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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.
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on June 17, 2004
I've just finished reading this book, it contained almost everything I needed to know for the exam. It was written in easy to understand language and coupled with the recommended experience in the server field should be a breeze for others to comprehend.
Great to see an Australian writing such an important MSPress book too!
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on April 15, 2004
I did the exam 2 weeks ago (passed) after using this book along with Trancenders but struggled in the exam.
You would need to have a second book to give you a rounded view of the subject areas. Also the exam is based on a lot of real world examples not covered in the text (a lot of stuff on backing-up) also a lot of areas in the book were not in the exam.
If you are new to 2003 spend some time working with the material before tackling the exam.
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on April 4, 2004
This is probably the tenth Microsoft Press book I've purchased, and it is no different than the rest of them. While the technical aspects of the material seem adequate, I think there needs to be more detail. The exams always seem to contain a few questions that only Technet can help you answer. An exeption to this was the Microsoft Press MCSE study guide for 70-216, which was very detailed. Another bad thing about this publication (70-290) is the CD, which contains a few typographical errors and what I believe to be wrong answers on a few of the Readiness Review questions; namely a claim that a RAID-5 array isn't fault tolerant, which it clearly is. If you are considering purchasing this book, please do yourself a favor and check it out first. Read through some of it, and verify its accuracy with other publications or online material. The 2003 Server Administrators Guide is much better written and contains more real world scenarios than this book. Use it as a backup. Hope this review helps, and good luck on the exam.
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on March 12, 2004
Poorly written and way out of context. My advice to anyone wishing to learn the real ins and outs of 2003 server would be to buy Mark Minasi's book - he offers much better advice geared towards the real world and his chapter on DNS is far superior to the drivel written in this publication.
I particuarly dislike the monotonous tone that so often is the down fall of Microsoft publications.
On the upside - this book is given it's blessing by *Microsoft* - so it must have something going for it. The section on Group Policy is not bad.
However - just go to Borders and compare the difference - Minasi's book on 2003 server is *the* bible to have with regards to decent technical writing and explanantions of real world situatios with regards to 2003 server.
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on February 11, 2004
If you get handon experience with Windows admin, you will pass even without this book. If you don't have experience, you will fail for sure with this book.
So this book is useless for both. As a reference book for exam, I think this book is not well target at all! consider the contents in this book and what covered in the real exam.
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on February 8, 2004
I thought that Holme and Thomas did an excellent job of writing a book designed to help students prepare for and pass the 70-290 exam. They provide a credible alternative to memorizing the thousands of pages in the win2003 Admin Companion, Deployment Kit, Security Guide, etc. The authors were able to distill it down to a dozen or so chapters, plus additional recommended readings before taking the test. Some other reviews seem to criticize it for being disjointed, but the book is clearly designed to help you pass the test, not administer a server (there are lots of other good books for that). Two weeks after buying this book I passed the test on my first try. 'Nuff said.
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on February 4, 2004
I bought the whole set of MCSE. I took the first one 70-290. I found that it is difficult to follow.
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on November 26, 2003
If you don't know the product, you will not pass. This book will help you pass. If your only experience with Windows Server 2003 is installing it twice and running a few applications then you WILL fail the 70-290 exam no matter what book you buy! The MCSE is not like it was back in the NT4 days when you could train your parrot to pass the exams. You need to know what you are doing. This book is reasonably good at building on the exam objectives, but in some cases you will need to look at Technet. If you buy this book and fail the exam, don't blame the book - have a good look at the amount of experience you had going into the exam with Windows Server 2003. I passed this exam and this book helped (though my experience with the product, and prior Microsoft server operating systems did as well).
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on October 28, 2003
This book was terrible. It was disjointed, and very difficult to follow. The organization and flow made no sense to me, and I felt the author, as it typical with MS Press, was long winded. In addition, the additional study tools were useless, unless you had some additional background. Needless to say, I failed this exam, and this book is to blame.
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