Microsoft’s use of virtual machines to distribute evaluation versions of software saves the end user much of the pain of having to configure test systems. However, it also introduces a new quality control issue by exposing the full dimension of data that was on the system when the virtual machine’s disk image was created, and last month, that issue caught Microsoft off guard.
The company began making disk images, or Virtual Hard Drives (VHDs), with evaluation versions available on a limited basis in 2005 and more generally accessible through Microsoft TechNet in November 2006, and had provided a way for partners to build their own prepackaged software stacks, using the Virtual PC technology it acquired from the now-defunct Connectix in 2003.
SD Times in December learned that at least one of the machine images available for download at TechNet did not have its free space wiped, and files thought deleted proved recoverable from an evaluation copy of the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image.
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