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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 bubbastrangelove on 6/22/2009 2:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
I realize this question is a bit off topic but...

Has anyone been able to confirm or deny whether RC users will be able to purchase a license and upgrade to a fully licensed copy OR will they have to purchase a new copy and re-install?

I'd love to be able to dump my dual boot XP and dive right into Win7.

RE: Question
By initialised on 6/22/2009 3:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
With the release candidates so far it is possible to do upgrade installs from one to the next by adding your version of the OS to a text file in the installer so I guess this trick will still work but you would have to rebuild the install disc using vlite or similar. However, upgrade installs tend to run slower than fresh install so you'd be better of starting fresh.

It would be nice of MS to just let you buy a key, activate and download updates to the official release, it might happen since the 'free RC' is basically a year long demo.

RE: Question
By PrezWeezy on 6/22/2009 4:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
Every other RC that has ever been released requires a reinstall. Either way you will have to buy a full license, an upgrade will not make it legal.

RE: Question
By PrezWeezy on 6/22/2009 4:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
Upgrade to Full requires reinstall. The reasoning being that RC's generaly have some junk left over which they don't want in the full product so you are far better off to reinstall than try to hack it as someone else has suggested.

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