As you prepare for the next wave in networking, make sure you’re doing it right with Microsoft Official Curriculum.

Master Windows 2000 with MOC

As you prepare for the next wave in networking, make sure you’re doing it right with Microsoft Official Curriculum.

Where I come from in the Midwest, things are usually getting pretty chilly by now; but with the impending release of Windows 2000, this year’s different. Things are starting to heat up and all around you hear the same question: “OK, what do I do now?” Perhaps you’ve got Windows 2000 in hand. Maybe you got an early look with some of the betas. You’ve struggled through getting it running on a few systems. Now, you’re faced with the same old problem: How do you make sure you’re doing it right?

Network administrators, systems engineers, technophiles, and other assorted geeks (a term I attach to myself with honor) tend to be an independent bunch. We’ve become skilled at learning by doing, but we’re also aware of the drawbacks. It’s not fast, it’s not efficient, and you’re going to make mistakes along the way. That’s fine when you’re pushing your own system to see how far it can go before it breaks; but it’s a completely different situation when your peace of mind (and livelihood) depends on the network running, and running right!

Not only that. You also know you want to get certified on Win2K. Whether as a matter of technical pride, keeping the résumé up to date, or because it’s a job requirement, there’s more MCSE testing in your future. A few words to the wise: In case you haven’t already noticed, the tests aren’t getting any easier, and a little outside help never hurt anyone.

Don’t despair. Whether you’re just starting to plan your Win2K upgrade or already deep in the process, Microsoft has made training available to help get you up to speed through its Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) courses. Rather than trying to squeeze you into one-size-fits-all training, there are MOC courses to match your needs and experience.

Getting Ready

There’s one self-study Windows 2000 MOC Course, 1555, Preparing for Windows 2000. Like the name says, this one helps you get ready for Win2K. It gives you tips to help you prepare, such as:

  • Cleaning up and streamlining Windows NT 4.0 directory services.
  • Implementing TCP/IP (including DNS).
  • Migrating Windows 9x machines to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation.
  • Installing and implementing Service Pack 4 features.
  • Configuring NT 4.0 for Win2K migration.

This is the only full-fledged Win2K course that you can get for free, just by downloading it from Microsoft’s Web site. (I’m not counting Seminar Online classes in this category.) However, this is one case where free doesn’t necessarily mean easy. The course is targeted at IT professionals with experience supporting and administering Windows NT. If you don’t have the background, Microsoft suggests you complete Course 803, Administering Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and Course 922, Supporting Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Core Technologies, before you try to tackle this one. [For more information on Course 1555, see Chris Brooke’s “Microsoft Official Online Curriculum”.—Ed.]

You Have to Start Somewhere

Everyone has to start somewhere, and it may be that you just happen to be starting out with Win2K. If that’s the case, Microsoft has three courses to get you going. Whether you’re new to the industry, new to the Windows family, or even have some experience but want to make sure you fill in all the blanks, Microsoft offers:

  • Course 1556—Administering Windows 2000.
  • Course 1557—Configuring Microsoft Windows 2000.
  • Course 1558—Advanced Administration for Microsoft Windows 2000.

These classes take you from the ground up to get ready for Win2K. You’re expected to take them in order. Each is the prerequisite for the next one.
Course 1556, Administering Windows 2000, lasts three days and gets you started by teaching you the how-to’s of day-to-day administrative tasks. You’ll learn how to set up and administer users and groups, manage network resources, control resource access, manage data storage, and back up and restore data.

Once you’ve got the basics done, you’re ready to move on to Course 1557, Configuring Microsoft Windows 2000. This one’s a little longer, five days, and teaches what you need to know about installing and configuring Win2K Professional and Win2K Server. The course content emphasizes what you need to know to implement features critical to network support, such as Active Directory, TCP/IP, Domain Name Service (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Windows Internet Name Service (WINS), Internet Information Services (IIS), and Terminal Services.

The last course in this set is Course 1558, Advanced Administration for Windows 2000. It’s another three-day course that builds on what you’ve learned in the previous courses. It adds instruction on multidomain and enterprise networking issues, as well as introducing Group Policy, Software Installation Policy, and the distributed file system.

Been Around the Block…

Of course, Microsoft recognizes that a lot of the people who want training are starting from square one. But don’t worry, it hasn’t forgotten those IT professionals who already have some experience. Course 1560, Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows 2000, is a five-day course designed for people with at least one year of experience supporting Windows NT. It gives you credit for what you already know, focusing on what’s new and what’s different with Win2K. It takes you right into Active Directory, Group Policies, resource management, file management, and all the rest—giving you a quick path to get ready for Win2K administration.

