Windows 7 and WS2008 R2 ship date: holiday '09

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Microsoft is promising that both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be available by the 2009 holiday season. Whether this means October (as previous insiders have claimed) or November, or even December, Microsoft senior vice president Bill Veghte didn't say during his keynote address at the Microsoft TechEd show in Los Angeles this morning. It is probably safe to say that the company will release the product sooner, rather than later.

Ditto for WS2008 R2, but the fact that they will be released in tandem was stressed.

More importantly, Veghte has officially recommended that those who don't have Vista rolled out -- are only in the testing phases of it -- go ahead and skip it and test Windows 7 instead. That is, perhaps, common sense. But as this is now the official stance from Microsoft, IT pros benefit in a few ways. For one thing, Microsoft has really stepped up testing of application and device comparability, even at this earlier-than-usual RC phase. Veghte says that 10,000 applications and drivers -- including two graphics drivers -- have already tested as compatible with Windows 7 and received their Windows 7 logo. (After the big Windows Vista-compatability lawsuit fiasco, might be better to verify than trust that).

For another thing, Microsoft has already updated The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 on April 23 to include Windows 7.

As for news for Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Iain McDonald, general manager of Windows Server Group, shared a few interesting bits. Hyper-V will serve 64 logical processors instead of 32. A new feature, processor compatibility node, will support hypervisor nodes running on different CPUs, particularly on servers that may be three years old or so. A new feature, file classification infrastructure, allows people to add personalized tags to files (such as, for instance, confidentially tags) and then to search and take actions on files based on those tags. So files marked with low level confidentially that are more than a year old can be found and manipulated (even deleted), even via PowerShell scripts.

More news from the show to come. Next up: Microsoft Subnet is off to hear about Windows Mobile 6.5.

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