Microsoft extends Windows 7 and SharePoint Server 2013 certifications to mid-2018

January 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Key certifications receive new lease on life

Microsoft announced that they have extended the life of certifications that were previously slated to expire in 2017. These exams will now expire on July 31, 2018:

  • 70-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator
  • 70-488: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions

 

The good news is that you now have over a year to study for and secure these key certifications – and Transcender has a full range of practice tests, e-learning, and practice labs to help you succeed.

Windows Server 2008 to be retired in mid-2017

All of the following exams will retire July 31, 2017:

  • 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
  • 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
  • 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator
  • 70-694: Virtualizing Enterprise Desktops and Apps

Continue Reading Microsoft extends Windows 7 and SharePoint Server 2013 certifications to mid-2018…

User security features in Windows 10: a free Transcender webinar

January 19, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Transcender news | Leave a comment

Windows 10 has some exciting new additions for its users, and our audience will receive an inside look at the latest security updates during our first webinar presentation of the year.  Join us for this LIVE and free webinar on January 25, 2017. Our Microsoft industry expert, George Monsalvatge, will cover the history, applications, functions, best practices, and security features of Windows 10. He will also explain why it is important to keep up-to-date on your certifications, and introduce you to some new features included in the latest version of Windows 10.

Some of the webinar topics include:

  • What is Windows 10?
  • User security features
  • Keeping up with the latest versions

Join us on January 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM CT for the free webinar. Click here to register for the event!

 

Microsoft changing Windows 10 certification paths; Windows 8/8.1 certifications to retire in December 2016

November 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Disclaimer: Exam retirements are subject to change without notice. Please go to the Official Microsoft Retired exams list to confirm or deny a specific test’s retirement date, as it may have changed since this post was originally published. Click our blog’s Certification Paths category to find the latest posts by date on this topic.

Test takers, take note: Windows 8 and 8.1 certifications are being retired in December, while Windows 10 certification paths are changing. If you are only one test into the two-test sequence, be sure to schedule your exam before the retirement.

These exams will no longer be available after December 31, 2016:

  • 70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1
  • 70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1
  • 70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
  • 70-692: Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills to MCSA Windows 8

If you have passed either the 687 or the 688, but you do not pass the sister exam, you will not have a valid certification after December 31.

What to do if you still need that MCSA: Windows 8 in your certification wallet

You may not know that if you hold an older certification – even as far back as Windows 2000 – you can bypass the two-exam path to a MCSA: Windows 8 and take a single upgrade exam.

You can take the 70-692 and earn the MCSA: Windows 8 if you hold any of these old-school certifications:

  • MCDST: Windows XP
  • MCSA: Windows 2000
  • MCSA: Security on Windows 2000
  • MCSA: Messaging on Windows 2000
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2003
  • MCSA: Security on Windows Server 2003
  • MCSA: Messaging on Windows Server 2003
  • MCSE: Windows 2000
  • MCSE: Security on Windows 2000
  • MCSE: Messaging on Windows 2000
  • MCSE: Windows Server 2003
  • MCSE: Security on Windows Server 2003
  • MCSE: Messaging on Windows Server 2003

You can take the 70-689 and earn the MCSA: Windows 8 if you hold any of these more recent certifications:

  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
  • MCSA: Windows 7
What to do if you want to jump to the MCSA: Windows 10

There are now two distinct paths for the MCSA: Windows 10 certification. If you have already earned the MCSA: Windows 8, you can upgrade to MCSA: Windows 10 by taking and passing this exam:

If you’re starting at square one, you can earn the MCSA: Windows 10 by passing two exams:

That’s right – there is no separate “upgrade exam” that takes you from an MCSA: 8 to an MCSA: 10. The 70-697 will either upgrade your prior cert, or knock out half of the testing requirements for a brand-new MCSA.

What to do if you’re still in a Windows 7 shop

While you will no longer have the ability to earn Windows 8 and 8.1 certifications, Microsoft has not announced any immediate plans to retire the MCITP in Windows 7. The MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7 and MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 are still valid certifications and can be earned with a two-test sequence:

MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7:

  • 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7:

  • 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

Note that the MCSA: Windows 7 is listed as a “retired certification” on the Microsoft legacy certifications page. (For more information on Microsoft’s newly streamlined certifications, read this post on Born To Learn.)

Note that as of this writing, there do not appear to be any direct upgrade exams from the MSCA: Windows 7 (or its equivalent MCITPs) to the MCSA: Windows 10. Your best bet there is to take the two-exam sequence starting with 70-689 (upgrade to MCSA: Win 8 from MCITP: Win 7) and 70-697 (upgrade from MCSA: Win 8 to MCSA: Win 10). Remember that you need to pass 70-689 before December 31, but you can take the 70-697 at any time in 2017.

