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  1. Junior Member La Chupacabra's Avatar
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    #1

    Post How to start learning Server 2008

    Hello,
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I give it a go. I'm a self-employed IT Technician with a good knowledge of Windows XP\Vista\7 and 8 but I've never dealt with any servers. I'm in the process of looking for a job for Help Desk\IT Support technician and most of offers requires knowledge of Windows Servers (especially 2008), so I decided to learn Windows Server 2008.
    My problem is I have 0 experience in servers and I have no idea where to start. I've been unsuccessful finding any decent studying material.
    Can anyone recommend me some book, eBook, online tutorial that will cover the total basics of servers?
    My aim is to prepare for MCSA Windows Server 2008 from knowing nothing about servers
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  3. Still a noob earweed's Avatar
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    #2
    I started studying Server 2008 never having done anything with a server. I mainly used the Microsoft books Miocrosoft Training Kit and used virtualbox or VMWare workstation for labbing. Best to have a good PC/laptop with over 4 GB RAM for labbing.
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  4. Junior Member La Chupacabra's Avatar
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    #3
    Thank you earweed. It's good to know that I can start from Server 2008 without any previous experience with servers. Those books look really good. I'm surprised that I couldn't find them before.
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  5. Senior Member fly2dw's Avatar
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    #4
    If you don't already have one, register yourself with a Hotmail account, then login and download an evaluation version of Windows 2008 R2 for 180 days:

    Download Windows Server 2008 R2 Evaluation (180 days) from Official Microsoft Download Centre

    Install this either onto a physical server if you have some hardware available (Or purchase some cheap on Ebay), or for a better learning experience as you can roll back quickly use a virtual client as earweed listed above Virtualbox, VMware Workstation, or Hyper-V on client (Make sure you have plenty of RAM). Ideally you would want a server Hypervisor like Hyper-V role on a server/Core Server OS or vSphere but at this stage in your learning that will cause more questions then answers, so stick with client software.

    Then you can install your Windows Server 2008 R2 media into the virtual environment to play around with. Install 1 or 2 servers (Pending on resources) and then a client Windows 7/8 to interact with the server (You can get an evaluation version of these to, if you don't already have the media).

    You can utilise some of the MSPress books or any other Microsoft server material from Sybex or SAMS etc. You can use a generic resource kit or an exam orientated resources, which is a book that follows a Microsoft exam blueprint and teaches you what you need to pass (Well that is the idea, you generally need more than just the book in most cases such as Technet or CBT).

    Example generic resource:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed: Rand Morimoto, Michael Noel, Omar Droubi, Ross Mistry, Chris Amaris: 9780672330926: Amazon.com: Books

    Mastering Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2: Mark Minasi, Darril Gibson, Aidan Finn, Wendy Henry, Byron Hynes: 9780470532867: Amazon.com: Books

    Or exam orientated:

    Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-640): Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory (Self-Paced Training Kits): Dan Holme, Nelson Ruest, Danielle Ruest, Jason Kellington: 9780735651937: Amazon.com: Books

    Self-Paced Training Kit Exam 70-642: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure: Tony Northrup, J.C. Mackin: 9780735651609: Amazon.com: Books

    Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-646): Windows Server 2008 Server Administrator: Ian McLean, Orin Thomas: 9780735649095: Amazon.com: Books

    I listed these books for a reason as completing all these exams will give you a MCSA in Server 2008:

    MCSA: Windows Server 2008 | Microsoft

    Video guides are available at CBT Nuggets for a fee:

    CBT Nuggets: Microsoft Windows Online Training Videos

    If you don't want to pay you can always use Technet to read a lot of the content that is in these books for free. Also there are videos and if you really don't want to build you own lab you can use the virtual labs to understand core concepts:

    Learning Resources | TechNet

    However I would advise you build your own lab and install Windows from the ground up to get a better understanding of how things work.

    To start with I think you should install a virtual client on your Windows client OS and have a go at installing Windows Server 2008 R2. Think whether you want to pursue an exam or just learn without aligning to a blueprint. FYI the blueprints can provide a little structure to stop you feeling overwhelmed.

    Finally you also check out the Microsoft Virtual Academy for more study and guidance:

    Microsoft Virtual Academy

    Also don't forget the old faithful Google!

    Phew, yeah there is a lot out there, but just get stuck in. Also a little tip, as Server 2008 is getting on (As Server 2012 is out), to help with your transition to Server 2012 after studying Server 2008 (Should you choose to), make sure you add PowerShell commands into your Server 2008 learning. When you move to Server 2012, you will find a lot of the commands will work the same, however from a GUI perspective you may need to figure it out all over again, therefore this will save time (Also Powershell is a great tool). But keep this tip for when you are a lot more comfortable with Server 2008, Powershell can have 2 affects on beginners frighten or intrigue. You will see it's value later in your studies.

    Best of luck

    fly2dw!
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  6. Learn it, Do it, Know it! Asif Dasl's Avatar
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    #5
    Great post Fly2dw! Rep +1

    The books that Earweed linked to, 2 of the exams are discontinued or will be by the time you get to them (70-643 & 70-647). They will be discontinued at the end of this month.

    Fly2dw has linked to the MCSA:2008 books for exams 70-640, 70-642 & 70-646 which will be staying around for some time.

    HTH.
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  7. Senior Member fly2dw's Avatar
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    #6
    Thanks man!!
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    #7
    You can also use virtual labs offered by Microsoft. I would suggest building and installing server 2008 yourself, but if you can't afford it or don't have the resources you can use their virtual labs to log into servers and play around with the software: TechNet Virtual Labs

    As others have said, pickup a book and read it. MS press has some decent literature on the topic as well as a few others.
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  9. Junior Member La Chupacabra's Avatar
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    #8
    This is very helpful. Thank you very much
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  10. Junior Member La Chupacabra's Avatar
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    #9
    I started to learn Windows Server 2008 from this book: Mastering Windows Server 2008: Networking Foundation by Mark Minasi. I chose this book because it supposed to be for beginners who never dealt with Servers before. Unfortunately it's not the best study material. There is plenty of theory and not enough exercises which would make it much easier to understand the theory.
    1. Can anyone recommend better book for a beginner?
    2. Also, is it a smart move to learn Windows Server 2008 or shall I start from Windows Server 2012?
    3. If Windows Server 2008 is a right choice to learn; shall I study to pass MCSA: Windows Server 2008 or something different?
    4. How long it takes to prepare to pass MCSA: Windows Server 2008 for someone who has no experience with servers?
    5. If I pass that exam, is it enough to find a job in UK or will I need to pass some other exams?
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