In digging up the info on this, the first in my series of four MCTS and MCITP Vista-related exams that I’ll be covering over the next week or so, I discovered that Microsoft has finally changed the format for its exam pages. I’ve been tuning into these documents since the late 1990s and it’s nice to see that they’ve finally gotten a facelift (looking at the source, I can see that MS has switched from HTML 4.01 to XHTML 1.0, and the markup looks programmatically generated, but I can’t find any evidence for the tools used to generate it except the file extension .aspx which would indicate ASP.NET is involved). If you take a quick look at the 70-620 exam page, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
The 70-620 counts toward a surprising number of credentials:
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Consumer Support Technician
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Support Technician
- Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) on Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) on Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator
This exams aims to certify that individuals have at least one year of experience working in IT, often providing telephone support at the tier-1 or tier-2 levels across various types of environment that range from retail stores, to medium sized companies, to enterprise environments. General areas of knowledge required to pursue this exam include networking, desktop operating systems, security, and end-user applications, plus basic administrative tasks including solving logon problems, resetting passwords, and supporting desktop applications.
The exam’s coverage is broken into seven areas:
- Installing and Upgrading Windows Vista
Covers the basics of hardware requirements and compatibility checks (e.g. Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor), performing a clean installation, upgrading to Vista from an earlier Windows version or from one version of Vista to another, troubleshooting installation issues, and installing and configuring Windows Vista drivers.
- Configuring and troubleshooting post-install system settings
Includes troubleshooting post-install configuration difficulties, configuring and troubleshooting Aero, parental controls, and Internet Explorer (version 7 is the primary current focus).
- Configuring Windows Security features
Working with User Account Control (UAC), Windows Defender, Dynamic Security for IE 7, and security settings in Windows Firewall and Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
- Configuring network connectivity
Configuring networking through the Network and sharing centers, troubleshooting connectivity issues, and configuring remote access (Remote Desktop Connection).
- Configuring applications included with Windows Vista
These include media applications (Media Center, Media Player), Mail, Meeting Space, Calendar, Fax and Scan, plus the Windows Sidebar.
- Maintaining and optimizing systems that run Windows Vista
This means troubleshooting performance issues, using built-in tools to troubleshoot reliability issues (System Health Check, Reliability Monitor, Problem Reports and Solutions, and so on), plus configuring Windows Update and data protection.
- Configuring and troubleshooting mobile computing
This entails managing mobile display settings, and configuring mobile devices, Tablet PC software, and power options.
In the new exam page format, Microsoft not only lists relevant Classroom training courses, it also lists e-learning items as well as Microsoft Press books that focus on the exam. All in all this exam should help IT professionals establish a solid working knowledge of basic Vista operation, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. As we’ll see in the next exams, things quickly get more complex and interesting from here.