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What books should I read to study for a Windows 2000 MCSE?

I plan to start studying for a Windows 2000 MCSE at the beginning of 2004. I have already bought the New Riders Core books and two books on 2000 Pro/Server by Mark Minasi (as recommnded on labmice.net). At home, I have networked three PCs together (XP Home, 2000 Server and 2000 Pro). My questions are: What should I read first, have I bought good books and how should I set up my PCs to help with the studying?

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Yes, you do have good materials, so you're off to a good start! My recommendation is that you start off with exam 70-210 (Windows 2000 Professional) or 70-270 (Windows XP Professional) and begin your attack on Windows 2000 with one or the other of its accepted and usual desktop components. Hopefully, you've also got access to copies of the Win2k software (if not, check around the Microsoft Web site: they usually offer 120-day evaluation downloads of these platforms for free to interested students/readers/etc.). The XP Home machine won't really do you too much good for the exams--you might want to consider a dual-boot configuration for that machine with Win2k Professional and Win2k Server so that you can use it as a second server (which will be required for some of the Server-related exams like 70-215, 70-216, and so forth).

This should set you straight and get you going. As far as the order of attack goes, once you get through with 70-210 (or 270, if you decide to get a copy of Windows XP Professional), I'd advise tackling 70-215 and 70-216 next. Then pick your electives, and finish up with the designing exam of your choice: 70-219, 70-220, or 70-221 (though 70-226 is an option, it's one that hardly anyone exercises, and you won't be able to handle in your home environment for sure).

This was first published in December 2003

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