Microsoft Corp. is working on a new Windows-based operating system designed to help companies make older machines run better.
The software, code-named Eiger, will look and feel like much like Windows XP and will be equipped with Service Pack 2, a major security upgrade released last summer, said Barry Goffe, a group product manager for Microsoft's Windows client unit.
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The idea behind Eiger came from businesses and school systems that said they couldn't afford to replace an old fleet of computers but wanted machines running Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT to be more secure and easier to manage.
"Those operating systems we no longer service, so if there's a security vulnerability, we usually don't send out security patches," Goffe said.
Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software.
Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has distributed preview copies of Eiger to about two dozen customers, but has not said when the software will be released or how much it will cost.
Goffe said Microsoft will continue to recommend that the best way to get more out of any operating system is to replace computers when they get old.