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MCSA/MCSE Windows XP Professional Exam Prep (Exam 70-270) is designed for network administrators, network engineers, and consultants who are pursuing the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certifications for Windows XP Professional. This book covers the “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional” exam (70-270), a core exam for the MCSA and MCSE certifications. The exam is designed to measure your skill and ability to implement, administer, and troubleshoot computers running Windows XP Professional. Microsoft not only tests you on your knowledge of the desktop operating system, but it has purposefully developed questions on the exam to force you to problem-solve in the same way that you would when presented with a real-life error. Passing this exam demonstrates your competency in administration.

This book covers all the objectives that Microsoft has established for exam 70-270. It doesn’t offer end-to-end coverage of the Windows XP operating system; rather, it helps you develop the specific core competencies that you need to master as a network administrator. Also, this book has been updated to include coverage of the SP2 release. In the book, you will see special SP2 icons by the new SP2 material the 70-270 exam covers. You should be able to pass the exam by learning the material in this book, without taking a class.

How This Book Helps You

When anyone embarks on a certification track, the first thought is to get certified, put some letters after your name, strengthen your resume, and move on to the next step. Selecting a method of study for that certification often is a choice between a hands-on laboratory class of a few days, or a self-study method pieced together with books and your own lab environment that is not bound by any time limits. Your choice depends on how you study best and what type of reference material you want available to you after you have passed the exam.

People study in a combination of different ways—by doing, by seeing, and by hearing/writing. This book’s design fulfills all three of these study methods. For the kinesthetic, there are hands-on study strategies listed at the beginning of each chapter. You will also discover Challenge exercises and Step by Step instructions that walk you through the skills you need to master in Windows XP Professional. The visual learner can find plenty of screen shots explaining the concepts described in the text. The auditory learner can reinforce skills by reading out loud and copying down key concepts and exam tips scattered throughout the book. Finally, the Fast Facts section enables everyone to brush up on the essentials and be wholly prepared when walking into the test center to take the exam. While reading this book, you will realize that it stands the test of time. You will be able to turn to it over and over again.

This book gives you a self-guided tour of all the areas that are covered by the “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional” exam. The goal is to teach you the specific skills you need to achieve your MCSA or MCSE certification. You’ll also find helpful hints, tips, examples, exercises, and references to additional study materials.


This book is organized around the individual objectives from Microsoft’s preparation guide for the “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional” exam. Every objective is covered in this book. The objectives are not covered in exactly the same order in which you’ll find them in the official preparation guide (which you can download from, but they are reorganized for more logical teaching. We have also tried to make the information more accessible in several ways:

  • This introduction includes the full list of exam topics and objectives.

  • The Study and Exam Tips section helps you develop study strategies. It also provides you with valuable exam-day tips and information. You should read it early on.

  • Each chapter starts with a list of objectives that are covered in that chapter.

  • Each chapter also begins with an outline that provides an overview of the material for that chapter as well as the page numbers where specific topics can be found.

  • Each objective is repeated in the text, where it is covered in detail.

Instructional Features

This book is designed to provide you with multiple ways to learn and reinforce the exam material. Here are some of the instructional features you’ll find inside:

  • Objective explanations— As mentioned previously, each chapter begins with a list of the objectives covered in the chapter. In addition, immediately following each objective is a detailed explanation that puts the objective in the context of the product.

  • Study strategies— Each chapter offers a selected list of study strategies: exercises to try or additional material to read that will help you learn and retain the material in the chapter.

  • Exam alerts— Exam alerts appear in the chapters and provide specific exam-related advice. Exam alerts address what material is likely to be covered (or not covered) on the exam, how to remember it, or particular exam quirks.

  • Review breaks and chapter summaries— Crucial information is summarized at various points in the book, in lists of key points you need to remember. Each chapter ends with an overall summary of the material covered in that chapter as well.

  • Challenge exercises— Challenge exercises offer additional opportunities to practice the material within a chapter and to learn additional facets of the topic at hand.

  • Key terms— A list of key terms appears at the end of each chapter.

  • Notes— Notes appear in the margins and contain various kinds of useful information, such as tips on technology, historical background, side commentary, or where to go for more detailed coverage of a particular topic.

  • Cautions— When you use sophisticated computing technology, there is always a possibility of mistakes or even catastrophes. Cautions appear in the margins and alert you of such potential problems, whether they’re in following along with the text or in implementing Windows XP Professional in a production environment.

  • Step by Steps— These are hands-on, tutorial instructions that lead you through a particular task or function related to the exam objectives.

  • Exercises— Found at the end of each chapter in the “Apply Your Knowledge” section, the exercises include additional tutorial material and more chances to practice the skills that you learned in the chapter.

Extensive Practice Test Options

The book provides numerous opportunities for you to assess your knowledge and practice for the exam. The practice options include the following:

  • Review questions— These open-ended questions appear in the “Apply Your Knowledge” section at the end of each chapter. They allow you to quickly assess your comprehension of what you just read in the chapter. The answers are provided later in the section.

  • Exam questions— These questions appear in the “Apply Your Knowledge” section. They reflect the kinds of multiple-choice questions that appear on the Microsoft exams. You should use them to practice for the exam and to help determine what you know and what you might need to review or study further. Answers and explanations are provided later in the section.

  • Practice Exam— The “Final Review” section includes a complete exam that you can use to practice for the real thing. The Final Review section and the Practice Exam are discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

  • MeasureUp— The MeasureUp software included on the CD-ROM provides additional practice questions.

Final Review

The “Final Review” section of the book provides two valuable tools for preparing for the exam:

  • Fast Facts— This condensed version of the information contained in the book is extremely useful for last-minute review.

