Several months ago, our team launched the Vista Test Drive ( in time for the Office Vista Launch. The Vista Test Drive is a great way to try out some of the features of Vista without having to download or install the trial software on your computer using a guided hands-on Virtual Lab. You can also see the features demonstrated in a mini-screencast demo.

So, why is the Vista Test Drive format important? When I was at TechEd, the top two feedback comments I heard from you was make it easier to get into the Webcasts and Virtual Labs and make them easier to find. With Vista Test Drive the registration is much easier - you enter your e-mail just once up front and once you're in the Vista Test Drive you can try out the videos and the Virtual Labs without having to re-register. I realize that it can be a pain to get into our Webcasts and Virtual Labs right now - you need to navigate several pages before you get to watch the Webcast or evaluate the product online. We don't have a silver bullet yet, but we're getting better.

Also, we made it easier to find the content based on the important product features and the audience (Small Business and Mid-Size Business for this version). I think this drives users through the content much more seamlessly and we don't just drop you into a landing page with a laundry list of resources. How we tackle the 6000 Webcasts in our archive will be a different matter, but for now, I think this is a step in the right direction.

The response has been hugely successful. The number of people watching the videos and trying out the Virtual Labs has exceeded our expectations. Try it out, let me know what you think and look for new versions of Test Drive for some of our other products in the near future. (Requires IE6  - available in US and Canada only).

 Scott Lum