In-Depth

Virtual Vista Versions Revealed

Microsoft will offer free trials of Windows Vista and Visual Studio 2005.

Want to toy around with Windows Vista or Vista with Visual Studio 2005 but not pay for them? Microsoft is making it possible to take a 30-day test drive of either product through the magic of virtualization.

David Kim, associate product manager on the Windows Client team, mentioned on the Vista blog that the company has built virtual images of a Windows Vista Enterprise Edition and Windows Vista with Visual Studio 2005. All that's needed to run them is a virtual machine on a PC, something like Microsoft's version, Virtual PC 2007 or VMware. Once loaded, the products will behave like normal applications — for the 30-day period.

Vista Enterprise is the top-level version of the OS, meant for use in large environments. Although Microsoft has touted Vista's strong adoption in the market, there has been a lot of questioning of its claims. Making it available as a virtual image could spur sales — assuming, of course, the experience is positive.

Developers may be excited by the Vista with VS 2005 option. Currently, Microsoft supports Vista for three Microsoft development products: Visual Basic 6.0, Visual FoxPro 9.0 and VS 2005, but only with the Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista. Versions of VS 2003 and earlier aren't supported by Microsoft. Earlier development products may work with Vista, Microsoft said, but it won't support them.

The reason? According to Microsoft, "Visual Studio 2003 or earlier would require many changes that make that experience worse." The virtualized products can be found here.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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