Microsoft contacted me yesterday to notify me about the public beta release of Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP, a software package for people who manage shared computers in universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, public libraries, community technology centers, Internet cafes, rural kiosks, and similar shared locations. The Shared Computer Toolkit for XP doesn't require a server infrastructure but does require that each PC runs XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).
"The Shared Computer Toolkit will specifically help people who do not have the IT knowledge or tools to effectively manage shared computers with a simple user interface and comprehensive documentation and help," a Microsoft representative noted. "IT pros will also find the Shared Computer Toolkit useful. The key benefits of installing and using the Shared Computer Toolkit include easier configuration of shared computers, enhanced protection against security threats, and exceptional reliability."
Pricing for the Shared Computer Toolkit for XP hasn't been determined yet, and Microsoft says that it will provide that information when the release ships later this year. The Shared Computer Toolkit for XP beta is available for public download from the Microsoft Web site.