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Microsoft updates Vista test build

Slightly updated beta version provided to some current business testers. More widely distributed test version still planned.

Microsoft has provided some of its current business testers of Windows Vista with a slightly updated beta version.

On Saturday, the computer maker provided some of its Technology Adoption Customer partners and technical beta users with Build 5365. The new code, which Microsoft is calling an "External Developer Workstation," does not add any major new features, but does add some performance improvements and device support, Microsoft said Monday.

The company said it has not made any changes to its latest Vista road map, which will see the code development and testing work completed late this year, followed by a launch to consumers in January. Until last month's delay, Microsoft had been planning to have Vista on new PCs in time for this year's holiday buying season.

A more-widespread test version, which Microsoft plans to offer up to about 2 million people, is expected later this quarter. The company declined to say exactly when this quarter it might be released.

With Vista, Microsoft has been offering outsiders far more access to updates. A beta release was issued in July, and the company has provided a series of Community Technology Preview releases designed to let different audiences start testing the operating system. In addition, Microsoft has given broader access to interim updates than it has with past Windows releases.

This is the second time that Microsoft has offered a minor update to the February Community Technology Preview version of Vista, the latest major test release of the software. A similar update was .