microsoft, mcsa, it certifications, exam updates

Microsoft’s MCSA Updates For Windows 8.1: 70-687 and 70-688

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  • May 16, 2014
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microsoft, mcsa, it certifications, exam updatesThe moment Microsoft released Windows 8.1, we knew we could expect updates to the brand’s training materials and certifications. And the changes started coming in quietly and often unnoticed. Microsoft Learning updated both certification exams in the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) track for Windows 8. The updated MCSA exams were released in January 2014 – just a few months after the launch of Windows 8.1.

With the recent talks about Microsoft and its next steps, we decided to give these exams the attention they deserve. So, let’s explore the updates to the following exams:

  • 70-687: Configuring Windows 8
  • 70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1

Updates to Exam 70-687

The 70-687 exam is all about installing and configuring Windows 8, as well as configuring hardware, networking and applications. Recent revisions include material specific to Windows 8.1: upgrading Windows 7 and installing Windows 8, and migrating from earlier versions of Windows (XP, Vista) to Windows 8.1.

New exam content also covers Hyper-V, Miracast display, Pervasive Device Encryption, and Secure Boot. The 70-687 also covers installing and updating applications from the Windows Store.

As Windows 8.1 has tighter integration with OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage solution), the 70-687 exam now includes questions on how to configure the OneDrive service, retrieve files, and make them available offline.

The exam also covers Microsoft’s new browser, Internet Explorer 11. Related topics can include configuring either/both the desktop and Modern versions of IE.

Updates to Exam 70-688

It’s good to remember that the 70-688 has been renamed “Supporting Windows 8.1”, from its original name “Managing and Maintaining Windows 8” – a minor change that many candidates have found confusing while searching through the Microsoft Learning website.

The 70-688 exam looks deeper into the plumbing of Windows 8.1 clients and how they work in enterprise networks. As a result, the majority of the changes made to this exam are revisions to the existing knowledge domains, rather than entirely new Windows 8.1 content:

  • Installation and Application Strategy
  • Resource Access
  • Maintaining Windows Clients and Devices
  • Managing Windows 8.1 using Cloud Services and MS Desktop Optimization Pack

Some of the updated content on the 70-688 exam is related to Windows Intune, the cloud management product which can be used to manage PCs and mobile devices, including non-Microsoft devices like iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Windows Intune can be used to deploy desktop and Windows store apps, as well as to “sideload” line-of-business applications onto Windows 8.1 devices.

Planning to take these exams? Members of our friendly IT community have shared their exam files. Explore them here: 70-687 and 70-688.

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