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Exam Profile: MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring (70-640)

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Pearson Certification provides a variety of exam preparation tools to help our customers in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Exam Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the testing experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the exam. Each profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, exam objectives, and recommendations for additional study resources.
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The TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring (70-640) exam covers Microsoft Active Directory. By passing this exam, you are certified as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuration. It also counts as part of the higher-level certifications Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Server Administrator.

Corporations that use Windows as their standard operating system are most likely using Active Directory to provide authentication, which is a major part of most security systems along with authorization and auditing. Therefore, if you are going to support these Windows users, you can benefit greatly by thoroughly understanding Active Directory.

The 70-640 exam covers logically organizing your network resources including users, groups, computers, and printers. This may include defining sites, assigning users and computers to groups, and creating and managing shared printers published in Active Directory. However, some of greatest abilities come from the advanced features included in Active Directory such as group policies and assigning and managing digital certificates.

Exam Details

  • 65 questions (Note: Microsoft does not publish this information and may change the number of questions without notice.)
  • Multiple choice and simulations
  • Passing score 700 out of 1000.
  • 90-120 minutes
  • You can take the exam at Prometric.
  • The complete listing of exam objectives appears on page 2 of this article.

Trouble Spots

For those users who have taken or studied for the Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure (70-294) exam, Active Directory has not changed significantly. Of course, the updated Active Directory has been expanded with new group policy settings including adding Preferences and introduced read-only domain controllers, Active Directory Rights Management Service, and Active Directory Federation Services.

While many help desk personnel may manage users, groups, computers, and printers, few will be exposed to creating and managing group policies and certificate services. Group policies are one of the most powerful tools included with Active Directory and allow you to customize the Windows environment, enforce security settings, and install software. Unfortunately, group policies have so many settings that many thorough books will set aside multiple chapters to cover this feature.

Certificate services allow you to assign digital certificates to be used with computer authentication and IPSec encryption. However, to get the most out of certificate services, you will need to setup a server with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition. The Enterprise edition is necessary if you want to set up auto-enrollment and auto-renewal of digital certificates.

Preparation Hints

For any exam, always go to the source, which in this case is the Microsoft 70-640 exam page. The exam objectives are listed later in this article as well as posted at the Microsoft site. You need to look at the objectives and rank them for what you think you know and what you think you need to learn. If the objectives are totally foreign to you, don’t be discouraged. You have a lot of work ahead of you, but remember that everyone in Information Technology had to start somewhere.

If you want to learn the material, you need to create a network (virtual or physical) with a server running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition and at least one Windows 7 client. After you create organizational units, users, computers and groups, and printers, you will need to implement group policies and install certificate services and push out digital certificates. You also need to practice the maintenance and recovery commands associated with Active Director including ntdsutil.exe, replmon.exe, and RepAdmin and know how to restore Active Directory from backup.

Next, don’t be afraid to get on the Internet and research some of the topics. Again, take smaller steps so that you are not overwhelmed. Whenever possible, you want to use Microsoft websites because the exam comes from Microsoft.

Also look at your local schools. Many schools have excellent programs and include hands-on classes. Remember, that most people in the technical field learn best hands-on.

Recommended Study Resources

MCTS 70-640 Cert Flash Cards Online: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring by Patrick Regan, published March 2009 by Pearson IT Certification.

MCTS 70-640 Cert Guide: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring by Don Poulton, publishing January 2011 by Pearson IT Certification.

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