Tag Archives: Beta

SCOM2012 – Quick test lab setup OpsMgr 2012 SP1 Beta using prepared VHD

Since I’m currently working with System Center Operations Manager 2012 (also often referred to as SCOM 2012 or OpsMgr 2012), I needed a testing environment.

Because time is precious, I want to minimize the time and effort needed to set it up. This is what I did:

  1. Install and configure Hyper-V on my Windows 8 laptop.
  2. Deploy a VM with Server 2012 Datacenter edition.
    Configure a static IP address.
    Configure AD DS / domain controller role.
    Configure DHCP server role.
    Configure DNS server role (if desirable, include DNS forwarder for internet DNS queries).
  3. Download and extract the pre-configured SCOM 2012 SP1 beta VHD (running Server 2012 Datacenter edition). System Center 2012 SP1 adds Windows Server 2012  SQL Server 2012 Support.
  4. Create a new VM for SCOM and configure it to use the downloaded pre-configured VHD.
    Configure it with sufficient virtual CPUs and memory  for the DB and the SCOM components.
  5. Start the SCOM VM, and follow the onscreen instructions. NOTE: First time configuration took about 1-2 hours, but this might be related to my hardware. Still it might be smart to plan the installation.
  6. Convert the Server 2012 Datacenter edition from ServerDatacenterEval to ServerDatacenter by running an elevated CMD as administrator and issuing the following command:
    DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter> ProductKey:<productkey> /AcceptEula
  7. Replace the SCOM 2012 evaluation license with your own license using Operations Manager Shell:
    Set-SCOMLicense -ProductId “yourlicensekey“
    Check the license using the Operations Manager Shell:
    Get-SCOMManagementGroup | ft skuforlicense, version, timeofexpiration –a
  8. Shut down your SCOM 2012 VM.
  9. Shut down your AD DS / domain controller VM.
  10. Create a snapshot and/or export of both VM’s so you can more easily revert to a good starting point.

Also be sure to read Stefan Stranger’s blog post that goes into more detail with regards to the domain controller and automating the task for setting it up. It also includes screenshots to give you a better idea of the process.

PS: I love how Microsoft provides these pre-configured VHD’s. This has been great in the past, but now with client Hyper-V 3.0 in Windows 8 it saves me even more time because I don’t have to boot to Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012 for Hyper-V.


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Beta exam “71-688 Managing and Maintaining Windows 8”

Yesterday I received an e-mail that I was eligable to register for the beta exam:
“71-688 Managing and Maintaining Windows 8”

The beta exam period runs from Oct 17 – Oct 31 and I will personally take the exam next week. It is free for those who received the beta invite. If you didn’t receive the beta invite,you can still register through the prometric website, but it will not be free. If you want to get access to future beta exams, read one of my previous blog posts.

Normally the preparation guide is published on the microsoft learning website, but apparently they’re experiencing a delay. Therefore the preparation guide has now been posted on the born to learn blog:

For all people taking the exam, good luck!

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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in ICT, Learning, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8


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I passed exam “70-687 Configuring Windows 8”

Besides getting “MCSA: Windows Server 2012” certified , I also passed my Windows 8 exam “70-687 Configuring Windows 8“.

I’m still waiting for the results of 4 beta exams and hope I can pass them and get these certifications:

To be continued ……

PS: For more information about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, be welcome to check my “Microsoft Information Flood” post. I’m a bit behind on updates, but it should still prove to be a valuable resource.


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I am “MCSA: Windows Server 2012” certified

After desperately checking if my results were in for the beta exams I took, I finally got the great news that I passed the first three beta exams for Windows Server 2012. This means I’m now officially “MCSA: Windows Server 2012” certified.

I’m still waiting for the results of the other 5 beta exams *fingers crossed*, but I couldn’t have wished for a better start 🙂

PS: For more information about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, be welcome to check my “Microsoft Information Flood” post. I’m a bit behind on updates, but it should still prove to be a valuable resource.


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How to get access to free Microsoft beta exams

When Microsoft creates new (versions of their) software, they also create new exams to become certified. Part of this process includes testing the exams, determining the passing score, getting feedback and improving the exams based on the feedback (deciding which questions to use, removing questions, re-phrasing, etc.). More information can be found here.

