Want to try Vista before you buy it? Microsoft now has a free online "test drive" of its Windows Vista operating system in its latest effort to fight software piracy and counterfeiting. Users can access the preview of Vista on a Windows test drive site, said Cori Hartje, director of the company's Genuine Software Initiative (GSI). The test drive sets up a virtual environment that shows users what running Vista is like via a legitimate way of testing the software rather than going out and buying a counterfeit copy or pirating a genuine version, she said.
Though users won't be downloading all of Vista by going to the site, some software will be installed locally on their machines because the site needs to communicate with users that way, Hartje said. The test drive also will assess a user's hardware and evaluate what upgrades need to be made to run the OS. In addition, Microsoft has offered customers a free preview of Office 2007.