Windows admin interview questions


  1. Describe how the DHCP lease is obtained. It’s a four-step process consisting of (a) IP request, (b) IP offer, © IP selection and (d) acknowledgement.
  2. I can’t seem to access the Internet, don’t have any access to the corporate network and on ipconfig my address is 169.254.*.*. What happened? The 169.254.*.* netmask is assigned to Windows machines running 98/2000/XP if the DHCP server is not available. The name for the technology is APIPA (Automatic Private Internet Protocol Addressing).
  3. We’ve installed a new Windows-based DHCP server, however, the users do not seem to be getting DHCP leases off of it. The server must be authorized first with the Active Directory.
  4. How can you force the client to give up the dhcp lease if you have access to the client PC? ipconfig /release
  5. What authentication options do Windows 2000 Servers have for remote clients? PAP, SPAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP and EAP.
  6. What are the networking protocol options for the Windows clients if for some reason you do not want to use TCP/IP? NWLink (Novell), NetBEUI, AppleTalk (Apple).
  7. What is data link layer in the OSI reference model responsible for? Data link layer is located above the physical layer, but below the network layer. Taking raw data bits and packaging them into frames. The network layer will be responsible for addressing the frames, while the physical layer is reponsible for retrieving and sending raw data bits.
  8. What is binding order? The order by which the network protocols are used for client-server communications. The most frequently used protocols should be at the top.
  9. How do cryptography-based keys ensure the validity of data transferred across the network?  Each IP packet is assigned a checksum, so if the checksums do not match on both receiving and transmitting ends, the data was modified or corrupted.
  10. Should we deploy IPSEC-based security or certificate-based security? They are really two different technologies. IPSec secures the TCP/IP communication and protects the integrity of the packets. Certificate-based security ensures the validity of authenticated clients and servers.
  11. What is LMHOSTS file? It’s a file stored on a host machine that is used to resolve NetBIOS to specific IP addresses.
  12. What’s the difference between forward lookup and reverse lookup in DNS? Forward lookup is name-to-address, the reverse lookup is address-to-name.
  13. How can you recover a file encrypted using EFS? Use the domain recovery agent.

Generic interview questions to ponder

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
  3. What is your greatest strength?
  4. What is your greatest weakness?
  5. Why do you want this position?”
  6. Why do you want to leave your current job? (Why did you leave your last job?)
  7. How do you handle stressful situations?
  8. What is the toughest problem you’ve had to face, and how did you overcome it?
  9. Why do you want this position?
  10. Why are you the best person for this job?

Windows 2000 administration questions


  1. Explain hidden shares. Hidden or administrative shares are share names with a dollar sign ($) appended to their names. Administrative shares are usually created automatically for the root of each drive letter. They do not display in the network browse list.
  2. How do the permissions work in Windows 2000? What permissions does folder inherit from the parent? When you combine NTFS permissions based on users and their group memberships, the least restrictive permissions take precedence. However, explicit Deny entries always override Allow entries.
  3. Why can’t I encrypt a compressed file on Windows 2000? You can either compress it or encrypt it, but not both.
  4. If I rename an account, what must I do to make sure the renamed account has the same permissions as the original one? Nothing, it’s all maintained automatically.
  5. What’s the most powerful group on a Windows system? Administrators.
  6. What are the accessibility features in Windows 2000? StickyKeys, FilterKeys Narrator, Magnifier, and On-Screen Keyboard.
  7. Why can’t I get to the Fax Service Management console? You can only see it if a fax had been installed.
  8. What do I need to ensure before deploying an application via a Group Policy? Make sure it’s either an MSI file, or contains a ZAP file for Group Policy.
  9. How do you configure mandatory profiles? Rename ntuser.dat to
  10. I can’t get multiple displays to work in Windows 2000. Multiple displays have to use peripheral connection interface (PCI) or Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) port devices to work properly with Windows 2000.
  11. What’s a maximum number of processors Win2k supports? 2
  12. I had some NTFS volumes under my Windows NT installation. What happened to NTFS after Win 2k installation? It got upgraded to NTFS 5.
  13. How do you convert a drive from FAT/FAT32 to NTFS from the command line? convert c: /fs:ntfs
  14. Explain APIPA. Auto Private IP Addressing (APIPA) takes effect on Windows 2000 Professional computers if no DHCP server can be contacted. APIPA assigns the computer an IP address within the range of through with a subnet mask of
  15. How does Internet Connection Sharing work on Windows 2000? Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) uses the DHCP Allocator service to assign dynamic IP addresses to clients on the LAN within the range of through In addition, the DNS Proxy service becomes enabled when you
    implement ICS.

