Daniel Petri’s MCSE & System Administrator Job Interview Questions – Part 4 – PC Technician

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Windows Vista with 0 Comments

After a long delay, this is a part 4 of my MCSE and System Administrator job interview sample questions.

See previous parts at:

This article set is targeted at both the interviewer (who needs a pool of valid questions they can ask) and 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. As I said before, I might also include these in a future parts of this series.

I wish to thank Shachaf Cohen of John Bryce Training in Israel who has helped me to compile a large part of this article’s questions.

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 feedback are more than welcome. Use the “Comment” form below to send them in. 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.

PC Hardware

  • What is FSB?
  • What are Vcore and Vi/o?
  • On what type of socket can you install a Pentium 4 CPU?
  • What is SMP?
  • Which Intel and AMD processors support SMP?
  • How do LGA sockets differ from PGA and SEC?
  • What is the difference between Pentium 4 and Pentium Core 2 Duo? Explain the new technology.
  • How does IRQ priority works?
  • What technology enables you to upgrade your computer’s BIOS by simply using a software?
  • What happens if you dissemble the battery located  on the Mother-Board?
  • How do L1, L2, and L3 work?
  • How should we install RAM on a Dual-Channel Motherboard?
  • What is the advantage of serial over parallel bus?
  • Is USB using serial or parallel bus? What about Firewire?
  • How much power is supplied to each USB port?
  • When should you change your bus-powered USB hub to a self-powered USB hub?
  • What is a UPS?
  • What is the difference between standby and online UPS?
  • What is LBA (in Hard-Disks)?
  • How many Hard Disks can you install on an E-IDE controller?
  • Can you configure two hard disks to use the Master setting on the same PC?
  • What is the difference between Narrow-SCSI and Wide-SCSI?
  • What is SAS?
  • What are the three main reasons for using RAID?
  • Is RAID 0 considered to be a redundant Solution?  Why?
  • How many disks can be used for RAID 1?
  • How RAID 5 works?
  • What is the smallest number of disks required for RAID5?
  • What other types of RAID do you know?
  • What are the six steps for laser printing?
  • What is the difference between PCI-EX x1 and PCI-EX x16?

Microsoft-based Operating Systems

  • What is the difference between a workgroup and a domain?
  • What are the major advantages of working in a domain model?
  • What types of operating system installation methods do you know?
  • What is an answer file?
  • How would you create an answer file for Windows  XP? How would you create one for Windows Vista?
  • How do you perform an unattended installation on Windows XP?
  • What is Sysprep?
  • How do you use Sysprep?
  • What is the major difference between Newsid and Sysprep?
  • What is the function of the pagefile.sys file?
  • What is the function of the hiberfil.sys file?
  • What is the Registry?
  • How can you edit the Registry? Name at least 3 ways of doing that.
  • What should you do if you receive a message stating: “The following file is missing or corrupt: ‘WINDOWS’SYSTEM32’CONFIG’SYSTEM”?
  • How would you repair an unsuccessful driver update?
  • When should you use each of the fallowing tools: System Restore, LKGC and Recovery Console?
  • How do you set different print priority for different users?
  • How can you reset user’s passwords if you don’t know his current password?
  • What’s the difference between changing a user’s password and resetting it?
  • You want to grant a user the right to perform backups – should you add him to the administrators group?
  • What is MMC?
  • What is gpedit.msc?
  • How would you use the MMC to manage other servers on your network?
  • You set a local policy for your Stand-alone XP Professional – would the local policy effects the administrators group?
  • What new in the Windows Vista Local Policy?
  • What is the difference between User Privileges and User Permissions?
  • What is Safe Mode?
  • Which logs can be found in Event Viewer?
  • What is msconfig? On which OS can it be found?
  • Can you upgrade XP Home Edition to Server 2003?
  • Which permission will you grant a user for a folder he need to be able to create and delete files in, if you do not want him to be able to change permissions for the folder?
  • What is the difference between clearing the “allow” permission and checking the “deny”?


  • What is a NIC?
  • What is a MAC Address?
  • When would you use a crosslink cable?
  • What are the main advantages and disadvantages of Fiber-Optic-based networks?
  • What is the difference between a Hub and a Switch?
  • On which OSI layer can a router be found?
  • What is CSMA/CD?
  • What is multicast?
  • What is Broadcast?
  • What is the difference between TCP and UDP?
  • Describe some of the settings that are added by TCP and by UDP to the packet’s header.
  • What are TCP Ports? Name a few.
  • What is a TCP Session?
  • What three elements make up a socket?
  • What will happen if you leave the default gateway information empty while manually configuring TCP/IP?
  • What will happen if you execute the following command: “arp –d *”?
  • What is ICMP?
  • When would you use the ping command with the “-t” switch?
  • What command-line tool would help you discover for which port numbers your computer is listening?
  • What is APIPA? How would you recognize it?
  • What is a Cyclic Redundancy Check?
  • What would you type in at a command prompt to view the IP settings for the computer that you are sitting at?
  • What command would you type in at a command prompt to view the IP address of the remote computer?
  • What is the W Value for class B?
  • What is the Net ID of an IP Address of with Subnet Mask of
  • What is CIDR?
  • What is used for?
  • What is the maximum number of hosts for a Class B Network?
  • What is the (default) class type of
  • What is the subnet mask for
  • What is the result when changing from a subnet mask of to a subnet mask of
  • How can you access a shared folder from a remote computer? Name at least 3 methods.

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