Bundle and save with exam vouchers and practice tests from Transcender

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Windows 7 Practice Exams and Bundles

Windows 8 Practice Exams and Bundles

Windows 10 Practice Exams and Bundles

Happy certifying!
-The Transcender Team

Microsoft raised exam certification prices in July

August 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Transcender news, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Microsoft made a worldwide adjustment in the price of their MCP and certification exams for non-academic titles. The increased prices went into effect on July 18, 2106.

The pricing change does NOT affect pre-paid vouchers from Transcender or vouchers purchased from Pearson VUE, Courseware Marketplace, or through academic Volume Licensing. You can continue to use any vouchers you bought prior to the pricing upgrade without having to make up the additional cost.

Student discounts have not changed, but they will be calculated from the new exam price.

In most cases the price increase was around USD $15. To find a price for a specific exam, find your test on the Microsoft Certification Exam List or go directly to Pearson Vue and check the price for your region.

Lightning deal: Microsoft offers FREE upgrades for 2016 MCSA in June

June 16, 2016 at 8:35 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Microsoft recently announced an incentive for IT pros working toward their MCSA in Windows Server 2012 or their MCSA in SQL Server 2012/2014: finish your certification by June 30, 2016, and earn a free voucher for the 2016 upgrade exam.

Upgrade path for Windows Server 2016

The MCSA in Windows Server 2012 requires three exams:

  • 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

If you have all three under your belt by June 30, you’ll qualify for a free voucher to sit exam 70-743: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016. No exam details are available at this time.

Upgrade path for SQL Server 2016

The MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 also requires three exams:

  • 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
  • 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
  • 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014

Interestingly, although only one upgrade exam number is shown for SQL Server 2016 (70-762), it looks like there are actually three separate upgrade options:

  • Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Database Development) by taking 70-762: Developing SQL Databases
  • Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Database Administration) by taking 70-762: Provisioning SQL Databases
  • Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Business Intelligence Dev) by taking 70-762: Developing SQL Data Models

Again, Microsoft hasn’t released any exam objectives or details at the time of this post.

Do I have time to study?

Absolutely. Transcender has a full range of practice tests, e-learning, and virtual labs for each track, including a 30-day online access version of the practice tests:

What if I already have an MCSA in 2012 / 2014?

The wording was “between now [June 2] and June 30, 2016,” so this offer is probably limited to people who haven’t yet passed all the required tests. You can see Microsoft’s original post at the Born To Learn blog, and ask whether the offer extends to those who already have their certification in hand. However, as a certified professional, you should already be receiving emails from Microsoft each time a free beta exam is released (like the recent offer for the 70-698), so if you don’t qualify for this deal, odds are that a similar one will come your way.

Happy certifying!

~ The Transcender Team

Announcing Microsoft’s FREE upgrade exam for Win 8 MCSAs

March 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Are you a Windows 8 MCSA? If you are, and you earned your MCSA: Windows 8 certification between February 15, 2015, and May 31, 2015, you can take Exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices for free. Doing so will earn you the MCSA: Windows 10 certification.

To take advantage of this offer, you MUST sign up using the link on the Microsoft site, and you MUST take (and pass) the exam no later than May 31, 2016.

Because you are limited to one free exam attempt, you may want to take advantage of Transcender’s full range of prep materials. We offer the Microsoft Practice Exam for 70-697 MSCert: Configuring Windows 10 Devices, an online Practice Lab with virutalized machines, and professional e-learning courses with 18.5 hours of instruction.

If you earned your MCSA: Windows 8 after the cutoff date, you can still register to take exam 70-697 and earn the MCSA: Windows 10 – which is still a solid move for your certification career.

FREE webinar on November 18: Best prep tips for your Office 365 exam

November 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Study hints, study tips | Leave a comment
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Join Transcender’s subject matter expert and Microsoft practice test author, George Monsalvatge, for a free webinar that will prepare you for your Office 365 exam. This live, interactive webinar will walk you through the preparation process and cover such topics as:

  • What exactly are they going to test me on?
  • Have the technologies changed since Microsoft first released the exams? If so, which versions should I study?
  • How in-depth are the questions?
  • What’s the format of the question – multiple answer, fill-in-the-blank, interactive – and what’s the best approach for each question type?

To register for the webinar, click this link.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 18, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST (Show in My Time Zone).

Microsoft to retire the MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure credential in January 2016

November 3, 2015 at 9:19 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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If you’ve been working toward your MCSE in Desktop Infrastructure, you will need to finish your exam cycle sooner rather than later. Microsoft has announced that the certification itself will be retired on January 31, 2016, along with two of its key exams.

The five exams in this certification sequence are:

  • 70-415: Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure – retires January 31, 2016
  • 70-416: Implementing Desktop Application Environments – retires January 31, 2016
  • 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services R2
  • 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 R2
  • 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2

The other three exams in the path – 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 – are also key exams for other MCSA and MCSE certifications.  As of this writing, Microsoft has not announced a retirement date for those exams.

What happens when a certification retires? Even if an exam that is part of a certification you earned is retired, your certification is still valid. When an exam you passed is retired, the exam record remains on your transcript.

