Windows Server 2008 RC1 is available!

windows-server-2008

Microsoft has announced today that Windows Server 2008 RC1 is available for download!

What’s new in RC1 you ask? 

Microsoft is enhancing Group Policy with Group Policy Preferences, formerly known as  PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Policy Share Manager.  Group Policy Preferences will be available to Microsoft customers in two ways:

  1. Integrated into the Group Policy management tools in Windows Server 2008
  2. Integrated into the forthcoming Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows Vista, which will be available as a separate download in the Windows Server 2008 timeframe and will work in a Windows Server 2003 environment. 

The Client-Side Extensions for GP Preferences are included in Windows Server 2008, and down level versions will be available as a separate download for:

  1. Windows XP Service Pack 2 and above
  2. Windows Vista RTM and above
  3. Windows Server 2003 SP1 and above

Group Policy Preferences provides three major benefits in increasing the manageability of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008:

  1. Further reduces the TCO of your Windows PCs by extending the reach of Group Policy manageability
    • Windows Setting
    • Control Panel Settings
    • Flexibility with how preferences get applied – administrator can initially set the preference and allow the end user to change the setting
    • Reduce images by providing richer configuration within an image
  2. Provides simpler configuration via common user interfaces and reduce the need to create complex configuration scripts
  3. Item-level targeting gives the IT Pro more precise control over the application of preferences

Together with the additional Group Policy management features available in Windows Server 2008, Starter GPOs and search/comment capabilities within the Group Policy Management Console, customers will have a greatly enhanced platform to manage their desktops and servers. 

Download Windows Server 2008 RC1 (It’s also available through TechNET Plus and probably through MSDN)