Announcing Windows Server Early Experts Challenge


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 Microsoft certifications? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group.

I want to call out and invite IT professionals interested in achieving Microsoft certifications to join, participate, and contribute to Windows Server Early Experts Challenge. This program is to learn about the latest version of Windows Server with excelling in related Microsoft certification exams in mind.

The Challenge involves a series of Knowledge Quests - starting with the Apprentice Quest below - and each Quest ends with a special completion certificate for you to promote your new knowledge! To make it easy to participate, each Quest is developed in a modular format that you can complete based on your own schedule and availability.

The first five Knowledge Quests are Apprentice, Installer, Explorer, Networker and Virtualizer. These Knowledge Quests target the objectives in Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012.

About Keith Mayer ...Let me acknowledge that the contents presented in the Early Expert Challenge series are based on Keith Mayer’s work. HIs enthusiasm, efforts, and impact on helping IT pro communities adopt Windows Server 2012 have been inspirational, effective, and significant.

Before You Begin – Setup a Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) Account

This program leverages the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) for some of our free online study resources. You will need to first register for an MVA account using your Microsoft Account (aka., Windows Live ID) via the link below …


Begin the "Early Experts" Apprentice Quest

In this first knowledge quest, you will learn and explore the key new technical capabilities of Windows Server 2012 across the product pillars of virtualization, management, networking and storage, etc. to properly position them for relevant usage scenarios.

1. Windows Server 2012 Technical Overview Course

The seven modules in this course, through video and whitepaper, provide details of the new capabilities, features, and solutions built into the product. With so many new features to cover, this course is designed to be the introduction to Windows Server 2012. After completing this course, you will be ready to dive deeper into Windows Server 2012 through additional Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) courses dedicated to each topic introduced in this “Technical Overview.”

Alternate option: You can also attend a free Windows Server 2012 First Look Clinic at a Microsoft Learning partner near you if you'd prefer an in-person training experience.

2. Download Windows Server 2012 Installation Bits

With so much to learn in Windows Server 2012, building your own lab environment is the best way to REALLY learn new technology! You can download the Windows Server 2012 installation bits and start the process! We'll be using these installation bits in the coming weeks in the additional Knowledge Quests of the "Early Experts" Challenge. Be sure to download the bits in "VHD" format (not "ISO" format) as we'll be using the VHD bits to build your study lab and in future Knowledge Quests for hands-on activities.

3. Build Your Study Lab

Follow this step-by-step guide to build your own study lab as a dual-boot environment on your existing desktop or laptop PC.  We'll leverage this study lab environment in future Knowledge Quests for hands-on activities. Hands-on experience with Windows Server 2012 will help you greatly in mastering the knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass the certification exams.

4. Join our Online Peer Study Group Community

Participate in our Online Study Group Community on LinkedIn to post questions you may have, share your insights and collaborate with other members as we all prepare for certification! Each of us has unique insight and by participating in this community, we'll be able to expand our technical knowledge beyond our own experiences.

5. Share Your Success

Now that you've completed this Knowledge Quest, be sure to share your success with your social network using one of the buttons below for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. By sharing your success, you'll also help to encourage others to join our study group and increase the number of IT Pros working together to help grow our collective technical knowledge and share even more community insight that benefits us all!

Shout it out. 🙂

6. Claim Your "Early Experts" Apprentice Certificate

Have you completed Steps 1 through 5? If so, follow these steps to validate your lab completion and claim your "Early Experts - Apprentice" certificate:

  1. On your study lab server, launch Server Manager and select "Tools -> System Information" from the menu bar.
  2. In the "System Information" tool, select "File -> Export" from the menu bar and export a System Information File named "EELABSRV01-Apprentice.txt"
  3. Email the SAVED COPY of the file from Step 2 to Early Experts to request an Apprentice completion certificate for the "Early Experts" Challenge, suitable for displaying in your office, at your desk or sharing on your social media network to proudly showcase your new Windows Server 2012 knowledge!

Once you've submitted your certificate request, feel free to keep going with the next Knowledge Quest below!

What's Next? Keep Going!

After you've completed the "Early Experts" Apprentice Quest, keep going with the next Knowledge Quest to continue your preparation for the MCSA on Windows Server 2012 Exams:

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