Most helpful positive review
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Great study tool for people with Server 2003 experience...
on June 24, 2005
If you are familiar with working in an Active Directory domain then this book can fill in the blanks. I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner in server administration, one of the Sybex books might be a better starting point, but this book gets in depth with the "need-to-know" information for the 70-290 exam.
The format works for me, the first section goes step-by-step through configuring a Windows Server 2003 system with lessons followed by open-ended sample questions and follow-along labs. This approach works as it walks you through from the very beginning of installing the OS (included on CD) to configuring a variety of services and performing administration tasks. You learn the topic, you quiz yourself, then you do a practical portion. Getting the hands-on and seeing it work is key to success.
The second portion goes over the exam objectives. This helps to gauge the areas in which you are strong and those which need improvement. It also details all the "subject domains" you are expected to know for the test, and is shorter than the first, making it useful as a cram guide to keep the topics fresh.
The book includes Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition 180-day trial on CD for following along through the labs, as well, the second CD includes a test engine to gauge your subject matter knowledge and preparation readiness. It also includes the book in PDF format, as well as two other full eBooks, Security Encyclopedia and Networking Encyclopedia, both from MS Press, and both are great for reference with excellent content. CD 2 also includes sample chapters from other MS Press books which can help explain some concepts further and are really worth the read.
I am very pleased overall with this package, the book is well layed out, the content is in-depth, and the extras go above and beyond was is typically expected of a certification guide, inluding extra eBooks and chapters of eBooks pertinent to the subject matter.
I have a good deal of experience with a Server 2003 environment and I found I learnt a lot regardless, but this book may be a bit overwhelming for new administrators. Again, if you are new to Server 2003, the Sybex 70-290 guide might be the best start, but this book is a great value and easily my favorite from MS Press to date.