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Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Introduction to Series

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by Jason Zandri

We’re proud to debut our new Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series by feature writer Jason Zandri. The series will cover the skills needed to successfully administer Windows XP Professional and will also focus on helping you prepare for the Microsoft 70-270 exam.

Welcome to Learn Windows XP Professional in 15
Minutes a Week, a weekly series aimed at current IT professionals
preparing to write the new Windows XP Professional exam, as well as
newcomers to the field who are trying to get a solid grasp on this
new and emerging desktop operating system.

The idea behind this series is to give an
overview (and sometimes detailed view) of different topics and
assist in learning the material associated with the new Microsoft
Certified Professional exam 70-270, Installing, Configuring, and
Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

I am both a Microsoft Certified Trainer (part-time) and a
Web Hosting Systems Administrator (full-time), so I know just how difficult it is
to stay on the edge of emerging technology and get some sleep from time to time as well. I am
hoping this series of articles will help you to have a healthy
balance of both work and play, regardless of the fact that you may well need 36
hours in a day to do so.

When you pass the Installing, Configuring, and
Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional exam 70-270, you
achieve Microsoft
Certified Professional
status. You also earn credit toward the
following certifications:

The Windows XP Professional certification exam
(70-270) measures your ability to implement, administer, and
troubleshoot information systems that incorporate Microsoft Windows
XP Professional. This series of articles will touch upon most of the
required subject areas of the Windows XP Professional operating
system itself, as well as its administration and upkeep. In addition
to your hands-on experience working with the product, you should
consider reviewing other sources of information on Windows XP
Professional, such as books from Microsoft
as well as practice tests offered by Practice Test
Providers like Boson Software, in order to receive
feedback on your level of knowledge and exam-readiness prior to
taking a certification exam.

Scores on a practice test doesn’t necessarily
indicate what your score will be on a certification exam, nor do
they show you will pass your exam at an official test center, but a
practice test will give you the opportunity to answer questions that
are similar to those on the certification exam and can help you
identify your areas of greatest strength and weakness.

While I am not 100% sure of my entire weekly
format, I will be trying to put out the articles with some degree of
similarity to the skills that are required knowledge for the exam,
which are as follows:

Installing Windows XP Professional

  • Perform an attended installation of Windows XP
  • Perform an unattended installation of Windows
    XP Professional
  • Install Windows XP Professional by using
    Remote Installation Services (RIS)
  • Install Windows XP Professional by using the
    System Preparation Tool
  • Create unattended answer files by using Setup
  • Upgrade from a previous version of Windows to
    Windows XP Professional
  • Prepare a computer to meet upgrade
  • Migrate existing user environments to a new
  • Perform post-installation updates and product
  • Troubleshoot failed installations

Implementing and Conducting Administration of

  • Monitor, manage, and troubleshoot access to
    files and folders
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot file
  • Control access to files and folders by using
  • Optimize access to files and folders
  • Manage and troubleshoot access to shared
  • Create and remove shared folders
  • Control access to shared folders by using
  • Manage and troubleshoot Web server resources
  • Connect to local and network print devices
  • Manage printers and print jobs
  • Control access to printers by using
  • Connect to an Internet printer
  • Connect to a local print device
  • Configure and manage file systems
  • Convert from one file system to another file
  • Configure NTFS, FAT32, or FAT file systems
  • Manage and troubleshoot access to and
    synchronization of offline files
  • Configure and troubleshoot fax support

Implementing, Managing, Monitoring, and
Troubleshooting Hardware Devices and Drivers

  • Implement, manage, and troubleshoot disk
  • Install, configure, and manage DVD and CD-ROM
  • Monitor and configure disks
  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot volumes
  • Monitor and configure removable media, such as
    tape devices
  • Implement, manage, and troubleshoot display
  • Configure multiple-display support
  • Install, configure, and troubleshoot a video
  • Configure Advanced Configuration Power
    Interface (ACPI)
  • Implement, manage, and troubleshoot input and
    output (I/O) devices
  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot I/O
    devices, such as printers, scanners, multimedia devices, mouse,
    keyboard, and smart card reader
  • Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot
    multimedia hardware, such as cameras
  • Install, configure, and manage modems
  • Install, configure, and manage Infrared Data
    Association (IrDA) devices
  • Install, configure, and manage wireless
  • Install, configure, and manage USB devices
  • Install, configure, and manage hand held
  • Manage and troubleshoot drivers and driver
  • Monitor and configure multiprocessor

Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance
and Reliability

  • Monitor, optimize, and troubleshoot
    performance of the Windows XP Professional desktop
  • Optimize and troubleshoot memory performance
  • Optimize and troubleshoot processor
  • Optimize and troubleshoot disk performance
  • Optimize and troubleshoot application
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Scheduled
  • Manage, monitor, and optimize system
    performance for mobile users
  • Restore and back up the operating system,
    system state data, and user data
  • Recover system state data and user data by
    using Windows Backup
  • Troubleshoot system restoration by starting in
    safe mode
  • Recover system state data and user data by
    using the Recovery Console

Configuring and Troubleshooting the Desktop

  • Configure and manage user profiles
  • Configure support for multiple languages or
    multiple locations
  • Enable multiple-language support
  • Configure multiple-language support for users
  • Configure local settings
  • Configure Windows XP Professional for multiple
  • Manage applications by using Windows Installer
  • Configure and troubleshoot desktop settings
  • Configure and troubleshoot accessibility

Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting
Network Protocols and Services

