoft has invested heavily in this technologythe building block of all Microsoft networks to comeand, accordingly, expects those supporting it to know how it works. In the Windows Server 2003 track,MCSE 2003, which is entitled Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, is the equivalent to exam 70-217, Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure in the Windows 2000 certification track.
MCSA is a requirement for Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) certification. (It's not required for MCSA.) You can find a complete list of the objectives for this exam at Microsoft's Certification Web site. The objectives are divided into five major categories:
*Planning and Implementing an Active Directory Infrastructure
*Managing and Maintaining an Active Directory Infrastructure
*Planning and Implementing User, Computer, and Group Strategies
*Planning and Implementing Group Policy
*Managing and Maintaining Group Policy
In this article, I won't examine each objective, but rather focus on seven of the most important things to know in order to be prepared for this exam.
Tip #1: Youll never pass on theory alone
A lot of certification exams have ridiculous prerequisite recommendations that could not possibly be metthings like three years of experience with an operating system that will be on the market for only six months. Those recommendations are good for a laugh only and stop very few from taking the test.
In this case, however, the recommendations are very accurate. They suggest one-year systems administration experience in a MCSA Certification network that includes:
*More than 250 users.
*At least three physical locations.
*At least three domain controllers.
They also suggest that the test-taker have at least a year of experience with:
*Implementing and administering the desktop.
*Designing a network infrastructure.
While it's important to know Windows Server 2003 to pass the free CompTIA practice tests, notice that it's not singled out in the lists above. If you have a year of experience with Windows 2000 and know the differences between it and the latest rendering of the network operating system, you'll be able to work through the problems on the exam and pass. Without the experience, and with only theoretical knowledge of these topics, your odds of passing this exam are slim indeed.