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MCDST Study Blog - 70-271

Discussion in 'MCDST' started by Arroryn, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    The Prologue

    I have been 'off the boil' as far as studying for Certs goes, ever since passing my N+ way back in the dawn of time. I was meant to go straight on to the CCNA, but for mixed reasons (a lack of concerted effort and interest, and the fact that I don't actually touch the routers and switches at our place, apart from to do basic patching) meant that studying, for me, fell massively by the wayside.

    As you probably know, I am a first line support supervisor, but where you read first line, also add 'slightly more than' before that. I also have experience in PC builds, network rollouts, VoIP (installation of a new system), DMS (including hosted services), AD maintenance, asset maintenance, purchasing, and a whole rafter of other things. I regularly harass our Security Information Officer to teach/show me what they do with regards to third line maintenance, and I have learnt a lot in the ridiculously rapid 18 months I've been with the firm.

    To this end, I decided enough was enough, and it was time to start swotting up again.

    Whilst I have a Vista Premium-based laptop of my own I get much more 'hands on' at work, so I'm starting off my new 'study ethos' focussing on those technologies that I use most often (which makes complete sense, of course). At work, we have a single domain environment. All client PCs run XP Pro SP2, and (most) servers are on 2K3. We also have some SQL 2005 boxes, and other various lovely things. Our VoIP system is not Cisco based which allows me another different learning format.

    Anyways, first things were first. As the three hundred or so users I help to support all use XP Pro, it made perfect sense to swot for the MCDST and get that little beauty under my belt before progressing to any other certs.

    Because of my liberal helpings of experience, I am allowing myself 6 weeks per exam, for the 70-271 and 70-272 (in case some of you aren't familiar with the MCDST). I have heard of some people completing it in as little as 2 weeks, or even without study at all. But I have 18 months of bad habits and shortcuts to wash out of my brain, and I don't want to complacently take the subject matter for granted.

    And Your Point Is?

    I intend this to be a blog-esque blow-by-blow account of my MCDST studies, with the interesting point at the end of finding out whether or not I actually pass the bugger.

    I'll be commenting on material from MS Press Self-Paced Training Kit for 70-271 (with the significant point that the views expressed would be my own, and not those of www.certforums.co.uk)

    I'll be considering the material from an experienced tech viewpoint (well, kind of experienced!) and whether my real-world job hinders or helps my studying process as I attempt to get rid of 'real world tech' in order to pass the exam.

    And if anything, writing about each chapter will help me reinforce the material as you, the lucky deniziens of Certforums, get to witness my awful struggle to become an MCP and MCDST.

    I'm currently writing up my thoughts on Chapter 1... and they will arrive on the forums shortly :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  2. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Look forward to reading it.

    Just an FYI, Chapter 1 is not an exam objective, only information.

    I'm wondering if that will make a mention in your blog :twisted:
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  3. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Chapter 1 – Introduction to Desktop Support.

    The very first thing this chapter states is that it
    With that being said, I wouldn't recommend you skip it.

    The MCDST exams appear to be Microsoft's interpretation of the desktop support technician's (DST) role, and you can bet a pound to a penny that, if you're already in a working environment, that probably doesn't match up to the tier structure you're used to with regards to call-taking and call escalation.

    So this chapter is a particularly important one to introduce you to gauging the way Microsoft phrase their questions; I've heard Microsoft's questions are often rambling confusing beasts putting you in a 'real world scenario'. So when you read 'real world' read 'Microsoft's real world'

    Lesson 1 is an introduction to supporting users. I have a few problems with the material in this, which I think it would be interesting to discuss.

    The official line for the MCDST is that you should have “six months hands on experience”. Granted, it doesn't specify that this has to be in a working environment, but where else are you going to get six months' solid hands on experience?

    Then it goes on to split 'skill levels' of end users. A part rankled me where they described users with a high level experience as probably knowing more than you do, and are calls which should be escalated quickly...

    ... err... why? Why can't I deal with their call? Just because a user is a whizz with Word, doesn't mean I should panic if I see their call and automatically deem it puntable higher up the support line. I think that's a torrid way of categorising users... they've basically categorised them as 'muppets', 'slightly more intelligent muppets', 'pond scum' and 'wizards you shouldn't talk to'

    And then, on the very next page, after classifying the different types of numpties, it goes on to say that you really shouldn't take for granted that everyone who calls you will have less IT knowledge than you... but... I'm going to work on a helpdesk... surely if they're calling me, they must have at least mildly less...

    That rankled me, and right at the start of the book too. I don't think it's right to categorise user types so broadly in a book that is aimed at a new fledgling helpdesk tech. Given the variation of issues and users you can come into contact with (and that fact that it's probably a difficult subject to broach) I'm not sure that I would have approached categorising it at all...

