Microsoft MED-V 2.0 beta is now public. It's still focused on legacy app compat.

Microsoft has opened the MED-V 2.0 beta to the public.

Microsoft has opened the MED-V 2.0 beta to the public. For those who aren't familiar, MED-V (which stands for "Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization") is like an enterprise version of Windows 7's "XP Mode" feature. The idea is that if you're using Windows 7, you might run into some application compatibility issues which could hold up your migration. One way to address this is to run the non-compatible apps in a Windows XP VM, and that's what MED-V is.

MED-V is based on Microsoft Virtual PC technology with some additional management capabilities Microsoft got when they acquired Kidaro back in 2008. MED-V is not sold as a separate product per se, rather, it's included as part of Microsoft's MDOP license pack (which means a customer needs Software Assurance in order to get it).

MED-V 2.0 has several new features including: (This list is copied directly from Dave Trupkin's post announcing MED-V 2.0 on the MDOP blog)

  • No dedicated MED-V infrastructure to deploy. MED-V 2.0 workspaces are deployed and managed using existing electronic software distribution (ESD) systems, including System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 R2 or higher.
  • Streamlined sign-on to the MED-V workspace. Users can save their passwords for seamless sign-on to the MED-V workspace.
  • Automatic application publishing. New applications deployed to MED-V workspaces, including App-V virtual applications, are available to the Windows 7 host automatically.
  • My Documents and Desktop redirection. Legacy applications work just like locally installed applications when it comes to opening, saving and printing documents.
  • USB device/SmartCard support. USB devices, including thumb drives and Smartcard readers can be shared between the host and applications running in the MED-V workspace.
  • New Internet Explorer redirection options. IT administrators can redirect legacy web applications using wildcards (http://*, sites (, at the page-level ( or by specifying a port (
  • Automated guest hibernation at shutdown. The MED-V workspace is seamlessly suspended when the user logs off or shuts down the Windows 7 host.

What's really interesting about MED-V is how Microsoft is positioning it. When Microsoft first bought Kidaro, I assumed that they might be interested in creating a client-based, VM-based, centrally-managed virtual desktop solution (like MokaFive, RingCube, Virtual Computer, or even VMware ACE). As we've started to see, though, this is clearly not the case.

And in fact we can see that with the focus of Dave's blog post (from which the above list was quoted). In addition to listing the new features, he also wrote "If you have legacy Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6/7 applications that are slowing down your Windows 7 deployment plans, don’t let them stand in your way." Another blog post by Microsoft's Karri Alexion-Tiernan explains how MED-V helps your migration to Windows 7.

So I guess this confirms what we'd assumed: MED-V will not be updated to manage & deliver Windows 7 desktops in new ways. Instead it's just a fancier version of XP Mode which is used simply to get more people to Windows 7. (Although you have to love the irony that the way Microsoft gets more people to Windows 7 is by providing tools to let them keep using Windows XP. :)

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I have a hard time believing that anyone actually uses Med-V. It has to be the worst Type-2 alternative imaginable.

I’m questioning if anyone even from the MDOP team has any faith…

Then again MDOP as a whole seems to be Microsoft’s wastebasket of old discarded technology that doesn’t stand a chance to be competitive on their own. Well, with App-V being the exception to the rule.

By the way, Med-V always makes be laugh. It sounds like a first aid kit, like in “He’s bleeding – hurry up and get the Med-V kit!”). Kidaro also amuses me. It sound like “Guitar” or as “Kitaro” the Japanse band -  


Med-V is not my favorites one (to not say something else ;-)

MDOP is also some usefull "tools" like Advanced Group Policy Management, App-V, Asset Inventory... but which make MDOP really large entreprise focussed...


sorry for the "reload button" on my browser.


Med-V will go nowhere and the strategy remains a desperate attempt to get users to upgrade to Win 7 at additional cost and upgrade to SA. Take IE 6 for example. New options to redirect your old crappy app to a old OS XP, and then charge a customer when App virt technologies are a right answer. MDOP adds not value to SA, hence why if you need SA MS will give it to you for free. App-V should be part of the platform, until then marrying App-V is as stupid as marrying ESX as your only hypervisor. App-V is all that counts in MDOP and MS is not going to innovate there any time soon. Med-V is a point in time for migration so expect nothing there. The original Kidaro vision was not why MS acquired them. If you want that, go to Moka 5.


MED-V isn't bad if you are in a hard place looking for a client side application compatibility solution and just happen to own MDOP at the same time. I don't think the product on its own is a compelling sale for most customers where a product like App-V can seal the deal.

Before calling it a wastebasket I would keep in mind the solution stack isn't all about virtualization. I think Advanced Group Policy Management is another heavy hitter in the bunch that gets overlooked and DART brings some value if you are still doing traditional desktop support. The rest of the product line becomes a little more questionable as I do wonder if DEM will be dropped at some point and how many people actually use AIS.

I do think Microsoft has a bit of a marketing problem with MDOP because usually MDOP is tied to an App-V implementation (based on my experience) and the other products need to make sure they can make compelling arguments as well. I'd personally like to know how much of MDOP are customers using and why.