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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Desktop Support Interview Questions


Here is some sample Questions that will give you some idea of Desktop support job role and expertise that you required:

Q:Tell me something about yourself.    
Tell about your education, place you belong to, some struggle in life which shows that you have positive attitude and will to fight the odds.

1) What is Active Directory?       
A central component of the Windows platform, Active Directory directory service provides the means to manage the identities and relationships that make up network environments. For example we can create, manage and administrator users, computers and printers in the network from active directory.    

2) What is DNS? Why it is used? What is "forward lookup" and "reverse lookup" in DNS? What are A records and mx records? 
DNS is domain naming service and is used for resolving names to IP address and IP addresses to names. The computer understands only numbers while we can easily remember names. So to make it easier for us what we do is we assign names to computers and websites. When we use these names (Like yahoo.com) the computer uses DNS to convert to IP address (number) and it executes our request.

Forward lookup: Converting names to IP address is called forward lookup.

Reverse lookup: Resolving IP address to names is called reverse lookup.

'A' record: Its called host record and it has the mapping of a name to IP address. This is the record in DNS with the help of which DNS can find out the IP address of a name.

'MX' Record: its called mail exchanger record. Its the record needed to locate the mail servers in the network. This record is also found in DNS.


3) What id DHCP? Why it is used? What are scopes and super scopes?
DHCP: Dynamic host configuration protocol. Its used to allocate IP addresses to large number of PCs in a network environment. This makes the IP management very easy.

Scope: Scope contains IP address like subnet mask, gateway IP, DNS server IP and exclusion range which a client can use to communicate with the other PCs in the network.

Superscope: When we combine two or more scopes together its called super scope.

4) What are the types of LAN cables used? What is a cross cable?
Types of LAN cables that are in use are "Cat 5" and "Cat 6". "Cat 5" can support 100 Mbps of speed and "CAT 6" can support 1Gbps of speed.Cross cable: Its used to connect same type of devices without using a switch/hub so that they can communicate.

5) What is the difference between a normal LAN cable and cross cable? What could be the maximum length of the LAN cable?      
The way the paired wires are connected to the connector (RJ45) is different in cross cable and normal LAN cable. The theoritical length is 100 meters but after 80 meters you may see drop in speed.

6) What would you use to connect two computers without using switches?
Cross cable.   

7) What is IPCONFIG command? Why it is used?       
IPCONFIG command is used to display the IP information assigned to a computer. From the output we can find out the IP address, DNS IP address, gateway IP address assigned to that computer.     

8) What is APIPA IP address? Or what IP address is assigned to the computer when the DHCP server is not available?     
When DHCP server is not available the Windows client computer assigns an automatic IP address to itself so that it can communicate with the network computers. This ip address is called APIPA. ITs in the range of 169.254.X.X. APIPA stands for Automatic private IP addressing.         


 9) What is a DOMAIN? What is the difference between a domain and a workgroup?
Domain is created when we install Active Directory. ITs a security boundary which is used to manage computers inside the boundary.    

Domain can be used to centrally administer computers and we can govern them using commo policies called group policies. We can't do the same with workgroup.

10) Do you know how to configure outlook 2000 and outlook 2003 for a user?
Please visit the link below to find out how to configure outlook 2000 and outlook 2003.
http://www.it.cmich.edu/quickguides/qg_outlook2003_server.asp


11) What is a PST file and what is the difference between a PST file and OST file? What file is used by outlook express?          
PST file is used to store the mails locally when using outlook 2000 or 2003. OST file is used when we use outlook in cached exchanged mode. Outlook express useds odb file.   

12) What is BSOD? What do you do when you get blue screen in a computer? How do you troubleshoot it?     
BSOD stands for blue screen of Death. when there is a hardware or OS fault due to which the windows OS can run it give a blue screen with a code. Best way to resolve it is to boot the computer is "Last known good configuration". If this doesn't work than boot the computer in safe mode. If it boots up than the problems with one of the devices or drivers.


13) What is RIS?
RIS stands for remote installation services. You save the installed image on a windows server and then we use RIS to install the configured on in the new hardware. We can use it to deploy both server and client OS.


What is Imaging/ghosting?   Imaging or ghosting also does the same job of capturing an installed image and then install it on a new hardware when there is a need. We go for RIS or imaging/ghosting because installing OS every time using a CD can be a very time consuming task. So to save that time we can go for RIS/Ghosting/imaging.  