To get feedback, Microsoft offers access to these beta exams for free. They do this publicly using by example the born to learn blog or privately using mail to select subject matter experts (SME) based on their profiles on Microsoft Connect. So if you’re interested in taking beta exams, update the information on the Microsoft Connect site to get private invites to the latest beta exams that are relevant to you. More information about the invite procedure can be found on the Born To Learn blog. Also keep in mind that public invites might be limited using a first-come, first served principle so check on a regular basis.

Advantages and disadvantages of taking beta exams:
+ It is free if you received an invite. Nowadays you can also take beta exams if you haven’t had an invite, but then you need to pay for the exam.
+ You have a chance to become one of the first people to become certified for the new software.
+ If you pass a beta exam, you passed it legitimately because there are no answers to download online.
+ Even if you fail the beta exam, you’ve still learned a lot about the new (version of the) software.
– In general there are no books available yet and you have to get all your information from hands-on experience, blogs, technet, websites, etc.
– The time frame you have to prepare for the exams can be (very) limited. For example with the last invites for the Server 2012 beta exams I had only 2 weeks to prepare for multiple exams.
– After you’ve taken a beta exam, it might take 2-3 months before you get the result.

Beta exams I’ve taken recently include those for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 and Office 365. I expect the next beta exams to cover mainly Office 15/Office 2013 related products like by example Sharepoint, Exchange, Lync. So if you’re interested in these beta exams be sure to keep a close eye on the beta exams and start working with and learning about the products already.

I hope this was informative and that it well help you and/or your company gain a competitive advantage.


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System Center 2012 Configuration Manager beta exam

Exam experience

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager exam:
70-243 Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

*Taken 23-02-2012* and passed

Preparation materials

Configuration Manager

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Survival Guide
MVP Raphael Blog

Nico Sienaert’s System Center Blog
MS Tech Blog step-by-step guides
Technet Virtual Labs
Configuration Manager TechCenter

Configuration Manager TechNet Library

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta”How Do I?” Videos

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Product Page

Microsoft Events regarding System Center Configuration Manager 2012
System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Forum
System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Blog
Technical Reference for Site Administration in Configuration Manager (ports, log files, accounts)

[update 18-06-2012]
Microsoft System Center Self-Study Guide Part I – III

Get Certified on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (Exam 70-243) with this FREE Study Guide!

ConfigMgr 2012: Upcoming Enhancements in SP1

Announcing Availability of System Center 2012 SP1 Community Technology Preview 2 (CTP2)

System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 Now Available

New and improved in 2012

Read the rest of this entry »


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Office 365 beta exams experience

Exam experience

Today I took the Office 365 beta exams:
70-321 Deploying Office 365
70-323 Administering Office 365

In my opinion the 70-323 was pretty tough, while the 70-321 was a lot easier. I expected it to be the other way around though. Now unfortunately I have to wait for the results (normally within 8 weeks).

Quick exam reminders I studied before the exams

  1. Deployment phase
    1. Office 365 Deployment Phases
    2. Office 365 Deployment Schedule
  2. Plan phase
    1. Key activities
    2. Office 365 Enterprise License Plans
    3. Office 365 Administration roles
    4. Exchange Hybrid Solution Infrastructure overview picture
    5. High Level Tasks For Exchange Hybrid Deployment
  3. Prepare phase
    1. Key activities
    2. Update schema for Exchange 2010 :
      cd c:\exchangeserver2010sp1 and then setup /preparead
    3. Office 365 ports, ips and urls
    4. Exchange Hybrid Deployment Domain and Host Names Worksheet
    5. Configure SSO with ADFS:
      Connect-MsolService –Credential $cred
      Set-MsolAdfscontext -Computer <AD FS 2.0 primary server>
      New-MsolFederatedDomain –DomainName <domain>
    6. Configure dirsync (separate server and when less than
      50.000 objects SQL 2008 Express will do).
    7. Mail migration types and explanation E-mail migration overview (virtual labs)
  4. Migrate phase
    1. Key activities
    2. Post-deployment services testing plan

Resources used as preparation


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