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.