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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Microsoft Delivers Final Versions of Free Deployment Tools for Windows Vista


Microsoft today announced the availability of six new deployment tools that will help expedite businesses' migration to Windows Vista.

The recently released tools are the Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007, the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0, Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 1.0, the Volume Activation Management Tool, the Key Management Service for Windows Server 2003 and Virtual PC 2007.

The tools being announced today can help customers at every phase of their migration to Windows Vista, including assessment, planning, testing and deployment. Users that already have been using pre-release versions of these tools along with earlier pre-release versions of Windows Vista now can move to the final versions to complete their deployment process. Following is more information about each of the new Windows Vista deployment tools:

- Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment 2007: BDD 2007 is a set of guidelines and tools that organizations can use to help deploy Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system to desktops. BDD 2007 includes single-image engineering and deployment capabilities, user-state migration tools, remote deployment tools and integration with other key Microsoft deployment products such as Systems Management Server 2003. BDD 2007 also includes or can be used to obtain and integrate many of the important deployment and planning tools announced today, including ACT 5.0, Windows Vista Hardware Assessment and the Volume Activation 2.0 tools. A free download of BDD 2007 is available to all customers and partners at http://www.microsoft.com/desktopdeployment.

- Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0: ACT 5.0 is a tool that helps businesses reduce the cost and time needed to resolve potential application compatibility issues encountered when moving to Windows Vista. Through a series of compatibility evaluators and tools, ACT 5.0 enables software developers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and IT professionals to determine whether their applications are compatible with Windows Vista and how best to resolve any conflicts, even before Windows Vista is deployed within an organization. ACT 5.0 also includes mechanisms for remediating compatibility issues and tracking compatibility information through an application?s entire life cycle. In addition, the new online ACT community feature provides users with access to regularly-updated assessments and test results from Microsoft and a range of other companies, including the ISVs themselves. ACT 5.0 is available as a free download from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsvista/aa905102.aspx.

- Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 1.0. The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment solution accelerator enables businesses to make more informed decisions about which of their existing PCs to upgrade to Windows Vista and the resources required to complete the upgrade process. This networkwide tool quickly inventories all PCs on a business?s network without installing any software agents on each PC, assesses their hardware and device compatibility with Windows Vista, and automatically generates a set of reports with upgrade recommendations for each PC. This free download is available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/wvha.

- Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0 tools. Microsoft has added several options to the ways in which business customers can use volume activation technologies to activate multiple Windows Vista-based PCs in their desktop environments.

- The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). MAK activation requires a one-time communication with Microsoft either independently by each computer, or VAMT can proxy the communication on behalf of multiple computers at once. VAMT is available from the Microsoft Download Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=77533.

- Key Management Service (KMS) for Windows Server 2003 provides customers with the functionality of running KMS on Windows Server 2003. KMS enables business customers 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 from the Microsoft Download Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=82964.

- Virtual PC 2007. Virtual PC 2007 is optimized for Windows Vista and makes it possible to simultaneously run multiple operating systems on a single PC. This allows business customers to migrate computers to Windows Vista for a more secure and manageable experience while keeping a previous Windows environment available to run legacy or custom applications in a virtual setting. Enhancements include improved performance, hardware virtualization, preboot execution environment (PXE) functionality and support for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Microsoft?s Software Assurance customers who use Windows Vista Enterprise Edition can take advantage of Virtual PC 2007 to create virtual machines for the four additional licenses of Windows they are entitled to on each machine. Virtual PC 2007 also provides environments for software development and testing and multiple operating system scenarios for help desks, support services and staff training. Virtual PC 2007 is freely available online today; customers that want to download and begin using Virtual PC 2007 can visit http://www.microsoft.com/virtualpc.


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