Windows Server 2003 IIS and Scripting interview questions

  1. What is presentation layer responsible for in the OSI model? The presentation layer establishes the data format prior to passing it along to the network application’s interface. TCP/IP networks perform this task at the application layer.
  2. Does Windows Server 2003 support IPv6? Yes, run ipv6.exe from command line to disable it.
  3. Can Windows Server 2003 function as a bridge? Yes, and it’s a new feature for the 2003 product. You can combine several networks and devices connected via several adapters by enabling IP routing.
  4. What’s the difference between the basic disk and dynamic disk? The basic type contains partitions, extended partitions, logical drivers, and an assortment of static volumes; the dynamic type does not use partitions but dynamically manages volumes and provides advanced storage options
  5. What’s a media pool? It is any compilation of disks or tapes with the same administrative properties. 
  6. How do you install recovery console? C:\i386\win32 /cmdcons, assuming that your Win server installation is on drive C.
  7. What’s new in Terminal Services for Windows 2003 Server? Supports audio transmissions as well, although prepare for heavy network load.
  8. What scripts ship with IIS 6.0? iisweb.vsb to create, delete, start, stop, and list Web sites, iisftp.vsb to create, delete, start, stop, and list FTP sites, iisdir.vsb to create, delete, start, stop, and display virtual directories, iisftpdr.vsb to create, delete, start, stop, and display virtual directories under an FTP root, iiscnfg.vbs to export and import IIS configuration to an XML file.
  9. What’s the name of the user who connects to the Web site anonymously? IUSR_computername
  10. What secure authentication and encryption mechanisms are supported by IIS 6.0? Basic authentication, Digest authentication, Advanced digest authentication, Certificate-based Web transactions that use PKCS #7/PKCS #10, Fortezza, SSL, Server-Gated Cryptography, Transport Layer Security
  11. What’s the relation between SSL and TLS? Transport Layer Security (TLS) extends SSL by providing cryptographic authentication. 
  12. What’s the role of http.sys in IIS? It is the point of contact for all incoming HTTP requests. It listens for requests and queues them until they are all processed, no more queues are available, or the Web server is shut down.
  13. Where’s ASP cache located on IIS 6.0? On disk, as opposed to memory, as it used to be in IIS 5.
  14. What is socket pooling? Non-blocking socket usage, introduced in IIS 6.0. More than one application can use a given socket.
  15. Describe the process of clustering with Windows 2003 Server when a new node is added. As a node goes online, it searches for other nodes to join by polling the designated internal network. In this way, all nodes are notified of the new node’s existence. If other nodes cannot be found on a preexisting cluster, the new node takes control of the quorum resources residing on the shared disk that contains state and configuration data.
  16. What applications are not capable of performing in Windows 2003 Server clusters? The ones written exclusively for NetBEUI and IPX.
  17. What’s a heartbeat? Communication processes between the nodes designed to ensure node’s health.
  18. What’s a threshold in clustered environment? The number of times a restart is attempted, when the node fails.
  19. You need to change and admin password on a clustered Windows box, but that requires rebooting the cluster, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. In 2003 environment you can do that via cluster.exe utility which does not require rebooting the entire cluster.
  20. For the document of size 1 MB, what size would you expect the index to be with Indexing Service? 150-300 KB, 15-30% is a reasonable expectation.
  21. Doesn’t the Indexing Service introduce a security flaw when allowing access to the index? No, because users can only view the indices of documents and folders that they have permissions for.
  22. What’s the typical size of the index? Less then 100K documents – up to 128 MB. More than that – 256+ MB.
  23. Which characters should be enclosed in quotes when searching the index? &, @, $, #, ^, ( ), and |.
  24. How would you search for C++? Just enter C++, since + is not a special character (and neither is C).
  25. What about Barnes&Noble? Should be searched for as Barnes’&’Noble.
  26. Are the searches case-sensitive? No.
  27. What’s the order of precedence of Boolean operators in Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Indexing Service? NOT, AND, NEAR, OR.
  28. What’s a vector space query? A multiple-word query where the weight can be assigned to each of the search words. For example, if you want to fight information on ‘black hole’, but would prefer to give more weight to the word hole, you can enter black[1] hole[20] into the search window.
  29. What’s a response queue? It’s the message queue that holds response messages sent from the receiving application to the sender.
  30. What’s MQPing used for? Testing Microsoft Message Queue services between the nodes on a network.
  31. Which add-on package for Windows 2003 Server would you use to monitor the installed software and license compliance? SMS (System Management Server).
  32. Which service do you use to set up various alerts? MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager).
  33. What languages does Windows Scripting Host support? VB, VBScript, JScript

