The certification business is growing. And now that Windows 2000 is taking over the cert spotlight, many publishers are gearing up to meet the demand for information. Among the first to enter the fray is Microsoft Press, which just released a series of books for the new Windows 2000 exams.

Study guide specs

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure Administration
Microsoft Press, 2000
426 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 1-57231-904-6

I had an opportunity to review the Microsoft Press study guide that prepares students for the MCSE exam 70-216, Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure. The book consists of 14 chapters (roughly 400 pages), which are mapped to the official exam guide. I think this book does a good job of preparing students for the exam. You can read the chapters one by one or follow the exam guide and refer to the corresponding lessons in the book.

What’s missing
I compared the book to Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) literature for course 2153, Implementing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure. They contain roughly the same information, but I found the MOC course more in-depth because it provides information about configuring a Web server and deploying Windows 2000 Professional using Remote Installation Services (RIS). These topics are missing from the book since they are not covered on the exam.

Diehard exam takers might be a bit disappointed by the questions at the end of the chapters. They aren’t even close to the questions on the real exam. However, I don’t think repeating exam questions is the publisher’s intention with this study guide. The book is more concerned with helping the student understand the concepts involved in order to pass the exam.

Unlike the older books for Windows NT 4, this book doesn’t include an evaluation version of the operating system. That’s a shame because I’ve always recommended Microsoft Press books to new students who don’t have all the software they need. The lack of an evaluation version is a small step backward.

What’s not missing
On the other hand, this book contains more information than the MOC literature about NWLink and other Novell-related features, and it includes a wonderful IP Security (IPSec) chapter. The latter might be quite hard to read for anyone new to IPSec. However, from the information provided, I concluded that the author wrote the chapter from his real-life experiences using Windows 2000. The same goes for the chapter about NAT (Network Address Translation), which goes much deeper than required on the exam.

A supplemental CD contains an electronic version of the book in CHM (Compiled HTML) format. This is the same format as online help in Windows 2000, so you should not have a problem with the user interface. This format allows you to search the book for any words and create a favorites list. Also included on the CD is a set of five audio and video demonstrations that take you through the Windows 2000 features explained in the book.

As I read the book cover to cover, I found a few mistakes. But overall, the book is very accurate, just as you would expect from a Microsoft Press book. In the end, this is a good guide that will help prepare you for the exam—although it shouldn’t be your only learning tool. Microsoft’s Web site is also an excellent resource. Throw in a little real-life experience with the product, and you’re sure to pass the Microsoft exam and succeed in the networked world of Windows 2000.

Andrej Budja, MCSE+I, MS MVP, has been around computers since the dark ages of DOS. He likes to learn new technologies and is known as a guy who’s always ready to help. He does this every day in the Microsoft Windows 2000 newsgroups.

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