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Windows XP “Virtually” Free

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Microsoft has done a really cool thing, and made a legal, activated copy of a Windows XP SP2 Virtual PC image available as a free download.

The purpose: to give you the means you can launch a virtualized environment of Internet Explorer 6 without spending a dime (not only is the image free, but the Virtual PC software hass been free for a while).

This is a great boon for website developers, who can do their work on just one PC (so long as they don’t care about Safari) but will also be useful to users for many reasons. If you have software you absolutely have to run, but can’t install under Vista, just load up the image and go. The image expires on April 1, 2007, but they plan to release more of these, including with other software configurations, if the program is well-received.

This is a smart move by Microsoft, which is competing with VMWare in the virtualization space. Giving every single web developer a compelling and free reason to install VPC 2004 or 2007 does a lot towards growing your share of the market.

Of course, I’ve heard there are VPC > VMWare importers that may allow the competition to run this image, so we’ll see how well that works. Also, the real question on everyone’s mind: Will it run on the Mac OS X version of Virtual PC? And will the free VPC image make Boot Camp a collosal waste of money and time?

(via Neowin)

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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Windows XP “Virtually” Free
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