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MD100 – Lessons of a COVID Exam

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So, Saturday 13th February 2020 I sat the MD100 : Windows 10 Exam, and passed it with 751/1000. This blog post will cover some of the study material I used to help prepare for the exam and what’s needed for sitting a Home Exam (Something that before now, I’ve never done – Always gone to a test centre).

MD100 – Installing Windows 10

So, not wanting to state the obvious but this exam covers the installation and configuration processes of the Windows 10 Operating System.

Material Used for Exam Preperation:

Pluralsight – Microsoft Modern Desktop Administrator: Window 10 (MD-100)
Udemy – Microsoft MD-100 and MD-101 Practice Tests
Microsoft Learn – Modernize your enterprise deployment with Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 Apps
Windows 10 Pro – with Hyper-V – Various Windows 10 Virtual Machines for RND and Intune Testing.
MCT – Media Creation Toolkit (20H2 – at time of release)

Initial Steps.
Firstly, I downloaded the exam skills outline pdf file and read through each topic heading and subsection.
Built a clean vanilla Windows 10 Pro Virtual Machine and got to work testing and seeing what I knew initially from configuring windows 10, having done this multiple times already over the last 5 years. I thought it might be easy! Obviously, some steps to demo from inside a virtual machine aren’t possible such as Dynamic Lock with Bluetooth, which did come upon the exam. I also created some PPKG files for local user accounts and changing default settings just to understand the end to end process and see what impact it had on the system.

Practice Time – Mock Exam #1
So I started the initial mock exams before Christmas, at this stage, I wasn’t 100% committed to having the exam booked which I think, having chatted to people on Twitter is a definite must. it gives you a deadline to work towards, for the MD100 exam I had defined a rough outline for when I wanted to take the exam, it would be within Q1 of 2021. Anyway back to the Mock, So the actual exam is in two parts, Scenario and multiple-choice questions. The Scenario questions are broken down into four questions, but you have two or three paragraphs of data to read and digest, this can be from the domain name, configuration requirements for the company, user setup and device type/management and needs. – The Udemy Scenario mock has 12 questions based on an A4 Scenario, this I found was easy enough to complete as all the answers have been given to you already you just have to digest the data and choose the correct answer based on the information.

The second part is general multiple-choice questions, nothing really much else to say here, its the standard Microsoft approach of backwards leading questions and misdirection.

Topics I found I needed to work on, complete further learning on:

PPKG – WICD / ADK – Deploying and creating PPKG Files for WiFi, Local Users and End User Configuration.
NTFS and AD Auditing – Having never deployed AD Auditing into a production environment, I found I needed to read up on this and built a small ADDS Environment to practise the GPO Configuration and reporting to event viewer
NTFS – General NTFS Permissions configuration, nested groups
Windows Registry – I had some questions on the exam about regedit and .reg files and changes applied based on standard users and domain/administrator users, also managing a registry of remote computers.
System Restore Points – How they affect the system and what files don’t get restores on rollback.
Windows Updates – In includes, LTSC Builds and Delivery Optimisation and Update Management and Insider Preview
AzureAD and Local Groups and Shares
Licensing Options – Windows 10 S to Pro MAK/KMS
BitLocker

Repeated Step.
Once I had brushed up on my knowledge, I sat down and ran through various labs and made notes on the options required to configure the settings to get the end result, Once I thought I was happy with the knowledge I would load up a mock exam and run through and then review the incorrect questions, and attempted to understand why I got it wrong having just completed the lab.

Exam Day

Having never sat an exam at home, I wasn’t really sure what was required, So having now completed one I would advise you to go here: About Online Exams and watched the 5-minute video, which gives you a breakdown of what is required. – I would also recommend having a read of the whole web page.

Running a System Test
So I downloaded the test application and ran it on both my home rig and XPS, what I found to my horror was that the mouse delay was huge! it was like many many milliseconds on both devices. So I messaged @ShabazDarr who said that when he had sat the exam it was fine. Which I can thankfully say it was!

System Requirements
As stated on the PearsonVue website, you will need a WebCam and Microphone so they can hear if any noises appear during the exam and will obviously have the session recorded. You also need a pretty vanilla boot, which for most techies won’t be the case with various applications and services starting in the background. What I found was I had to a complete reboot, then disabled windows updates (just to be safe, paused for 7 days) and then went through and logged off all platforms such as, Teams, Discord, Skype, Slack. I also have UltraVNC Installed and it didn’t like that either. For the app to run happily you also cannot have anything else open than then taskbar the exam app.

Exam Check-In – 30 Minutes Before.

30 minutes before the exam is due to start you start the checking process, this requires you to take 4 photo’s of the environment, front, back, left and right and submit them along with a picture of yourself and your Passport or Driving License. So this current desk setup, having cleared all the raspberry pi builds away.

So for the exam, I had turned off all the monitors bar the one in the centre. as it made sense to me. and I knew that I wouldn’t be allowed to use the extra monitors and during the system test exam, it had turned them all white anyway. However Microsoft were oh so not keen on this idea, and during the check-in process received a call asking me to show them the front of the desk with my webcam… this took about 5 minutes to un-tangle and unwrap the webcam from the centre monitor. They then proceeded to ask if the were off, which I confirmed they were but that was still not enough for them, they wanted actual proof. so I had to show the extra 4 monitors being unplugged from the back of the tower. After that, the exam prep was happy and allowed me to start.

They also messaged me halfway through the exam, as they thought I must have been recording as I kept covering my mouth, which in truth I wasn’t I was just leaning on the desk, But my advice would be opt for a t-shirt without a hoodie or jumper and don’t cover your face!

Exam Notes

For the February Version of the MD100 Exam, I had 58 Questions, These were broken down into
2x Scenarios worth 4 questions each
50 Questions.

Wrap Up

For those of the twitterverse, who egged me on this evening to complete this post in time for the MD101 series AND book the MD101 Exam to create 47 Days of MD101, I thank you – without your support and abuse! I wouldn’t have been able to complete the exam and get this posted.
Go follow these amazing people, there apart of an awesome community!

Shabaz Darr
John Lunn
Karl Cooke
Pixel Robots
Dean Ellerby

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