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XP SP2 charts a new course for MCP exam

Ed reviews some specifics you'll need to master Windows desktop MCP exam 70-270.

There are numerous ways that the primary Windows desktop MCP exam 70-270 "Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows XP Professional" could change in the wake of Windows XP Service Pack 2. With a primary emphasis on security, XP's new functionality and expanded capabilities are both substantial and interesting.

What this means for prospective 70-270 exam-takers is that anyone preparing for this exam must be able to demonstrate a facility with some key new security concepts such as automatic system defaults, new Group Policy Object elements and settings, and a generally more cautious security outlook.

Some specifics you'll need to master include:

  • Changed e-mail handling for attachments in Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and Windows Messenger.
  • Built-in Windows Firewall, which is turned on by default and may need alteration for large-scale deployments on protected networks. This utility also includes lots of controls for network and protocol settings, exceptions and services that must be understood and mastered.
  • New Internet Explorer features, which now include a pop-up blocker, changes to security zones settings and controls, and built-in Browser Helper Object (BHO) detection and management facilities (called the Add-On Manager).
  • Download monitoring with warnings on unsigned downloads, uncertified drivers, and other sources of potential system exposure or instability.
  • Windows Security Center, which monitors status and currency of firewall, anti-virus software and system updates.
  • Over 100 new or changed GPO objects in the Windows XP registry, accessible through various Group Policy consoles and management tools.
  • A new version of the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA 1.2) has been released to support Windows XP SP2 features and functions.

All this information is explored in detail in a Microsoft article entitled "Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2." Interested professionals will also find the Web page "Windows XP Service Pack 2: Resources for IT Professionals" worth investigating, because of its many pointers to other useful downloads and documentation.

If you have questions or concerns about MS certification, or suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered, please e-mail me at

Ed Tittel is a long-time certification follower. He's series editor for Exam Cram 2, a popular assembly of cert prep books from Que Publishing, and a contributing editor for Certification Magazine. He also covers certification topics for, and numerous other TechTarget Web sites.

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