Daniel Petri’s MCSE & System Administrator Job Interview Questions – Part 3 – Exchange Server 2003

This is a part 3 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 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 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.
For an Exchange 2007/2010 version, see my MCSE and System Administrator Job Interview Questions – Part 5 – Exchange Server 2007/2010 article.

Technical Interview Questions – Exchange 2003

  • Tell me a bit about the capabilities of Exchange Server.
  • What are the different Exchange 2003 versions?
  • Name some of the main differences between Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000/2003?
  • What are the major network infrastructure requirements for installing Exchange 2003?
  • What is the latest Exchange 2003 Service Pack? Name a few changes in functionality in that SP.
  • What are the disk considerations when installing Exchange (RAID types, locations and so on).
  • You got a new HP DL380 (2U) server, dual Xeon, 4GB of RAM, 7 SAS disks, 64-bit. What do you do next to install Exchange 2003? (considering you already have AD in place)
  • Why shouldn’t you install Exchange on the same machine as a DC?
  • Why shouldn’t you install Outlook on the same machine as an Exchange server?
  • Are there any other installation considerations?
  • How would you prepare the AD Schema in advance before installing Exchange?
  • What type or permissions do you need in order to install the first Exchange server in a forest? In a domain?
  • How would you verify that the schema was in fact updated?
  • What type of memory optimization changes could you do for Exchange 2003?
  • How would you check your Exchange configuration settings to see if they’re right?
  • What are the Exchange management tools? How and where can you install them?
  • What types of permissions are configurable for Exchange?
  • How can you grant access for an administrator to access all mailboxes on a specific server?
  • What is the Send As permission?
  • What other management tools are used to manage and control Exchange 2003? Name the tools you’d use.
  • What are Exchange Recipient types? Name 5.
  • You created a mailbox for a user, yet the mailbox does not appear in ESM. Why?
  • You wanted to change mailbox access permissions for a mailbox, yet you see the SELF permission alone on the permissions list. Why?
  • What are Query Based Distribution groups?
  • What type of groups would you use when configuring distribution groups in a multiple domain forest?
  • Name a few configuration options for Exchange recipients.
  • What’s the difference between Exchange 2003 Std. and Ent. editions when related to storage options and size?
  • Name a few configuration options related to mailbox stores.
  • What are System Public Folders? Where would you find them?
  • How would you plan and configure Public Folder redundancy?
  • How can you immediately stop PF replication?
  • How can you prevent PF referral across slow WAN links?
  • What types of PF management tools might you use?
  • What are the differences between administrative permissions and client permissions in PF?
  • How can you configure PF replication from the command prompt in Exchange 2003?
  • What are the message hygiene options you can use natively in Exchange 2003?
  • What are the configuration options in IMF?
  • What are virtual servers? When would you use more than one?
  • Name some of the SMTP Virtual Server configuration options.
  • What is a Mail Relay? Name a few known mail relay software or hardware options.
  • What is a Smart Host? Where would you configure it?
  • What are Routing Groups? When would you use them?
  • What are the types of Connectors you can use in Exchange?
  • What is the cost option in Exchange connectors?
  • What is the Link State Table? How would you view it?
  • How would you configure mail transfer security between 2 routing groups?
  • What is the Routing Group Master? Who holds that role?
  • Explain the configuration steps required to allow Exchange 2003 to send and receive email from the Internet (consider a one-site multiple server scenario).
  • What is DS2MB?
  • What is Forms Based Authentication?
  • How would you configure OWA’s settings on an Exchange server?
  • What is DSACCESS?
  • What are Recipient Policies?
  • How would you work with multiple recipient policies?
  • What is the “issue” with trying to remove email addresses added by recipient policies? How would you fix that?
  • What is the RUS?
  • When would you need to manually create additional RUS?
  • What are Address Lists?
  • How would you modify the filter properties of one of the default address lists?
  • How can you create multiple GALs and allow the users to only see the one related to them?
  • What is a Front End server? In what scenarios would you use one?
  • What type of authentication is used on the front end servers?
  • When would you use NLB?
  • How would you achieve incoming mail redundancy?
  • What are the 4 types of Exchange backups?
  • What is the Dial-Tone server scenario?
  • When would you use offline backup?
  • How do you re-install Exchange on a server that has crashed but with AD intact?
  • What is the dumpster?
  • What are the e00xxxxx.log files?
  • What is the e00.chk file?
  • What is circular logging? When would you use it?
  • What’s the difference between online and offline defrag?
  • How would you know if it is time to perform an offline defrag of your Exchange stores?
  • How would you plan for, and perform the offline defrag?
  • What is the eseutil command?
  • What is the isinteg command?
  • How would you monitor Exchange’s services and performance? Name 2 or 3 options.
  • Name all the client connection options in Exchange 2003.
  • What is Direct Push? What are the requirements to run it?
  • How would you remote wipe a PPC?
  • What are the issues with connecting Outlook from a remote computer to your mailbox?
  • How would you solve those issues? Name 2 or 3 methods
  • What is RPC over HTTP? What are the requirements to run it?
  • What is Cached Mode in OL2003/2007?
  • What are the benefits and “issues” when using cached mode? How would you tackle those issues?
  • What is S/MIME? What are the usage scenarios for S/MIME?
  • What are the IPSec usage scenarios for Exchange 2003?
  • How do you enable SSL on OWA?
  • What are the considerations for obtaining a digital certificate for SSL on Exchange?
  • Name a few 3rd-party CAs.
  • What do you need to consider when using a client-type AV software on an Exchange server?
  • What are the different clustering options in Exchange 2003? Which one would you choose and why.

Related Articles

Recent Exchange Forum threads

Got a question? Post it on our Exchange Server Forums!