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Microsoft has released a public beta of desktop virtualization software to run legacy Windows applications on Windows Vista.

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) will let you run Windows XP and Windows 2000 applications on Windows Vista without the need for testing or migration, the company said.

MED-V creates a virtual PC of the legacy version of Windows you want inside Windows Vista. The completed MED-V is due in the second quarter.

MED-V is based on technology from desktop virtualization vendor Kidaro, which Microsoft acquired in May 2008. It's part of a suite of technologies called the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack that's been assembled through acquisitions, including Softricity, DesktopStandard, AssetMetrix, and Winternals Software.

You can download the MED-V beta from here, but you need to register first. ®

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