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Summer test of Longhorn Server planned

Microsoft is expected to disclose in August more about beta version that's intended to make the OS easier to use and more secure.

Though the next version of Windows Server is not expected until 2007, Microsoft said Thursday that it's on track to deliver a beta version of the operating system this summer.

A company representative would not give a specific date for the release of the beta version, but a moderator on a Microsoft Web chat on Wednesday said the company plans another chat in August to talk about Beta 1. Microsoft is also planning a summer beta of the desktop version of Longhorn, which is scheduled to arrive in final form in the second half of next year.

In March, a Microsoft representative said the company was planning a beta of Longhorn Server for later this year but did not provide specifics.

Windows Server boss Bob Muglia has previously said that Longhorn Server will bring several changes. One area of focus is making the OS easier to tailor to the specific role that a server is performing, such as Web server or file and print server. In doing so, Microsoft hopes the OS will be easier to use and more secure.

Other planned features include improvements in terminal services and rights management, along with new management features and changes that Muglia said will reduce the need for system reboots.

During Wednesday's Web chat, Muglia also hinted that Microsoft may be considering a home version of its server OS at some point.

"We are always looking for new opportunities where server technology can be leveraged, and the home definitely represents an exciting new area that we are looking at along with many others," Muglia said. "Much of the great storage, replication and management technology would be great in a home. We have seen many people install Small Business Servers at home, which really works quite well."

A Microsoft representative declined to comment further on any home server plans.