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New Deployment Tools Go Live for Windows XP, Office XP

From the trough between client operating system releases, Microsoft this week made public a comprehensive set of free enterprise desktop evaluation and deployment tools for Windows XP Professional and Office XP.

The tools and resources appear at a new Desktop Center www.microsoft.com/desktop/.

Rogers Weed, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows product management, positioned the resources as complying with customer feedback, specifically in the areas of application compatibility and security.

"The toolkit will alleviate much of the burden of testing applications and streamline the process by addressing compatibility issues before deploying the OS across the enterprise," Weed said in a statement.

Highlights of the new Desktop Center site are the Windows XP Application Compatibility Toolkit and a new version of the Microsoft Security Baseline Analyzer (MBSA) 1.1. The Web portal also offers a return-on-investment calculator, a system preparation tool, guides for large-scale deployments and centralized links to other deployment resources on Microsoft's sprawling Web site.

The Windows XP Application Compatibility Toolkit guides users through evaluating and testing applications, then gives administrators assistance in adjusting the applications for optimum performance on Windows XP. MBSA, which is built on Shavlik's patch management software, scans corporate desktops for missing security updates and service packs and identifies common system configuration problems. The new system preparation tool is designed to help enterprises reduce the number of images required in a large-scale deployment.

The Desktop Deployment portal comes 16 months after Microsoft shipped Windows XP, and roughly the same length of time before the next version of the OS, "Longhorn," is slated to be available. Office XP, however, is scheduled to be replaced in just a few months.

Data in a recent ENT survey of nearly 800 enterprise IT administrators supports Microsoft's perception that its customers may be ready for some migration assistance with Windows XP. Only 5 percent of the respondents to the ENT survey had completed large-scale Windows XP migrations.

About the Author

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

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