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Microsoft updates slimmed-down Windows

Revamped Windows N software will be available to computer makers next week in five languages. Photo: In this Windows, N means 'no'

As part of its effort to assuage European authorities, Microsoft has made changes to its Windows XP N--the slimmed-down version of the operating system it was ordered to offer last year.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that the revamped software will be made available to computer makers next week in five language versions and will be available for retailers July 1. Ten additional language versions will go on sale in July, Microsoft said. The software will be available in Home and Professional editions and is priced the same as the full-featured versions.

Windows N

The software maker was ordered to offer a version of Windows without a bundled media player last year as part of the European Commission's wide-ranging order against Microsoft. The new changes to that version came as part of Microsoft's effort to appease regulators in Europe, who have charged that Microsoft has not fully complied with the year-old order.

One of the most visible changes is the name of the software itself. Microsoft had originally wanted to call the software "Reduced Media Edition," but changed it in March to Windows XP N after European regulators objected.

The new retail box for the software includes an explanation of what the N stands for, noting in a starburst box that XP Home Edition N means "Not with Windows Media Player."

Changes under the hood are relatively modest. Microsoft said it has agreed to a change requested by RealNetworks in how certain media file types are registered in Windows. Microsoft has removed sample music files from the My Music folder, as well as access to Windows Movie Maker.

Microsoft also said it will make available from its Web site a media pack that will restore all of the standard Windows XP files that have been removed in the N edition, should users wish to regain those features.

The software maker released the original Media Player-less version to computer makers in January, but thus far no PCs are shipping with the software, according to a Microsoft representative.