14) What is VPN and how to configure it?      
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is just a network of computers that are all connected securely even though they’re in different locations and all using different connection methods. The biggest benefit to a VPN is that all of the computers on one are securely connected to one another and their traffic encrypted and kept away from prying eyes. Another great benefit to a VPN is that all of the computers on one are effectively on the same network, meaning they can communicate as if they were right next to one another, plugged in to the same router. VPN can be configured using the steps mentioned in the KB: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305550
Setting up VPN in windows 7 : http://www.wikihow.com/Configure-a-VPN


15) Your computer slowly drops out of network. A reboot of the computer fixes the problem. What to do to resolve this issue?          
Update the network card driver.    

16) Your system is infected with Virus? How to recover the data?
Install another system. Install the OS with the latets patches, Antivirus with latest updates. Connect the infected HDD as secondary drive in the system. Once done scan and clean the secondary HDD. Once done copy the files to the new system.

17) How to join a system to the domain? What type of user can add a system to the domain?       

Adding a Computer to an Active Directory Domain is not hard by any means, but there are 3 things you should always remember:
  • Rename the machine to a user friendly, recognizable name before adding it to the Domain.
  • Make sure your DNS settings are pointing to the correct DNS Server for the domain.
  • You have to have access to a Domain account that is part of the Domain Admins security group.
http://www.howtogeek.com/99381/it-how-to-join-machines-to-your-active-directory-domain/ 

18) What is the difference between a switch and a hub?  
Switch sends the traffic to the port to which its meant for. Hub sends the traffic to all the ports.    

19) What is a router? Why we use it?  
Router is a switch which uses routing protocols to process and send the traffic. It also receives the traffic and sends it across but it uses the routing protocols to do so.

20) What are manageable and non manageable switches?           
Switches which can be administered are called manageable switches. For example we can create VLAN for on such switch. On no manageable switches we can't do so.

21) What is bootloader?
Answer: Boot loader facilitates loading of operating system on the system. It enables the booting process and gives OS options to the user while starting the system. 

22) Which is better - Windows 7 or Windows XP? Support your answers with examples.
Answer: Windows 7 boasts of better features and is recommended over Windows XP. The looks and graphics of windows 7 are impressive and features better secured system. It is better equipped to defend virus and malware attacks. Speech recognitions, backup and restore functions, application compatibility, quick installation, etc., are some of the features that give advantage to Windows 7 than windows XP. 

23) How to recover files if the system detects virus?
Answer: Firstly, install another operating system with latest patches and upgraded antivirus protection. Now, connect the main infected hard disk to the system. Run the antivirus and scan the secondary HDD. Once the hard disk is cleaned, copy the files to another system. 

24) Differentiate between firewall and proxy server
Answer: Firewall is used to protect the internal IT infrastructure from hackers. Proxy servers allow sharing internet connections and protecting IP addresses. Firewall is a networking based technology and proxy server is an application based technology. 

25) What measures are taken to improve the security of the desktop system?
Answer: First step is to install and upgrade the anti-virus for the system. Secondly, ask all users to not give out or write down passwords, include special characters, and it must be at least 8 characters long. Thirdly, for desktop security, ensure the screen is locked and password secured during the day, and logged off during the night. 

Situational Questions
These questions are based on a situation that requires actions from your side. Since your profile is of a desktop support, you are required to constantly answer queries. There are several situations that require your assistance. We have listed a few as examples.
  1. What steps will you follow if you have to install same operating system on over 70 computers at the same time?
  2. Describe the process for adding a new user to a network of 15 computers?
  3. How would you retrieve passwords if one of the users have forgotten their password and can no longer access their official account?
  4. How would you resolve a problem if the complainant says that whenever she tries to use internet explorer, the page does not load and instead gives a prompt, 'virus detected'?
  5. Give example of an instance where you have explained a complex technical term or procedure to a layman? Which examples you gave to solve their queries?
While answering these questions, give a step-by-step analysis of the method to resolve the problem. Use simple language that even a layman can understand. Try to give instances from your work experience in support of your answer. Refrain from using a typical answer. Customize it as per the given problem and work nature. 

These were some examples of technical questions. Besides these, they may be asked certain personal questions too. It includes introspective questions like strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, goals, etc. These questions are asked with the objective of finding more about the personality and capability of the candidate.

Interview is your one chance at success. Candidates have to give their best to make most of this one chance. Hence, we suggest candidates to participate in mock interviews and practice interview questions. You can study these answers or make your own as per your experience. Feel free to utilize these desktop support interview questions to your benefit and make a positive first impression on your recruiter. 

