Microsoft offerings prepare partners for Vista

Microsoft unveiled new programs and technologies to allow partners to prepare products to run on Vista.

Microsoft Tuesday unveiled new programs and technologies to allow partners to prepare products to run on Windows Vista once it is available.

During his keynote at Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle, Microsoft Senior Vice President Will Poole unveiled a new Certified for Windows Vista logo program so hardware and software companies can label their products "certified" to work with Vista.

Poole also announced a new networking standard called Microsoft Windows Rally, which hardware vendors can build into devices such as digital cameras, wireless access points and other PC peripherals so Vista will immediately recognize them and configure them to work with a PC.

For the logo program, Microsoft will test partner software for security, reliability and compatibility standards, and products that pass will qualify for a gray logo so customers can identify the products as Vista-certified. Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Lab will test hardware components and devices to ensure they merit a Certified for Windows Vista logo.

Details on requirements and testing processes for the program can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/winlogo.

Microsoft demonstrated the new Rally networking technology during Poole's keynote. The demo showed how a digital camera that includes Rally can be configured wirelessly to work on a PC running Vista. Rally also allowed a photo of Poole to appear in real time on the PC immediately after it was taken on stage at the show.

During the demo, Microsoft also set up a wireless network in less than two minutes by connecting a wireless router to a PC using Rally.

Microsoft is making a concerted effort to help both partners and customers prepare for Vista's release. Last week the company released an upgrade advisor for Vista as part of its Get Ready program so customers can test their PC for the hardware requirements to run both basic and premium versions of the OS.

Hardware vendors also since April have been able to offer PCs through retails stores and other sales channels with logos that show they are "capable" of running Windows Vista.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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