Most Asked System Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

by StarAgile

July 15, 2021
Category Agile and Scrum

Description of System Administrator Interview Questions

Passing a System Administrator's interview is challenging, seeing how much the role means to companies. But, preparing some certain interview questions can improve your preparation severalfold. Go through the specified System Administrator interview questions and answers to increase your hiring chances immediately.


System administrators, also known as SysAdmins, maintain and configure interconnected computer systems to ensure they function to their fullest. Since they play a crucial role in every organization, employers conduct a sophisticated hiring process for the position.

Clearing a SysAdmin interview can be challenging, but you can nail it by preparing for these System Admin interview questions. To ensure candidates work on every viable niche, the interview questions for a System Admin are divided into three comprehensive sections.


Domain-Based System Administrator Interview Questions 

These System Admin interview questions aim to assess your field knowledge, so every candidate must prepare them before an interview.

Q 1. What is the difference between a workgroup and a domain?

A workgroup and a domain differentiate on multiple fronts, with the most notable ones being:

  • A domain comprises at least one PC that can act as a worker to collaborate with the company. When it comes to a workgroup, every PC works like a peer without possessing any control over each other.
  • A domain does not require clients to record a login on to a specific system if the record is already available in the space. However, a workgroup requires clients to have a record for all the PCs.
  • When it comes to a domain/area, every PC can be present in multiple organizations. However, a workgroup requires the PCs to remain intact within a similar close company.

Q 2. What should a system administrator's routine be?

To answer such System Administrator interview questions, start by showcasing your post's knowledge and responsibilities.

A System Administrator must perform routine software updates and installations. Creating new accounts and offering a comprehensive system access control are also routine jobs for a SysAdmin. Additional duties involve:

  • Allocating resource storage
  • System monitoring and optimization
  • Backup creation.
  • Placing data recovery measures.
  • Overviewing system logs.

Q 3. Why should System Administrators use RAID?

RAID is an esteemed digitization data storage tech that merges physical disk drives' capability into one/multiple logical units. SysAmins can use RAID to enhance performance, facilitate malfunction resistance, and increase storage.

Q 4. Explain a SysAdmin's personality traits and attributes?

A System Administrator must be adept at handling both software and hardware. Quick responses and problem-solving skills are a must for the role. Moreover, a SysAdmin must be capable of working alone while also possessing excellent communication skills. Deciding whether an issue is worth reporting, learning about the domain, and instructing employees about technical malfunctions should be every System Administrator's strong suit.

Q 5. Define Windows Registry?

The phrasing can be different, but it is one of the most asked System Admin interview questions. So you should prepare a concise answer like this:

Windows Registry or the Registry is the collection of configuration settings' databases within a Windows OS.

After going through the domain-based System Admin interview questions and answers, you must also prepare for skill-based questions like the ones given below -

Skill-based System Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

Companies ask these System Admin interview questions to ensure the candidate possesses the technical skills required for routine business operations.

Q 6. How can a SysAdmin get rid of lingering objects?

The best way to manually eliminate lingering objects is to use the 2003 and 2008 Windows Server. These servers can quickly remove the objects with the "REPADMIN.EXE" command.

Q 7. What is DHCP, and why is it important?

DHCP, also known as, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, automates the IP address assigning the process to computers and additional devices over a network. It allows devices to get a new IP whenever it connects to a network. It reduces a System Administrator's workload by reducing manual configuration. Moreover, DHCP optimizes the process by stacking unused IP addresses for new devices.

Q 8. What's an SYSVOL folder?

An SYSVOL folder is used to carry a copy server of a domain's public docs/files. Such files are shared for relocation and common access across the domain.

Every Active Directory database is stored within an SYSVOL folder, and it can only be created in the NTFS partition. Therefore, users can find the databases in the folder - %SYSTEM ROOT%NDTS.  

Q 9. What is WDS for System Admins?

WDS or Windows Deployment Services is a well-known server role that can remotely deploy Windows OS. It can also set up new systems using network-based installations to ensure the organization does not need to install every OS. The service comes in handy while establishing a new firm or department.

Q 10. What is the PPP protocol?

Point to Point or PPP protocol aids alignment between two PCs over a fibre optic line, phone line, or link. A collaboration between a host and a web access Supplier is an apt example for the protocol. It operates by looking for Recognize Parcels and sharing Solicitation bundles. The parcels either try to change or reject the solicitation.

Q 11. Show us how to back up AD (Active Directory).

System Admins can use the NTBACKUP tool on the 2003 Windows sever to back up the directory. On 2008 sever, a simple command through the command prompt will perform the function - "wbadmin start systemstatebackup -backuptarget:e:"

Once you have gone through these skill-based System Administrator interview questions and answers, you can finalise your preparation with the scenario-based questions given below -

Scenario-based System Admin Interview Questions and Answers

Q 12. You are asked to restore a DC that was backed seven months ago. What will be your response?

A System Administrator should refrain from backing up a DC older than six months. Generally, the Active Director requires the backup file to be over 180 days old. Trying to restore an expired backup can result in unforeseen issues because of hidden lingering objects.

Q 13. You are provided with a situation where an HTTP monitor states that a site is down. If you can telnet to its port, how can the issue be resolved?

I will start by identifying the issue instead of asking the hardware technicians to overview the monitor. If no issue is found after troubleshooting the monitor and the site is up on other PCs, I will look for common issues like flapping or system overload. If the issue persists, I will send the monitor to the hardware technicians.

Q 14. Did you ever try a fix, and it did not work out? Narrate the experience.

Such interview questions for System Admin involve subtle tricks. The interviewer already knows that fixes do not always work on the first attempt. Lying or bluffing will not work, so avoid that at all costs. Doing so will showcase a lack of experience and understanding of the job.

There is no universal answer to the question, so try to be as honest as possible. Be thorough throughout the conversation and convey the project extensively.

Assure the interviewer that you remain composed even after a method fails. For example, show how you can come up with a well-thought-out plan instead of performing random activities.

Q 15. If you were asked to explain what a domain controller is, how would you do it?

I will start by presenting a simple definition and the fundamentals of the concept. A DC or domain controller also referred to as a network domain controller is a Windows-based system used to store user data in a centralized database. It stays at the center of the Windows AD (Active Directory) service, which authenticates users, restricts user data, and imposes security policies for a domain.

Now, I will explain how the company can use it within the network. It facilitates System Admins to allow or restrict users from accessing system resources like network locations, folders, printers, documents, etc., through a username and password.

Q 16. The company wants to foolproof computer systems against security breaches. How will you approach the situation?

As a System Administrator, I will undertake multiple processes to foolproof the entire computer ecosystem. For starters, I will commence with -

Encrypting the systems with public keys for increased security

Using different complex passwords to avoid breaches

Check if there is an exception and find out the reason

Review the exceptions routinely

Hold accountability in case of a failure

In Conclusion

System Administrators play a crucial role in every modern organization. That is why companies are thorough while hiring candidates for the position. While cracking a System Admin interview is challenging, preparing the given System Administrator interview questions and answers can simplify the process.

The provided System Administrator interview questions can substantially increase your hiring chances. So go through them and ace your next System Administrator interview.