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Gartner Weighs in on When to Use 'Eiger' Version of Windows XP

As details trickle out on Microsoft's "Eiger" operating system for less powerful PCs, analysts at Gartner are offering usage recommendations for the enterprise.

Eiger is a code-name for a version of Windows XP that is variously described as intended for thin clients or to keep organizations current on older hardware that can't run Windows XP.

"Eiger is designed to enable companies that can't afford to replace their PCs to continue running a supported version of Windows. Today, these aging PCs often rely on unsupported Windows NT [Workstation 4.0] (which has unpatched security holes) or Windows 9x," Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Mark Margevicius wrote in a Gartner research note this week.

Noting recommended system requirements that include 300 MB of disk space, 233 MHz Pentium II processor and 128 MB of RAM, Silver and Margevicius say, "We believe Eiger is better described as a lean client than a thin client." Eiger will be able to run Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, the Remote Desktop Client and an unspecified limited list of other applications locally.

The Gartner analysts predict Eiger will ship in the first quarter of 2006 and recommend it for organizations with a large number of PCs that are too old to run at least Windows 2000 competently and that won't be replaced for two or three years. They predict pricing will be similar to Windows XP Professional, but that Eiger's difference from the full version of the operating system will add to organizational complexity and total cost of ownership.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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