Daniel Petri’s MCSE & System Administrator Job Interview Questions – Part 2 – Windows Server 2003 Active Directory

by Daniel Petri - January 8, 2009

This is a part 2 of my MCSE and System Administrator job interview sample questions. See previous part at:

This article set is targeted at both the interviewer (who needs a pool of valid questions they can ask) and to the candidate (who wants a pool of sample questions they can prepare for). Needless to say, both MUST know what they're talking about. Also, although I consider these questions as a thorough verbal test for the candidate's knowledge, in most cases, when he or she passes this phase, I will also ask them to perform an actual hands-on lab based on my written exercises. I might also include these in a future part of this session.

I have deliberately left out the answers to these questions. I want YOU to research them and take the time to actually learn these topics, if you don't know them already.

Most sub topics start off with relatively easy questions where the candidate is supposed to demonstrate their knowledge on that topic. A few sentences will be enough to show their (lack of) knowledge on the topic.

As always, your comments and feedbacks are more than welcome, you can use the form after the article. If you're using this interview question sample in your own environment please drop me a line telling me how it works for you. Also, placing a link to my site and giving me credit for my work is expected.

For a Windows Server 2008/R2 version, see my MCSE and System Administrator Job Interview Questions - Part 6 - Windows Server 2008/R2 Active Directory article.

Technical Interview Questions – Active Directory

  • What is Active Directory?
  • What is LDAP?
  • Can you connect Active Directory to other 3rd-party Directory Services? Name a few options.
  • Where is the AD database held? What other folders are related to AD?
  • What is the SYSVOL folder?
  • Name the AD NCs and replication issues for each NC
  • What are application partitions? When do I use them
  • How do you create a new application partition
  • How do you view replication properties for AD partitions and DCs?
  • What is the Global Catalog?
  • How do you view all the GCs in the forest?
  • Why not make all DCs in a large forest as GCs?
  • Trying to look at the Schema, how can I do that?
  • What are the Support Tools? Why do I need them?
  • What is LDP? What is REPLMON? What is ADSIEDIT? What is NETDOM? What is REPADMIN?
  • What are sites? What are they used for?
  • What's the difference between a site link's schedule and interval?
  • What is the KCC?
  • What is the ISTG? Who has that role by default?
  • What are the requirements for installing AD on a new server?
  • What can you do to promote a server to DC if you're in a remote location with slow WAN link?
  • How can you forcibly remove AD from a server, and what do you do later? • Can I get user passwords from the AD database?
  • What tool would I use to try to grab security related packets from the wire?
  • Name some OU design considerations.
  • What is tombstone lifetime attribute?
  • What do you do to install a new Windows 2003 DC in a Windows 2000 AD?
  • What do you do to install a new Windows 2003 R2 DC in a Windows 2003 AD?
  • How would you find all users that have not logged on since last month?
  • What are the DS* commands?
  • What's the difference between LDIFDE and CSVDE? Usage considerations?
  • What are the FSMO roles? Who has them by default? What happens when each one fails?
  • What FSMO placement considerations do you know of?
  • I want to look at the RID allocation table for a DC. What do I do?
  • What's the difference between transferring a FSMO role and seizing one? Which one should you NOT seize? Why?
  • How do you configure a "stand-by operation master" for any of the roles?
  • How do you backup AD?
  • How do you restore AD?
  • How do you change the DS Restore admin password?
  • Why can't you restore a DC that was backed up 4 months ago?
  • What are GPOs?
  • What is the order in which GPOs are applied?
  • Name a few benefits of using GPMC.
  • What are the GPC and the GPT? Where can I find them?
  • What are GPO links? What special things can I do to them?
  • What can I do to prevent inheritance from above?
  • How can I override blocking of inheritance?
  • How can you determine what GPO was and was not applied for a user? Name a few ways to do that.
  • A user claims he did not receive a GPO, yet his user and computer accounts are in the right OU, and everyone else there gets the GPO. What will you look for?
  • Name a few differences in Vista GPOs
  • Name some GPO settings in the computer and user parts.
  • What are administrative templates?
  • What's the difference between software publishing and assigning?
  • Can I deploy non-MSI software with GPO?
  • You want to standardize the desktop environments (wallpaper, My Documents, Start menu, printers etc.) on the computers in one department. How would you do that?

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