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February 21, 2011

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Availability

Back in January, Gavriella Schuster published a blog post introducing Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. Windows MultiPoint Server is designed to make technology access easier and more affordable for educational institutions. What Windows MultiPoint Server does is a PC’s excess capability to enable a single PC to support multiple users simultaneously. It can be used for in classrooms, labs and libraries. Today, we are happy to announce that the trial for Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is now available on the Microsoft Download Center for download. Later this week, Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 will be available for TechNet and MSDN subscribers to download. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 will be available in 2 editions: Standard and Premium. The difference between the two is that Standard will not support domain-joining and allow for only up 10 stations (or 10 sessions) while Premium is domain-joinable, supports up to 20 stations (or 20 sessions), and supports Hyper-V. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 will be available for purchase by Volume License customers on March 1st with broader availability happening in mid-April.

Last week, I met up with Dean Paron from the Windows MultiPoint Server Team where we shot a video of him talking through Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 and its features. Give it a watch:

It was really exciting to see Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 in action for myself. It was great seeing the type of experience a student would have with Windows MultiPoint Server which provides a Windows 7 desktop experience – at the same time empathize with the realities of what teachers and instructors are up against with limited resources and tight budgets. I can easily see where Windows MultiPoint Server can make a difference. Here are a few features in Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 that I think really impact both student and teach productivity in the classroom:

  • Desktop Thumbnails –Through the Management Console, teachers can orchestrate activities across the classroom including sharing any specific desktop across all stations.
  • Split Screen Capabilities – A single monitor can actually serve as 2 stations by splitting the screen. That means 2 students can share a single monitor. This can encourage collaboration between students. It also can be extremely helpful in places where budgets are tight and monitors aren’t easy to come by.
  • Station Control –Teachers can lock any one or all stations if needed and can also open and close applications too. Teachers also have the ability to allow only certain websites in a “allowed list” through the Management Console.

And there are features that make Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 easy to manage from the IT Professional perspective:

  • Network-connected Stations – Stations can be directly connected to host PC (directly or via USB with devices from partners such as HP) or through the network (wired or wireless!). This enables stations to be set up in a variety of configurations versus having to be clustered close to a host PC.
  • Multiple Windows MultiPoint Servers – Administrators can connect multiple Windows MultiPoint Servers together into “pods” which can then be managed all together through the Management Console. They can make it super easy to manage Windows MultiPoint Servers in a single room or across a building.
  • Domain-join – For places with an existing Windows Server infrastructure with Active Directory in place, Windows MultiPoint Server can be joined to a domain and managed through the same tools that are used to manage all the rest of the PCs on the network (and users).

It was wonderful to get a first-hand look at Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 and its functionality. It was also awesome getting to speak to Dean to get insight on its features and functionality.

We’re on track to make Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 generally available next month. It will be available in Academic Volume License, Open Volume License, and OEM channels which is great as that means more people will have access to Windows MultiPoint Server! I also suggest reading Dean’s blog post on the Windows Small Business Server blog for more details on Windows MultiPoint Server 2011.