Important! Bring your own system configured according to these instructions!
A properly configured system is required to fully participate in this course. If you do not carefully read and follow these instructions, you will likely leave the class unsatisfied because you will not be able to participate in hands-on exercises that are essential to this course. Therefore, we strongly urge you to arrive with a system meeting all the requirements specified for the course.
Please bring the following items with you when you attend SEC505:
- Laptop with 8GB or more of memory, a USB port, with any operating system you prefer.
- You may use any locally-installed virtualization software you prefer, such as Oracle VirtualBox or VMware, and then create your Windows Server VM before the first day of class. Do not run create a VM on a remote virtualization server or in the cloud.
- Download the free, evaluation version of Windows Server 2019 from Microsoft. This ISO file is free and does not require a license number. Just click on site:microsoft.com windows server trial eval to find the ISO download on Microsoft's website.
- Please install a Virtual Machine (VM) running the free evaluation version of Windows Server 2019. When you install the Windows Server VM, choose the option for "Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Evaluation (Desktop Experience)." No other special OS configuration is required; just accept all the defaults during installation. If you have any setup questions, please contact SANS at firstname.lastname@example.org for friendly help.
Note: Apple systems using the M1 processor cannot perform the necessary virtualization at this time and cannot be used for this course.
Do not apply patches or updates to the Windows Server VM.
Please install your Windows Server VM before you arrive, not on the morning of the training. This will ensure that there are no firmware issues or other problems with creating VMs.
Please don't let your IT department spoil your training experience by giving you a "loaner laptop" that is too slow or locked down. You must have administrative privileges on the laptop, be able to create two virtual machines, and be allowed to copy files from a USB flash drive.
If you have questions about the laptop or VM setup, please contact email@example.com. We are here to help!
What does the "Desktop Experience" option look like when installing Windows Server?
You will see the screen below after you've booted your VM from the Windows Server installation ISO file. Choose the "Desktop Experience" option at the bottom of the list for Windows Server 2019 Datacenter.
Where can I get the free evaluation version of Windows Server 2019?
You can download a free version of Windows Server 2019 from Microsoft as an ISO image file (an ISO file is an exported copy of a CD/DVD disk). Just click on site:microsoft.com windows server trial eval to find the download link to the ISO file on Microsoft's website. No license number is required.
Bring the ISO file with you on your hard drive when you attend the course.
VMware Workstation prompts me for a license number or I get a license error message!
Make sure you have the evaluation version of Windows Server, not the retail version.
When creating the Virtual Machine in VMWare Workstation, it is best to choose the option that says "I will install the operating system later" and then provide the path to the ISO file for Windows Server after the VM has been created, not during the initial creation.
After the VM has been created, go to the Settings of that VM and provide the path to the source ISO file. Now, when you start the VM, there should be no evaluation licensing problems. Contact SANS at firstname.lastname@example.org for friendly help.
Why doesn't SANS just provide attendees with a pre-built virtual machine?
We would if we could! Microsoft does not allow us to redistribute evaluation versions of Windows Server virtual machines, even though the ISO download is free and does not require a license number.
Also, we want you to have your own local VM to take back home with you so that you will not be dependent on Internet access or any other virtualized lab environment.
What are the courseware downloads for SEC505?
There are three things to download for SEC505: 1) the free Windows Server installation ISO, downloaded from Microsoft, 2) the SEC505 courseware manual PDF files, downloaded from your SANS portal page, and 3) the SEC505 courseware ISO lab file, downloaded from your SANS portal page.
Do not wait until the morning of the first day of class to download these files. Please download these files and create your VM before the first day.
I have more questions!
If you have any questions about the laptop requirements or Virtual Machine setup, please contact email@example.com. We are here to help!