In a move expected to reduce Windows customers' total cost of ownership, Microsoft has acquired Winternals Software, an Austin, Texas, company that produces system recovery software and runs a website offering freeware tools and source code related to the operating system.

Financial terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed, according to a joint statement from the two companies. The acquisition will reinforce Microsoft's "promise" to lower cost of ownership for Windows customers.

Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, who founded Winternals 10 years ago, will join Microsoft, the statement said. Russinovich will serve as a technical fellow in the Microsoft Platforms and Services Division, and Cogswell will take on the role of software architect on the Windows Component Platform Team.

"The work (Russinovich) and (Cogswell) have completed in system recovery and data protection illustrates the depth of thinking and skill they will bring to future versions of Windows," said Jim Allchin, co-president of the Platform and Services Division at Microsoft. "The addition of their deep kernel-level expertise to our existing strong talent will provide us with the edge we need to continue to raise the quality and functionality bar for Windows on both the client and the server."

Russinovich said he is anxious to join Microsoft because of its grasp on the market.

"I witness regularly the profound impact that even a few lines of code can have in a world of globally connected systems," he said. "The technologies that sustain and enhance business, health, commerce and entertainment are emerging from platforms that Microsoft creates."