Microsoft released a beta version of what it says is a "highly automated" tool for determining whether third-party software meets the criteria for its Works with Windows Server 2008 program.
The tool can be used by software developers and systems administrators who need to test the applications their companies run for compatibility with Windows Server 2008.
The new operating system, which was code-named Longhorn Server, is expected to be released to manufacturing in next year's first quarter -- a recent change from Microsoft's earlier target of late this year. In the meantime, a Beta 3 version of Windows Server 2008 can be downloaded from the company's Web site.
Ensuring that compatible third-party software is available for Windows Server 2008 is a key factor for Microsoft as it tries to drive demand for the operating system among corporate users.
The release of the new tool follows the company's earlier announcement of a more-rigorous software testing program called Certified for Windows Server 2008, for which there also is a free downloadable testing tool.
Applications that meet the Works with Windows Server 2008 criteria can sport a logo indicating that on the marketing materials created by their vendors. By contrast, companies that want their products listed as being Certified for Windows Server 2008 must pass a test run by an independent testing firm, using the same testing tool that Microsoft offers on its Web site.