  • Practice Exam— A full practice test for the exam is included in this book. Questions are written in the style and format used on the actual exams. You should use the Practice Exam to assess your readiness for the real thing.

This book includes a valuable appendix, which includes details about the content of the CD-ROM (Appendix A), and a glossary of terms and definitions used throughout the book.

These and all the other book features mentioned previously will provide you with thorough preparation for the exam.

For more information about the exam or the certification process, you should contact Microsoft directly:

By email:

By regular mail, telephone, or fax, contact the Microsoft Regional Service Center (RSC) nearest you. You can find lists of RSCs at (for North America) and (worldwide).

On the Internet:

What the 70-270 Exam Covers

The “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional” exam covers six major topic areas: “Installing Windows XP Professional,” “Implementing and Conducting Administration of Resources,” “Implementing, Managing, Monitoring, and Troubleshooting Hardware Devices and Drivers,” “Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance and Reliability,” “Configuring and Troubleshooting the Desktop Environment,” and “Configuring, Managing, and Troubleshooting Security.” The exam objectives are listed by topic area in the following sections.

Installing Windows XP Professional

Perform and troubleshoot an attended installation of Windows XP Professional.

Perform and troubleshoot an unattended installation of Windows XP Professional.

  • Install Windows XP Professional by using Remote Installation Services (RIS).

  • Install Windows XP Professional by using the System Preparation Tool.

  • Create unattended answer files by using Setup Manager to automate the installation of Windows XP Professional.

Upgrade from a previous version of Windows to Windows XP Professional.

  • Prepare a computer to meet upgrade requirements.

  • Migrate existing user environments to a new installation.

Perform post-installation updates and product activation.

Troubleshoot failed installations.

Implementing and Conducting Administration of Resources

Monitor, manage, and troubleshoot access to files and folders.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot file compression.

  • Control access to files and folders by using permissions.

  • Optimize access to files and folders.

Manage and troubleshoot access to shared folders.

  • Create and remove shared folders.

  • Control access to shared folders by using permissions.

  • Manage and troubleshoot Web server resources.

Connect to local and network print devices.

  • Manage printers and print jobs.

  • Control access to printers by using permissions.

  • Connect to an Internet printer.

  • Connect to a local print device.

Configure and manage file systems.

  • Convert from one file system to another file system.

  • Configure NTFS, FAT32, or FAT file systems.

Manage and troubleshoot access to and synchronization of offline files.

Implementing, Managing, Monitoring, and Troubleshooting Hardware Devices and Drivers

Implement, manage, and troubleshoot disk devices.

  • Install, configure, and manage DVD and CD-ROM devices.

  • Monitor and configure disks.

  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot volumes.

  • Monitor and configure removable media, such as tape devices.

Implement, manage, and troubleshoot display devices.

  • Configure multiple-display support.

  • Install, configure, and troubleshoot a video adapter.

Configure Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI).

Implement, manage, and troubleshoot input and output (I/O) devices.

  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot I/O devices, such as printers, scanners, multimedia devices, mouse, keyboard, and smart card reader.

  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot multimedia hardware, such as cameras.

  • Install, configure, and manage modems.

  • Install, configure, and manage Infrared Data Association (IrDA) devices.

  • Install, configure, and manage wireless devices.

  • Install, configure, and manage USB devices.

  • Install, configure, and manage hand held devices.

  • Install, configure, and manage network adapters.

Manage and troubleshoot drivers and driver signing.

Monitor and configure multiprocessor computers.

Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance and Reliability

Monitor, optimize, and troubleshoot performance of the Windows XP Professional desktop.

  • Optimize and troubleshoot memory performance.

  • Optimize and troubleshoot processor utilization.

  • Optimize and troubleshoot disk performance.

  • Optimize and troubleshoot application performance.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Scheduled Tasks.

Manage, monitor, and optimize system performance for mobile users.

Restore and back up the operating system, System State data, and user data.

  • Recover System State data and user data by using Windows Backup.

  • Troubleshoot system restoration by starting in safe mode.

  • Recover System State data and user data by using the Recovery console.

Configuring and Troubleshooting the Desktop Environment

Configure and manage user profiles and desktop settings.

Configure support for multiple languages or multiple locations.

  • Enable multiple-language support.

  • Configure multiple-language support for users.

  • Configure local settings.

  • Configure Windows XP Professional for multiple locations.

Manage applications by using Windows Installer packages.

Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting Network Protocols and Services

Configure and troubleshoot the TCP/IP protocol.

Connect to computers by using dial-up networking.

  • Connect to computers by using a virtual private network (VPN) connection.

  • Create a dial-up connection to connect to a remote access server.

  • Connect to the Internet by using dial-up networking.

  • Configure and troubleshoot Internet Connection Sharing (ICS).

Connect to resources by using Internet Explorer.

Configure, manage, and implement Internet Information Services (IIS).

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance.

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot an Internet Connection Firewall (ICF).

Configuring, Managing, and Troubleshooting Security

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Encrypting File System (EFS).

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot a security configuration and local security policy.

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot local user and group accounts.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot auditing.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot account settings.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot account policy.

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot user and group rights.

  • Troubleshoot cache credentials.

Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Internet Explorer security settings.


The exam objectives are taken verbatim from the Microsoft Web page titled “Preparation Guide for Exam 70-270,” at

Exam Alert

There’s no substitute for experience The single best study tip that anyone can give you is to actually work with the product that you’re learning! Even if you could become a “paper MCSE” simply by reading books, you wouldn’t get the real-world skills that you need to be a Windows XP Professional success.

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