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on 23 April 2004
Despite some of the comments below, you're not going to get through thesebooks in an afternoon unless you're gifted; there's some 4000 pages oftechnical information to digest. It took me two weeks at 8 hours or so aday to get through them (a few exercises included).
I used these books to pass my 2003 MCSA/MCSE and thought they were great.I tend to buy the vendor's books when I sit an exam because I figureno-one will know the product (and exam content) quite like the vendor.Normally that means I'm resigned to a fairly stuffy read. Not in thiscase. The books are still major heavyweights on the technical facts, butthis time I found them a (relatively) easy read. There's even a fewcomments in them which made me smile.
Facts are good and examples are clear. I only noticed one contradiction inthe whole set and that's to do with Quota's. One book says quota's are pervolume, per user only. Another book says quota's can also be applied togroups (not so from what I can tell). Other than that, I saw no majorhowlers at all. (That's not to say I didn't THINK I'd found some, I did.Investigation or a re-read of a para or two and I realised the fault wasmine.)
As with all books like these, they do not cover all content in the exam.One or two questions fall outside the scope of the books but that seems tobe the rule rather than the exception in this game. On the whole, coverageis very good.
I used only these books to pass the exams, but as the introduction saysyou are expected to have 18 months experience to get the best from them. Ihave 4 years worth and did find that I needed to "fill the gaps" with myreal-life knowledge. That's not to say you should discount these books ifyou don't have the experience, just be aware that you may well need tosupplement them with something else.
I definitely recommend the set, they're as good as anything else you willfind and better than a lot of others I glanced at. They would have got 5stars but in places you feel like you're completely lost in a sea oftechnical gibberish, although with content like this that shouldn't beoverly suprising. Some parts could have done with more explanation, but at4000 pages already maybe that's not a viable option.
Finally, I normally sell my study books when I've got the cert, but thesehave some rather useful information in them for real life application.This set will be staying on my shelf for a year or two. A good set fromMicrosoft and the authors.
Oh, and if you read this far I assume you're going for your MCSE. In thatcase, good luck :)
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on 1 August 2017
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on 24 September 2003
Having tried a few certification books before this, I was about to give up. Until I found this kit. It is fantastic, and has everything you need to pass the core exams on your way to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. The text is easily digested, with clear diagrams and illustrations. I have passed the first four exams now but as my work lent me the books I decided to buy them anyway as a reference.
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on 6 November 2004
I have to admit that Microsoft books in the past have been a bit drab. However this MCSE/MCSA book has been improved greatly. It offers the reader some useful background information on the 2003 server topics, coupled with great labs. There are a few mistakes that I have noticed in the labs. However don't be put off by this as the reader can easily spot them. I haven't read them all yet, only the Planning the AD infrastructure and the 2003 Environment. So far I am impressed and after a while I will think about doing my exams.
Well done Microsoft!!
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on 4 March 2004
I recently purchased these books and they have been fantastic.

The presentation and clarity of inforation is much better than previously found in some MS Press books. I'm now working my way through the set taking the exams as I go and doing well, so they can't be too bad. They come with assesment software which is rather good as you can see your progression as you go.

All in all, a good package!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 February 2009
Craig Zacker is a fantastic technical writer. He presents his materials in a clear, concise and straightforward manner. He wrote two different text books for this course, this one and also the ALS Planning and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure. I actually used both to prepare for this exam. I left my program at school early to take a job. This is the second course that I have completed in self-study. Zacker's books were a great asset.

This book goes into much greater depth and has more exercises than the other book by Zacker for the same exam. This book is intended for use if you're already in IT and are preparing for the exam. One of the great advantages of this series is that the self study method is much cheaper and you can work at your own pace.

Zacker is an excellent writer and a clear communicator. His books are always a pleasure to read and a joy to use.
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on 26 October 2004
I have to be honest and say, I was truly hoping for more. This seems to be a geeky excuse for self worship concerning people who attempt to write technical manuals in a foreign language, as in english not being their first. Unless you are actually going to use this as revision, I would certainly not recommend this for anyone with less than 2 years experience. There are many other products that are far more suited to actually explaining "how to", and I would advise you find one.
The reason this managed to get two stars, is Windows Server 2003 Enterprise edition that comes with. 180 day license is handy.
Other than that, I wouldn't touch this until you are ready to revise for the exams.
Most of the labs within the manuals, require enough prep to qualify a moot point of the lab in the first place. Even then, the text does not match to results given. You have to have enough experience to actually spot mistakes in the teaching, in order to get anything out of it at all. Which in effect makes a lot of what is written a waste of time.
Good Luck.
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on 4 October 2007
I have never even heard of these manuals and yet i now find myself being headhunted on an hourly basis. How DO these guys do it?
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on 9 August 2005
With their incredible grossy blue covers and the cardboard sleeve, these books are a most for any IT Dept. We have had these now for about a year and make our staff feel very important and technical.
Users seem very impressed when they noticed these babies.
Go Buy Them Now!
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on 30 June 2005
I read these books while eating my dinner one night, I have no arms but that didn't stop me, I sailed through the exams thanks to this course, I took the exams straight after my dinner and I am now looking for a similiar microsoft offering for my Phd course in quantum physics
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