Curtis Schongalla A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA, & CCNP


Windows Deployment Services

This weekend I setup Windows Deployment Service on my test lab environment and started learning more about it. It is similar in some ways to other deployment software I have worked with like LanDesk using ImageX and WinPE and Dell KACE's similar WinPE environment and their image format. So far I setup the service and set the DHCP options for booting via PXE and loaded some images. I tested it with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 and it works pretty well for both and images quickly.

One thing I really like about it is that it supports multicast, which would be really useful for deploying a large number of computers without too large of an impact on network traffic. I will have to spend some more time working on it soon. I have not had a change yet to work on setting up an unattended install file and have only used it so far with a sysprep unattended config file. I would like to create some new unattended install and sysprep files for Windows 8 when I get a chance.

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Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator

This past weekend, after about four weeks of intense studying I passed the last test I needed to achieve the MCSA. The first time I took the test I read through the whole Microsoft Press book but I didn't spend enough time on the practice labs and simulations. This time, I read through a seperate book for the 70-291 exam published by Sybex and complete all of the lab exercise using my home lab; setting up IPSec security policies, configuring primary and secondary dns zones, configuring the routing and remote access service, as well as routing protocols, VPN connections, group policy and WSUS. I passed with a score of 820.

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IPSec Windows Server 2003

Getting ready for the next exam. This past weekend I setup an IPSecurity Policy between two servers and used network monitor to catch the encryped traffic between them. It was a bit of a challenge to get it working initially and the IPSec services seems a big glitchy but I can see where it would be valuable, particularly in environments where confidentialty and encryption are of utmost importance, like the government and military.

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Windows Server 2003 70-291

I took the 70-291 exam last month and although I did not pass, I found out that it is the last test I need to fulfill the requirements for the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator), which is the first tier on the way to the MCSE. The test is on Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 infrastructure. It is a difficult exam and contains a lot of simulation questions. Next time I take it I plan on being 100% prepared. The test covers network security, routing and remote access, dns, dhcp, kerberos, wsus, and network monitoring.

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Windows 2003 VPN

I now have a Windows Server 2003 Virtual Private Network setup on my home network. A lot of the questions on the next Microsoft exam I am studying for are on routing and remote access and one of the practice labs was to setup a VPN. I created a new server with two virtual network adapters and installed the VPN role. I am using PPTP so I setup my router to forward port 1723 to the servers IP address. I also had to create a resource group and create a remote access policy and add that resource group to the allowed connections list. I was able to test it from a separate network and it is working well. I can use remote desktop or ssh to connect to any of the virtual servers or even my home PC from any external network with an Internet connection.


Windows Server 2003 Domain Setup

I just completed setting up my home testing lab. Right now I have one domain controller with Active Directory, DNS, and DHCP. I also setup a file server, a print server, and a WSUS (Windows Server Update Servies) server. All the servers are running Windows Server 2003. My next project wil be to get Microsoft Exchange up and running.


Passed Microsoft Server 2003, 70-290

This afternoon I passed Managing and Maintaining Windows Server 2003. It was a difficult test and required a lot of studying. The experience I have gotten working at Trinity also helped a lot. Some of the aspects which I need to learn more about are data backup and recovery policies and procedures. I would really like to learn more about that area because it is important for any organization to be able to quickly recover from any lost data due to hardware failure, or worse, environmental damage. I am now 1/3rd of the way towards becoming MCSE certified, 4 more tests left.

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Passed Windows XP, 70-270

Today I passed my first Microsoft Certification and am on my way to attaining the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). The test I took was 70-270 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

I still have 5 more tests to go., but I am happy to be making progress. Once you pass your first Microsoft exam you are classified as a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional). The next test I will be taking is 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment.

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