As with any exam, it will vary from person to person as to what is deemed to be difficult. Be sure you are familiar with each of the topics in the exam objectives listed below.
- A process is an executing instance of an application. For example, when you double-click the Microsoft Excel icon, a process is started that runs Word. A thread is a path of execution within a process and a process can contain multiple threads. When you start Excel, the operating system creates a process and begins executing the primary thread of that process.
- Plug and Play (PnP) was developed by Microsoft for its Windows 95 and later operating systems that gives users the ability to plug a device into a computer and have the computer recognize the device without user intervention. For instance, if you plug a printer into a computer via a USB port, Windows will recognize that you have plugged in a device. If Windows can find a suitable driver for the device, it will install it automatically.
- The user-mode dump heap (UMDH) utility works with the operating system to analyze Windows heap allocations for a specific process. If you think that you are experiencing a memory leak, the UMDH is a utility that dumps information about the heap allocations of a process. The UMDH utility is included with the Debugging Tools for Windows products.
- Performance Monitor is used to examine how programs running on your computer affect its performance; both in real time and by collecting log data for later analysis. Performance Monitor uses performance counters, which are measurements of system state or activity. Windows Performance Monitor requests the current value of performance counters at specified time intervals.
- WinDbg is a multipurposed debugger for Microsoft Windows that can be used for debugging kernel-mode memory dumps, created after what is commonly called the Blue Screen of Death.
Review the Exam Objectives below and make sure that you are familiar with them. The Microsoft Windows Internals exam is designed for those who have experience in this environment. Always check the Microsoft site for the specific exam you are going to take. In this instance, the site is http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?ID=70-660.
There are many web sites and blogs that can help you to research topics, but be careful to fully research the information you read. It is not advisable to try to find sites that list questions and answers for several reasons. First, you don’t know if you will be asked a specific question and second, the answers given in a blog may be inaccurate and third, you need to understand the information to adequately prepare.
When taking the exam, read each question carefully. Microsoft is notorious for adding a lot of unneeded information in their questions. Make sure that when you click on a choice, that it is really marked. Be careful clicking anywhere on the screen. I found that by inadvertently clicking near the scroll bar on the right of the screen, I actually changed an answer. You get a single piece of paper and a marker for writing. You can use a small amount of time before you even start the exam to make notes once you enter the test area. Sometimes there is even a questionnaire at the beginning of the test that does not count against your test time. You can even use this time to write down notes, facts, tables or other information by taking your time between answers.
Recommended Study Resources
Windows Internals: Including Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Fifth Edition (Pro Developer) by David A. Solomon and Mark E. Russinovich
Microsoft also has recommended classroom training:
- 50155A: Win Internals for IT (5 Days)
- 50154A: Win Internals for programmers (5 Days)