…And Around Again

As a follow-up to course 1560, Microsoft offers three additional MOC courses for IT professionals with at least two years of experience with NT. These are:

  • Course 1561—Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure.
  • Course 1562—Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Networking Services Infrastructure.
  • Course 1563—Developing a Change and Configuration Management Infrastructure for Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional.

Unlike the earlier set of courses I mentioned, each of these stands alone. Course 1560 is the sole prerequisite for all three courses, letting you select just the course (or courses) you need to do your job.

Course 1561, Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure, lasts five days. It teaches you how to design, implement, manage, maintain, and optimize your Active Directory. It also helps you through the upgrade process with information on upgrading from NT 4.0 and synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5.

Course 1562, Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Networking Services Infrastructure lasts four days and provides intensive instruction on networking. Since TCP/IP is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for all networks, the emphasis is on implementing and supporting TCP/IP and related services. The course also covers the ins and outs of providing remote access to your network.

Finally, Course 1563, Developing a Change and Configuration Management Infrastructure for Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, gives you three days of training on designing and configuring your end users’ working environment. It gives you tips on how to efficiently roll out, manage, and maintain Windows 2000 Professional.

The Cost of Win2K Training
So, where do you go to find this training? Microsoft’s Online Referral Service can direct you to training centers in your local area. You can access this service at:

The tables below lists the course prices for selected training companies with offices across the U.S. You can expect the prices to be similar for most local training companies.

  Aris Corp.
Infotech Online
Locations 9 U.S. locations plus 4 locations in the U.K. Over 250 locations worldwide 16 training offices in the U.S.
Course 1556 $1,125 $1,275 $1,195
Course 1557 $1,875 $2,125 $1,995
Course 1558 $1,125 $1,275 $1,195
Course 1560 $1,875 $2,125 $1,995
Course 1561 $1,875 $2,125 $1,195
Course 1562 $1,500 $1,700 $1,500
Course 1563 $1,125 $1,275 $1,195
Notes Price and schedule information available on Web site. Currently offered in selected offices only. Check Web site for locations and schedules. Price and schedule information available on Web site.


  New Horizons
Productivity Point, International
Locations Over 200 locations worldwide Over 130 locations worldwide
Course 1556 $1,275 $1,275
Course 1557 $2,125 $2,125
Course 1558 $1,275 $1,275
Course 1560 $2,125 $2,125
Course 1561 Not on schedule (see note below) $2,125
Course 1562 Not on schedule (see note below) $1,700
Course 1563 Not on schedule (see note below) $1,275
Notes Price and schedule information available on Web site. Prices and availability are for New Horizons, Southern California. Contact your local office for additional information. Local office contact numbers are available on Web site.

All prices are in US dollars and were verified as of October 12, 1999.

Some companies (Executrain and New Horizons, for example) don’t currently have public classes scheduled at all locations, so you’ll want to check with your local training center. Even if they don’t have any public offerings, if you have a group that you need to train, you can probably make arrangements to hold a special class.

There’s one glaring omission from the table, Course 1579. Prices for this course typically range between $2,100 and $2,400 (as a suggested price), but if you’re an MCSE, you can get in on a special pricing deal by going to

Special pricing will be available through most CTECs through the end of the year.

—Frank Miller

Give It to Me Straight, Doc!

All of these courses are well and good, but what if you don’t have two or three weeks to invest in the classroom, if you need training and you need it fast? Many IT professionals are lucky if they’re able to break free for a week.

Well, then Microsoft has just the class for you, too. Course 1579, Accelerated Training for Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services, is an intensive five-day class packed with 10 days worth of material. It’s got it all—installation, configuration, and administration. Everything you need to know from the other courses is all rolled into one.

Be forewarned: This isn’t a class for the faint of heart. It’s intended for MCSEs with at least two years of experience supporting NT 4.0. The class hours are longer, the information comes at you faster, and you’re going to have (shudder!) homework assignments. If you’re up to the challenge, this is your fastest track to Win2K.

A Final Word

Yes, classroom training will cost you, and it takes time from your already hectic schedule. Rather than looking at it as an interruption, however, you should consider it an investment. When striking out into unfamiliar territory, it’s always better to bring a guide along with you.

Besides, if you’re going to crash a network while you’re learning this stuff, it might as well belong to somebody else.

About the Author

Frank Miller, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, runs his company, Cypress Development, Etc., LLC, out of his home in the wilds of southeast Missouri. He develops custom courses and multimedia training content, specializing primarily in Microsoft operating systems and BackOffice products.

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