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Windows Management Framework RC Available

Microsoft on Wednesday released a test preview of Windows Management Framework components for Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2.

The components are currently available at the "release candidate" (RC) testing stage. They include the PowerShell 2.0 scripting engine for automating IT administrator tasks, the Windows Remote Management (WinRM) 2.0 messaging protocol and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 4.0, a client-server file transfer service using HTTP.

Microsoft defines this framework as "designed for systems that need to use the new Windows Management features on downlevel platforms," according to Microsoft's management infrastructure blog. "Downlevel," in this case, means older Windows operating systems.

Those using Vista or Windows Server 2008 also have access to RC test versions of the Windows Management Framework components. Last month, Microsoft unveiled RC versions for Windows Vista SP1 or SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP1 or SP2.

The components support management capabilities in various ways. WinRM enables interoperability between operating systems from different vendors, according to Microsoft's blog. It's Microsoft's version of the W3C's WS-Management Protocol.

BITS 4.0 is important for users of Microsoft's BranchCache feature in Vista and Windows 7 because it supports peer-to-peer file transfers, according to the blog. BranchCache is a way of speeding up file downloads in organizations with multiple offices.

RC versions of the Windows Management Framework components -- available in English, German and Japanese -- can be downloaded from the Microsoft Connect portal here.

The release notes for Windows Management Framework for XP and Windows Server 2003 caution that users should uninstall PowerShell 1.0 before installing the components. In addition, BITS 3.0 and BITS 4.0 aren't compatible, so peer caching won't work between the different versions. Also, Microsoft changed the default ports used with WinRM.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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