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    #26
    I am with jonny72.


    You MUST use Hyper-V because it is heavily used in the MSCA (not in real world) and based on your system...well it is not powerfull enough.
    Expect to run 4 VM's at the same time plus host.

    I recommend 32 GB in RAM, SSDs with far more space than yours and also a powerfull quad core i7. Even MS forces to use 16GB at minumum.
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  3. Senior Member Robbo777's Avatar
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    #27
    I work self employed either installing Cisco switches, routers or configuring them for the most part. I'm looking for something full time now though that'll bring in more steady money and I'm going for all these certs to make myself seem more presentable on a CV to an employer.

    I'll be purchasing another western digital HDD to run server 2012 on and possibly look to upgrade my RAM as well, otherwise I'll have to manage the hardware well when i have a few virtual machines running at the same time or maybe keep it down to one at a time or at the most 2. I dont have the luxury at the moment of spending hundreds on basically a new powerful rig so I'll have to modify and upgrade my current one which has always done the job for me to be honest as well.
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    #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo777 View Post
    Its an amd phenom x945 with 6gb gddr3 ram and a 300gb velociraptor HDD, with windows 7 x64. I hate windows 8 so unless i have to use it i prefer not to.

    I'll be purchasing another western digital HDD to run server 2012 on and possibly look to upgrade my RAM as well,
    Upgrade RAM and get a SSD instead of HDD for the performance

    If you are on Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise, you can use VHD Boot, i.e. install Server 2012 on VHD and dual boot between Win 7 and Server 2012 VHD. You get near native performance, run Hyper-V natively, and create your Server 2012 VMs inside.
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    #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo777 View Post
    I work self employed either installing Cisco switches, routers or configuring them for the most part. I'm looking for something full time now though that'll bring in more steady money and I'm going for all these certs to make myself seem more presentable on a CV to an employer.
    Getting the Server 2012 MCSA won't make your CV look much better as you don't have any work experience with it.

    If you must go with something Windows, go for the desktop exams. Though another network cert might be a better choice. Either is a better option than Server 2012.
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  6. Senior Member Robbo777's Avatar
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    #30
    Quote Originally Posted by jonny72 View Post
    Getting the Server 2012 MCSA won't make your CV look much better as you don't have any work experience with it.

    If you must go with something Windows, go for the desktop exams. Though another network cert might be a better choice. Either is a better option than Server 2012.
    I dont see the point in going for basic desktop exams when they already know i have a degree in computer science, if i was an employer id probably guess that i'd have fair bit of knowledge about the desktop etc... Whereas with the Server 2012 cert, i'm future proofing myself along with demonstrating that i have knowledge about the actual software and have used it etc... Better than being in the same boat with the same level of experience and not having it. That'll just mean that I again dont have enough experience and also dont have any knowledge in it to.
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    #31
    I dont see the point in going for basic desktop exams when they already know i have a degree in computer science,
    A big misunderstanding...worldwide.

    Those exams are NOT "basic", they are in depth knowledge which you will never learn on a University...bitter truth is, you learn almost nothing usefull
    on a university except you want to be a programmer.

    The curriculum is mostly flooded with mathematics, coding java basic, coding c++ basic, algorithm and only ~320h of OS and 320h of Networking.
    Which means...nothing.
    To compare a CCNA has 4*80h minimum, LPIC-1 has 320h, MCSA2012 has 6 month minimum...you wont learn CCNP, LPIC-2 (or even 3), PowerShell and Bash in depth.

    That is why certifications are worldwide so popular, you can study without an university and trust me...HR guys who know their stuff (rarely) know what an CCNP can and what a BA can not.

    Whereas with the Server 2012 cert, i'm future proofing myself along with demonstrating that i have knowledge about the actual software and have used it et
    Well thought, but also here...wrong. you will learn nothing in a short period you need hand on skills. Better look for other exams or a better combination of them. The 70-411 is useless junk due to the fact of RIP, NAP and DirectAccess (no one uses that).
    Study for the 70-410 and take time, combine it with PowerShell and/or Linux LDAP.
    If you want to go for HA, than try 70-412 and Linux HA...

    But before you go for Linux HA and LDAP, you need LPIC-1 and 2...both again ~ 6 month of work.

    Bitter truth is -again- the MCSA Track is not a door opener, it is something that will close the door. Because meanwhile the people know that this exams are poorly made and only people with years of experience in that field can make it or you are a braindump cheater.
    Talk with people who know the 2008 books and the 2012 books. 2012 is a disaster, the books of MS do not even have site numbers printed on!
    Read Amazon opinions...