Windows 10 Review, Part 3 – The house that Jack built

July 10, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Technical Tips, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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As with many trilogies, the exciting bits of my Windows 10 review happened in the middle (A Tale of Two OSes and It was the best of times, it was the worst of times). Although this chapter doesn’t have as many plot holes as my previous posts, or the multiple endings you’d find in a movie like The Return of the King, it’ll probably be more important to your productive life with Windows. Helm, warp one – engage!

Touch, Notifications and General Task Management

Material Design, anyone?

Material Design, anyone?

After initial pokes at providing a touchscreen UI as far back as Windows XP, Microsoft has delivered a mature, functional touch technology in Windows 10. Finally, the OS feels highly responsive, easy to navigate, and most importantly, stable. The taskbar is slightly taller than in Windows 8, to accommodate the tips of chubby man-size fingers like mine. The Aero interface snaps a window into full-screen or half-screen with minimal hair-pulling. And the process of dragging icons around the screen isn’t as choppy as it was in Windows 8 and 8.1.

The news is not 100% good, though. Microsoft left a few issues hanging around. In my test runs, the on-screen keyboard didn’t pop up every time I needed it to. And trying to highlight text with my finger is still reminiscent of playing a microscopic version of Pac-Man™. Overall, the touch technology earns a solid grade of B.

Microsoft has also brought some new features to the table. There is now a notification area for messages and common settings that you can launch from your task bar (even if I can’t get any notifications to show up).

Nothing to see here?

Nothing to see here?

The OS includes support for multiple desktops, reminiscent of Linux and Apple OS, so that you can spread your windows across virtual space more easily.

Too many chefs... I mean, desktops.

Too many chefs… I mean, desktops.

They even threw in a task manager that is less concerned about switching between programs than it is with graphing the overall health of your running system.

Yup, need to get some more memory!

Yup, need to get some more memory!

Release Details

Thanks to a leak from AMD, I can report that we’re expecting this new OS to hit the market by July 2015—just in time for the back-to-school sales! It’s confirmed that you can get the upgrade for free if you’re running Windows 7 or later (but only for the year following Windows 10’s release to market).

In conclusion, I think you’ll definitely want to install this new OS, especially if your need to make your touchscreen more desktop-like productive, but you don’t have to take my word for it!

NASCAR and Microsoft: A match made in Victory Lane

June 24, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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I grew up in “stock car” country and loved to see auto racing, so I was pretty pleased when Microsoft announced it has teamed up with Hendrick Motorsports. NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports will use the Windows 10 platform and Microsoft Azure to deliver technology solutions to make the cars faster and the fan experience better.

Microsoft will sponsor the Dale Earnhard Jr’s Number 88 car.

No88Car

For those of you not familar with NASCAR, NASCAR is auto racing using cars that resemble standard stock cars, but these go 200 miles per hour around a track. Unlike Formula One or other open wheel racing, stock car racing is full contact. These drivers bump and bang their cars into each other for 500 miles. Dale Earnhard Jr is the most popular driver in the sport, and Hendrick Motorsports  is the most successful team; it includes four-time champion Jeff Gordon  and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

HendrickDrivers

Microsoft has made in roads into other sports recently. If you are a fan of American football, then you may have noticed that every NFL team uses Microsoft Surface tablets. NASCAR has a large fan base in the United States. One of the reasons for its large popularity is the interaction of the fans. When they’re at the track, fans can get pit passes to tour the the garages and see the cars and teams up close. Even if a fan is not at the track on race day, the fan can get a 3D virtual picture of the live race, hear live race radio, and stream live audio of the driver talking with his crew during the race. Technology plays a big part in the fan experience in NASCAR as well, with the NASCAR teams trying to shave a hundredth of a second off a lap or pit stop.

RaceView

In 2014 NASCAR used a Windows touch-enabled mobile line of business application for the race car inspection process across all three NASCAR series (Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Sprint Cup), which reduced inspection times by nearly half.  NASCAR will use Windows 10 as its platform to run all apps for different types of devices and race operations. NASCAR teams will use this information to make quicker and more informed decisions in race situations.  Hendrick Motorsports will use Azure to capture and analyze terabytes of data for race simulations. Making critical decisions at critical times is how great race teams win. How many laps can I keep the car out on the track before I need to get gas in the pits? How many laps can get on these new tires now that the sun has come up and heated the track up by 10 degrees? If we give the car a track bar adjustment late in the race, will this give us a competitive edge?  Knowledge is not only power, it is the difference between winning and losing.

NascarActionFire

Earnhardt said, “I’m a big technology user and really enjoy Microsoft products.” Dale Jr. may be excited about playing around with Windows 10.

As you’ve probably already heard, everybody that owns Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 can get a free upgrade for Windows 10 on July 29th, 2015. I know I’m supposed to be writing a more computer-oriented post here, but personally, I just can’t wait to see what improvements this will bring to my favorite sport. I hope to see you at the track.

FansAtTrack

Shake and Bake!

–George Monsalvatge

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