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Microsoft Ships Vista Deployment Tools

Microsoft announced it is shipping final versions of six tools to aid in deployment of Windows Vista and Office 2007, although some had been previously released.

The six tools include the Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment 2007, which shipped in mid-January, and the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0, which shipped in late January.

New to the list is Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 1.0. The Vista Hardware Assessment solution accelerator helps businesses make informed decisions about which of their existing PCs to upgrade to Windows Vista and the resources required to complete the upgrade process, according to a company statement. The tool inventories all PCs on a network without installing any software agents on any PCs, assesses their hardware and device compatibility with Windows Vista, and generates a set of reports with upgrade recommendations for each PC. The free download is available here.

Virtual PC 2007 is also now shipping, according to the company. It entered the Release Candidate stage in early January.

New features in Virtual PC 2007 include support for Intel's and AMD's hardware-assisted virtualization technologies and support for Windows Vista as a host or guest operating system or both, according to Microsoft statements. It also includes support for 64-bit hosts -- but 64-bit guests won't be supported until Windows virtualization arrives post-Longhorn Server. Virtual PC 2007 is available here.

Also previously announced, Microsoft is now shipping the updated Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0 tools, which include two activation tools.

The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key. VAMT is available here.

The Key Management Service (KMS) for Windows Server 2003 lets customers run KMS on Windows Server 2003, enabling them to host a local service within their environment that is used during the Windows Vista activation process without sending information to Microsoft. KMS for Windows Server 2003 is available here.

The Solution Accelerator for BDD 2007 provides guidance, sample templates, and technology files such as scripts and configuration files, according to company statements. It is available here.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) version 5 is designed to identify compatibility issues when using Vista and IE7 -- for instance, which applications have problems with Vista's new User Account Control (UAC) feature. It can also be used on Windows XP Service Pack 2 to help identify compatibility issues when using Internet Explorer 7. ACT 5 is available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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