Getting certified in Windows Server 2012

Scott Lowe details the paths to Windows Server 2012 certification based on your current certs.

With the release of yet another Windows Server operating system comes the need for currently certified IT pros to update their certifications and for new IT pros to start the certification process. As you might expect, new courses are available for the newest Microsoft products to hit the market. While many of the exams that include Microsoft's new products are still in beta, IT pros can still take these exams and become certified. Eventually, these exams will exit beta and become production.

Throughout this article, for each exam listed, I've also copied the list of objectives for each exam so that you can get an idea for what you'd need to do in order to see success at the end of the day.

Already certified?

If you're already certified, depending on your certification, you may be able to take just a single exam to obtain your MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification. If you have one of the following certifications, you need only take Exam 417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator

Not yet certified?

If you're not yet certified at all, the process for obtaining your MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification is a bit more challenging and involves taking and passing a series of three exams, one of which is still in beta at present:

  • Exam 410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
    • Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
    • Introduction to Active Directory Domain Services
    • Managing Active Directory Domain Services Objects
    • Automating Active Directory Domain Services Administration
    • Implementing Networking Services
    • Implementing Local Storage
    • Implementing File and Print Services
    • Implementing Group Policy
    • Implementing Server Virtualization with Hyper-V
  • Exam 411: Administering Windows Server 2012
    • Implementing a Group Policy Infrastructure
    • Managing User and Service Accounts
    • Maintaining Active Directory Domain Services
    • Configure and Troubleshoot DNS
    • Configure and Troubleshoot Remote Access
    • Installing, Configuring, and Troubleshooting the Network Policy Server role
    • Optimizing File Services
    • Increasing File System Security
    • Implementing Update Management
  • Exam 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
    • Implementing Advanced Network Services
    • Implementing Advanced File Services
    • Implementing Dynamic Access Control
    • Implementing Network Load Balancing
    • Implementing Failover Clustering
    • Implementing Disaster Recovery
    • Implementing AD CS
    • Implementing AD FS

Interesting in moving beyond the MCSA?

If you want to move beyond the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification and obtain MCSE: Server Infrastructure or MCSE:   Desktop Infrastructure, there are an additional two exams that you must pass, depending on the certification.

MCSE: Server Infrastructure:

  • Exam 413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
  • Exam 414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure

  • Exam 415: Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure (requires some knowledge of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager)
    • Create and Maintain Desktop Images
    • Design and Deploy Desktops
    • Plan and Implement a Remote Desktop Services Infrastructure
    • Design and Configure Desktop Settings
    • Manage and Maintain a Desktop Infrastructure
  • Exam 416: Implementing Desktop Application Environments (requires some knowledge of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager)
    • The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam.
    • Design and Prepare the Application Environment
    • Design and Implement a Presentation Virtualization Environment
    • Design and Implement an Application Virtualization Environment
    • Deploy, Manage, and Maintain the Application Environment
    • Design Business Continuity for the Desktop and Application Environment

MCSE also requires recertification exams every three years in order to remain certified.


MCSA and MCSE certifications remain ways by which IT pros can demonstrate their knowledge to potential employers and increase their skills in the market.


Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

Editor's Picks