[guispeak] Testers Lock Horns with VISTA Beta

  • From: "Christopher McMillan" <chrismcmillan@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 04:23:42 -0400

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        This story was printed from ZDNet News,
        located at http://news.zdnet.com
By Ina Fried
      URL: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5805696.html 

      Microsoft has passed a major milestone with the release of its first full 
test version of Windows Vista, the next generation of its flagship operating 
      As earlier reported, Microsoft is making available a beta version of 
Windows Vista to some testers. The software, released Wednesday, is being 
offered now to about 10,000 testers and will be available shortly to about 
500,000 people who are members of Microsoft's MSDN developer program or its 
Technet program for corporate technology workers. 

      Microsoft said last week that it would have a test version available by 
Aug. 3. At the same time, the company announced the Windows Vista name for the 
operating system, which had been known by its Longhorn code name. General 
availability of Vista is scheduled for next year. 

      Though Microsoft has included a more complete version than past developer 
preview releases, the company stressed that Beta 1 is not aimed at the masses. 

      "Beta 1 is not what I would call deeply interesting, unless you are a 
real bithead," Windows chief Jim Allchin said in an interview. "This beta isn't 
really for even tech enthusiasts. This beta is to test out some of the 
capabilities that we've got, if you will, in the plumbing." 

      The product boasts some of the key features expected to debut with 
Windows Vista, including new searching and organizing abilities, a redesigned 
start menu and an update to the Internet Explorer browser. However, other 
features, such as improved management capabilities for laptops and better photo 
and video handling, are not expected until later test releases. 

      The test version also contains evidence of work Microsoft has been doing 
to make it easier to turn off a Windows PC without fully shutting down, as well 
as other new abilities, such as connecting to a network-connected projector for 
presentations or making changes to Windows settings without permanently logging 
in as an administrator. 

      Many of the other changes are even deeper under-the-hood shifts designed 
to make it easier for businesses to manage and deploy large numbers of PCs. 
Beta 1 includes a "task scheduler" that can be set to kick in when a particular 
condition arises, (when, for example, disk space gets low and MP3 files need to 
be deleted). 

      And though the interface is not necessarily indicative of what the final 
Windows Vista desktop will look like, Beta 1 does contain some of the "glass" 
windows and transitions that will be part of the operating system's new look 
and feel. 

      Windows Vista is scheduled to ship in its final form in time to be on PCs 
that sell during next year's holiday shopping season. The company has not set a 
time frame for the second beta version, but a more modest update to Beta 1 is 
planned for Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in September. That's 
likely to be the first in a number of interim updates that Microsoft releases 
in between its major Beta versions. 

      "We plan to make interim builds more broadly available than we have 
previously," Sullivan said. 

      Along with the test version of the new Windows, Microsoft is also making 
available to the same group of testers a beta version of Internet Explorer 7 
for Windows XP. The test version includes support for tabbed browsing and the 
ability to view Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. 

      Microsoft lead product manager Greg Sullivan said Microsoft is not 
planning for a downloadable version of IE 7 to be made publicly available until 
Beta 2. 

      "We'll really be ready to do broader end user testing around Beta 2," 
Sullivan said. The company has not said when that version will arrive. 

      The IE 7 beta for Windows XP also features a new antiphishing feature 
designed to protect users from known scams and potentially malicious sites. The 
phishing protections will also be part of the final Vista browser, but they're 
not part of Beta 1 of Windows Vista. 

      For sites Microsoft knows to be reported phishing sites, IE will display 
a warning screen rather than going directly to the site. A message will appear 
that says the site is recognized as a phishing-scam site and that recommends 
users "not continue to this Web site." A dialog box suggests users close the 
Web page but also lets them continue on if they choose. 

      Sites that are not known to be scam sites but that appear questionable 
are labeled as "suspicious," with a yellow box in the upper right hand corner, 
near the Web address. 

      Deep inside the operating system are two key changes to the way Windows 
works. One, a new Web services architecture code-named Indigo, has been renamed 
the Windows Communication Foundation. The company has also renamed the Avalon 
graphics engine, which is now known as the Windows Presentation Foundation. 
Both are part of Beta 1 of Windows Vista, and Microsoft also plans to make both 
available separately as add-ons to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. 

      Microsoft is also testing an early beta of Longhorn Server, the next 
version of its server operating system, which is not expected to arrive in 
final form until 2007. 


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