39 Top MICROSOFT Windows Server Administrator Interview Questions and Answers By a Real Interviewer Print

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Before we start a technical side, I think the first step to winning an interview you must go through with few things and those things will help you collect the information you need.

  • Analyzing the Position: Begin by embarking on a systematic review of the job, Your objective is to collect as much information as possible about how the job and what knowledge and competences are needed to perform it.
  • Take a close look at the official job description: Consider the environment in which the job is performed. Are there any special skills required? For example, what tools and software you need to know in order to perform this job. Make note of any tools that must be used to perform the tasks of the job.
  • Talk with those who have held the job in the past: If you don’t know anyone just try to find them through linkedin.com and scan their profiles for tools and skillsets, they have used. check what competencies and skills contributed to their success? Did the lack of certain competencies or skills cause or contribute to difficulties that they experienced on the job?

let's start the technical side because this article is specially written for windows system admin so we will focus on only the windows system admin most common questions. 

Question 1: What are the minimum system requirements to install and use Windows Server 2019 Essentials:


  • Processor: 1.4 GHz 64-bit EMT64 or AMD64 processor required. ...
  • Disk space: 96 GB (Three times the RAM size limited to 32 GB)
  • Disk controller: PCI Express Compliant Disk Controller.
  • RAM: 512 MB ECC supported Memory Modules.


 Question 2: What is the difference between Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016


  • Features related to hybrid capabilities: Only Windows Server 2019 supports hybrid cloud, Storage Migration Service, and System Insights. However, both OSes support Storage Replica. Features related to better security: Only Windows Server 2019 supports shielded VMs for Windows Server and Linux, whereas both OSes support Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Device Guard, and Credential Guard. Features related to optimization of performance: Only Windows Server 2019 supports Linux containers and the Kubernetes platform, whereas both OSes support Windows Server containers including Docker.
  • Features related to infrastructure management: Only Windows Server 2019 supports cluster-wide monitoring and deduplication for Resilient File System (ReFS), whereas both OSes support storage health monitoring and VM Storage Resiliency.

Question3: What is the Windows Registry and what does it do?


All Windows operating systems stores their setting information in a database. This database is called the “Windows Registry”. The Windows Registry contains profiles with configuration options for each user account on your Windows computer or device, to separate settings between users.

Question 4: What is Active Directory?


Active Directory allows administrators to control policies for instance rights and settings, in an organization's network. Active Directory stores settings related to an object centrally in a database.

Question 5: What is A Domain name?


The Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through a network globally. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers. To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a computer on the internet. Now an IP address like this is quite difficult to remember. Imagine if you had to use such numbers to visit again your favorite websites. So, the domain name is invented to solve this problem.

A domain controller allows system administrators to grant or deny users access to system resources, such as printers, documents, folders, network locations, etc., via a single username and password.

Question 6. What is Group Policy?


Group Policy allows you to implement specific configurations for users and computers. 

You can perform remotely and on any number of computers.

Question 7: What is GPO (Group Policy Objects)?


A Group Policy Object (GPO) is a collection of settings that control the working environment of user accounts and computer accounts. GPOs define registry-based policies, security options, software installation and maintenance options, script options, and folder redirection options.

There are two kinds of Group Policy objects:

  • Local Group Policy objects are stored on individual computers.
  • Nonlocal Group Policy objects, which are stored on a domain controller, are available only in an Active Directory environment.

Question 8: Where is the AD Database Stored?


The AD database is stored in C:WindowsNTDSNTDS.DIT.

Question 9: What is the Sysvol Folder?


It is a shared folder that stores the group policies info along with login scripts.

The default location is C:\Windows\SYSVOL but it can be changed during installation. 

Question 10: What is Garbage Collection?


It runs every 12 hours; Garbage collection is the online defragmentation of the Active Directory.

Question11: What is the purpose of WDS?


Windows Deployment Services is a server role to deploy Windows OS remotely. WDS is mainly used for network-based OS installations to set up new computers.

Question 12: What are the windows default ports used for Email?


The main email ports are:

POP3 – port 110

IMAP – port 143

SMTP – port 25

HTTP – port 80

Secure SMTP (SSMTP) – port 465

Secure IMAP (IMAP4-SSL) – port 585

IMAP4 over SSL (IMAPS) – port 993

Secure POP3 (SSL-POP) – port 995

Question 13: Why do we use DHCP?


DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is a network management protocol used to automate the process of configuring devices/servers on IP networks, thus permitting them to use network services such as DNS and NTP.

However, few services or applications for example licenses can be bound to IP address so in this case, we must use the static IP address instead.

DHCP also plays a prominent role in cloud computing, especially for IP allocation. 

Question 14: What are Lingering Objects and how we can remove them?


