Last week I posted a quick overview of the Windows 7 Certifications, defining the difference between MCTS and MCITP and briefly introducing each of the Windows 7 exams.
Today I will cover the Windows 7, Configuring exam in depth so that you can get a better understanding of what skills the exams covers and what you need to know in order to prepare for the exam.
Windows 7 Exam 70-680: Overview
The Configuring Windows 7 exam is designed for individuals with at least one year of experience in the IT field implementing and administering the Windows operating system in a networked environment. However, if you don’t have a year of experience with the OS, any recent Windows 7 experience will help and might be enough for you to take the exam.
The 70-680 exam measures various skill sets including:
- Installing, upgrading, and migrating to Windows 7
- Deploying Windows 7
- Configuring hardware and applications
- Configuring network connectivity
- Configuring access to resources
- Configuring mobile computing
- Monitoring and maintaining systems that run Windows 7
- And configuring backup and recovery options.
As I mentioned in my previous article, simply passing the 70-680 exam will earn you the title of a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (Windows 7, Configuring) and earn you credit towards becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional.
There are three choices after taking this exam in terms of becoming a Certified IT Professional. You can become an Enterprise Administrator, an Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7, and/or an Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7.
Windows 7 Exam 70-680: Skills Measured
The 70-680 exam measures your ability to accomplish certain technical tasks. Microsoft has written out these categories along with a percentage to each one, representing the weight they have within the exam.
Below I’ll go over each one of these sections in detail, to help you get an understanding of what will be expected of you when taking the exam.
Installing, Upgrading, and Migrating to Windows 7
This section weighs in at about 14% of the exam and covers topics such as performing a clean installation, upgrading to Windows 7 from previous versions of Windows, and migrating user profiles.
You will need to be able to identify hardware requirements and installation methods. You are also expected to have some experience working with dual-boot setups, and actual installations and upgrades. For example knowing how to boot from the source of installation, and preparing the installation source.
As for user profiles, you will need to have some knowledge of migrating a user profile from one machine to another, as well as migrating from previous versions of Windows. Methods of migration include ‘side-by-side’ and ‘wipe and load.’
Deploying Windows 7
This section takes up 13% of the exam and covers topics such as capturing/creating a system image, preparing said image for deployment, the actual deployment, and configuring a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD.) For capturing a system image, the main items you need to know are how to prepare the system, and how to capture the image itself through Windows Imaging Format (WIM.)
Preparing a system image for deployment is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to be able to insert an application, driver, and update directly into the image, as well as be able to configure tasks to run after deployment.
Configuring Windows 7 Hardware and Applications
Taking up 14% of the exam, this section will go over and test your ability to configure devices and Internet Explorer. It will also cover your ability to configure application compatibility and restrictions. You will need to know how to update, disable, and uninstall device drivers and signed drivers. You should be able to troubleshoot conflicts between drivers and configure the driver’s settings.
You should also be familiar with configuring Internet Explorer. While I recommend practicing with all Internet Explorer settings, Microsoft states that you should be able to configure the following:
- Compatibility view
- InPrivate mode
- Security settings
- And certificates for secure web sites.
You should also be familiar with application restrictions. Similar to the requirements for Internet Explorer, you should be able to set software restriction policies as well as be able to set up control policies through group policies or local security policies.
Configuring Network Connectivity in Windows 7
This section takes up 14% of the exam and involves various network settings, including IPv4 and IPv6, Windows Firewall, and Remote Management. This section isn’t too in-depth, but should still be taken seriously.
You’ll need to know the differences between configuring for IPv4 and IPv6. This includes name resolutions, connecting to a network, setting up said connection, network locations, and troubleshooting and resolving connectivity issues. For IPv4, you’ll need to know about Automatic Private IP Addressing (IPIPA,) and for IPv6 you’ll need to know about linking local multicast name resolutions.
Windows Firewall and Remote Management are two big parts of the network connectivity section as well. You should be able to configure rules for multiple profiles in regards to allowing/denying applications, configuring notifications, and authenticated exceptions. The objective may also include using remote management methods, configuring remote management tools, and using PowerShell commands.
You should also have a good grasp on general networking practices such as adding a wired or wireless device, connecting to a wireless network, configuring security settings on the connected client, setting preferred wireless networks, configuring network adapters, and location-aware printing.
Configuring Access to Resources in Windows 7
While this objective only takes up 13% of the exam, it covers a lot of grounds. You’ll need to be able to configure shared resources, file and folder access, User Account Control (UAC,) authentication and authorization, and BranchCache.
For the configuring end of things, you’ll want to take into consideration folder virtualization, shared folder permissions, printers/queues, HomeGroup settings, file/folder encryption using the Encrypting File System (EFS,) NTFS permissions, and file/folder access permissions.
You’ll also work with configuring the local security policy, configuring the admin and standard user group prompt behaviors, and configuring Secure Desktop. You may also be asked about BranchCache, which allows content from servers to be cached at a local branch office over a Wide Area Network (WAN.)
Configuring Mobile Computing in Windows 7
This section takes up 10% and deals with configuring mobility options and remote connections, as well as using and configuring BitLocker (and BitLocker To Go,) and Direct Access. You will need to know how to configure offline file policies, transparent caching, creating and migrating power policies, establishing Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections, enabling VPN reconnect, advanced security auditing, Network Access Protection (NAP) quarantine remediation, dial-up connections, remote desktop, and published applications.
With BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, you’ll need to know how to configure their policies, manage the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Personal Identification Numbers (PINs,) configure startup key storage, and be able to support the data recovery agent.
As for DirectAccess, you’ll need to be able to configure the client side of the application, authentication, and all of the network infrastructure requirements.
Monitoring and Maintaining Systems that Run Windows 7
This objective is about 11% of the exam and covers various details about configuring updates to Windows 7, such as determining the source of updates, configuring update policies, reviewing update history, checking for new updates, and rolling back updates.
You should also be able to Manage Disk volumes, system file fragmentation, configure Redundant Array of Independent Disk (RAID) setups, and configure removable device policies. You should also be familiar with monitoring systems through event logging, event subscriptions, data collector sets, and system diagnostics reports.
Finally, you should be able to configure performance settings. This included page files, hard drive cache, updating drivers, network performance, power plans, processor scheduling, desktop environments, services/programs to resolve performance issues, and mobile computing performance issues.
Configuring Backup and Recovery Options in Windows 7
This section is fairly short in terms of details, but will take up the final 11% of the exam. In this objective, you will need to be able to configure a backup through system recovery disks, file/folder backups onto a server, CD, or other medium. You should be familiar with full system backups and scheduled backups.
This objective also deals with system recovery and file recovery options. This includes system restore points, system settings restoration, last known good configuration startup recovery, complete restores, driver rollbacks, and shadow copies.
MCTS: Windows 7, Configuring
The 70-680 Windows 7 exam targets IT professionals with at least a year of experience in the field. Factor in the right training and you’re on your way to becoming certified.
I highly recommend taking the Configuring Windows 7 exam as it not only makes you a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist after passing, but it also gives you one half of the requirements to becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional, both of which are highly respected titles.
Also, considering that this is a brand new certification, it will likely do wonders for IT Professionals wanting to showcase their skills in the current job market.