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Windows NT 4.0 Exams Permanently Retired

Microsoft gives no indication of further extending availability of 70-067 NT 4.0 Server, 70-073 NT 4.0 Workstation, and 70-068 NT 4.0 Server in the Enterprise exams; key elective exams also retired. P

Microsoft officially retired three key core and elective exams for the MCSE-NT 4.0 track on Feb. 28. The passing deadline means that candidates who were unable to pass all three NT 4.0 exams -- 70-067 NT 4.0 Server, 70-073 NT 4.0 Workstation, and 70-068 NT 4.0 Server in the Enterprise --- don't qualify to take the upgrade path to obtain the Win2K-MCSE. Key elective exams for the NT 4.0 track, including 70-059 TCP/IP and 70-087 IIS 4.0, were also retired permanently.

The exams were to be retired Dec. 31, 2000, but Microsoft extended the deadline on these exams to Feb. 28, 2001 because of increasing demand from candidates in the two months prior to the original retirement date.

When asked about the number of NT-specific exams taken within the extension period, a Microsoft representative said that it was too early to tell because that data hasn't been compiled.

"We definitely saw increases," said Tina Koyama-Wasser, of Microsoft's Skills and Certification group. She said final numbers would be revealed later this month.

Katy Victor, a VUE representative, confirmed the increase, although she says she couldn't release data. She added that its online and phone registrars had to deal with the flurry of activity that included some unusual requests.

"Our agents were tasked with finding creative solutions to help candidates find an open seat," said Victor, including accommodating a candidate who wanted to take all six exams in one day, and redirecting candidates in San Diego to test centers in Tijuana, Mexico. She said that some centers remained open around the clock up until the deadline.

Because of the retirement, candidates who failed to pass all three NT 4.0 exams can no longer take the "accelerated" path, which included taking one four-hour exam, 70-240 Win2K Accelerated, in place of four separate Win2K-based core exams. (Note that candidates who have passed all four NT 4.0 exams still have until November 1, 2001, to claim the free 70-240 Win2K Accelerated exam voucher; that exam can be taken only once.)

The traditional path for the Win2K-MCSE (as well as the path for those who fail the Accelerated exam) is as follows:

  1. Pass all four of these core exams -- 70-210 Win2K Professional; 70-215 Win2K Server; 70-216 Implementing a Win2K Network; 70-217 Implementing a WinK Directory Services Infrastructure
  2. Pass any one of these core exams -- 70-219 Designing a Win2K Directory Services Infrastructure; 70-220 Designing Security for a Win2K Network; 70-221 Designing a Win2K Network Infrastructure; 70-226 Designing Highly Available Web Solutions with Win2K Server
  3. Pass two elective exams -- these include any of these core exams -- 70-219, 70-220, 70-221, and 70-226 -- that hasn't been taken toward a core requirement, as well any currently available exam under the NT 4.0-MCSE track.

For months now, Microsoft has been lambasted publicly for pulling the plug prematurely on the NT 4.0 exams, exams for a technology whose viability seemed secure in the enterprise for at least another year. To address that concern, on Jan. 31 Microsoft introduced a new NT 4.0 exam, 70-244 Supporting and Maintaining a Windows NT Server 4.0 Network, which is an elective option under the MCSE-Win2K track. This exam is expected to be beta tested in mid-March. For details, go to http://www.microsoft.com/trainingandservices/exams/examasearch.asp?PageID=70-244.

You can view a list of retired exams on Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/trainingandservices/default.asp?PageID=mcp&PageCall=examsretired&SubSite=examinfo.

On a related note, Microsoft has quietly pulled from its Web site information on some of the developer exams that the company announced a year ago. The exam guide for 70-097 Access 2000 Databases (the exam was slated for beta testing by third or fourth quarter of 2000), no longer appears on the site. However, Microsoft's .NET strategy has given the certification group a chance to re-exam goals for the certification, which hasn't been an actively pursued one by developers.

"The MCSD is definitely being revised for .NET, but that's all we can say for now," said Koyama.

Back in October last year, approximately 20,000 names were sliced from the MCSD roster because those candidates had not fulfilled the most recent upgrade requirements of that track. A count back in September last year showed more than 30,000 MCSDs. As of Jan. 2, 2001, Microsoft says that count is just over 13,320.

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