Remember: Windows 98 is an Upgrade
You’ll be relieved to hear that this exam builds on your knowledge of previous versions of Windows.
By the time you read this, the way I spent my August
vacation will be a distant memorysitting on the
beach in Ocean City, Maryland studying for the Windows
98 beta exam while my son bodysurfed the waves. I recall
perplexed stares from other tourists when they realized
my beach reading was the Windows 98 Resource Kit.
But I knew it would come in handy in preparing for the
beta version of the new Windows 98 exam.
The primary audience for this exam is the Windows NT
network administrator responsible for supporting 50 to
100 Windows 98 users remotely. The secondary audience
for this exam is Level 2 or Level 3 help-desk people handling
desktop installation, configuration, network connectivity,
and troubleshooting support in medium to large companies.
Youll find yourself at a loss on this exam if you
havent networked Windows 98 in a workgroup or domain
setting. Youd be smart to prepare for this exam
by setting up a test lab network with two Windows 98 machines
and an NT Server system to simulate network connectivity
and remote administration scenarios. One of those machines
should be a Windows 98-capable machine that youll
be upgrading from Windows 3.1 or Windows 95.
and Supporting Windows 98, 70-098
This exam shouldnt
be a surprise if youve taken either
of the Windows 95 exams. After all, Windows
98 is an upgrade. If youve been
administering Windows 98 on an NT network
with TCP/IP, youll have a definite
Implementing and Supporting Microsoft
Windows 98, 70-098.
Live as of October 1998.
Who should take
It's a core option for the MCP, MCSE
(NT 4.0 track), and MCSE+Internet titles.
Course 955A: Supporting Microsoft
Windows 98, an instructor-led five-day
Where To Focus
My analysis of the Windows 98 beta exam is based on sitting
through itall 137 questions and three-and-a-half
hours. This column will focus on where to use your study
time most effectively to prepare for the exam.
If youve spent significant time in the past studying
for and taking Windows 3.x, Windows 95, or Windows NT
Workstation exams, youll probably be relieved to
know that your investment in that knowledge is protected
with this exam. The exam developers recognize the basic
constructs of Windows support and have developed questions
that build on that existing knowledge in a logical progression.
My comfort level grew during the beta exam as I realized
that I could apply my previous Windows support knowledge.
A major portion of the exam centered on using Windows
98 in a TCP/IP setting. In fact, you can expect the impact
of the Internet to show itself in every skill area. Although
a calculator is provided on every screen, you wont
have to figure out subnetting. You should, however, understand
how to configure Windows 98, TCP/IP, and Proxy Server.
If youve set up a test lab or have access to a corporate
intranet with Proxy Server, test configuration and filtering
settings with Windows 98 Internet Explorer | Internet
Properties | Connection tab | Proxy Server | Advanced
Remote administration is another pervasive topic. Dont
overlook remote options when planning for Windows NT and
Novell NetWare mixed environments. The remote strengths
of Windows 98 also apply to remote computers and network
printers. Pay special attention to the differences between
Net Watcher and System Monitor, especially in regards
to monitoring system performance. Test these utilities
in a networked setting to understand how they work on
more than a stand-alone machine.
You should know the minimum hardware requirements for
Windows 98: a 486-DX 66 MHz computer with 16M of RAM and
a 200-to-350M hard disk. This baseline of knowledge will
be important in determining eligible systems for upgrade.
System policies have become the de facto method for deploying
Windows desktops. The Windows 98 exam continues to test
your knowledge here, as did the Windows 95 exams before
it. You should understand the differences indicated by
a clear, checked, or shaded check box in the template
option of the Systems Policy Editor. Know where the policy
file, config.pol, resides in a Windows NT network: in
the Netlogon share of the Primary Domain Controller of
the users domain.
Tip: Be absolutely
sure when to choose share-level access and user-level
access. Much of the beta exam is focused on the cause
and effect of Windows 98 user-level access in a Windows
NT setting. Spend time testing user-level access options
between the Windows 98 networked systems in your Windows
NT test or real-world domain.
Installation and Configuration
Ive never seen dual-booted systems in user work
areas (would you trust your data to a dual-booted system?).
But technical support staffers are inclined to use this
feature, so its on the test. Expect to be tested
on file structures (FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS) in relationship
to dual-booted Windows 98 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0
Believe it or not, one of the two ringers I encountered
pertained to OS/2 and Windows 98. Its important
to realize that you cant install Windows 98 on a
computer running OS/2. Youll have to delete the
OS/2 autoexec.bat and config.sys files before running
Windows 98 Setup. After running Setup from MS-DOS youll
no longer be able to start OS/2 once Windows 98 is installed.
Tip: If you build
a three-system network lab, dont overlook the Windows
98 Dial-Up Networking Server and Personal Web Server options.
Spend time configuring and testing how another Windows
98 system leverages these features through dial-up or
on the local area network. Try managing browser access
and content management with the Personal Web Manager across
Configuring and Managing Resources
Theres a backup and restore data recovery scenario
that tests your knowledge of the meaning of incremental
vs. differential backup. In order to recover data after
a system crash, youll have to understand what backup
methods have been applied and how well the method chosen
will apply itself to data restoration.
