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Just when you thought there would be no more 8.1/R2 Previews, Microsoft comes out with yet another one.  This time it’s the Windows Management Framework 4.0 Preview.

“What’s that?”

Well.. it’s basically the updated tools for installing on older operating systems, for the sake of managing them with the newer tools.  For example, if you're running Windows Server 2012 and you want to remotely manage your Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2 machines from Server Manager, you’ll need to install the WMF on those managed servers.

Here’s the description of the WMF 4.0 Preview from the download page:

Windows Management Framework 4.0 Preview includes updates to Windows PowerShell, Windows PowerShell ISE, Windows PowerShell Web Services (Management OData IIS Extension), Windows Remote Management (WinRM), Windows Management Infrastructure (WMI), the Server Manager WMI provider, and a new feature for 4.0, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC).

So now, with the recent release of the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, the team that build’s the WMF is anxious for you to also preview their toolset.  Try out new PowerShell features on your older operating systems (like Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration).  Remotely manage your older servers from Server Manager running in Server 2012 R2.

“Cool!  What operating systems can I install this on?”

From an e-mail I received on the subject:

Windows Management Framework 4.0 Preview contains updated functionality available for installation on Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1, and Windows Server 2012. Note that WMF 4.0 Preview does not install on Windows 8. However, you can obtain the updated functionality included in WMF 4.0 by installing Windows 8.1 which is available as a free update for Windows 8.

So try it out, and share what you think of it in the comments.