    Microsoft blamed itself in this...next, specially in europe many unemployed people with NO knowledge at all in IT got MOC Courses...where they braindumped in 3 month the whole mcsa.

    Do it wisely, take your time, do labbing, read a whole book.
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    #32
    Hawk, the 70-411 does have some strange stuff on it, I'll give you that. However, it isn't entirely useless as you seem to think. The Remote Access portion of it and the NAP portion are odd inclusions but they do cover some of the fundamentals of remote access (despite being though the lens of Microsoft solutions). Furthermore, the Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, and File Server sections actually do have legitimate information that is relevant for the real world. You also need to think about some of these solutions in the context of a small business. Small businesses may not be able to afford expensive VPN concentrators or advanced remote access hardware. What they do have is an underused server that they could use RRAS on to extend their office a little and enter the modern era of remote computing.

    I wouldn't discredit someone for getting an MCSA without industry experience. For one it shows initiative and if they study hard and truly understand the technology they will be an asset to an organization. Many entry level Sys Admin or Sys Engineer jobs require at the very least an MCSA. I'm not saying it will be easy to get without experience, it will be a nightmare, but it will help at least get the ball rolling in some cases and maybe help someone land a desktop admin/jr. sys admin role.
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    #33
    but they do cover some of the fundamentals of remote access (despite being though the lens of Microsoft solutions).
    I thought that too before....but later I figured out that this nothing compared to a Cisco CCNA Security or Linux Security.

    What I try to say, is, that Microsoft puts a lot of stuff into the exams without to deliver quality materials to study. Seems that almost everything is poorly surface scratching and way to much technologies for one single exam.

    In my opinion, Microsoft needs to totally revise the whole MCSA. Up to today, there is no Powershell Exam nor a "Active Directory Foundation" or "Core only".
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  10. Senior Member Robbo777's Avatar
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    #34
    Hawk, i totally agree with you in regards to the "what you learn in university" comment. Its mainly 80-90% programming and was only around 10-20% networking, anything that i learnt and did i mainly learnt myself and after university as well. I still think i have enough experience and knowledge with my degree though and the N+ and CCNA that i have so far to just go for the MSCA as well. I will take on board everything that has been said about the 410 and 411 exams etc... I am doing the 410 first and I'm about 2/3 of the way through the CBT nuggets video course along with some books i have on it as well i feel that its going quite well so far. CBT nuggets i know doesn't cover EVERYTHING but they're still a fantastic learning source in my opinion.

    I understand what you're saying about the MSCA but for the most part, EVERY support or administrator role asks for it specifically these days in the UK so i do think its worth having in my opinion, even if some of the material in one of the exams is pretty primitive.
    Last edited by Robbo777; 02-16-2016 at 10:27 PM.
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    #35
    @Robbo777
    I totally understand your point.

    I worked through all CBT Nuggets switched to Pluralsight later, because the extreme fast spoken and often cut sentences from James Conrad pissed me totally off.

    I highly recommend that you first work through PowerShell too, if you still have the cbt account, you could check their 32h PowerShell course.
    It will help you much!!!

    even if some of the material in one of the exams is pretty primitive.
    Primitiv...well, the exams want deep knowledge. The books are primitiv and the questions are insane.
    Last edited by Hawk321; 02-17-2016 at 07:17 AM.
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    #36
    the desktop certs are vital for introducing you to the server technologies in my opinion. As hawk also said, they're not by any means basic. I was also wary of going for desktop certs but since i've been doing 680/685 I've learned a huge amount. These are the skills that employers will be looking for. Nobodies going to let you come in and be a server admin with no work experience. They might, however give you a shot at desktop support. Have you done your A+?

    Also, as you will find out with microsoft exams, they'll test you on prerequisite knowledge from experience or 'lower level' certs. You'll be tested on stuff in the server exams that you will find nowhere in the study materials.
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    #37
    You'll be tested on stuff in the server exams that you will find nowhere in the study materials.
    That is one big point what I meant...would Microsoft be a state school, there would acting unlawful ! Exam materials, which does not cover what is asked for is useless. Questions which are in the style of "what is the name of the tab 2 tabs before" are fraudulent!
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  14. Senior Member Robbo777's Avatar
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    #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk321 View Post
    @Robbo777
    I totally understand your point.

    I worked through all CBT Nuggets switched to Pluralsight later, because the extreme fast spoken and often cut sentences from James Conrad pissed me totally off.

    I highly recommend that you first work through PowerShell too, if you still have the cbt account, you could check their 32h PowerShell course.
    It will help you much!!!


