We are in the process of merging Microsoft Learning with Microsoft Learn, which will be complete by June 30, 2020. You’ll find all relevant training and certification information is now available on Microsoft Learn. For more information, refer to the FAQ.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Microsoft is implementing several temporary changes to our training and certification program. Learn more.



  • Published:
    August 30, 2014
  • Languages:
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals
  • Technology:
    Windows Server 2012
  • Credit toward certification:

Recertification for MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure

This exam has been retired

The MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification will be retired on January 31, 2016. Candidates who currently hold an MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification will not need to recertify and will keep the certification as a legacy (retired) certification on their transcripts.

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.

If you have other questions or feedback about Microsoft Certification exams or about the certification program, registration, or promotions, please contact your Regional Service Center.

Create and maintain desktop images
  • Plan images
    • Design considerations, including thin, thick, and hybrid images, image type (boot, install, capture, discover), image format (VHD or WIM), number of images based on operating system or hardware platform, drivers, and operating features
  • Maintain images
    • Update VHD images using the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (OVMST); apply updates, drivers, settings, and files to online and offline images; apply service packs to images; install applications into images
Design and deploy desktops
  • Design a deployment method
    • Design considerations, including Lite Touch, Zero Touch, local install, and Windows To Go, capacity and scale, required changes to the infrastructure, client boot method for deployment, scheduling, staggered deployment, network load, multi-site topology and distribution points, and physical versus virtual
Plan and implement a Remote Desktop Services infrastructure
  • Plan and configure a Remote Desktop Session Host
    • Plan for and configure session collections, plan for and configure session properties, plan for and configure redirection settings, plan for and configure profiles
  • Plan and implement a Remote Desktop Virtualization Host infrastructure
    • Plan for and configure virtual desktop templates, plan for and implement highly available virtual machines (VMs), plan for and implement guest resource optimization, configure placement rules, plan for and configure virtual network optimization, plan for storage optimization
  • Plan and configure a Remote Desktop Connection Broker
    • Plan for and configure a session host server farm, plan for and configure redirection mode
  • Plan and configure a Remote Desktop Gateway
    • Plan for and configure Remote Desktop Resource Authorization Policy (RD RAP), plan for and configure Remote Desktop Client Authorization Policy (RD CAP), plan for and configure certificates for Gateway servers, plan for and configure SSL bridging, plan for and configure Network Access Protection (NAP) integration
  • Plan and configure Remote Desktop Web Access
    • Plan for and configure highly available Remote Desktop Web Access, plan for and configure single sign-on, plan for and configure SSL, customize the Web Access interface
Design and configure desktop settings
  • Design and configure user state virtualization
    • Design and configure mandatory and roaming profiles, manage profile disks, design and configure folder redirection, configure user device affinity, manage user state in shared and pooled desktops
  • Configure the Remote Desktop client experience
    • Install the RemoteFX role service, configure local resource redirection, configure RemoteFX USB redirection, configure custom RDP settings
  • Configure desktop security
    • Configure Encrypting File System (EFS), plan for device restriction policies, manage removable media restrictions, configure advanced auditing, configure Microsoft System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection, configure User Account Control (UAC)
Manage and maintain a desktop infrastructure
  • Implement an updates infrastructure
    • Apply Windows Updates, manage VM pool patching, integrate WSUS with System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, apply template-based virtual desktop updates, implement multi-tier WSUS
  • Monitor the virtual desktop infrastructure
    • Monitor the performance of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) servers and VM guests, monitor the health of RDS servers and VM guests, perform capacity analysis, identify and remediate performance bottlenecks
  • Create and configure virtual collections
    • Create and configure virtual desktop collections, including pooled or personal virtual desktop collections and managed or unmanaged collections; create and configure Remote Desktop Session Host collections
Design and prepare the application environment
  • Update applications in desktop images
    • Design considerations, including impact on clients, offline access, deployment infrastructure, and remote locations; plan for updates to applications
Design and implement a presentation virtualization environment
  • Plan and implement presentation virtualization servers
    • Install and configure Remote Desktop Session Host, install and configure the Remote Desktop Web Access role, configure the Remote Desktop Connection Broker for the Remote Desktop Session Host, perform capacity analysis
  • Deploy and manage remote applications
    • Configure RemoteApp and Desktop Connections settings, configure GPOs for signed packages, subscribe to the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections feeds, export and import RemoteApp configurations, deploy a RemoteApp distribution file (MSI or RDP)
Design and implement an application virtualization environment
  • Install and configure application virtualization environments
    • Planning considerations, including choosing a protocol to deploy virtual applications (file server or streaming); configure App-V modes (stand-alone, lightweight, and enterprise); install an App-V infrastructure; configure GPO settings for App-V; deploy an App-V client for Remote Desktop Session Hosts
Deploy, manage, and maintain the application environment
  • Deploy applications to the desktop
    • Deployment considerations, including using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager or Client Hyper-V; configure package advertisements using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager; publish or assign software using GPOs
  • Plan and implement application updates
    • Configure System Center 2012 - Updates Publisher, resequence/redeploy applications, deploy updates by using System Center 2012 - Configuration Manager, configure WSUS for application updates
  • Plan and implement application upgrades
    • Migrate application settings and configurations, mitigate compatibility issues, plan for application version coexistence, resequence/redeploy applications, decommission applications, migrate documents, migrate Office applications using Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM), deploy application upgrades by using Group Policy
  • Implement applications security
    • Configure AppLocker policies, configure System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection settings, configure User Account Control (UAC) settings, configure Data Execution Prevention (DEP) settings, configure Windows Firewall, configure Remote Desktop Session Host server security, configure Software Restriction Policies (SRP)
  • Monitor applications
    • Monitor Remote Desktop Session Host sessions, monitor offline application usage, monitor real-time sessions, monitor application licensing usage, configure Asset Intelligence Service (AIS) in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Design business continuity for the desktop and application environment
  • Design and implement a resilient Remote Desktop infrastructure
    • Design highly available Remote Desktop Web Access, Remote Desktop Connection Broker, and Remote Desktop Gateway; perform backup and recovery of the Remote Desktop Licensing server; configure virtual machine or dedicated farm redirection
  • Design and implement business continuity for virtual desktops
    • Design and implement Hyper-V Replica with Hyper-V Replica Broker, design and implement business continuity for personal and shared desktop collection
  • Design and implement a resilient virtual application delivery infrastructure
    • Design and implement highly available App-V data store and management server, implement pre-populated/shared cache App-V functionality for the VDI environment, implement highly available content share, implement a branch office strategy using App-V, manage VM backups

Who should take this exam?

This exam is for individuals looking to maintain their MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification. It is based on the exam objectives from Exam 415 and Exam 416.

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 topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.