Microsoft greasing Windows 7 skids with early release of desktop tools

Microsoft looks to make MDOP available in October instead of next year

With the hope of sparking Windows 7 upgrades, Microsoft is planning an early release of its suite of desktop deployment tools.

The tools were originally slated to ship in early 2010, but Microsoft hopes to give customers the software in late October for use in rollouts of Windows 7 across corporate desktops.

The catch is that the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) R2 2009 is only available to volume licensing customers with Software Assurance contracts.

The news of the early release was announced by Ran Oelgiesser, senior product manager for MED-V, on the MDOP blog.

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Windows 7 is slated to ship to commercial customers on Oct. 22, but corporate users with volume licensing contracts have had access to Windows 7 since last month.

All the tools in MDOP R2 2009 will include support for Windows 7 except MED-V. Support for the new OS in MED-V 1.0 SP1 will come early in 2010, wrote Oelgiesser.

MED-V runs multiple versions of Windows or applications concurrently without having to open multiple virtual machine sessions. The software complements another MDOP tool called App-V, which is used for managing and deploying virtual PCs.

The MDOP lineup also includes Asset Inventory Service; System Center Desktop Error Monitoring; Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) for change management via group policy objects; and the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, which helps in recovering a crashed PC.

MDOP is composed of software from Microsoft’s purchases of Softricity, Kidaro, AssetMetrix, Winternals Software and DesktopStandard. The suite is a major part of Microsoft ‘s Optimized Desktop strategy, which addresses centralized management and deployment of physical and virtual resources.

According to Oelgiesser, App-V 4.5 SP1 will have various integration points with 32-bit versions of Windows 7, including with the AppLocker, Branch Cache and BitLocker ToGo features. In addition, the software will support 32-bit version of XP, Vista and Windows Server. The 64-bit version, App-V 4.6 will be available in the first half of 2010.

Advanced Group Policy Management 4.0 features two new capabilities targeted at Windows 7. One allows users to manage group policies across different domains, and the other provides new search and filtering to ease tracking of group policy objects.