  • Configure and troubleshoot the TCP/IP
  • Connect to computers by using dial-up
  • Connect to computers by using a virtual
    private network (VPN) connection
  • Create a dial-up connection to connect to a
    remote access server
  • Connect to the Internet by using dial-up
  • Configure and troubleshoot Internet Connection
  • Connect to resources using Internet Explorer
  • Configure, manage, and implement Internet
    Information Services (IIS)
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot remote
    desktop and remote assistance
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot an
    Internet connection firewall

Configuring, Managing, and Troubleshooting

  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Encrypting
    File System (EFS)
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot local
    security policy
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot local user
    and group accounts
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot auditing
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot account
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot account
  • Configure and troubleshoot local users and
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot user and
    group rights
  • Troubleshoot cache credentials
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot a security
  • Configure, manage, and troubleshoot Internet
    Explorer security settings

To close out this introductory article, I thought
I would mention the minimum supported hardware requirements and the
direct upgrade
that are supported by Microsoft for Windows XP

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Before you begin any installation of Windows XP
Professional you should: (where applicable)

  • Make sure your hardware components meet the
    minimum requirements
  • Verify compatible hardware and software, and
    obtain any required upgrade packs and new drivers
  • Obtain network information
  • Back up any data on the current system
  • Identify and plan for any advanced setup
    options you might require

Below are the current
minimum hardware requirements
for Windows XP Professional at the
time of this writing:

  • 300MHZ or higher processor clock speed
    recommended (233 MHz minimum required, can be single or dual
    processor system) Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD
    K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
  • 128MB of RAM or higher recommended (64MB
    minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)
  • 1.5GB of available hard disk space
  • Super VGA (800 W 600) or higher-resolution
    video adapter and monitor
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible
    pointing device

Up to date and revised requirements can be found
on the Microsoft
website for Windows XP Professional. Windows XP Professional also supports Symmetric
Multi-processing with a maximum of two processors, and up to 4 GB of

There are additional, optional features that will
require other hardware and software minimums on the Windows XP
Professional system.

  • Internet access

Some Internet
functionality may require Internet access, or a Microsoft .NET
Passport account. 14.4 Kbps or higher-speed modem is required.

  • Networking

A Network adapter
appropriate for the type of network you wish to connect to and
access to the appropriate network infrastructure and / or software
may be required

  • Instant messaging, voice and
    videoconferencing, and application sharing using Microsoft
    conferencing, all parties will need

Microsoft .NET
Passport account and Internet access or Microsoft Exchange 2000
Server / Conferencing Server instant messaging account and network

For voice and

33.6 Kbps or
higher-speed modem, or other network connection

Microphone and sound
card with speakers or headset


Video conferencing

Windows XP Professional

For application

33.6 Kbps or
higher-speed modem, or other network connection

Windows XP Professional

  • Remote assistance

Both parties must be
running Windows XP and be connected by a network

  • Remote desktop

A Windows 95 or
laterbased computer, and the two machines must be connected by a

  • Sound

Sound card and
speakers or headphones

  • DVD / Video playback

DVD drive and DVD
decoder card or DVD decoder software 8 MB of video RAM

  • Windows Movie Maker:

Video capture feature
requires appropriate digital or analog video capture device 400 MHz
or higher processor for digital video camera capture

Actual requirements will vary based on your
system configuration and the applications and features you choose to
install. Additional available hard-disk space may be required if you
are installing over a network.

The Windows XP Setup Wizard automatically checks
your hardware and software and will report any potential conflicts.
You should determine whether your computer hardware is compatible
with Windows XP Professional before you start any Windows OS

You can view the current Hardware Compatibility List
at the Microsoft website.

Windows XP Professional supports only the devices
listed in the HCL. If your hardware isn’t listed, contact the
hardware manufacturer and request a Windows XP Professional driver
for the component. To ensure that programs using 16-bit drivers
function properly afterwards, request 32-bit drivers from the
software vendor.

Support means that while the operating system may
load and run on unsupported hardware and software, any issues that
come up with the system will not be covered (i.e. supported) by
Microsoft Technical Support.

(During an OS upgrade on a system with
pre-installed software, you can use upgrade packs to make the
existing software compatible with Windows XP Professional. Upgrade
packs are available from the appropriate software

Windows XP Supported Upgrade

The following direct upgrade
are supported by Microsoft and are considered viable for
both the Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home operating

Currently, there are no supported direct upgrade
paths for the following Microsoft operating systems:

Microsoft Windows 3.x

Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 Workstation

Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 Server

Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 Server with Citrix

Microsoft Windows 95

Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server

The following are supported, direct upgrade paths
for Microsoft operating systems to Windows XP:

Microsoft Windows 98

Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition

Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition

Windows XP Home
Edition Retail (Full) Version
Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade
Windows XP Professional Retail (Full) Version

Windows XP Professional Upgrade Version

Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation

Windows XP
Professional Retail (Full) Version
Windows XP Professional
Upgrade Version

Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Windows XP
Professional Retail (Full) Version
Windows XP Professional
Upgrade Version

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

Windows XP
Professional Retail (Full) Version
Windows XP Professional
Upgrade Version

All Versions of Windows NT 4.0 require Service
Pack 5 to be installed prior to upgrading to Windows XP.

Well, that wraps up my introductory article for
the series. I hope you found it informative and will return for the
next regular weekly installment. If you have any questions, comments or even
constructive criticism, please feel free to drop me a note. I want to write good, solid technical articles
that appeal to a large range of readers and skill levels and I can
only be sure of that through your feedback.

Next week, I plan to write a detailed column on
how to perform an attended installation of Windows XP

Until then, remember,

“If a bad guy can convince you to run unknown
software on your system, it may not be your system anymore”

Jason Zandri

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