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I'm setting up two training servers to study for Network+ cert. Is installing AD a must?

Ed, I'm taking a computer networking course at my local community college. I'm finishing up my first year this...

May. The first year takes you up to A+ certification, which I have. Next year, we start networking. Our first class next semester will be a class to prepare us to become Network Plus certified.

My instructor has given me a copy of Windows 2000 Server. I have two PCs at home, connected together via a Linksys router. What I would like to do is set up one of the PCs to run as a Windows 2000 Server, the other is running Windows 2000 Pro.

I have got as far as installing the server on one of my PCs, but I'm not sure how I should set this server up for purposes of training for my Network Plus certification over the summer.

Should I install Active Directory or not? If I don't install Active Directory, will I have all the capabilities I need to learn how to set up and maintain a server? Can I set up a Windows 2000 Server as a domain that I can log on to without making it a domain controller and using Active Directory?

If you want to maximize your learning, you'll want to install and work with AD. Without AD, it won't be impossible but it will be difficult to master all the concepts, tools, utilities and services that you must understand to pass the 70-215 exam, a designing exam, and so forth. But strictly for Network+, you don't really need to know "all about AD" to pass that exam. Thus, the real answer to your concerns lies in what is behind Network+ in your coursework and career plans. If you plan to advance beyond Network+ to MCSA or MCSE, learning AD is critical; if not, it's not. And yes, you can indeed set up Windows 2000 as a member server without making is a DC or using AD.


This was last published in April 2002

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