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  • Published:
    January 22, 2013
  • Languages:
    English, German, Japanese
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals
  • Technology:
    Windows 8.1
  • Credit toward certification:

Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8

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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.

As of January 2014, this exam includes content covering Windows 8.1. For more details, you may review the documents on the exam detail pages for exams 70-687 and 70-688.

Exam 70-687

Install and upgrade to Windows 8.1 (25–30%)
  • Install Windows 8.1
    • Choose between an upgrade and a clean installation; determine which SKU to use, including Windows RT; determine requirements for particular features, including Hyper-V, Miracast display, pervasive device encryption, virtual smart cards, and Secure Boot
  • Migrate and configure user data
    • Migrate user profiles; configure folder location; configure profiles, including profile version, local, roaming, and mandatory

Preparation resources

Configure hardware and applications (25–30%)
  • Install and configure desktop apps and Windows Store apps
    • Install and repair applications by using Windows Installer, configure default program settings, modify file associations, manage access to Windows Store
  • Configure Hyper-V
    • Create and configure virtual machines, including integration services; create and manage checkpoints; create and configure virtual switches; create and configure virtual disks; move a virtual machine’s storage

Preparation resources

Configure remote access and mobility (20–25%)
  • Configure mobility options
    • Configure offline file policies, configure power policies, configure Windows To Go, configure sync options, configure WiFi direct
  • Configure security for mobile devices
    • Configure BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, configure startup key storage

Preparation resources

Configure system and data recovery options (20-25%)
  • Configure system recovery
    • Configure a recovery drive, configure system restore, perform a refresh or recycle, perform a driver rollback, configure restore points

Preparation resources

Exam 70-688

Support operating system and application installation (30-35%)
  • Support operating system installation
    • Support Windows To Go; manage boot settings, including native virtual hard drive (VHD) and multiboot; manage desktop images; customize a Windows installation by using Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE)
  • Support desktop apps
    • Desktop app compatibility using Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), including shims and compatibility database; desktop application co-existence using Hyper-V, RemoteApp, and App-V; installation and configuration of User Experience Virtualization (UE-V); deploy desktop apps by using Windows Intune
  • Support Windows Store and cloud apps
    • Install and manage software by using Office 365 and Windows Store apps; sideload apps by using Windows Intune; sideload apps into online and offline images; deep link apps by using Windows Intune; integrate Microsoft account, including personalization settings and Trusted PC

Preparation resources

Support resource access (30-35%)
  • Support data storage
    • Distributed File System (DFS) client, including caching settings; storage spaces, including capacity and fault tolerance; optimizing data access by using BranchCache; OneDrive

Preparation resources

Support Windows clients and devices (30-35%)
  • Support mobile devices
    • Support mobile device policies, including security policies, remote access, and remote wipe; support mobile access and data synchronization, including Work Folders and Sync Center; support broadband connectivity, including broadband tethering and metered networks; support Mobile Device Management by using Windows Intune, including Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, iOS, and Android
  • Support client compliance
    • Manage updates by using Windows Update and Windows Intune, including non-Microsoft updates; manage client security by using Windows Defender, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, or Microsoft System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection; manage Internet Explorer 11 security; support Group Policy application, including Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP), policy processing, and Group Policy caching
  • Manage clients by using Windows Intune
    • Manage user and computer groups, configure monitoring and alerts, manage policies, manage remote computers

Preparation resources

Who should take this exam?

Candidates for this exam are IT professionals already certified on Windows 7, and who configure or support Windows 8 computers, devices, users and associated network and security resources. The networks with which these professionals typically work are configured as a domain-based or peer-to-peer environment with access to the Internet and cloud services. The IT professional could be a consultant, full-time desktop support technician, or an IT generalist who administers Windows 8-based computers and devices as a portion of their broader technical responsibilities.

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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.