A lingering object is a deleted AD object that re-appears “lingers” on the restored domain controller in its local copy of Active Directory. This can happen if, after the backup was made, the object was deleted on another DC more than 180 days ago.

Windows Server 2003 and 2008 have the ability to manually remove lingering objects by using utility command “ REPADMIN.EXE”.

Question 16: Why Should You Not Restore A DC that was Backed Up 6 Months Ago?


When restoring a backup file, Active Directory generally requires that the backup file be no more than 180 days old. If you attempt to restore a backup that is expired, you may face problems due to lingering objects.

Question 17: How Do You Backup Ad?


Backing up is essential to maintain and running seamless production.

Windows Server 2003: You can backup Active Directory by using the NTBACKUP tool that comes built-in with Windows Server 2003 or uses any 3rd-party tool that supports this feature.

Windows Server 2008: In Server 2008, there isn’t an option to backup the System State data through the normal backup utility. We need to use the command line to backup Active Directory.

  1. Click Start, typing “cmd” and then hit Enter.
  2. In your command prompt, type “wbadmin start systemstatebackup -backuptarget:e:” and press Enter.
  3. Input “y” and press Enter to start the backup process.

When the backup process has finished you should get a message that the backup completed successfully. If it did not complete properly you will need to troubleshoot.

Question 18: What kind of servers and systems you have been working as an Admin.


Name here all the servers and services you currently manging in your current role. 

On server’s hardware side you can name HP Proliant DL/BL etc.


Question 19: What is the difference between NTFS & FAT?


NTFS stands for the New Technology File System which is used as the primary file system of Windows for its system drive and, by default, for most non-removable drives.

Fat32 stands for File Allocation Table. It is a universal file system, meaning it is accepted by any operating system. This file system is usually pre-installed on any USB drive you buy from the store. The biggest limitation of the Fat32 file system is that it has a file size limit of 4GB, which can be a problem for high-size files.

Question 25: What is a loop back?


Loopback address is, An address that sends outgoing signals back to the same server for testing. 

It is very useful for network troubleshooting.

Question 27: What is a proxy server?


A proxy server is a computer that acts as a gateway between a local network and outside world network. It is used as a line of defense. Proxy servers provide increased performance and security.

Question 28. What is APIPA?


APIPA Stands for Automatic Private IP Addressing. APIPA is a DHCP mechanism of failover for local networks. APIPA exists in all modern versions of Windows except Windows NT. When a DHCP server fails, APIPA allocates IP addresses in the private range 169.254.XX.X to

Question 29. What is the WINS Server?


Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) servers dynamically map IP addresses to computer names. This allows users to access resources by computer name instead of by IP address. If you want this computer to keep track of the names and IP addresses of other computers in your network, configure this computer as a WINS server.

If you do not use WINS in such a network, you cannot connect to a remote network resource by using its NetBIOS name.

Question 30: What is the Windows Registry?


The Windows Registry usually referred to as "the registry," is a collection of databases of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Question 31: What are Microsoft security patches?


Microsoft security patches are aimed to solve certain security loopholes, while at the same time upgrading any existing security features. This would provide better protection by reducing vulnerabilities in the security of the operating system.

Question 32: How often should you check for Microsoft Updates?


I try to do as often as possible and I love to enable the auto-update feature of the Microsoft operating system that would allow regular monitoring from the Microsoft site for available updates.

Question 33: How does Microsoft classify security threats to its software?


Microsoft classifies such threats into 4 indicators:

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • Important
  • Critical

 These indicators are available as references under the Microsoft bulletin.

Question 34: What is a Hotfix?


The hotfix is files that are distributed by Microsoft Customer Service and are intended to address issues such as bugs and errors within existing software.

Question 35: What are the DLLs?


DLL is short for Dynamic Link Library. These are shared library files that contain usable codes and routines that other applications can utilize to create other new applications.

Question 36: What File system is supported by Windows XP?


Windows XP supports four major file systems:

  • FAT12, 
  • FAT16, 
  • FAT32 

Windows XP can be installed on these file systems. The use of NTFS is preferred when using a larger hard drive space.

Question 37: What is the purpose of a Service Pack?


service pack is a collection of updates and fixes, called patches, for an operating system or a software program. Many of these patches are often released before a larger service pack, but the service pack allows for an easy, single installation.

Question 38: What is COM?


COM is short for the Component Object Model. It is a Microsoft technology that allows us to make use of reusable components and services provided by Microsoft. COM technology includes COM+, DCOM, and ActiveX.

Question 39: What is the advantage of NTFS over FAT and FAT32?

NTFS was built for better performance, especially when it comes to managing the way files are stored. It supports encryption, compression and enhanced metadata support. As a result, NTFS is more robust, safe and has better utilization of hard drive space.



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