Microsoft announced this week that its User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) tool has hit the near-final Release Candidate (RC) milestone. The firm also revealed that the final version of UE-V will be delivered in Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 by the end of the year.

Microsoft first announced UE-V back in April along with the first beta and then delivered a Beta 2 release in June, just after TechEd.

I think of UE-V as a managed version of Windows 8’s SkyDrive-based settings sync functionality: It allows organizations to centrally store and manage users’ settings and then quickly reapply them to different PCs each time they sign in. This works whether the user is using a traditional desktop install of Windows or accessing their Windows desktop over VDI (where the desktops are virtualized in the firm’s datacenter). Microsoft positions UE-V as a piece of its desktop virtualization puzzle, which also includes technologies like folder redirection, Application Virtualization (App-V), RemoteApp, VDI, Client Hyper-V, and MED-V.

desktop-virt
Microsoft's desktop virtualization strategy

And like App-V and MED-V, UE-V is delivered as part of MDOP, a suite of amazingly useful tools that are currently provided to Software Assurance customers and subscribers to Intune (where MDOP carries a small per-user fee). MSDN and TechNet subscribers can also evaluate and test MDOP.

In two separate blog posts, Microsoft provided some more information about UE-V this week.

Microsoft’s Karri Alexion-Tiernan explains that the firm has added per-user control to UE-V in a post titled In Microsoft Desktop Virtualization: Taking another step forward with UE-V and VDI. “You’ll also notice performance improvements throughout and refinements to some of the settings templates for Office 2010, as well as support for the final release of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012,” she notes.

Stephen Rose expands on a few of these additions in Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) Release Candidate Now Available, noting that the performance improvements include the ability to process settings packages concurrently to help your settings get applied quicker and speed up application launch. He also explains a few new features, including security group synchronization and the ability to upgrade directly from Beta 2 to RC.

I believe this is the first mention we’ve had of MDOP 2012 as well. The current version is MDOP 2011 R2. You can find out more about the suite at the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack site. Since I’ve not formally reviewed MDOP in a while, I’ll be sure to dive deep into MDOP 2012 when its released.