32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2004
Countless times I have been foolish enough to think that since it is a Microsoft product, there would be a higher quality of content, style, teachability, and quality. For me this book finally broke the camel's back. Why in the world that between two authors, all the proof readers, the senior editors, junior editors, editing editors, the project managers, acquisition editor, copy editors, desktop publishing specialist, etc etc etc, one cannot depend on a decent book with minimal errors (and I am not talking about spelling errors).
The book has you in a yoyo, dcpromoing up, down, back to standalone, then back to member server just to go through the books chapters. Just know that if you were to really go through the book as it is written, be prepared to have many machines with many operating systems, and also be prepared to build and rebuild just to learn Exchange 2003. (Hint: use vmware and answer files - also own All the operating systems and all the Exchange applications since 5.5) <-- Yeah, everyone just has those in their back pocket)
I have finished the book and the frustration of mistakes and serious errors on "how to's" alone could disappoint even an advanced technical MCSE. The authors are also over-zealous in using all the Microsoft jargon in every sentence when just some simple wording would have worked wonders. The authors also present step by step examples but leave out the very preparation where one has to be in order to start the step by step implementation. Most all of this could have been easily corrected by "someone really working through the book" as a person who wanted to learn Exchange 2003. Not someone with a "proof reader" title that does little more than review a page or two.
There are now other books that can teach you Exchange 2003. This book could be used as a 3rd book if necessary but not a first book. That is why they even get 2 stars. Microsoft seems to always get authors that are there for the paycheck and recognition but not for the customer support. Tony Redmond's book is exceptional.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2004
This book doesn't help to learn fast and efficient.
Everything in this book is explained in text, which makes learning very, very time-consuming. So many times a little diagram could have been be very helpful in explaining how the various components of such a complex system work together. It's not there. The authors leave it to the reader to reconstruct the diagram from the textual description. Takes time.
The book also doesn't have a single table. Up to the reader to reconstruct the tables from the text.
Also missing in this book are normal page numbers. Page numbering restarts from 1 at every chapter. Not very handy if you're working with the register.
This book is not the best resource for what is was intended: studying Exchange 2003. You might want to complement this book with technical articles that you download and print from the MS website, that will give some diagrams to complement the text.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I used this book to teach a course on Exchange based on someone else's recommendation. I really should have read the reviews here first. That was a terrible idea. There are technical errors, the activities don't work, and there are lots of surprise requirements. The hardware and software requirements listed at the beginning of the book are not all you will need to complete the labs. What a major pain this course was for me to use. I am very sorry that I purchased 15 copies of this book. Don't be fooled by high sales numbers, this product is not worth it.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2006
It has taken a while to get this book published. 1230 pages of material takes a lot of time to put together. Obviously the stated aim of this book is to prepare the student to take the exam. However, even if you are not planning on taking the exam, the material covered here is a complete book on Windows Server 2003 Networking. It covers everything from defining TCP/IP to troubleshooting nearly any kind of trouble.
Of course the main thrust of the book is to pass the test, so there are a lot of small tests throughout the book and then there are three CD's. This includes a 180 day evaluation version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition. In addition there is a review test that will give you the look and feel of the real test.
This is by no means light reading for the IT newbie, but it's all you will need to pass the certification test.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2004
Having just taken the 70-291 exam, I can assure you that this is not a full and complete study guide for the real exam. The book is made up of something around 1000 pages, however, for each lesson review, the full questions for each lesson are repeated in the answer section, padding the book's pages quite a bit. Incompleteness in and of itself is not entirely bad, but I found the book to be often misleading and containing several errors. The book is not without its merits, though. The accompanying CD contains a trial version of the Server CD and the labs and exercises were very helpful. The book on CD is also useful to have, especially when you want to study on the go and don't want to drag the book around with you. Call-outs in the text point you to think about what's on the test, too. However, if you're going to take the exam, make sure you don't rely on this book by itself. It's pretty weak on security policies and SUS, both of which are tested on the exam. If you arleady have study guides for this exam, this isn't a bad addition to your library, but it shouldn't be your only book to help you prepare for the exam.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2009
I originally received this book from my company since they are requiring each tech in our company to pass both the 70-290 and the 70-291. Initially looking through the book I was scepticle that it would adequately prepare me.
After 1.5 months studying 2-3 hours daily and using this book as my primary source I passed with an 842. A coworker also used this book and passed with a 905.
