Thanks to Emmett Dulaney at CertCities.com, I read this morning that MS has exam 71-680: Configuring Windows 7 in beta from May 5 until May 18 (this coming Monday). Though the period is almost over and seats are probably no longer available–if you’re hot to trot, it’s still not too late to try–I find all kins of interesting implications in this ongoing but low-key event. Here’s what I think this indicates about the next Windows version and release:
- As the recently-released RC version also indicates, Windows 7 is now feature complete. Though items may get removed from what shows up in late October (if the rumors are true about the planned release date, that’s actually October 23), nothing new will be added.
- MS feels pretty confident that this platform is going to attract lots of interest and participation. This is the earliest I can ever recall seeing a basic OS exam go into beta. Even given a late October release, this is six months in advance. I’m tempted to speculate that Win7 may ship even earlier than the rumors currently date the release, just because this is so darn early. For an interesting description of this exam, see Lukas Beeler’s blog on this subject.
- Some focus on new technologies includes Branch Cache, DirectAccess, VPN support, UFD-based installation, user state migration tool and Windows EasyTransfer, plus OS imaging, deployment strategies, and virtual Hard Disks (VHDs). MS is trying to make sure those responsible for Windows 7 users and platforms really know how to make the most of its capabilities.
I take heart from this phenomenon, and also from my own recent extensive experiences with this OS. After the Vista debacle, it really does look like Microsoft is once again trying to deliver a decent, usable OS. Let’s hope they succeed in meeting these relatively modest aims! I’m also guessing this exam will become available within 30 days of whenever Windows 7 goes live, so it’s probably not too early to start prepping and learning right now.