Road To MCSE: A Path to the Windows 2000 Certification

by Thomas W. Shinder

A question that comes up frequently from both the new entrant and the IP Pro is what is the best path to take for upgrading to the Windows 2000 MCSE Certification. In the past the upgrade of the cert wasn't that much of a big deal. Certificate holders expected their exams to remain in an "unretired" state for five to seven years. Now that Microsoft has decided to perform a mass retirement of all non Windows 2000 oriented exams, there is more of a sense of urgency about getting the certification upgraded.

A question that comes up frequently from both the new entrant and the IP Pro is what is the best path to take for upgrading to the Windows2000 MCSE Certification...

If You Have The MCSE

How should you approach upgrading, or obtaining your MCSE? If you are already an MCSE in the Windows NT 4.0 track, the best way for you to go it to take the 70-240 Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs. However, there is a caveat: you must have taken Windows NT 4.0 Workstation are your client operating system, and not Windows 9x. If you chose to take a Windows 9x operating system in your trek through the Windows NT 4.0 MCSE track, you'll need to take the Windows NT 4.0 Workstation exam before you can take the 70-240 exam.

In order to qualify for the Accelerated exam, you must have taken and passed:

  • Exam 70-073: Microsoft. Windows NT. Workstation 4.0
  • Exam 70-067: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft. Windows NT. Server 4.0
  • Exam 70-068: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft. Windows NT. Server 4.0 in the Enterprise

Some of the people who took the Win9x exam instead of NT Workstation feel a little left out in the cold. However, Microsoft takes the stance that the Windows 2000 MCSE candidate needs to have a good understanding of a highly manageable and secure client operating system environment, and Win9x does not provide such an environment.

If You're Working Toward the MCSE

What about people that are just entering into the field, or perhaps have started their MCSE education when the last six months or so? This is where there is some disagreement about how to approach the Windows 2000 Certification path.

For people just starting out, or who have been in training for six months or less, I recommend that they study for:

  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation

  • Windows NT 4.0 Server

  • Windows NT 4.0 in the Enterprise

  • Windows NT 4.0 TCP/IP

  • Internet Information Server 4.0

The trick is that all of these exams retire on December 31, 2000. After that date, you cannot take these exams because they won't be available. However, I highly recommend that you finish up the Workstation, Server and Enterprise material as soon as possible so that you can take the Accelerated Exam.

But even if you don't finish the material on time, it's vitally important that you learn about Windows NT 4.0, TCP/IP and IIS. The Windows 2000 exams assume that you are already well heeled in TCP/IP and IIS, and to a certain extent, Windows NT 4.0. More importantly, you need to have a strong understanding of TCP/IP and the Internet technologies included in IIS if you hope to have a chance at being effective in the "real world".


It's always a good policy to study the previous version of the operating system or application you interested in. For example, if you want to learn about Exchange 2000, you should spend some time learning all you can about Exchange 5.5. The context provided by learning a previous version will pay off big time when you jump into learning about the current version.

Cores and Electives

The Accelerated exam takes the place of the four core Windows 2000 exams:

  • Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Professional

  • Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Server

  • Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Network Infrastructure

  • Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure

After completing the requirements for the four core exams, you must take one core elective design exam. Everyone must take one design exam for the core design elective. You can choose from the following:

  • Exam 70-219: Designing a Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure

  • Exam 70-220: Designing Security for a Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Network

  • Exam 70-221: Designing a Microsoft. Windows. 2000 Network Infrastructure

Then, after completing the design exam requirement, you must have two electives. There are a large number of electives available, and you should pick an elective that matches your personal and professional interests. Don't fall into the trap of picking an elective because the test is supposed to be "easier" than some of the other tests.

You can take other design exams for your electives, but each one only counts once. For example, if you took the 70-221 design exam for your core design requirement, you could not apply that exam to your electives. You would have to take 70-219 or 70-220 or both, if you like, if you want to use them for electives.

The True Path to Enlightenment

Keep in mind that the key to success is actually being about to come up with solutions based on the Windows 2000 operating system. Think of the Windows 2000 MCSE exams as a way to validate the knowledge you've gain from both your study and practice with the operating system. Work with it everyday and try to implement every technology that you read about. Don't take any author's word on how something works (not even mine). Always test things out for yourself.

For More Information:

You can get all the details on the MCSE Program at the Microsoft Training and Certification site.

You can order your free 70-240 test voucher at the MCP Secure Site.

Deb and Tom Shinder are the authors of Troubleshooting Windows 2000 TCP/IP and Series Editors for the Syngress/Osborne Windows 2000 MCSE Study Guides.

This article was originally published on Sep 6, 2000
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