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Windows 7 Certification Exams Head to Retirement

It's the end of an era as Microsoft starts to finally pull the plug on Windows 7. Extended support will continue through 2019, but Windows 7 certification exams will go out of circulation at the end of the month.

Ed T July 6 2018Knowing that MS retires exams at the end of its calendar quarters, I made a quick check of Microsoft’s Retired Exams page this morning. The first section of that page lists exams that are still available, but already scheduled for retirement.


For the next upcoming retirement date, July 31, 2018, I was bemused to see all three or four of Microsoft’s Windows 7 exams in that group — namely:


70-398: Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise (even though this exam lacks “Windows 7” in its title, its focus is on managing desktop devices, apps, access and identity management)
70-680: Windows 7, Configuring
70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator


These exams are tied to related MCSA and MCSE credentials which have themselves been retired for some time now. It’s definitely a signal of the impending end of the lifecycle for Windows 7, and a stern warning to those still seeking to pass those exams that they’d better get them scheduled and behind them in the next three-plus weeks.


They’re available in proctored form online, though, so presumably that means buying and scheduling a seat for those exams is still possible.


Astonishingly, considering that Windows 10 has been available in some form or fashion since 2014 (Technical Preview), and went into public release in 2015, Windows 7 still enjoys a 43.38 percent market share, according to today’s stats from


Windows 10 has a 32.08 percent share, according to data from the same source, and we know that there are somewhere north of 700 million copies of Windows 10 in circulation, thanks to recent numbers announced by Microsoft at its Build Conference in May. Do the math, and that means roughly 950 million devices still running Windows 7 remain in use.


Given that those machines will have to be upgraded or replaced in the next 18 months or less, that tells me there’s a great opportunity for those who jump on Windows 10 certification in the relatively near future. That means getting a piece of both MSCA: Windows 10 and MCSE: Mobility in Microsoft’s current cloud and virtualization heavy certification portfolio.


IT professionals should be preparing to say bye-bye to Windows 7 and getting to know as much about Windows 10 as possible, if they haven’t jumped that version gap already. The upcoming retirements signal that, for those still paused on the older version side of this technology divide, the time to jump is soon, if not right now.


Happy trails! And for the incurably curious, the other exams scheduled for retirement on July 31 include the following:


70-488: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
70-489: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
74-409:Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center



ed-tittel120Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed blogs on certification topics for Tom’s IT Pro, and on Windows desktop OS topics for TechTarget. Check out his website at