System Administrator Interview Questions

system administrator interview questionsSystem administrators are responsible for a number of critical IT tasks for office computer systems and networks.  They design, create, and manage network servers.

Sysadmins are basically there to enable other people to do their jobs well.  By maintaining servers, databases, and providing technical support, they help other employees to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently.

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Any interview will begin with the basic background questions:  what kind of classes have you taken; what is your professional experience; have you taken a look at our website?  After that, however, you will be expected to showcase your knowledge of typical office technology.

Now let’s take a look at some of the basic concepts and questions you can expect to face during a system administrator interview.

Basic Terminology for System Administrators

  1. What does FTP stand for?  – FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it is used to transfer information through a network.
  2. What do Half and Full Duplex stand for? – Half Duplex systems allow information transfer in two directions, but in only one direction at a time.  Full Duplex systems allow information to be transferred in both directions at the same time, like a cell phone.

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  1. What does TCP/IP stand for?  – It stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. These are the guidelines and protocols for information transfer for the Internet and networks connected to it.
  2. What does VPN stand for? – Virtual Private Network.  A VPN allows a specific computer or network to connect to a larger network, like the Internet,  privately and without the usual protocols and restrictions involved.

Advanced IT Concepts and Questions

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1. What is a Global Catalog Server? – This server stores the central details of each object created within the network, and provides a searchable index for finding individual files.

2. What is the Active Directory? – This is a database designed to hold and manage many read/search operations.  It is hierarchical, able to be replicated, and extensible.

3. What does KCC stand for and what does it do? – The Knowledge Consistency Checker is a utility used to check the consistency of specific databases.  It ensures that directories match during exchange operations, and can be set to run at specific time intervals.

4. What is a Group Policy Object? – Group Policy Objects (GPOs) provide a centralized control platform for the configuration and management of multiple applications, settings, and operating systems.  Included are security and script policies, and the way files and software are deployed.

5. In what order are GPOs Processed? – GPOs are processed in the following order: 1.  Local Group Policy objects.  There is one per computer.  2.  GPOs which are linked to the site of the computer.  The system administrator defines the order in which they are processed by setting the link order – the higher the link order, the higher the precedence.  3.  Next, the GPOs linked to the network domain are processed, again according to the sysadmins preferences.  4.  GPOs linked to the highest organizational unit are processed last, according to the hierarchy specified in the Active Directory.

6. What is an Enforced GPO? – An enforced GPO is a GPO with it’s precedence level set by the system administrator.

7. What is a Lingering Object? – A lingering object is an object that was deleted from an Active Directory but still remains (lingers) on the restored domain controller.  They can occur when changes are made to directories after system backups are created.

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