    Primitiv...well, the exams want deep knowledge. The books are primitiv and the questions are insane.
    That seems really unfair then in all honesty for Microsoft to engineer a series of exams that you dont have all the material for! How are you actually suppose to go about passing them then! Thats like saying "pick a number on this 6 sided dice" and you pick 3 and there is no number 3 on the dice but two 4's! instead.
    Haha, i agree about James Conrad in some respects, in that he does talk quite fast but for the most part i find him to be a very good tutor. But yes i will be checking out the Powershell commands series also because it seems essential to the exam.

    And yes i'm also aware that i'm not going to be walking into a system administrator role, I'm just trying to gain as many certs and prove to potential employers that i have enough knowledge, experience and potential after having passed these exams and used the software over the years to. No i have done the A+, i didnt see the point again, after having done the N+ and the CCNA along with my degree to do, again a "basic" entry level cert to be honest.
    Last edited by Robbo777; 02-17-2016 at 02:13 PM.
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    #39
    No offence intended at all, but you were asking people how to run through an installation of an OS earlier in the thread. Which is as basic as it gets. It seems like you're trying to run before you can walk. I understand it must be frustrating after doing your degree and what you perceive to be 'higher level' certs to feel like you're going backwards, but you will be expected to do the basics. Doing your A+ would be win win. If you know all the material you could bang it out within a couple of weeks, if you don't know all the material then you would learn it during prepping for the exam.
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    #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudonym View Post
    No offence intended at all, but you were asking people how to run through an installation of an OS earlier in the thread. Which is as basic as it gets. It seems like you're trying to run before you can walk. I understand it must be frustrating after doing your degree and what you perceive to be 'higher level' certs to feel like you're going backwards, but you will be expected to do the basics. Doing your A+ would be win win. If you know all the material you could bang it out within a couple of weeks, if you don't know all the material then you would learn it during prepping for the exam.
    Technically you're wrong there. I'm fully aware of how to install a copy of an OS haha. I was asking how to install a virtual version of server 2012 on my almost full HDD and what specs i should possibly use for it using VMware. Very different from just going next next, pick your partition and finish on a normal OS installation man.
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    #41
    As I'm currently going through the 70-410: The only reason I see that you would need more than one server for the 70-410 would be to lab the creation of child domains, additional domain controllers and possibly group policy scoping. The majority of the 70-410 can be done with one server and possibly one client. That being said, I'd max out your current PCs RAM (that is the cheapest upgrade out there) so that any VM you run is using at least 2GB of RAM. Check out VirtualBox. Free and supports the current MS OS.
    Last edited by j-man; 02-18-2016 at 01:55 AM.
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    #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk321 View Post
    That is one big point what I meant...would Microsoft be a state school, there would acting unlawful ! Exam materials, which does not cover what is asked for is useless. Questions which are in the style of "what is the name of the tab 2 tabs before" are fraudulent!
    I don't know about the 70-410 but with the 70-640 (Server 2008R2 Config Active Directory) there were questions that expected you to know things that weren't covered by the book. Immediately after the exam, I looked up the question on technet and found the answer. I don't work with some of those technologies on a daily basis so I didn't even know how to google scenarios where I could lab what they were asking. The College I attended expected the same. Go out of your way to learn or at least be familiar with the content.

    For the 70-410: I'd suggest knowing or at least recognizing how to configure things by the GUI and by Powershell. Lab all of the scenarios. I've found errors when trying to promote a DC via Powershell when following along with the textbook. I had to research what the problem was and now I know.
    Last edited by j-man; 02-18-2016 at 02:09 AM.
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    #43
    Quote Originally Posted by j-man View Post
    As I'm currently going through the 70-410: The only reason I see that you would need more than one server for the 70-410 would be to lab the creation of child domains, additional domain controllers and possibly group policy scoping. The majority of the 70-410 can be done with one server and possibly one client. That being said, I'd max out your current PCs RAM (that is the cheapest upgrade out there) so that any VM you run is using at least 2GB of RAM. Check out VirtualBox. Free and supports the current MS OS.
    I would discourage anyone from the one server and one client lab environment. There is a lot at play in even the 70-410 exam. You probably want at least 2 servers and one client just to make sure you have one spare server to cover more ground. Think about it, if you mess up that one server you have to start the whole thing over again (which will happen, mind you). Whereas with 2, 3, or 4 servers you can work on other aspects of your lab environment while the server you ruined is rebuilding.

    I found it worked best for me to have at least 5 servers and one client. VMs do not take up tons of space and you can really play with the settings that way. Especially if you use dyanmic memory and differencing disks for your environment.

