MCSA Windows Server 2008 - 70-640

  • Hi guys,

    I'm hoping to get some help, I currently work in a helpdesk role and I am wanting to further my career into a Systems Administration role. To do this I'm looking at doing the MCSA Windows Server 2008, now you may be asking why 2008. The reason is because I have access to Windows 2008 Server and this is what is used at my current workplace, with no plan to move to 2012 anytime soon.

    I'm in the process of setting up a virtual lab, what study material would you recommend. I find studying easier on a pc / laptop as opposed to a book, can anyone suggest some study guides. I like to also get as much hands on as I can.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bump, is anyone able to help or give some advice?

  • Hi Nathan,

    I am actually in the process of looking for some resources myself to update my certifications, still deciding about W2K8 or W2K12. But to get you started I advise you the following:

    1. Make a realistic study plan. Even though more focused on W2K12 this links gives you an idea of what you should do and links to resources:

    www.mygareth.com/.../90-days-to-mcsa-building-a-plan-for-the-challenge

    borntolearn.mslearn.net/.../building-a-plan-for-passing-the-90-day-mcsa-challenge.aspx

    2. Set up a lab. Whether virtual or physical lab get preferably something with good RAM and a CPU with VT-d (check Intel website) capabilities.

    Some links in how to set up labs in different ways.

    www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39638 Windows Server 2012 R2 Test Lab Guide

    www.itsallgeek2mike.com/.../building-lab-to-get-your-geek-on.html

    www.itsallgeek2mike.com/search (build lab)

    pc-addicts.com/building-the-ultimate-virtualbox-lab-intro

    regularitguy.com/.../need-a-quick-labsandbox-to-try-out-msft-technologies

    technet.microsoft.com/.../virtuallabs

    3. Play with the MS Technet Virtual Labs (free, already set up)

    4. Use Technet for extra info.

    5. Sign for pluralsight.com/training (former trainsignal), subscription is cheap and it is worth the money. You can cancel anytime and what you get is amazing, I am going to a monthly full subscription myself.

    6. You can also use books/training kits as an extra resource but it's up to you really.

    Note: I could have expanded on other things (and you can also use an AMD CPU, I'm not biased towards Intel) but this was just to get you started, there is massive information out there if you read the blogs and follow links.

    Hope it helps,

    Helder

    P.S. I am hoping to start my W2K8 training tomorrow and I am going to start with the training signal videos and then maybe play with some MS labs and then build my lab during the week.

  • Hi Helder,

    Thanks for all the info, I already have VM Workstation with a fresh VM that is 2008R2. I think the part that I'm finding the hardest is some study material without having to purchase the books or use something like Trainsignal.

    I'm also in two minds about 2008 or 2012 certification as well, i'm leaning towards 2008 because it's only an upgrade exam and then you get 2012 cert as well.

    I think my main issue is knowing where to start with the study material, let me know what you think of trainsignal or if you find something else.

  • Hi Nathan,

    First of all I meant Intel VT-x (not VT-d). Although not critical, make sure the CPU also supports (EPT-Extended Page Tables). It's not that you can't fully virtualise without these capabilities but one day when you get more advanced you will regret it. Don't buy any PC without checking the CPU features at Intel.

    I am in the same position as you and I spent a lot of time researching what to study (W2K8 or W2K12) and how. I am not advising you to follow this, but this is literally what I am going to do starting today in a few minutes.

    I am going to enroll for the trial at Trainsignal www.pluralsight.com/training and start watching the W2K8 videos.

    Then I am going sign for the full version at the end of the trial (Their catalogue is worth the money). After I finish I'll cancel subscription and when I need again I'll sign again. Apparently they also offer transcender exams in the full subscription (but haven't confirmed yet). I have done trainsignal in the past and learned a lot. Usually after the videos you have lab work to do and they give you a manual with instructions to set up your network and scenarios to practice, it's hands-on, fun and you learn a lot.

    I will also keep an eye on the exams objectives as per the MS exam info page for a particular exam, to make sure I am focused on the study and to avoid under or overstudy. I also have the older version of the W2K8 server MS self-paced training kit. Then will complement with Technet reading for R2 differences. You can buy the R2 training kit version for the 3 exams, it's worth having as it gives you a structure of what to do but you need to complement with something else.

    There are many free resources out there including free e-books and white papers from MS itself. But above all you have to use the product, labs, etc.

    I am also probably going to study for all the 3 exams first to get more knowledge but this is only because I am taking time off to do this and will have a very strict schedule and discipline, just need to mantain motivation and energy levels. I will definitely practice with Transcender or Measureup exams. You learn a lot by their explanations about why a question is right and wrong. There is a huge discount until June on both companies, I will probably buy all the exams if necessary.

    www.transcender.com/gen.aspx

    www.measureup.com/MPNCompetency.aspx

    Make sure you also know how to use PowerShell.

    The best advice I can also give you (many people fail because of this) is to be organised. Used googledocs or onenote, or onedrive or similar stuff to keep you organised. A place where you can put your links, structure your thoughts, etc.

    Only you can decide your path according to your current knowledge, resources and time but you can't go wrong with good videos and lab work, you will always learn something.

    Good luck,

    Helder

  • Hi Helder,

    Thanks so much for the indepth analysis you've provided. I've already got a computer that would be used for any virtuals, it's an i5 Intel with 8gb of ram which is easily upgradeable to 16gb. I will double check that it is VT-x.

    I like the thought of enrolling for TrainSignal but as I already work full time, I can't devote all of my time to it. Sounds like a crap excuse but after a full day of doing Helpdesk trust me it gets frustrating. Although, I may do the trial when I come back from holiday.

    I've already got a collection of links from Technet, but I find by just reading what is in the exams isn't giving me enough. I do have a collection of CBTNuggets videos though, I will tell you if these are any good.

    The R2 training kit version for the 3 exams, do you have a link for them? I've been thinking of buying the books that are the second release but they're not cheap in Australia and Amazon isn't an option.

    I've not used powershell alot but do so at work sometimes although it is more copy / pasting.

    I think I will definately go ahead like you suggested with the googledocs / onedrive.