New Windows for Old PCs

Microsoft has released its new stripped-down operating systems for legacy (read: old!) computers that are unable to support today’s cutting-edge software due to hardware limitations (read: “get ready to upgrade your hardware when Vista comes!”). It’s called Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (okay, not really “Windows”), and it basically converts your computer into a thin-client, wherein most actual applications are run from a remote server, which is a bit like running a remote-desktop session. This was announced last September 2005, and it looks like the basic OS is ready to ship to enterprise clients of M$.

… the software is offered only to customers on Microsoft’s Software Assurance licensing and maintenance program. It’s not a full-featured OS, but it improves the security and manageability of PCs for customers with systems that are too old for Windows XP and who aren’t ready yet to upgrade their hardware, Microsoft said.

The OS can run only a few programs locally, such as security tools, management tools, and document viewers, which means line-of-business and productivity applications will need to be run remotely on a server.

It’s not intended for individual use, but could be a viable option for businesses that would rather not upgrade their vast fleet of computers right now. And it is certainly easier to manage security-wise than having each of your 200 or so employees running Windows XP with various levels of security (say, some might not be doing updates like they’re supposed to, or some might be installing some unwanted softwares).

However, this could also be a signal that Microsoft is covering all its bases. Specifically iby going the thin-client way, Fundamentals might just be a good contender to whatever Web- or Internet-based OS that might come up in the near future. Good idea for Microsoft, especially with the threat of Web apps dominating the productivity and office-application space today. I just hope they don’t charge us users an arm and a leg for using thier new OS when the time comes.

[via PC World]

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