The next iteration of Microsoft's desktop management software, formerly called Systems Management Server 2003, was released to manufacturing today.
The new release candidate, now known as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) v5, lets IT managers remotely fix a turned off PC. In addition, SCCM v5 integrates with Network Access Protection, which is a quarantine feature in Windows Server 2008 that updates a PC before it is allowed to connect to the network.
The release candidate is available for download on TechNet. Desired Configuration Management, which lets IT managers build standard configurations for groups of users and checks to make sure those configurations remain in check, and a revamped wizard-based console are also part of the release candidate.
Other enhancements to the desktop management software include integration with Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager, SoftGrid application virtualization, BitLocker, Windows Deployment Services and Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit.
SCCM v5 also automates Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista deployments.