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Exam Profile: MCTS: Windows 7, Configuring (70-680)

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Pearson Certification provides a variety of exam preparation tools to help our customers in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Exam Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the testing experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the exam. Each profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, exam objectives, and recommendations for additional study resources.
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The TS: Windows 7, Configuring (70-680) is the primary exam that covers Microsoft Windows 7 and is one of the required exams for the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7 and MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7 certifications. It also counts as the client requirements for MCTIP: Enterprise Administrator. For those who are seeking the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator, the 70-680 is usually the easiest of the required exams. Therefore, it is usually the first one taken.

The 70-680 exam covers installing, upgrading, and migrating Windows; deploying Windows; installing and troubleshooting drivers; troubleshooting compatibility problems with applications; configuring network settings including the Windows Firewall; managing disks; and recovering Windows in case of a failure or problem. While the 70-680 is a comprehensive exam, it tends to give a little bit more focus on newer technologies introduced or modified in Windows 7.

Exam Details

  • 65 questions (Note: Microsoft does not publish this information and may change the number of exam questions without notice.)
  • Multiple choice
  • Passing score 700 out of 1000.
  • 90 minutes
  • You can take the exam at Prometric.
  • The complete listing of exam objectives appears on page 2 of this article.

Trouble Spots

Before you take this exam, you should have either taken or acquired the equivalent knowledge found on the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ exams. Both of these exams give you the background to understand, install, configure, and troubleshoot computer and network problems and allow you to get the most out of studying for your 70-680 exam.

Compared to the equivalent exams for Windows XP and Windows Vista, the 70-680 covering Windows 7 is a little bit more difficult. You need to understand the material that is covered and apply the knowledge in various scenarios.

For those who may think that they are experienced with Windows, you need to review the objectives to determine if you really know Windows 7. For example, most people who are trying to get a start in Information Technology have installed Windows 7 from the installation DVD, and many people have upgraded Windows Vista to Windows 7. However, unless you work in a corporate environment where you are responsible for deploying Windows 7, most people have not used system images or automatic installation with an answer file.

Another big change from earlier versions of Windows is the repair and recovery options. For example, although safe mode and last known good configuration have not changed, you will need to know how to create and use a system recovery disk and how to use the Windows PE disk and the related commands.

Lastly, be sure you review the newer technologies including user account control (UAC), BranchCache, DirectAccess, BitLocker, and BitLocker ToGo. In addition, be sure to know how to recover encrypted files even if the user forgot their BitLocker pass code.

Preparation Hints

For any exam, always go to the source, which in this case is the Microsoft 70-680 exam page. The exam objectives are listed later in this article as well as posted at the Microsoft site. You need to look at the objectives and rank them for what you think you know and what you think you need to learn about. If the objectives are totally foreign to you, don’t be discouraged; it just means that you have a lot of work ahead of you. Remember, everyone in Information Technology had to start somewhere.

After you know the objectives, you should be using Windows 7 for several months. You need use the advanced features that deal with recovery and security, and support corporate environments. Again, these features are listed in the objectives but are not usually used by everyday home users.

Next, don’t be afraid to get on the Internet and research some of the topics. Again, take smaller steps so that you are not overwhelmed. Whenever possible, you want to use Microsoft websites because the exam comes from Microsoft.

Look at your local schools. Many schools have excellent programs and include hands-on classes. Remember, that most people in the technical field learn best hands-on.

Don’t be afraid to set up your own network. You will most likely need to install a Windows Server 2008 R2 as a domain controller and use Windows 7 that is both connected as part of the domain and not connected as part of the domain. Also be sure you manually configure IP configuration, wireless connections, and Windows Firewall (Basic and Windows Firewall with Advanced Security).

Recommended Study Resources

MCTS 70-680 Exam Cram: Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring by Patrick Regan, publishing December 2010 by Pearson IT Certification.

MCTS 70-680 Cert Guide: Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring (Certification Guide) by Don Poulton, publishing November 2010 by Pearson IT Certification.

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