All About the New Windows 7 Exams, Certifications, and Free Resources

October 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Microsoft | 1 Comment
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Eric Clapton had a song on his Money & Cigarettes album many years ago called “Everybody oughta make a change.” Microsoft recently made some changes by releasing the new Windows 7 operating system and some corresponding new exams:

  • 70-680 TS: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-685 Pro: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-686 Pro: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

The 70-685 and the 70-686 exams just recently ended their beta period. I expect these exams will be released in a couple of weeks, while 70-680 is already available.

Exams Overview

I had the opportunity to take all three of the beta exams.

  • The 70-680 test covers a wide cross-section of topics: migrating your computer to Windows 7 and other deployment issues, configuring applications and Internet Explorer, understanding IPv4 and IPv6, configuring network settings, configuring BranchCache, configuring Mobile Computing, understanding backup and recovery options, and monitoring Windows 7.
  • Look for much more in-depth coverage of deploying Windows 7 on the 70-686 exam, from migration to clean installations and the attendant hardware requirements. The 70-686 exam objectives cover deploying images, deploying application packages, designing client configurations, and overall troubleshooting.
  • The 70-685 exam covers troubleshooting desktop application issues, networking issues, security issues, supporting mobile clients and maintaining Windows 7 clients. This test was pretty straightforward, in my experience. You had to be very familiar with the new GPO policy settings that affect Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Since I troubleshoot more than I deploy Windows 7, I found the 70-685 beta exam to be easier than the 70-686 exam. The 70-686 exam was the hardest one of the three, in my humble opinion. You really need a lot of experience deploying images and experience with the System Center suite of products.

Study Resources

Unfortunately, when I was prepping for these exams, there were not a lot of resources available. However, more resources on Windows 7 are being released every day.

Deploying Windows 7 free e-book – download the Deploying Windows® 7 Essential Guidance from the Windows 7 Resource Kit and TechNet Magazine for free via download (thanks, Born To Learn). This is a great resource for prepping for the 70-686 exam when it is eventually released.

Free Windows 7 book chapters PDF – Safari Books Online is offering a combo pack of several chapters from four new Windows 7 texts – download it at

Transcender’s 70-680 practice exam (written by yours truly) has 160 multiple-choice and interactive test items, plus 226 flash card items. Check it out here:

Global Knowledge released a series of free whitepapers and blog posts on Windows 7. Here are a few to start you off:

Here are Free Windows 7 Training Videos — 5 introductory training videos on Windows 7.

Don’t forget Microsoft’s free Microsoft Learning Snacks on Windows 7 and free Microsoft E-Learning courses.

If anyone has a favorite Windows 7 study resource, let me know and I’ll add it to this list.


Here’s a rundown on the certifications for Windows 7. If you pass the 70-680 exam, you can achieve the following:

  • MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration

If you pass both the 70-680 exam and 70-685 exam, you can achieve the following:

  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7

If you pass both the 70-680 exam and 70-686 exam, you can achieve the following:

  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

A lot of people say that a lot of companies are not adopting Windows Server 2008 as fast as Microsoft thought they were going to. This is probably true. The economy has not been good over the last two years. However, there is strong evidence that Windows 7 will be widely adopted in a short period of time. New desktops, laptops, and netbook computers will have it installed (and I haven’t heard a rumor of a downgrade license option). The U.S. government has the 8570.1 directive to require certification for all government personnel involved in Information Assurance. There will be a high demand for Windows 7 skills. You should take Eric Clapton’s lead and make a change. Get certified in Windows 7 before everyone else does.

–George Monsalvatge

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  1. […] this link out for little bit on the path way to becoming a Windows 7 expert. We can help you out in preparing for the exam as well as the IT […]

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