    Anyway... onwards... after all, this doesn't count towards my precious exam knowledge. This is obviously the part where the person with helpdesk experience says they're possibly talking complete shash.

    The chapter also gives a good summary review on corporate working environments, and troubleshooting techniques. There's another summary table of helpdesk tiers, which again rankled me as it shows no provision for actual, proper, real-world workings. This must be the way Microsoft operate their calling system. I begin to get distracted on a 'who guards the guards themselves scenario' with Microsoft's developers calling some kind of uber-helpdesk with their programming issues...

    Then there's a good bit about installing Windows XP (which you get a 120 day trial CD for with the book, btw)

    All in all, whilst this chapter is probably an important one to have, it should be dealt with properly (or not at all) in my opinion.

    It skims over important subject matters with regards to helpdesk tiers and customer types (and when the book is aimed at first liners who will be dealing with customer types, that is a pretty important element to get right.)

    I appreciate that it is impossible to cover the nuances of the IT Support world, and the pyschotic neuroses of the end user in just one book, never mind one chapter – but there was a simplistic bias that inexplicably infuriated me.

    So then I wrote some notes along the lines of *never get a job on a Microsoft helpdesk* and carried on my reading, so I could actually take some constructive notes...
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  4. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Chapter 2 - Installing Windows XP

    Well, I thought. With the amount of times I've installed Windows XP, this chapter will be a breeze.

    Ha.

    When you've installed XP 'without a breeze' so many times, you take for granted the steps you need to take when everything goes wrong. And, touchwood, I haven't yet done an attended install of XP that went wrong. The 70-291 requires you know enough about installation types, troubleshooting basic STOP errors, all the hardware requirements, file transfers... you know, the stuff you don't really think about at work :)

    So as far as knowing 'your stuff' for the exam objectives go, again, do not think to skim the contents of this chapter - don't take for granted that you can breeze it.

    If only for the pernickety points that Microsoft will require you know for their scenario based questions.

    The command line elements for operating with Recovery Console were fine - just the basic points such as CD, ATTRIB... nice and run-of-the-mill.

    I was caught out with the fundamental points of Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (I never use it) the different installation types (only ever done attended w/slipstream), and had to refresh on the boot order as it's been a long time since any relevant certs demanded this info from me (NTLDR, NTOSKRNL and the like).

    Despite a (relatively) huge amount of corporate experience (for what MCDST requires), it appears I can't afford to miss out much of this book. Which is a shame, as I normally tend to skim read. But given how much I evidently don't have to do given how standardised our XP rollouts are, I daredn't take any of the exam objectives for granted.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  5. UCHEEKYMONKEY
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Woo Hoo:cheers

    That's a good idea after reading Mals blog on Network + I'm glad to see someone else has taken the initative to do something like this..Well Done:super

    (I had hope Trip or BM would do a blog - but they both too busy counting their posts and rep points:rolleyes) LOL:twisted::tune
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  6. UCHEEKYMONKEY
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    :hhhmmm looking at post No.3 installation of windows Xp. Before this happens you have to format and setup partition on the Hard!

    PARTITIONS

    Active Partition:

    Contains files required by the OS to load

    Systems Partition contains Bootstrap files which are

    Ntldr, Ntdetect.com, Boot.ini, Bootsect.dos, Ntbootdd.sys

    Boot Partition contains Windows operating system files
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  7. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Good read so far Arroryn, i'll be keeping up to date with this, it'll be really interesting to know your thoughts etc when studying.

    Nice work! :)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  8. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    If I did a blog, I wouldn't get any work done. Plus... I someday hope to write an entire book, not just a blog. :)

    Now, if I only had the time... :unsure
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  9. Naive

    Naive Byte Poster

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    Fantastic read! Goes hand in hand with my studying, as i just picked up the book today! As someone with no commercial experience yet. I found chapter one very informative regardless to its relevance to exam objects. Im finding the 271 book very easy to read and read 1st chapter in 3hours. I plan on studying a chapter a day, and then go back and re study the bits i havent sunk in. The introduction to the basic network configuration and the vague introduction to DST was fun, made notes on key points and got myself used to the structure of the book to ease knowledge soak. Anyway keep up the blog and il toss in an opinion now and again to contrast your experienced view and my inexperienced :)
     
    WIP: MCDST
  10. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Hey, what the hell, I'll do this too! Why not make this a "for everyone who is studying MCDST" thread eh?

    My lovely MS Press books should be arriving tomorrow and so study starts a week from today. (I'm going to Alton Towers Theme Park this weekend and I don't think I'll be able to read on the rides :p)
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  11. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Chapter 3 - Supporting Local Users and Groups

    This was certainly an interesting chapter, from my perspective.

    Whilst I knew much of the information held in this chapter through memory, it certainly needed reinforcing.

    If, as I do, you work already in a domain-based environment, then you will (probably) work with domain user accounts, often roaming profile, and rarely touch the local user profiles (unless, perhaps, working under the local administrator account).