For instance, OSI model's a standard one... because everyone who is even remotely involved with networking should at least be aware of what it is. If a desktop tech knows enough to be able to at least say something like "layer 1 is hardware layer" then at least they've shown enough formal knowledge that they're capable of learning more (meaning, recognize the question and give an intelligible response, no matter how primitive). Equivalently, that a shop would ask an entry-level applicant that indicates that the shop finds it important enough to ask questions like that, and so it's likely asking if you the candidate can be formally trained by asking for formal knowledge.

Not that this is all set in stone, of course (plenty of variance!), but as information goes back and forth, you the candidate should be evaluating the potential employer just as much, if not more, than the potential employer is evaluating you.

Sadly, it's just not possible to cover every question an entry level tech support position could possibly be asked. Worse, we don't know if the interviewer is of the school that by asking something really complex, he wants to gauge your response (do you panic, do you umm and ahh, do you reason through it, what do you do), and so doesn't really care whether you answer the question right or not.

So I'll just advise some very general concepts:
1) Don't panic.
2) Don't panic. and 
3) Answer truthfully and honestly. If you don't know something, say "I don't know, but I know how to Google it/research it/find out," assuming that you actually can Google it/research it/find it out. Did I mention not to panic? 

Don't treat it like an exam, there will not be a grade. Just do your best, and show that you're the best candidate for the job by being level-headed, honest, willing to learn, and capable.
3) Answer truthfully and honestly. If you don't know something, say "I don't know, but I know how to Google it/research it/find out," assuming that you actually can google it/research it/find it out.

This is the best advice yet. I'll add a 4.      

4.) Whatever you do, don't try to BS your way out of a situation.         

A favorite scenario I've seen goes something like this: 

Interviewer: "Have you had any experience working with with Startex printers?"
Candidate: "Yeah, a couple years ago."I: "What did you do when you supported them"        
C: "Oh the usual stuff-- maintenance, toners, etc. I don't really remember too much, we didn't have too many of them in the company."       

    
I: "That's funny you have all that experience, because I just made up Startex printers."

An honest no is a MUCH better answer. You can usually relate a "no" back to something you do know on some level.           

Typical troubleshooting questions will often be scenarios. The point is that the interviewer will want to see you talk through a problem, not produce the magical answer. Doing scenarios allows the interviewer to change things up as needed. I like to troubleshoot a "no POST" first off. A candidate who can't get at least partway through the process is hopeless. If they remember to check the basics (plugged in, power supply turned on, power strip/UPS on, etc.) or remember to ask the user what happened prior to the problem, then you see an extra level of attention to detail.

I'll ask rote memorization questions as well, but I'd rather lead a candidate through a discussion where I can see how they think. It's a horrible cliché, but for a candidate that only has a hammer, they start attacking problems like nails. For an entry level tech, they're not expecting stupidly hard-core computer knowledge-- they want the basics of computer operation, understanding of the troubleshooting process, and the ability to think through a problem creatively.        

Whenever I interview people I ask them some questions to determine two things: their level of competence with the technology they'll be using and their methodology for solving problems that they don't immediately know the answer to. Doesn't matter if it's entry level helpdesk or advanced system design, it's all in how the job candidate answers the question and not so much the answer itself.

Q: How does X work?
If you can tell me exactly how it works, great. If you can't, tell me how you THINK it works, how it might be similar to something else that you understand, how it works from a more general perspective, how you would find out how it works, etc. Pull out a piece of paper and start drawing that shit out. Whatever, just show me that if you don't know the full answer that you can explain to me what you do know, how you think it might work, and how you'll figure it out.

I think you're likely to get some questions to judge your general troubleshooting skills as well as some basic knowledge about the environment you'll be supporting. Based on the job description, at least have a simple understanding of the systems and tech you'll be working with. I think in an entry-level job they'll probably have most of the stuff you need to know written down somewhere for you to use as you run into a given problem.

Remember that most IT concepts are just that - concepts. The technical ins-and-outs change from hardware to hardware, software to software, but the concepts nearly always remain the same.

So when hit with something like, "What experience do you have with Startex printers?", you could respond with, "I haven't, but most printer management and maintenance techniques are the same, depending on printer type (desktop, office laser, plotter, etc) across the industry."

For instance, I had no clue how to manage the specific e-mail server software at my new job, but I've had extensive Exchange experience, and of course the concepts of e-mail systems management are essentially the same across the board.



Thank you All


Faysal Hasan
Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCSA, MCTS, MCITP)
Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA), 
Information Technology Infrastructure Library -V3 Certified
Bachelor of Info Tech (Southern Cross University, Australia)

It’s Your Life ... ... C O L O U R IT "


Note: The above suggestions and questions are not my work I just collected them organized, modified and presented here so that people like you who is looking for answer don't have to lost in a sea of Google search result.

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