The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta testing program is now opened for early adopters with the bits available for download through Microsoft Connect.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 is the successor of MAP Toolkit 5.0 which was released in the summer of 2010, and was focused on streamlining migrations to Windows 7 and Office 2010.

As the official label of the solution accelerator implies, the tool is designed to allow IT professionals to assess the environments in their organization and to plan migrations to such software as Windows 7, Office 2010, and Internet Explorer 8.

However, it appears that with version 5.0 of the MAP Toolkit, Microsoft is also lending a helping hand to admins that will upgrade to IE9. More »


If you purchased a PC after October 26th or plan to do so in the next few months then Santa may have another little present for you early next year. Many PC manufacturers and vendors have signed up to Microsoft is Free or discount Vista Express Upgrade scheme. The only trouble is they may not have told you about it, or they are not making it easy to sign up for the vouchers, which should be sent out in January. Some companies are also imposing shed-loads of conditions or imposing handling charges and which version of Vista you ge6t depends on the OS the new PC you have just bought is using but even so, with copies of Vista selling for upwards of 100 it’s probably still a good deal, even if it is not exactly a freebie. More »