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XP and .Net exams are right around the corner

SearchWin2000 certification expert Ed Tittel gives the lowdown on the upcoming XP and .Net MCSE exams.

At the end of July, Microsoft updated its MCSE Requirements Web page to include next generation XP and .Net Server exams. A quick look at that page now shows two columns under the heading of Core Exams--specifically:

Windows 2000:

  • 70-210 Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows 2000 Professional
  • 70-215 Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows 2000 Server
  • 70-216 Implementing and Administering a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
  • 70-217 Implementing and Administering a Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
  • 70-240 Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs certified on Windows NT 4.0 can substitute for the preceding four core exams for those who qualify to take it.

Windows XP/Windows .Net Server:

  • 70-270 Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows XP Professional
  • 70-275 Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows .Net Server
  • 70-276 Implementing and Administering a Windows .Net Server Network Infrastructure
  • 70-277 Implementing and Administering a Windows .Net Server Active Directory Infrastructure

All but the first XP/.Net exam are currently marked "(Available 2002)" and include no objectives. The first, 70-270, is expected to be ready before the end of 2001, with the beta version scheduled for release in September. And if recent history is any guide to the near future, a realistic commercial release for 70-270 will probably be in the November or December time frame.

In conjunction with a textbook I?m working on for Course Technology, co-author Michael Stewart and I have prepared a detailed comparison of the objectives for the Windows 2000 Professional exam with those for XP. Here are some key differences:

  • There are nine new objectives, including elements on migrating from previous versions of Windows, post installation update and product activation, working with hand-held devices and mobile users and a variety of Internet- or network-related topics such as connecting to resources with IE, working with IIS, working with remote desktop and remote assistance and working with the Internet connection firewall. New security related topics include working with cached credentials and IE security settings.

  • There are five changed or reworded objectives, including system monitoring, working with ACPI, multiprocessor computers, local user and group accounts and user and group rights.

  • Four items have been moved from one general objectives container to another.

  • Ten objectives have been dropped, including mobile computer hardware, card services, updating drivers, working with network adapters, working with driver signing, optimizing and troubleshooting network performance, managing hardware profiles, connecting to shared resources on a Microsoft network and working with user authentication and domain user accounts. Many of these topics are subsumed under other more general topics on this exam, or are now covered by other exams (particularly those related to Win2k network infrastructures: 70-216; Server .Net network infrastructures: 70-276; Windows 2000 directory services: 70-217; or Server .Net directory services: 70-277).

    All in all, these relatively minor changes and introductions lend credence to Microsoft?s claim that it is deliberately trying to minimize changes in objectives from Windows 2000 to the next generation -- except for new features and functions. This lends great credibility to its assertion that the Windows 2000 and next generation exams will persist side-by-side. Even more importantly, it suggests it?s realistic for MCSEs to be allowed to mix and match topics across both sets of exams at will.

    Ed Tittel is a principal at a small content development company based in Austin, Texas, and the creator of the Exam Cram series, and has worked on over 30 certification-related books on Microsoft, Novell and Sun related topics.

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