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Microsoft said RC1 improves Group Policy in Windows with Group Policy Preferences, formerly known as PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Policy Share Manager. So far, more than 1.8 million customers have obtained Windows Server 2008 evaluation code.
The finished product is due to ship on February 27, 2008 and will be included as part of a major refresh of Microsoft server products including SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.
"This is the largest enterprise launch in our history, and both Microsoft and many of our industry partners are making a significant investment in a worldwide roll-out," said Andy Lees, corporate vice-president of the server and tools marketing and solutions group at Microsoft. "The feedback from partners and customers on these three products has consistently been fantastic. Bringing customers and partners into the development process early helps enable us to deliver the best, most tested and proven new versions of these Microsoft products we have ever developed."
Microsoft has introduced an application compatibility certification programme to ensure applications will work with the new OS. More than 300 companies have enrolled applications in the Microsoft Early Access Program supporting software certification and "works with" validation. Software, hardware companies and IT departments have downloaded more than 5,000 copies of the software certification programme test tools from since July, Microsoft said.