Vista Assessment Tool Beta Upgrade Available

A tool for determining whether or not computers can handle the Windows Vista operating system has been updated, with some useful new features.

According to the Windows Vista team blog, the public beta for Vista Hardware 2.0 is now available. Most of the updates in the most recent version revolve around ways to pick groups of computers for testing.

The first is called "Customized Inventory," and allows the choosing of computers within specific organizational units (OUs) in a particular Active Directory domain.

The second is a flat-file import, a grouping via a flat file like a computer host name, NetBIOS name or fully qualified domain name.

The beta also goes beyond Vista, and can assess the readiness of computers to run Microsoft Office 2007.

Additionally, the limit on how many computers can be inventoried has been doubled, from 5,000 to 10,000.

Baldwin Ng, senior product manager, said on the blog that those upgrades were three of the most requested by users.

The hardware assessment determines which computers are ready for a Vista migration, and which ones would be able to migrate with some inexpensive hardware upgrades. It also assesses the driver status of a computer as it relates to Vista -- whether drivers for a device are on the Vista installation DVD, available through Windows Update, or must be obtained through a third party. The assessment report is delivered either as a Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

The first version of the assessment tool, which is free, was released Feb. 19, 2007. The 2.0 public beta is available from the Microsoft Connect website.

About the Author

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