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  (Source: Guardian UK)
New tool is intended to help businesses and customers quickly assess which systems are ready for Windows 7

With every OS launch a certain number of customers with older hardware will inevitably be left behind.  For novice users, or for professionals administering large deployments, the confusion of figuring out which hardware will meet the upgrade requirements can be a headache.  With Microsoft's hot new OS, Windows 7, set to release on October 22, Microsoft is looking to remove any such obstacles that might put a damper on the launch.

Microsoft has released the beta version of a toolkit which will help users determine whether their computers are Windows 7 worthy.  The tool, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit, version 4.0,  will also look at your machine's compatibility with Windows Server 2008, and other software products, including Microsoft Office 2007.  The tool also provides advice about virtualization, power saving opportunities, and security vulnerabilities.

Baldwin Ng, senior product manager at Microsoft elaborates, "It performs key functions that include hardware and device inventory, hardware compatibility analysis, and generation of actionable, environment-specific IT proposals for migration to most major Microsoft technologies."

MAP is available via the TechNet website.  Limitations include only being available for a limited set of newer Windows OS's -- Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows XP Professional Edition (if you don't have one of these on a bootable partition, you can't run the tool).  The tool provides reports in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.

Currently, users can also check their compatibility by downloading the Windows 7 Release Candidate and installing it for free.  The RC build will work until June 1, 2010. 

Windows 7 sports an improved interface, new features, more speed at many common tasks, and a smaller memory and disk footprint.  Microsoft is hoping the slick new OS will wash away the critical attitude the public developed for Windows Vista.  DailyTech has detailed many of the hardware and software changes showcased in the Release Candidate build.

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By Adriak on 6/22/2009 12:25:18 PM , Rating: 3
MAP is available via the TechNet website. Limitations include only being available for Windows operating systems XP and older (making it impractical for users of older versions of Windows, Linux, or Macs, unless these users have a bootable partition with a version of Windows XP or later).

Isn't this tool limited to Windows XP and newer ?

RE: Typo?
By ApfDaMan on 6/22/2009 12:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
i also found this thoroughly confusing. considering the context i think you are right, it is limited to windows xp and newer. after all, it would be stupid for them to release it to older operating systems...

RE: Typo?
By Motoman on 6/22/2009 12:43:05 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, come on now...I'm sure there are plenty of Win9x machines that would be perfectly capable of running Win7...

RE: Typo?
By deltadeltadelta on 6/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Typo?
By bodar on 6/22/2009 5:26:12 PM , Rating: 4
Indeed. It's just like that old Steven Wright bit: "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."

RE: Typo?
By foolsgambit11 on 6/22/2009 12:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
And doesn't that mean only Windows XP and Vista? And maybe Server 2003? I mean, was the list really so long that the convenience of saying "and newer" outweighed the clarity provided by an exhaustive list?

RE: Typo?
By initialised on 6/22/2009 2:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
I read somewhere that it would run on as little as 96MB RAM (Would not boot on 64MB) on a Pentium2-533 but took hours to install and 17 minutes to boot.


So yeah, there probably are plenty of Windows 9x machines that could run it but as part of an OEM I would rather they had to buy a new one.

RE: Typo?
By Visual on 6/23/2009 4:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
It is a P2-266 MHz, not 533.
I read somewhere else about it and I remember it mentioned that it took just short of one hour to install, much like what even windows 95 needed back in those days. And I am not sure how fast it booted, but it was called "usable". Too bad I can't find where I read that.

The "17 minute boot" figure that you mention is from another poster's P3-333 first boot only, and it took him 17 hours to install, so it's safe to assume that system (or person) had some defects. I don't see why it would install so much slower, as HDD and DVD speeds are what matter there much more than CPU.

RE: Typo?
By Spivonious on 6/22/2009 3:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
XP Home, XP Pro, XP MCE, XP MCE 2004, XP MCE 2005, Server 2003, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, Server 2008

And that doesn't even include service packs.

RE: Typo?
By zombiexl on 6/22/2009 2:24:25 PM , Rating: 3
I just tried to install on Vista HP 32-bit with SP2 installed and it said my OS was unsupported. :)

Everything else had a check next to it though.

RE: Typo?
By initialised on 6/22/2009 3:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
Try making a partition to use for 7 and boot from a 7 DVD, if you have a 32-bit CPU (P4 HT/Athlon XP/Sempron) you have to use the 32 bit version.

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