Following several months of beta testing, Microsoft is shipping a pair of updated tools meant to aid IT professionals in migrating to Windows 7, and is preparing a customer technology preview (CTP) of an edition of Windows 7 meant to enable PCs to be configured as thin clients.
The two tools -- both parts of the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) -- provide support for virtualizing application environments on Windows. MDOP is sold separately as a Windows add-on for enterprise customers.
App-V 4.6 and MED-V 2.0 -- short for Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization -- are now available, Gavriella Schuster, a Microsoft general manager, said in a post to the Windows for Your Business Blog Thursday.
For instance, App-V 4.6 adds what Microsoft calls "Package Accelerators."
"Package Accelerators give IT pros and ISVs a way to convert traditional applications directly into App-V. Basically, it speeds up application packaging and App-V deployment, making the move to Windows 7 all the more easier," Schuster added.
In April, Microsoft will provide Package Accelerators for Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Project, and Adobe Reader. Also, beginning April 1, the company will start allowing site hosts to deliver Microsoft Dynamics applications via App-V virtualization, the post said.
Meanwhile, for situations where an application absolutely needs to run in a Windows XP environment, there's MED-V.
"MED-V expands on the capabilities in Windows XP Mode by adding enterprise features, such as the ability to use a custom Windows XP image, automating first time setup and controlling URL redirection for Internet Explorer," Dave Trupkin, senior product manager for MED-V, said in a post to the Official MDOP Blog.
Version 2.0 has no dedicated infrastructure. Additionally, MED-V workspaces are distributed and managed with existing systems, such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 or higher," the post added.
Further, MED-V 2.0 lets administrators enable users to save passwords. In addition, MED-V 2.0 also supports USB devices, including Smartcard readers, he added.
Finally, Microsoft is planning to release a CTP of what it calls Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) by the end of March.
"WinTPC is a locked down version of Windows 7, designed for you to repurpose your existing PCs as thin clients, so you can get the most out of your hardware investments," Schuster said.