Windows 7 may be some way off but that hasn't stopped Microsoft including a reference to the mooted Vista successor in its enterprise patch product.
It's uncertain why Microsoft has added a reference to 'Windows 7 Client' in the product selection screen of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the free add-on to Windows server software that lets companies feed security updates to their machines.
First reported by Greek blogger Yannis Pantzis, WSUS displays the reference to Windows 7 in the list where administrators choose which software they want to synchronise. That, in turn, determines which updates are downloaded from Microsoft and stored on the WSUS server.
Computerworld US confirmed the appearance of Windows 7 in WSUS. "It was not there at first," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at security vendor nCircle Network Security. "I forced a manual sync with Microsoft and then post sync, [Windows 7 Client] was available from the products selection screen."
Storms also selected Windows 7 in WSUS and forced another manual synchronisation with Microsoft's servers. "It does not appear as though any new updates were downloaded," he reported. "This looks like Microsoft, maybe accidentally, seeded the update servers with the Windows 7 product."
Microsoft was not immediately able to explain why Windows 7 popped up on WSUS.
Windows 7, which Microsoft has started talking about publicly in broad terms only in the last few months, may release the operating system as early as next year, according to statements by some company executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer.