April 8 2016

Microsoft MCSE Private Cloud recertification – exam 70-981

As you may know, the current iteration of MCSE certifications require recertification every 3 years.  For the Private Cloud stream, this requires an exam – 70-981.  I sat and passed this today.

Something that seems not to be published widely is that you can recertify some MSCE streams without sitting an exam – from https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/learning/certification-exam-policies.aspx

Q. Is it possible to fulfil the requirement without taking a recertification exam
A. Yes. Candidates can now get recertified by taking a series of courses with Microsoft Virtual Academy. Read the list of available certifications, required courses and additional details to get recertified through Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Preparation for the exam is difficult – there are no study guides or reference material – you are just ‘expected to know’.

My observation is that it is basically a mix of the 70-246 and 70-247 exams, not really any new material – pretty disappointing, some of the questions seemed familiar so I wouldn’t be surprised if the exam content has just been reused.  The main areas covered are:

  • System Center Operations Manager
  • System Center Service Manager
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Orchestrator
  • System Center Data Protection Manager
  • System Center App Controller
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • Azure portal

Would I sit this again? Probably not.  While I’m sure the intention for recertification is well placed, it just seems like a money-grab – $206AU for the exam fee.  There are no benefits to me as an IT professional apart from keeping the certification active – I haven’t learnt any new skills or gained any additional knowledge – I’ve basically sat the same exam that I sat 3 years ago and in that time there has been significant change to the System Center and Azure offerings but this wasn’t reflected in the exam.



April 7 2016

Upgrade from Windows 8.1 Enterprise to Windows 10 Professional

I had a scenario where I needed to upgrade from Windows 8.1 Enterprise to Windows 10 Professional using the free Microsoft upgrade via Windows Update.  The free update usually doesn’t work on Enterprise versions of Windows 8.1.  To get this to work:

Open a command prompt with Administrator rights and run 4 commands to update the registry:

reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v ProductName /d "Windows 8.1 Professional" /f
reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v EditionID /d "Professional" /f

reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v ProductName /d "Windows 8.1 Professional" /f
reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v EditionID /d "Professional" /f

Then Check for Updates via Windows Update and KB3035583 appears.
After installing that update and running Check for Updates again, you will see the ‘Get Windows 10’ icon appear in the taskbar.

Follow the prompts and the machine will undertake a Windows 10 inplace upgrade with all your data intact.

In my scenario I found that once Windows 10 was up and running I needed to enter a valid Windows 10 product key for Windows to be able to activate.