There are numerous ways that the primary Windows desktop MCP exam 70-270 "Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows XP Professional" could change in the wake of Windows XP Service Pack 2. With a primary emphasis on security, XP's new functionality and expanded capabilities are both substantial and interesting.
What this means for prospective 70-270 exam-takers is that anyone preparing for this exam must be able to demonstrate a facility with some key new security concepts such as automatic system defaults, new Group Policy Object elements and settings, and a generally more cautious security outlook.
Some specifics you'll need to master include:
- Changed e-mail handling for attachments in Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and Windows Messenger.
- Built-in Windows Firewall, which is turned on by default and may need alteration for large-scale deployments on protected networks. This utility also includes lots of controls for network and protocol settings, exceptions and services that must be understood and mastered.
- New Internet Explorer features, which now include a pop-up blocker, changes to security zones settings and controls, and built-in Browser Helper Object (BHO) detection and management facilities (called the Add-On Manager).
- Download monitoring with warnings on unsigned downloads, uncertified drivers, and other sources of potential system exposure or instability.
- Windows Security Center, which monitors status and currency of firewall, anti-virus software and system updates.
- Over 100 new or changed GPO objects in the Windows XP registry, accessible through various Group Policy consoles and management tools.
- A new version of the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA 1.2) has been released to support Windows XP SP2 features and functions.
All this information is explored in detail in a Microsoft article entitled "Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2." Interested professionals will also find the Web page "Windows XP Service Pack 2: Resources for IT Professionals" worth investigating, because of its many pointers to other useful downloads and documentation.
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Ed Tittel is a long-time certification follower. He's series editor for Exam Cram 2, a popular assembly of cert prep books from Que Publishing, and a contributing editor for Certification Magazine. He also covers certification topics for InformIT.com, and numerous other TechTarget Web sites.
This was first published in September 2004