Paul's Picks: SharePoint 2010 and Windows Virtual PC

SharePoint 2010

Pros: Somewhat improved UI for admins and users; many functional additions; can host Office Web Applications internally

Cons: 64-bit requirement could shut out smaller shops; doesn't support IE 6

Rating: Four out of five stars

Recommendation: Microsoft’s collaboration and document management server defies simple description. It's a corporate intranet portal solution, a blogging tool, an online document repository, and a knowledge worker collaboration platform all in one, and it's successfully used for public-facing websites. Now it can even host an internal version of Office Web Apps in tandem with Microsoft SQL Server. It works nicely with non-Microsoft browsers but not, go figure, with IE 6. SharePoint is as big and hairy as ever, but the sheer variety of functionality it offers is astonishing.

Contact: Microsoft

Discussion: SuperSite for Windows

Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode (Update)

Pros: Free, no longer requires hardware virtualization support; XP apps run side-by-side with Win7 apps; many users get a free version of Windows XP to run virtually

Cons: Performance isn't great; not as full-featured as rival virtualization solutions

Rating: Three out of five stars

Recommendation: Microsoft's middle-of-the-road Windows Virtual PC (WVPC) had three things going for it when it was released in late 2009: It was (and still is) free. Users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate got a free, licensed copy of Windows XP to run virtually (XP Mode). And it offered a semi-seamless way to run (virtualized) Windows XP applications side by side with native Windows 7 applications. Fast forward to mid-2010 and WVPC no longer requires virtualization support in the BIOS and CPU of the computer. But you can't run 64-bit OSs virtually, and if you're looking for a good Help desk or developer solution, WVPC doesn't fit the bill. WVPC and XP Mode are what they were last year: Decent but not best in class.

Contact: Microsoft

Discussion: SuperSite for Windows

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