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