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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Windows XP Professional is gradually finding its way into more companies -- and Windows XP support skills are becoming ever more crucial. IT pros who would've once taken Microsoft's Windows 2000 MCSE core exam are signing up for the Windows XP Exam 70-270 instead. To pass it, they'll have to master tools and features they've had little experience with -- especially if they're at companies where earlier versions of Windows still dominate.
There only one way to compensate: Prepare for your exam even more carefully. MCSE Windows XP Professional ExamCram 2 (Exam 70-270) will jump-start your XP Professional preparation -- or support your last-minute prep, making sure you're really, really ready.
The authors begin with concise, to-the-point coverage of installing Windows XP Professional -- a topic that's very well represented on the MCSE exam. They review XP's upgrade paths (more limited than Windows 2000), and present a pre-upgrade checklist (checking hardware and software compatibility, ensuring that application update packs are available if necessary, and so forth).
Next, they walk through using Microsoft's tools for streamlining installation of multiple PCs (for example, creating unattended answer files and uniqueness database files with Setup Manager; building Windows XP images with Sysprep; working with Microsoft's Remote Installation Services. There's coverage of troubleshooting failed installations, slipstreaming service packs, and more.
You'll also learn how to use Microsoft's improved tools for migrating user settings from earlier versions of Windows, including the User State Migration Tool and the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Whether you're upgrading one PC or a hundred, these are tools you need to be comfortable with.
Next, the authors turn to establishing, configuring, and managing resources in Windows XP Professional. You'll learn how to work with shared folders (and create them from the MMC Shared Folders snap-in); troubleshoot permissions and access problems; and manage and secure XP's IIS 5.1 web server. There's also a quick overview of Windows XP printing -- including a look at the Internet Printing Protocol, which enables users print over the Internet.
There's a full chapter on setting up, managing, and troubleshooting security accounts and policies: everything from Fast User Switching (disabled in domain environments) to group policies and Microsoft's new Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) tool.
Next, the authors turn to managing user and desktop settings: user profiles and logon scripts; roaming; offline files and share points; customizing the desktop and Control Panel options; and the very handy MSCONFIG.EXE utility (which was available in Windows 98/Me but sorely missed in Windows 2000).
You'll find chapters on configuring and troubleshooting hardware; managing disk drives and volumes (including compression and encryption); networking and TCP/IP; remote access services; and more. There's also a solid walkthrough of Windows XP Professional's system monitoring, performance optimization, and recovery features -- including detailed coverage of Safe Mode, advanced startup options, and the Recovery Console.
This book's best feature is its sample exam questions, many of which offer realistic (and very challenging) scenarios.
A user wants to create a new shared folder on an NTFS drive, but can't find security or share permissions: why? And how do you fix it? You want to configure remote users' laptops to shut down if they can't log security events: how? You created a ZAP file for a legacy 16-bit application; now you want to assign it to everyone in the Marketing organizational unit, via group policies and Active Directory: how? You need to combine two Class C address ranges into one: how?
If you can answer questions like these, you can be pretty confident you're ready for whatever Microsoft's going to throw at you.
This is no massive tome: it's 450 distilled, downsized pages you can carry with you anywhere, the most time-efficient Windows XP Professional exam review guide we've seen so far. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.