Certification Study Guide: 70-417 Exam – Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 Part 1

70-417 Exam MCSA

So I’ll be studying to take Microsoft 70-417 exam to upgrade my MCSA certification to Windows Server 2012.  As I’m studying, I’ll be blogging my notes and linking to other resources in an attempt to instill some of this in my brain, and help out other people who are studying like me.  I’ve found a good set of Youtube videos to help study.


Objective 1.1:  Installing Servers

Hardware requirements:

  • Processor:  1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
  • RAM:  512 MB
  • Disk Space:  32 GB

Fairly standard hardware requirements.  One important note if you’re upgrading from Server 2008 (not R2) is that Server 2012 requires a 64-bit processor.  So if your server is newer than 5 or 6 years old, you’re probably okay.

Migrating server roles using the Windows Server Migration Tool

The Windows Server Migration Tool is a command line utility to migrate roles between servers.  WSMT requires Server 2003 SP2 or newer.  Main command line tool used is SmigDeploy.exe.


Features on Demand

This is kind of a cool idea if you’re limited on disk space.  By default, all the features are stored on disk in the Windows\WinSxS folder.  This allows you to install features without a need for install media.  But what if you know there is no need for a certain Windows feature on your server?  Maybe DHCP?  DNS?  IIS?  Take it off using a PowerShell command!

Uninstall-WindowsFeature YourFeatureHere -Remove

If you ever need the feature back, no problem.  A WIM file, UNC path to a WIM, or a UNC path to a network share that has the WinSxS folder will do the trick.  To me, I think the best approach is to have a server that has them all, and limit the rest per site.  Might as well free up the disk space.

Install-WindowsFeature YourFeatureHere -Source YourSourceHere

If no source is listed, it will attempt to find the location using group policy.  If that fails, it goes to Windows Update.

If you’re not big on PowerShell, you can still use server manager (but Microsoft is big into PowerShell, so know it for the test).

This will also work on an offline VHD that has Server 2k12 on it.

Objective 1.2:  Configure Servers

Deploying features and roles to remote servers with PowerShell

This totally blows my mind.  You don’t even have to login to the server anymore to setup roles and features.  Of course, all done with PowerShell (which can be scripted by the way).  Of course, you can add the remote server using Server Manager as well.  Under the manage menu, there’s an option to add servers.

Install-WindowsFeature -Name <feature> -ComputerName <computername> -Restart

Deployment Image Servicing and Management

DISM is the tool that replaces ImageX.  It’s a great tool to service WIM, VHD, and VHDX files.  Use it to capture and apply images, append and delete images in a .wim file, and split a .wim file.  Use it to add packages, drivers, features, upgrade, or prepare a PE image.  DISM works great with Windows Deployment Services.


Dism /Get-ImageInfo /ImageFile:C:\images\install.wim

Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\images\install.wim /index:2 /MountDir:C:\images\offline

Dism /Image:C:\images\offline /Get-Features

Dism /Image:C:\images\offline /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:Remote-Desktop-Services /All

Dism /Image:C:\images\offline /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:Remote-Desktop-Services

Convert a server with a GUI to or from Server Core

This is a nice feature to be able to switch back and forth from the Core version to GUI.  This is thanks to two features that can be added or removed.  This gives three options:  Server with GUI, Minimal Server Interface, and Server Core.  Minimal server interface removes the desktop, start screen, and Windows and Internet Explorer.  Server Core is command line only.

  • Graphical Managment Tools and Infrastructure
  • Server Graphical Shell

Configure NIC Teaming

This is long overdue.  3rd party NIC driver providers have been doing this for years, and its about time it is built into the OS.  However, be careful to ensure your network switch will support it.  Turn on NIC teaming using PowerShell or Server Manager.

Windows NIC teaming supports 32 network adapters.  It runs in 3 modes:  static teaming, switch independent, and LACP.

Static teaming is based on IEEE 802.3ad.  Most enterprise switches can handle it, but requires manual switch configuration to identify the ports used for the team.

Switch independent allows each NIC to connect to a different switch.  I’m not sure how this works if the switches are on a different network.  Somebody should try it and leave a comment.

LACP, or dynamic teaming, is based on IEEE 802.1ax.  It allows teams to be automatically created using the Link Aggregation Control Protocol.  Check to ensure your switch is configured to allow LACP.



Objective 1.3:  Configure local storage

Storage Spaces

This is a new feature to Server 2012 that allows you to setup shared storage using local disks.  I believe VMware has a similar feature, but I can’t remember off the top of my head what they call it.  If you want to setup failover, be careful of the storage technology you use.  SATA, SCSI, and USB are not supported for failover clusters.  SAS arrays that support SCSI Enclosure Services are required for failover.  2 drives are required for mirroring, 3 for parity.  Drives must have no partitions and be unformatted.

The PowerShell command for installing Storage Spaces is Install-WindowsFeature -Name FS-Fileserver

You can also install this using Server manager.  It’s under File and iSCSI services.


Conclusion for 70-417 Exam:  Part 1

This is the first part of my study guide.  I’m hoping this helps some people who are looking for a basic study guide before cramming the exam.  If you have a question or comment, feel free to leave one below.

Read Part 2 of my Study Guide!
Read Part 3 of my Study Guide!

Article written by

Tyler was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa where he currently resides with his wife Amanda, a cat - Bam, and two sons - Elijah and Benjamin. He is employed as a network administrator with First Security State Bank and enjoys technology and computers. Amanda is a student in at the University of Northern Iowa and is studying to be a teacher. She is also active in the Iowa Army National Guard. She is a 92A, which is a supply specialist.

2 Responses

  1. Certification Study Guide: 70-417 Exam – Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 Part 2

    […] I mentioned in my previous post, you can add multiple servers using Windows Server Manager.  You can add remote servers using the […]

  2. Certification Study Guide: 70-417 Exam – Part 3

    […] Read Part 1 of my Study Guide! Read Part 2 of my Study Guide! […]

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