Windows Server 2003 interview and certification questions

  1. How do you double-boot a Win 2003 server box? The Boot.ini file is set as read-only, system, and hidden to prevent unwanted editing. To change the Boot.ini timeout and default settings, use the System option in Control Panel from the Advanced tab and select Startup.
  2. What do you do if earlier application doesn’t run on Windows Server 2003? When an application that ran on an earlier legacy version of Windows cannot be loaded during the setup function or if it later malfunctions, you must run the compatibility mode function. This is accomplished by right-clicking the application or setup program and selecting Properties –> Compatibility –> selecting the previously supported operating system.
  3.  If you uninstall Windows Server 2003, which operating systems can you revert to? Win ME and Win 98.
  4. How do you get to Internet Firewall settings? Start –> Control Panel –> Network and Internet Connections –> Network Connections.
  5. What are the Windows Server 2003 keyboard shortcuts? Winkey opens or closes the Start menu. Winkey + BREAK displays the System Properties dialog box. Winkey + TAB moves the focus to the next application in the taskbar. Winkey + SHIFT + TAB moves the focus to the previous application in the taskbar. Winkey + B moves the focus to the notification area. Winkey + D shows the desktop. Winkey + E opens Windows Explorer showing My Computer. Winkey + F opens the Search panel. Winkey + CTRL + F opens the Search panel with Search for Computers module selected. Winkey + F1 opens Help. Winkey + M minimizes all. Winkey + SHIFT+ M undoes minimization. Winkey + R opens Run dialog. Winkey + U opens the Utility Manager. Winkey + L locks the computer.
  6. What is Active Directory? Active Directory is a network-based object store and service that locates and manages resources, and makes these resources available to authorized users and groups. An underlying principle of the Active Directory is that everything is considered an object—people, servers, workstations, printers, documents, and devices. Each object has certain attributes and its own security access control list (ACL).
  7. Where are the Windows NT Primary Domain Controller (PDC) and its Backup Domain Controller (BDC) in Server 2003? The Active Directory replaces them. Now all domain controllers share a multimaster peer-to-peer read and write relationship that hosts copies of the Active Directory.
  8. How long does it take for security changes to be replicated among the domain controllers? Security-related modifications are replicated within a site immediately. These changes include account and individual user lockout policies, changes to password policies, changes to computer account passwords, and modifications to the Local Security Authority (LSA).
  9. What’s new in Windows Server 2003 regarding the DNS management? When DC promotion occurs with an existing forest, the Active Directory Installation Wizard contacts an existing DC to update the directory and replicate from the DC the required portions of the directory. If the wizard fails to locate a DC, it performs debugging and reports what caused the failure and how to fix the problem. In order to be located on a network, every DC must register in DNS DC locator DNS records. The Active Directory Installation Wizard verifies a proper configuration of the DNS infrastructure. All DNS configuration debugging and reporting activity is done with the Active Directory Installation Wizard.
  10. When should you create a forest? Organizations that operate on radically different bases may require separate trees with distinct namespaces. Unique trade or brand names often give rise to separate DNS identities. Organizations merge or are acquired and naming continuity is desired. Organizations form partnerships and joint ventures. While access to common resources is desired, a separately defined tree can enforce more direct administrative and security restrictions.
  11. How can you authenticate between forests? Four types of authentication are used across forests: (1) Kerberos and NTLM network logon for remote access to a server in another forest; (2) Kerberos and NTLM interactive logon for physical logon outside the user’s home forest; (3) Kerberos delegation to N-tier application in another forest; and (4) user principal name (UPN) credentials.
  12. What snap-in administrative tools are available for Active Directory? Active Directory Domains and Trusts Manager, Active Directory Sites and Services Manager, Active Directory Users and Group Manager, Active Directory Replication (optional, available from the Resource Kit), Active Directory Schema Manager (optional, available from adminpak)
  13. What types of classes exist in Windows Server 2003 Active Directory? 
  • Structural class. The structural class is important to the system administrator in that it is the only type from which new Active Directory objects are created. Structural classes are developed from either the modification of an existing structural type or the use of one or more abstract classes.
  • Abstract class. Abstract classes are so named because they take the form of templates that actually create other templates (abstracts) and structural and auxiliary classes. Think of abstract classes as frameworks for the defining objects.
  • Auxiliary class. The auxiliary class is a list of attributes. Rather than apply numerous attributes when creating a structural class, it provides a streamlined alternative by applying a combination of attributes with a single include action.
  • 88 class. The 88 class includes object classes defined prior to 1993, when the 1988 X.500 specification was adopted. This type does not use the structural, abstract, and auxiliary definitions, nor is it in common use for the development of objects in Windows Server 2003 environments.
  1. How do you delete a lingering object? Windows Server 2003 provides a command called Repadmin that provides the ability to delete lingering objects in the Active Directory. 
  2. What is Global Catalog? The Global Catalog authenticates network user logons and fields inquiries about objects across a forest or tree. Every domain has at least one GC that is hosted on a domain controller. In Windows 2000, there was typically one GC on every site in order to prevent user logon failures across the network.
  3. How is user account security established in Windows Server 2003? When an account is created, it is given a unique access number known as a security identifier (SID). Every group to which the user belongs has an associated SID. The user and related group SIDs together form the user account’s security token, which determines access levels to objects throughout the system and network. SIDs from the security token are mapped to the access control list (ACL) of any object the user attempts to access.
  4. If I delete a user and then create a new account with the same username and password, would the SID and permissions stay the same? No. If you delete a user account and attempt to recreate it with the same user name and password, the SID will be different. 
  5. What do you do with secure sign-ons in an organization with many roaming users? Credential Management feature of Windows Server 2003 provides a consistent single sign-on experience for users. This can be useful for roaming users who move between computer systems. The Credential Management feature provides a secure store of user credentials that includes passwords and X.509 certificates.
  6. Anything special you should do when adding a user that has a Mac? “Save password as encrypted clear text” must be selected on User Properties Account Tab Options, since the Macs only store their passwords that way.
  7. What remote access options does Windows Server 2003 support? Dial-in, VPN, dial-in with callback.
  8. Where are the documents and settings for the roaming profile stored? All the documents and
    environmental settings for the roaming user are stored locally on the system, and, when the user logs off, all changes to the locally stored profile are copied to the shared server folder. Therefore, the first time a roaming user logs on to a new system the logon process may take some time, depending on how large his profile folder is.
  9. Where are the settings for all the users stored on a given machine? \Document and Settings\All Users
  10. What languages can you use for log-on scripts? JavaScipt, VBScript, DOS batch files (.com, .bat, or even .exe)