Each section seemed to cover the topics adquately and even more the reading of it was not dry and difficult as I expected. Both of us especially focused on each Exam Tip which is frequently emphasized throughout the book. We typed these out into about 15 pages of single spaced notes we used to review serveral times a week.
A note about my work experience. Many of the topics in this book were mostly unfamiliar with me. Concepts such as TCP/IP Troubeshotting and DHCP I use regularly and the chapters about this were more of a review for me. However, I rarely if ever do anything with DNS, IPSEC, Shadow Copies, WSUS, Security Monitor, Replication Monitor, Network Monitor, Routing and Remote Access, etc as part of my normal job. I went into these sections with at best a novice understanding and at time no experience at all before studying. Yet by the time I took the test I scored well in all areas except Routing and Remote Access.
My recommended study steps is...
1. Read the book once through for a general overvue. Highlight anything that is not familiar to you.
2. Read through the book a 2nd time especially focusing on things you are unfamiliar with. Make notecards of every command line command with switches that are discussed in the book. These will be on the exam.
3. Read the Exam tips at least 5-7 times before taking the exam.
4. Google anything that does not seem to be clear from the book or that seems confusing. The only thing I had to do this on was for the NSlookup command. I found a few websites that were great expalining what to use this command for.
5. Set a realistic test date to push yourself as the test nears. Not setting a date (for me) can be a recipe for not being focused and taking it much later than I should.
Good luck with it!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2005
I just had to add in my 2 cents. I too am teaching a course on Exchange from this book, and I wish that we had used another book. The organization is not good, for example, it discusses connecting Exch 2k3 in an Exch 5.5 environment as well as migration in chapters 4 & 5, and has not even addressed what Exch 2k3 is and does and how to configure it at that point. Ch 3, on Administrative and Routing groups is severely lacking (no diagrams at all and does not go into any length about connectors, the routing engine, etc...). Chapter 6, on clustering and NLB, again should have been placed near the end of the book so that you would have covered virtual servers before the chapter on clustering. Additionally, in chapter 9, when they finally do talk about virtual servers, they repeat information from chapter 6, and muddy the distinction between the virtual server that encompasses the clustered installation with the virtual servers (such as POP3, IMAP4, NNTP, etc..) that you need to configure to provide services. Chapter 9, on virtual servers, is extremely repetitive.. It looks basically like they cut and pasted the same material from POP3 to the IMAP4 and NNTP sections and just noted a few of the differences. Rather than bringing out the commonalities, and saying it once, and then pointing out the differences, they say it over and over and over.. I'll spare the zeros and ones on the rest of the book. I've already used my 2 cents worth and don't want to add any more. I just really wish that I had read the reviews before we decided to use this book for the class.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2004
This is without doubt the worst MCSE book I've read. There were no reviews here when I bought it (worse luck!) but I wish there had been - I wouldn't have wasted a month of my life studying it.
It is error strewn (major errors, not just typos, only some of which are mentioned in the errata web site), badly written, disorganised, unclear, full of redundant information and it will - as other reviewers have noted - force you to reinstall AD/Exchange every second chapter if you want to do the exercises.
I postponed the 70-284 exam twice as I felt I didn't understand the material even after going through the book TWICE.
In the end, believe me, the exam wasn't too difficult. Administering Exchange 2K3 isn't difficult either. This book won't convince you of that.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2007
I found this book to be a great resource and a good foundational book. I goes into enough detail to get a good understanding of the principals of Windows 2003 Network Infrastructure. While I am not sure you can pass the MSCSE 70-291 test with just reading this book it is a great foundation to compliment a good purchased sample test.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2007
Well, I'm impressed. For starters, I got a valuable education from this book, not to mention a 980 on the exam. This book is a thorough course and will prepare you as much for the real world as it will the exam, but it requires a practice network of at least 2 computers (I recommend 3), and a lot of time - 250 to 300 hours. This isn't the kind of book that you read in bed or on the couch. The book is approx. 25% reading, 75% hands on lab work.
I give my money to Microsoft reluctantly, especially on products that depend on solid communication skills, but since the book came with a trial version of Server 2003, I plugged my nose and bought it. I expected a litany of typos, endless ambiguity and the "good enough" quality standards that their software has accustomed me to, but that wasn't the case at all. The book was 98% accurate. The practice exam software was an asset, and like I said, it was thorough. It's only shortcoming was in the topic area of "Windows Software Update Service". I should add that I had two years of experience within an Active Directory environment under my belt.