Microsoft pushes new tool to OEMs for preloading more Microsoft software on new PCs

Microsoft has introduced a new tool for its "system builder" OEM partners to help them more quickly and preload more Microsoft software on new PCs.

Microsoft has introduced a new tool for its "system builder" OEM partners to help them more quickly and preload more Microsoft software on new PCs.

The tool, known as the Express Deployment Tool (EDT), streamlines the process via which system builders load Windows 7 PCs with Office 2010, Windows Live Essentials, the Bing Bar and Microsoft Security Essentials. (The Windows Live Essentials suite plus Bing Bar combination is known as PC Essentials, in Microsoft parlance.)

"With one click, the EDT enables PC Essentials configuration. With only a few clicks, many of the more technically difficult options such as Hard Drive Recovery and adding software to the image can be enabled. Previously, installation of these advanced features required time-intensive research," explained Microsoft to its PC partners.

Microsoft made version 1.0 of the tool available to system builders in January 2011 and provided a 1.0.1 update in early February that fixed some download and deployment errors. The EDT is currently available in English only, with additional language support coming later in the first quarter, according to the Microsoft Web site for the tool. The EDT complements the existing Microsoft OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) tool.

One of the main goals of the EDT is to help Microsoft partners reduce the time it takes to install and deploy new PCs preloaded with Microsoft software, according to the accompanying literature.

Late last year, Microsoft attempted to entice OEMs to preload more Microsoft software -- specifically Office 2010, Live Essentials and the Bing Bar -- by offering them a cheaper price per copy of Office 2010 for doing so.

Microsoft recently introduced a new version of its Bing Bar (its search toolbar) with Facebook integration, among other new features.

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