Microsoft has released a new version of the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM) to go along with the latest major iteration of Office, which hit store shelves earlier this year. Microsoft Office Migration Planning Manager 2010 is now up for grabs via the Microsoft Download Center, a resource designed to streamline the transition to Office 2010. According to the Redmond company, the Office Migration Planning Manager 2010 will help IT professionals plan and test for the migration to the successor of Office 2008. The collection of tools is offered by Microsoft free of charge.

“OMPM helps IT Pros discover and assess the compatibility of existing Office documents for conversion from the binary document formats (Office 97-2003: .doc, .xls, etc.) to OpenXML formats (Office 2007 and beyond: .docx, .xlsx, etc.). Additionally, OMPM 2010 adds features that assess macro compatibility with Office 2010 and 64-bit Office compatibility. The toolkit also contains the Office File Converter (OFC), which enables bulk document conversions from binary to OpenXML formats,” revealed Jill Maguire, from the Office team. More »

With the advent of the public Beta of Windows 7 Build 7000, Microsoft also made available for download a Beta release of the Windows Automated Installation Kit. The Windows AIK, or WAIK, is a collection of resources set up to streamline the process of configuring and deploying Windows platforms, in this case Windows 7. The WAIK contains ImageX, essentially a command-line tool designed to capture Windows images. GimageX, available in Beta, is a tool designed to enhance the WAIK by providing what is essentially a graphical version of the ImageX. Jonathan Bennett, a senior consultant with Microsoft Services, UK, emphasized that GImageX was not a Microsoft release, but a third-party tool.

“With the release of the Windows 7 beta and also the beta of the Windows Automated Installation Kit I’ve updated GImageX to work with these new beta versions. I’ve also tidied up parts of the documentation around installation and tweaked the “mount” functionality to provide better feedback during the operation,” Bennett explained. “Please note that GImageX is a third-party tool so please remember that you won’t be able to ring up Microsoft PSS to get support with it! However, it uses the official Microsoft published WIMGAPI SDK which is a supported way of working with WIM files.” More »

You will use the following tools when you prepare images and deploy Windows Vista throughout your organization:

Sysprep This is the updated version, modified for Windows Vista.

Setup A new installation tool for Windows Vista that replaces WINNT and WINNT32.

ImageX The new command-line tool for creating WIM images.

Windows SIM A tool for creating and modifying Unattend.xml files.

PEimg The tool for customizing Windows PE 2.0 images.

Windows DS The new version of RIS, which adds the ability to deploy Windows Vista images as well as Windows PE 2.0 boot images. More »

Application incompatibility is one of the aspects that have managed to deliver extensive damage to the adoption rate of Windows Vista. However, as Vista matured throughout 2007 and with Service Pack 1 in 2008, so did the ecosystem of software solutions orbiting around the operating system. Despite this, the actual perception of application incompatibility managed to survive, especially in corporate environments. If one end user can deal with a program that is incompatible with Vista rather easy, the same cannot be said about an enterprise dependent on a specific business application with tens of thousands of machines.

“Part of this is perception based on fact – Windows Vista is built on a new architecture that promises tightened security and reliability. Consequently, the applications that ride on top of Windows Vista need to communicate with the kernel in different ways. So what has helped fuel current perception around application compatibility? Why did many applications ‘break’ in the migration from Windows XP to Windows Vista?” Microsoft asked rhetorically. More »