Beta Offer Signals Windows Server 2016 Is Nigh

Beta testing bulletin

Ace psychometrician Liberty Munson of Microsoft Learning, the person at the leading edge of Microsoft exam development made a post to the Born to Learn blog last week to announce that exam 70-743 is now open for registration with 350 free seats to fill.


And while those seats may already be taken (check the beta registration FAQ for details on how to sign up) the mere fact of this announcement has something important to tell us. If a beta exam is open for registration (which must be completed on or before August 19, with the exam taken before August 26), then the release of Windows Server 2016 must be imminent.


In fact, I just saw a few days ago that Microsoft had slipped the release date of the Exam Ref book for exam 70-698 "Installing and Configuring Windows 10" from Microsoft Press to that same date (Microsoft Press still says June 23, but Pearson says August 26).


This gets me thinking back to the rumors that circulated as early as late 2015 that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (we called it Redstone back then) and Windows Server 2016 might be released at the same time. Is the closing date for the beta and the release date for the book purely a coincidence?


Probably. It makes me chuckle to think, however — now that we know that Windows 10 Version 1607 will actually arrive on Aug. 2 — that Windows Server 2016 could possibly release in August as well.


Contented businessman contemplates monitor

Given how long it takes a beta to work through delivery, analysis and reformulation of the exam involved, of course, it's possible that Windows Server 2016 might not actually be released until September or October.


That said, this is a pretty clear indication that the latest Windows Server OS is "coming soon," even if we don't know exactly when "soon" will actually become "now" just yet. When it does, though, I'll be looking for some major turnover in the Windows Certification Exam portfolio.


I expect we'll see changes to many of the exams related to the MCSE credentials appearing in the six-to-12-month period after Server 2016 does actually get released, whenever that might be! Stay tuned — and grab a seat for the beta, if you can still get one.


Keep your eyes on GoCertify, as well. I'll try to keep reading the tea leaves, and share with you what they share with me. In the meantime, here comes the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (on Aug. 2), and Windows Server 2016 (sometime in the next three months).


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About the Author

Ed 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 also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.