    When you get to the 411 and 412 you'll easily start pushing beyond 5 servers to test the different exam requirements so its good to start practicing with larger environments early.
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    #44
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    I would discourage anyone from the one server and one client lab environment. There is a lot at play in even the 70-410 exam. You probably want at least 2 servers and one client just to make sure you have one spare server to cover more ground. Think about it, if you mess up that one server you have to start the whole thing over again (which will happen, mind you). Whereas with 2, 3, or 4 servers you can work on other aspects of your lab environment while the server you ruined is rebuilding.

    I found it worked best for me to have at least 5 servers and one client. VMs do not take up tons of space and you can really play with the settings that way. Especially if you use dyanmic memory and differencing disks for your environment.

    When you get to the 411 and 412 you'll easily start pushing beyond 5 servers to test the different exam requirements so its good to start practicing with larger environments early.
    I was actually planning on having 1 server with all the roles installed on it (DHCP, DNS, etc...) just to save room. But if you say theyre not heavy on resources then what would you suggest? Have one server be a DHCP or DNS or replicate both servers just to be sure with the one client?

    Thanks
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    #45
    Here's what I would do. You want at least 2 domain controllers. This will allow you to play with some of the DNS and AD stuff across the domain. Make one of them your first server core box. That way you can see some of the AD stuff from the GUI and then you are also forced to understand it from Core. Last, you want a dedicated file/print server to play with Storage Spaces and Storage Tiers. You're going to be tearing down the VHDs and building them back up, a lot.

    Optionally: Move your DHCP server role onto its own computer that is ServerCore to make it easier to learn the ServerCore side of it. There are a ton of DHCP Powershell Cmdlets so you'll want to focus on it.

    Here are a couple of suggested builds, choose whichever works best for you. Note, just because you have X number of servers doesn't mean you have to have them all running all the time. Build out what you need and move on. If you go with a multiple domain controller build make sure and give the 2nd one some time to replicate if you have it shutdown for any period of time. Don't leave any system turned off for more than 30 days or you'll need to rebuild it (Domain Controller will be a real pain).

    Practical Build:
    Server01 (GUI) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS, DHCP
    Server02 (ServerCore) | 512 - 768MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS
    Server03 (ServerCore) | 512 - 768MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive, 5x 5GB Expanding Hard Drives | Roles: File and Print
    Client01 (Win 8.1) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive

    Note: The Extra Drives on the the File Server are used for playing with Storage Spaces. You can do most of the different configurations with just a few, small drives.

    Minimalist Build:
    Server01 (ServerCore) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS, DHCP
    Server02 (ServerCore) | 768 - 1024MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive, 5x 5GB Expanding Hard Drives | Roles: File and Print
    Client01 (Win 8.1) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive
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  22. Senior Member Robbo777's Avatar
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    #46
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    Here's what I would do. You want at least 2 domain controllers. This will allow you to play with some of the DNS and AD stuff across the domain. Make one of them your first server core box. That way you can see some of the AD stuff from the GUI and then you are also forced to understand it from Core. Last, you want a dedicated file/print server to play with Storage Spaces and Storage Tiers. You're going to be tearing down the VHDs and building them back up, a lot.

    Optionally: Move your DHCP server role onto its own computer that is ServerCore to make it easier to learn the ServerCore side of it. There are a ton of DHCP Powershell Cmdlets so you'll want to focus on it.

    Here are a couple of suggested builds, choose whichever works best for you. Note, just because you have X number of servers doesn't mean you have to have them all running all the time. Build out what you need and move on. If you go with a multiple domain controller build make sure and give the 2nd one some time to replicate if you have it shutdown for any period of time. Don't leave any system turned off for more than 30 days or you'll need to rebuild it (Domain Controller will be a real pain).

    Practical Build:
    Server01 (GUI) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS, DHCP
    Server02 (ServerCore) | 512 - 768MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS
    Server03 (ServerCore) | 512 - 768MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive, 5x 5GB Expanding Hard Drives | Roles: File and Print
    Client01 (Win 8.1) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive

    Note: The Extra Drives on the the File Server are used for playing with Storage Spaces. You can do most of the different configurations with just a few, small drives.