Tip: The other ringer
on the exam involved MS-DOS application printing support.
Windows 98 provides 32-bit virtual device print spooler
support. This print function directs all MS-DOS application
output destined for the printer port and prioritizes those
jobs with the Windows 98 print spooler. This functionality
results in a snappier return to the DOS application.
Integration and Interoperability
Expect to be tested on Novell NetWare connectivity to
Windows 98 clients. Windows 98 allows either Client for
Microsoft Networks or Client for NetWare to be installed,
but not both. Windows 98 includes Services for NetWare
Directory Services for NDS environments, so be familiar
with how to configure these parameters. If youre
not on a Novell NetWare NDS network, refer to the Windows
98 Resource Kit technical support information.
Youll want to know how to browse Network Neighborhood
on NetWare networks. Please keep in mind that you can
change your preferred server only if its a 4.x server
in the same NDS that youre logging into.
Tip: A gimme
here is knowing how to combine File and Print Sharing
for NetWare networks with enabling SAP advertising for
Windows 98 systems to appear on the NetWare List.
Monitoring and Optimization
System Monitor is a Windows 98 tool used to track performance.
Test this tool thoroughly and know how to use the new
logging feature. Run it as a daily task to gauge Kernel
| Memory Manager sub-options effectively. Refer to the
tables in Chapter 26 of the Windows 98 Resource Kit on
performance tuning for System Monitor settings and categories.
Another performance tool introduced with the Windows
98 Resource Kit is WinAlign. WinAlign.exe is designed
to optimize the performance of executable code. Office
97 is a key Windows 98 application that WinAlign works
with to format sections of binary files along 4K boundaries.
Understand how this tool benefits Office 97 application
Make sure you know how the administrators Windows
98 machine drives Windows 98 Registry Editor and System
Monitor in dealing with a problem computer. Both computer
systems must have user-level access chosen and the Remote
Registry option installed; the remote computer must have
both Remote Administration and Allow administrator privileges
enabled. Remember that Windows 98 in a Windows NT network
allows default access for the Domain Admins global group.
Tip: Be familiar
with Windows 98 setup failure situations, including partial
install and recovering from common Setup failures. The
Windows 98 Resource Kit in Chapter 5, Setup Technical
Discussion, includes extensive information that
you should be familiar with before the exam.
and Additional Info
The Microsoft Preparation Guide for
this exam is located at www.microsoft.com/trainingandservices/exams/examasearch.asp?
A self-study kit will soon be available
from Microsoft Press. Course 1240, Microsoft
Windows 98 Training Kit, is in development
at this writing. The ISBN is 1-57231-730-2.
Also, four books were expected out
by the time you read this review:
- MCSE Windows 98 Exam Prep
by Ed Tittel (The Coriolis Group,
$44.99, ISBN 1-57610-290-4).
- Windows 98 MCSE Study Guide
by Morris Lewis and Mark B. Cooper
(IDG Books Worldwide, $49.99, ISBN
- Microsoft Windows 98 Resource
Kit (Microsoft Press, $69.99,
- MCSE Training Guide: Windows
98 by Joseph Phillips (New RIders,
$49.99, ISBN 1-56205-890-8).
Two Final Questions
Two questions come to mind regarding this exam. First,
what didnt appear on the beta? Although Microsoft
has made significant statements about using adaptive testing
methods and simulation questions to increase exam validity
and curb question pirating, neither method appeared in
the Supporting Windows 98 beta exam. [According to
Microsoft, adaptive testing can only be implemented in
an exam after statistics have been gathered from user
testing.Ed.] Several items mentioned in the
Skills Area table never showed up on the exam either.
I dont recall seeing anything about ATM components,
Fast Infrared, Power Management, ScanReg, or ScanRegW.
Nor did I use any study knowledge of Winipcfg, Ping or
Tracert (which may be due to the fact that you really
have to test these utilities interactively on a network).
If my beta exam was any indication, you wont have
to worry about NetMeeting, Outlook Express, or Internet
Explorer either; Proxy Server configuration is the notable
The second question is one you should ask yourself: Should
I take the Windows 98 exam or wait for the Windows NT
5.0 Workstation exam? IT implementation teams appear to
be conforming to the Microsoft marketing message and adopting
Windows NT Workstation 4.0 as the preferred desktop for
future migration to Windows NT 5.0 Workstation. This relegates
Windows 98 to a lessor role as the mobile users
preferred OS, or the one shipping with newly ordered systems.
I mention these observations to help you decide the relative
importance of this exam to your career. If youre
in a job that requires you to support Windows 98 for more
than 20 users in a Windows NT setting, preparing for this
exam will help you expand your skills and knowledge. If
your company plans to sit tight with Windows 95 until
Windows NT Workstation 5.0, then you may be better off
waiting for next years Windows NT 5.0 certification