Microsoft wraps up VirtualPC product

Microsoft is readying the release of Virtual PC 2004, a virtualization product that allows users to run multiple operating systems on the same computer simultaneously.

On Monday, the vendor plans to release Virtual PC 2004 to manufacturing, the product's final phase before becoming commercially available, sources familiar with the company's plans said. Virtual PC 2004 should be on store shelves before the end of the year, Microsoft has said.

Virtual PC for Windows is one of three virtualization software products Microsoft bought from Connectix in February. Virtual PC can help with testing of a new operating system before migrating to it, or allow users to run applications that only work with a specific operating system. Virtual PC can also save time for support, development and training staff by reducing the amount of reconfiguring they need to do.

In August, Microsoft launched Virtual PC for Mac version 6.1. Virtual Server is being finalized and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of next year, a slight delay from the original plan to release the product in the final quarter of 2003.

Virtual PC for Mac allows users of Apple Computer's Macintosh computers to run various versions of the Windows operating system. Similarly, the Virtual Server software lets users run different operating systems on a single server.

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