A free solution accelerator available for download straight from Microsoft is capable of sniffing out the security holes on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and RTM computers in an IT infrastructure. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.1 was released at the end of June 2008, and is the evolution of the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Solution Accelerator, and in this regard, a tool designed to evaluate infrastructures for complex migration processes including to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. However, at the same time, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.1 released in June can highlight security issues on Vista machines.

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“Whether you are planning to deploy Windows Vista or already did, it is important that you keep security high on your list and make sure that all of your desktops are secured. So, how do you know if your desktops have Windows Firewall settings turned off? What if some desktops do not have Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware software installed? [The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.1] auto-generates a security assessment report on your existing desktops as part of the “Windows Vista hardware assessment” migration report,” explained Baldwin Ng, senior product manager, Solution Accelerators Team.

Via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the Remote Registry Service, or the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.1 will crawl the network and produce an evaluation of machines detected delivering a complete inventory of the hardware and software resources available on the infrastructure. The agentless toolkit will assess the computers’ readiness to integrate technology such as Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Application Virtualization and even Hyper-V. On top of this, the tool can also offer an insight to problem areas in terms of security, through the report generated with the results of the evaluation.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.1 is available for download here.

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More information about Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator is as under.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator is an agentless toolkit that will find computers on a network and perform a detailed inventory of the computers using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the Remote Registry Service, or the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Using this data, MAP will assess and report whether computers can run Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid). Assessments for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista also include device driver availability and recommendations for hardware upgrades that may be required.

MAP includes features for gathering performance metrics from computers you are considering for consolidation using Hyper-V in addition to Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2. Using the performance metrics and a model virtual server host computer, you can generate reports that recommend placement of the physical servers in a virtual server environment.Other new reports include a Security Center Assessment for client computers, a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 inventory report as well as an enhanced virtual machine inventory report to help you assess your virtualization efforts to date.MAP incorporates the assessment features provided by the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Solution Accelerator, including localization of the Windows Vista assessment reports in French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

For home users and users with a few Windows XP computers to migrate, use the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to understand the readiness of your computer for Windows Vista.

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows XP Professional Edition
  • Hardware Requirements:
    • 1.6-GHz or faster processor minimum (dual-core for Windows Vista)
    • 1.5 GB of RAM minimum (2.0GB for Windows Vista)
    • 1 GB of available hard-disk space required
    • 10/100 Mbps network adapter required
  • Software Requirements: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition for storing inventory and assessment data. Microsoft Word 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Excel 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Excel 2007 for generating reports.
  • CPU Architecture: The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator can be installed on 32-Bit and 64-bit versions of any of the supported operating systems.

Direct Microsoft download link

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