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Exam 70-624 TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client

Another doozy of a title, this exam is likely to appeal to IT professionals who work with Vista in all situations (SOHO, SMB, tech support, enterprise, and so forth) and of all stripes (help desk, tech support, IT administration, and so on). As with other exams in the 70-620 through 70-625 Vista sequence, this one’s Preparation Guide follows the old-style format. In short, anybody who deploys or maintains Windows Vista desktops is likely to benefit from studying for and taking this exam, even though its official target audience is candidates with “a minimum of one year of experience managing day-to-day issues with desktop deployments.”

There’s one more incredibly useful nugget inside this prep guide. It reads: “This exam is the Windows Vista version of Exam 74-134: Pre-Installing Microsoft Products and Technologies, [and is] focused on the OEM Pre-Installation Kit (OPK).” Why so? Because you’ll find some great links to study materials for the other exam on its prep page (linked at the head of this paragraph) that don’t appear on the 70-624 exam page.

The prep tools and resources that appear on the 70-624 page include the following:

  • Classroom training: Course 5105: Deploying Windows Vista Business Desktops and Course 5058: Deploying Microsoft Office 2007 Professional.
  • e-learning offerings: Collection 5058: Deploying 2007 Microsoft Office System Client Products.

The lack of books and complete e-learning coverage explains nicely why the 74-134 page is referenced, and also why it’s a good idea to dig up its study material citations to help you get ready for this exam as well.

Skills measured on the 70-624 exam break down as follows:

  • Deploying 2007 MS Office System:
    Configure MS Office settings & components, install 2007 MS Office system, and migrate from earlier MS Office versions.
  • Configuring Windows Vista Automated Installation Settings:
    Configure Vista automated install settings, manage Windows Vista catalogs, add device drivers to Vista installs, manage Windows components, and configure and manipulate Windows Imaging Format (WIM) images.
  • Deploying Windows Vista:
    Deploy Vista using Lite Touch Installation (LTI) and Zero Touch Installation (ZTI), customize Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE), and troubleshoot deployment issues.
  • Using Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) Workbench:
    Install BDD, configure distribution point in BDD 2007 Workbench, create a reference computer image, manage XML files in BDD Workbench, automate 2007 MS Office system installation, and customize and maintain Windows PE in BDD Workbench.
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT):
    Install and configure ACT 5, deploy ACT 5 agents, report application compatibility, and fix compatibility issues.
  • Managing User State Migration:
    Upgrade user state from XP to Vista, automate user state migration, manage Vista deployments using SMS 2003, determine Operating System Deployment (OSD) prerequisites, install and configure SMS 2003 OSD Feature Pack, and troubleshoot and plan for user state migrations.

There’s a lot more to this exam than the title conveys, especially where automation, deployment, and user state migration are concerned. This one’s going to take some work and experience to get through, so be prepared to invest substantial time and effort in preparing, unless you work with these tools and technologies on a daily basis. My guess is that those conditions hold only in enterprises or outside services companies big or specialized enough to have their own Vista deployment teams. How many of those can there be? The total count for MCTS: Business Desktop Deployment certified professionals as of 10/27/08 is 4,868, so the answer could be: “More than you think!”

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