Networking questions

broadcast address default gateway default route ethereal exit point fluke networks global group grant permissions groups hsrp information directories ios cisco ip address ip node ip route local Networking network id optiview router ip

  1. What is a default gateway? – The exit-point from one network and entry-way into another network, often the router of the network.
  2. How do you set a default route on an IOS Cisco router? – ip route x.x.x.x [where x.x.x.x represents the destination address]
  3. What is the difference between a domain local group and a global group? – Domain local groups grant permissions to objects within the domain in which the reside. Global groups contain grant permissions tree or forest wide for any objects within the Active Directory.
  4. What is LDAP used for? – LDAP is a set of protocol used for providing access to information directories.
  5. What tool have you used to create and analyze packet captures? – Network Monitor in Win2K / Win2K3, Ethereal in Linux, OptiView Series II (by Fluke Networks).
  6. How does HSRP work?

What is the significance of the IP address – The limited broadcast address is utilized when an IP node must perform a one-to-everyone delivery on the local network but the network ID is unknownWindows Server and MS Exchange interview questions

  1. What is DHCP? How we configure DHCP?
  2. What are the ways to configure DNS & Zones?
  3. What are the types of backup? Explain each?



Windows sysadmin interview questions

.NET activedirectory activeserverpages asp caching dns domain domaincontroller dsaccess exchange forestprep globalcatalog imap4 ldap logging microsoft msft Networking rpc scripting server smtp systemattendant Windows windowsserver2003

  1. What are the required components of Windows Server 2003 for installing Exchange 2003? – ASP.NET, SMTP, NNTP, W3SVC
  2. What must be done to an AD forest before Exchange can be deployed? – Setup /forestprep
  3. What Exchange process is responsible for communication with AD? – DSACCESS
  4. What 3 types of domain controller does Exchange access? – Normal Domain Controller, Global Catalog, Configuration Domain Controller
  5. What connector type would you use to connect to the Internet, and what are the two methods of sending mail over that connector? – SMTP Connector: Forward to smart host or use DNS to route to each address
  6. How would you optimise Exchange 2003 memory usage on a Windows Server 2003 server with more than 1Gb of memory? – Add /3Gb switch to boot.ini
  7. What would a rise in remote queue length generally indicate? – This means mail is not being sent to other servers. This can be explained by outages or performance issues with the network or remote servers.
  8. What would a rise in the Local Delivery queue generally mean? – This indicates a performance issue or outage on the local server. Reasons could be slowness in consulting AD, slowness in handing messages off to local delivery or SMTP delivery. It could also be databases being dismounted or a lack of disk space.
  9. What are the standard port numbers for SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, RPC, LDAP and Global Catalog? – SMTP – 25, POP3 – 110, IMAP4 – 143, RPC – 135, LDAP – 389, Global Catalog – 3268
  10. Name the process names for the following: System Attendant? – MAD.EXE, Information Store – STORE.EXE, SMTP/POP/IMAP/OWA – INETINFO.EXE
  11. What is the maximum amount of databases that can be hosted on Exchange 2003 Enterprise? – 20 databases. 4 SGs x 5 DBs.
  12. What are the disadvantages of circular logging? – In the event of a corrupt database, data can only be restored to the last backup.



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