    Regardless of what the commonality is, Microsoft (in respect of exam 70-271) expects a 'DST' to have primary experience with local user accounts and groups, and for any domain work to be done by an 'administrator'. This is not my experience, and I have only ever configured user accounts for the domain.

    I would recommend anyone studying this particular chapter to certainly run through the lessons at the end, reacquainting yourself with the path to get to the management console for groups and users, and going through some additions, removals and group creations - especially if you're inexperienced really with XP, and if you haven't done local working for a while.

    There is a lot of onus on account types in this chapter (with it being hinted at in the chapter title!), so I'm guessing it's a good idea to memorise the groups that are default in XP Pro, and also the groups added on when an XP Pro machine joins the domain (and also what levels of permission those groups have).

    I wasn't expecting to be caught off-guard on this chapter despite my relatively novice level of local XP experience (compared to working in a domain environment), and I wasn't really, as with standard XP experience working out permission levels is a matter of common sense (if, indeed, that makes any sense...)

    There is more mention on the limitations of XP Home, and indeed, these are mentioned seemingly so frequently throughout the book that I'm already bracing myself for questions in the exam that try to throw you off the track with 'XP Home' this and 'Home worker' that.

    An interesting chapter for me, and as I expect they all will be, quite an important one.

    I have now amassed some kind of routine with regards to notes for revision purposes, so now is a good time as any to let you know how I'm doing that!

    I can't seem to read a whole chapter without scribbling rough notes of some variety, so I'm doing exactly that - I have a pad with scribbles on from what stands out as I read through. Then when I've finished, I re-read my notes referencing them against the chapter, to ensure that:

    a) My notes are factually correct and;
    b) I have understood the concepts

    I am also making lists separately of things I think I'll need to memorise - such as the default minimum requirements for XP as listed in Chapter 2.

    On to Chapter 4 now... should be fun :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  12. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    A good read Arroryn. :) Thanks for the update :)
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  13. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Recipe to Depress Yourself

    1. Take 2 weeks off work, and start studying 70-271

    2. On your first Monday back to work, only get three hours sleep the night before

    3. Start work at 5:30am Monday

    4. Agree to do a 12 hour shift

    5. For some pathetically lunatic-esque reason, decide to do a mock exam for the material you haven't fully read up on yet, on a faux-lunchtime when you really should possibly be catching up on sleep

    6. Score 24%

    :dry :mad :cussing :confused3
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  14. UCHEEKYMONKEY
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Ouch!:ohmy Sounds like your having one of those "you wish you never got out of bed" Days!

    I don't think that's a realistic score, because besides not knowing all of the subject, your tired and therefore can not think straight!!

    Today - I took the day off work, infact most of the mondays leading up to the exam I have booked off. The manager thought it was because I don't like Mondays? Kinda reminds me of that song "I don't like monday by the Boomtown rats":biggrin

    But it's the only way to study for N+8)
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  15. Naive

    Naive Byte Poster

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    Cheers for the update Arroryn :D

    I agree with virtually everything in you've pointed out in Chapter 3

    I have drummed the pc specs into my head, as these seem to keep cropping up. I found the whole permissions etc daunting at first as I got a bit flustered with the amount of info to take in, the first chapter I've stumbled on that I had to read again to feel comfortable tackling the lesson practice at the end
    I also agree that default groups on local and the ones added upon connecting to a domain are very important and will read these over and over until they are clear. I also think that a key point that seems to be important is the one clarifying the difference between user rights and user permissions.
    All in all this was a very interesting chapter and i learnt a lot.

    I too am accustomed to the scribbling method. I think once I get through the whole book I'll go back and structure my notes properly, I also think it's important to do the practical instructions aswell as actually applying what you learn helps a hell of a lot for it to sink in ( I've created/ recreated a virtual bob as a user on a domain with different permissions about 25 times now, poor bob :( )

    Cheers again for the update, I enjoyed this chapter as it was more challenging. :thumbleft

    Ahh ignore the percentage!, take a mock when you're fully read up and ready :)
     
    WIP: MCDST
  16. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Psst... all the answers are NOT "C". :p
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  17. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Don't listen to him Dawn... come to the dark side... :twisted: Think C C C C C C C C
     
  18. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I actually aimed for a cross-hatch pattern down the sheet.

    Looks like it didn't work. Unlike the richmond tests from middle school. lol. :rolleyes:
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  19. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    *hug*

    It will be ok! Relax, study, and then try it again when ready. My books arrived yesterday so I should be joining the studying soon too! Boo Hiss. :p
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  20. Naive

    Naive Byte Poster

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    I shall be beginning chapter 5 tonight and have the day off work tomorrow to go through some more practical tests, I'll throw a counter update once Arroryn finishes Chpt4 :thumbleft
     
    WIP: MCDST

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