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Microsoft Windows 7 thin client OS available for testing

A stripped-down version of Windows designed by Microsoft for thin clients is now available for customers to download and evaluate.

Microsoft announced Windows Thin PC last month, saying it would be available as part of Software Assurance, a licensing program that gives upgrade rights and other services to Windows customers. The company reversed course slightly this week, offering a preview version of Thin PC as a free download available to anyone, but said the final product will still be available only to Software Assurance customers.

Windows Thin PC is a “locked down version of Windows 7 designed to help re-purpose existing PCs as thin clients”, helping customers save money on hardware, and replaces Microsoft’s previous thin client OS, Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. Microsoft promises a “rich VDI experience through support for RemoteFX, improved endpoint security by denying certain disk writes via filters, [and] enterprise-grade management support through System Center”.

The Windows Thin PC evaluation version is a 1.2GB .ISO file which can be downloaded on the Microsoft Connect site. Hardware requirements include a 1 GHz or faster processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB hard disk space, a DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Drive Model 1.0 or later, and a bootable DVD-ROM drive. The preview version will remain active until Oct. 31, 2011.

In addition to Windows Thin PC, Microsoft has also been providing new package accelerators for App-V, which simplify the process of deploying software as part of an application virtualization rollout. Specific pieces of software supported by package accelerators include Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Firefox, Safari, QuickTime and OpenOffice.

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