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  • Published:
    November 20, 2009
  • Languages:
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals
  • Technology:
    Windows 7
  • Credit toward certification:

Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

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Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

Planning and managing a client life cycle strategy (16%)

Plan and manage client licensing and activation

  • Applications and operating systems; activation method; KMS vs. MAK; prerequisites; choosing a SKU; licensing infrastructure; licensing compliance audits; inventory audits; virtualization licensing considerations; making recommendations for licensing strategy and compliance

Plan and manage software updates

  • Application updates and operating system updates; evaluating and approving software updates; enterprise applications; designing an update strategy; choosing an update tool; planning and deploying a service pack; schedule considerations; network considerations; test updates; auditing for security compliance

Plan and manage a physical hardware and virtualization strategy

  • Analyzing existing hardware environment; determining which systems meet minimum requirements; tradeoffs of physical vs. VDI environment; network load considerations; disk space; direct connection vs. brokered connection; determining a VHD strategy; choosing 32 bit vs. 64 bit

Preparation resources

Designing a standard image (17%)

Design an image creation strategy

  • Identifying operating system and enterprise applications that will be included with the standard image; thick, thin, or hybrid; role-based or geographic-based images vs. single core image; image localization

Design a custom image

  • Identifying applications to be installed; identifying features and components to be enabled or disabled; testing the customized image

Define an image update strategy

  • Performance optimization; security considerations; efficiency; offline servicing vs. online or post-image updates; re-creating; recapturing

Preparation resources

Designing client configurations (17%)

Design standard system settings

  • Choosing methods, including logon scripts, startup scripts, and Group Policy; designing profiles; designing error reporting; designing audit policy

Define client security standards

  • Application control policies; encryption; stopping unnecessary services; designing firewall rules; defining anti-malware settings; changes to Kerberos and NTLM; configuring user rights; defining UAC policy; designing a security template for system lockdown; defining account policies; designing security standards for removable storage

Define Windows Internet Explorer settings

  • Defining security zones; cache location; branding; in-private mode; restricting or allowing plug-ins; add-ons; privacy policy; browser protected mode

Preparation resources

Designing a Windows 7 client deployment (15%)

Analyze the environment and choose appropriate deployment methods

  • Building the infrastructure; advantages of lite-touch vs. zero-touch vs. local install; capacity and scale considerations; determining required changes to the infrastructure

Design a lite-touch deployment strategy

  • Unicast vs. multicast; auto-cast vs. scheduled-cast; staggered deployment; scheduling considerations; network load considerations; choosing a client boot method for deployment; unattended answer files; restricting who can receive images; choosing a delivery mechanism

Design a zero-touch deployment strategy

  • Designing and configuring task sequencing; unattended answer files; scheduling considerations; staggered deployment; network load considerations; restricting who can receive images

Design a user state migration strategy

  • Determining which user data and settings to preserve; local vs. remote storage considerations; determining mitigation plan for non-migrated applications; securing migrated data; testing designed strategy; wipe-and-load migration vs. side-by-side migration

Preparation resources

Designing application packages for deployment (17%)

Design a delivery or deployment strategy

  • Auditing for prerequisites and minimum requirements; choosing a deployment method such as virtualized, Remote Desktop Services, Group Policy, or software distribution; server-based or client-based install; scheduling considerations; staggered deployment; network considerations; package creation standards

Manage application compatibility

  • Testing incompatibility; choosing a method for resolving incompatibility, such as upgrading, Remote Desktop Services, shim, or VDI; auditing incompatible software

Preparation resources

Identifying and resolving deployment and client configuration issues (19%)

Identify and resolve Internet Explorer issues

  • Security zones; Web applications; advanced settings; Group Policy restrictions; certificates

Identify and resolve Group Policy issues

  • Delegation; inheritance; policies are not effective; blocking; permissions; loopback processing; user vs. computer settings; filtering; performance

Identify and resolve networking issues

  • Wireless; remote access; VPN; certificates; performance; IP communication; Windows Firewall

Identify and resolve authentication and authorization issues

  • User rights; distinguishing between client-based and server-based issues; time synchronization (Kerberos)

Preparation resources

Preparation options

Instructor-led training
Find a Microsoft Learning Partner near you
Practice test

Take a Microsoft Official Practice Test for Exam 686

From the community

Follow @MSLearning and @windows

70-686 Training Kit

MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-686): Windows 7 Desktop Administrator
Published: January 2010

This self-paced Training Kit is designed to help maximize your performance on 70-686, the required exam for the MCITP: Windows 7, Desktop Administrator certification. This two-in-one kit includes the official Microsoft study guide, plus practice tests on CD to help you assess your skills; rigorous, objective-by-objective review; exam tips from expert, exam-certified authors; and customizable testing options. It also provides real-world scenarios, case study examples, and labs to build the skills and expertise you can use on the job.

Buy this book at the Microsoft Press Store

Who should take this exam?

Candidates for this exam should have a minimum of three years of experience installing, configuring, and administering clients in a Windows networked environment and also have experience deploying operating systems and applications. Candidates should be familiar with the client administration capabilities of Windows Server and with management tools such as the System Center suite of products.

More information about exams

Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats, and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.


This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all of the topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.