Will Virtual PC 2007 give Microsoft Vista app-compat wiggle room?

Microsoft has made available for download Beta 1 of Virtual PC 2007, the version of its desktop virtualization software that -- at least in theory -- will give Windows Vista users one way to run many of their existing apps without problem on Microsoft's next-gen Windows.

Microsoft has made available for download Beta 1 of Virtual PC 2007, the version of its desktop virtualization software that -- at least in theory -- will give Windows Vista users one way to run many of their existing apps without problem on Microsoft's next-gen Windows.

Microsoft posted the Virtual PC 2007 bits on the Connect Web site for download by technical beta testers on October 11.

The newest version of Virtual PC will support Intel and AMD hardware via virtualization and will support Vista as both a host and guest operating system. It also will include support for 64-bit host operating systems, even though the virtual machines will be 32-bit only. Virtual PC 2007 will not support Vista's souped-up Aero Glass interface, however; it will support the Aero Basic user interface only, according to a post to Microsoft's "Virtual PC Guy's Weblog."

Microsoft officials have touted Virtual PC 2007 as another tool that business and consumer customers will have to help insure their existing applications work on Vista.

"Virtual PC 2007 lets you run additional operating systems on Windows Vista, without using multiple computers," according to a white paper posted to Microsoft's Virtual PC Web site. "This allows you to proceed with your Windows Vista deployment, rather than delay because of application incompatibility. Your organization can take full advantage of the new features and capabilities in Windows Vista and still provide end users access to run their legacy mission-critical applications, allowing you to realize your return on investment faster than other short-term solutions."

Microsoft also is touting the Application Compatibility Toolkit, a final Vista-optimized version of which is due to ship alongside Vista, as another tool of which potential Vista customers can make use in their quest for better app compatibility.

In terms of app compat, Microsoft still has not released a public list of applications that are not working with the latest test builds of Windows Vista, and still has not said when it plans to do so.

Like they did with Vista Release Candidate (RC) 1, the members of the ieXbeta site have begun compiling a list of the apps they've found to work well, work to some degree and not work at all with Vista RC2, the test build that Microsoft released on October 6.

On the new list, which ieXbeta members started from scratch, there are a few applications already listed as encountering "heavy problems" and are "not compatible" with Vista RC2. On this list: Symantec Corp AV For Vista 10.2.0.199 (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions); Spyware Doctor 4.0; and Microsoft's own Microsoft Navision 3.70a client.

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