    Minimalist Build:
    Server01 (ServerCore) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive | Roles: AD, DNS, DHCP
    Server02 (ServerCore) | 768 - 1024MB RAM | 20GB Expanding Hard Drive, 5x 5GB Expanding Hard Drives | Roles: File and Print
    Client01 (Win 8.1) | 1024 - 1280MB RAM | 30GB Expanding Hard Drive

    Thanks for the tips, basically I'm going to buy another western digital 1TB HDD (fast but cost effective also), install the GUI server 2012 version on it. From there i'll use hyper v to create the other 2 server core machines and client machine as you say ( i might create another one as well).
    For the server core machines, besides joining computers to domains, assigning IP's, DHCP and DNS commands, it doesn't seem like it would be able to configure things such as group policies efficiently, and that would best be done on the GUI side. I suppose using Sconfig is out of the window? haha. Its really useful but it just seems like a bit to easy, is that what you usually use while on server core?

    One more question on firewalls that i have rechecked and don't think is mentioned on the CBT nuggets video. When i create a firewall policy on the domain controller with certain rules and link it to a certain OU, will the computers in that OU just abandon their firewall rule sets on the local machines?

    Again, thanks for the help!
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    #47
    I've said this before but I'll say it again....

    Get a copy of Microsoft Press 70-410 Installing & Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2 Training Guide. Make sure it's the 2012 R2 version.

    Work through all of the book. The Microsoft Press books aren't always the best, but the 70-410 Training Guide is excellent - it doesn't fully prepare you for the exam but it's really good if you're just starting out. It will also answer a lot of the questions you're asking.
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    #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo777 View Post
    Thanks for the tips, basically I'm going to buy another western digital 1TB HDD (fast but cost effective also), install the GUI server 2012 version on it. From there i'll use hyper v to create the other 2 server core machines and client machine as you say ( i might create another one as well).
    For the server core machines, besides joining computers to domains, assigning IP's, DHCP and DNS commands, it doesn't seem like it would be able to configure things such as group policies efficiently, and that would best be done on the GUI side. I suppose using Sconfig is out of the window? haha. Its really useful but it just seems like a bit to easy, is that what you usually use while on server core?

    One more question on firewalls that i have rechecked and don't think is mentioned on the CBT nuggets video. When i create a firewall policy on the domain controller with certain rules and link it to a certain OU, will the computers in that OU just abandon their firewall rule sets on the local machines?

    Again, thanks for the help!
    You are right that there aren't good Cmdlets yet to create functioning group policies. You can create the GPO, you can link it, you can change permissions, security, etc. on it but you aren't able to actually configure the settings that you are trying to enforce. There are a lot of Cmdlets in all the different technologies that could come into play. The challenge is filtering through and knowing which ones are relevant to the exam you are working on.

    SConfig is something you need to know. It doesn't come up a lot but it is a quick way to configure server core and it simplifies some of the build. In that vien, know how to manually do as many of the sconfig options as you can. They may ask you how to do XYZ and not list SConfig as an option even though sconfig can do it.

    Firewalls are tricky. I honestly can't remember off the top of my head how they apply. That is an excellent thing to lab and see what actually happens. That is the biggest piece of advise I can give. If you have a question like that, lab it and figure out how it works. That curiosity is what will push you through the challenging portions of the test.
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    #49
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    You are right that there aren't good Cmdlets yet to create functioning group policies. You can create the GPO, you can link it, you can change permissions, security, etc. on it but you aren't able to actually configure the settings that you are trying to enforce. There are a lot of Cmdlets in all the different technologies that could come into play. The challenge is filtering through and knowing which ones are relevant to the exam you are working on.

    SConfig is something you need to know. It doesn't come up a lot but it is a quick way to configure server core and it simplifies some of the build. In that vien, know how to manually do as many of the sconfig options as you can. They may ask you how to do XYZ and not list SConfig as an option even though sconfig can do it.

    Firewalls are tricky. I honestly can't remember off the top of my head how they apply. That is an excellent thing to lab and see what actually happens. That is the biggest piece of advise I can give. If you have a question like that, lab it and figure out how it works. That curiosity is what will push you through the challenging portions of the test.
    I had a feeling that SConfig was to good to be true haha, while it sounds like its used, i would've assumed Microsoft would go the harder route on the exam and get you to hardcore powershell commands etc... which makes sense in the end i suppose.

    Yeah i agree on both points! I'm nearly done with the CBT nuggets 410 series, I'm not sure if i should start the labs now or watch the powershell series first also to be honest.
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    #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo777 View Post
    When i create a firewall policy on the domain controller with certain rules and link it to a certain OU, will the computers in that OU just abandon their firewall rule sets on the local machines?
    Been a while since I do this...

    They will overlap, with group policy rules overriding local settings.
    Group policy applied rules will not be editable when you view firewall settings on the local settings.
    You can test this out in your lab. I will also gpupdate and run rsop.msc to verify.
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