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No Vista Beta 2 this year

Testers won't get hands on the second beta of the next Windows until early 2006, Microsoft says.

The second beta of Windows Vista will not come until next year, Microsoft said Tuesday.

The software maker did not give a time frame for the release of Beta 2 of the operating system, and said only that it would have more to say next year. Microsoft had not said when Beta 2 will come, but some had expected it might come in December or January.

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Microsoft Windows V.P. Amitabh Srivastava. His team relies on internal and external user feedback.
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Microsoft did say it still plans to release the final version of Vista in the second half of next year.

"First and foremost, we are still on track for general availability in the second half of calendar year 2006," said Amitabh Srivastava, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Windows unit.

Microsoft also said Tuesday that it will end the monthly schedule for interim Community Technology Preview updates of the Vista code. The third CTP release, planned for November, now will not happen until December, it said.

The company offered up the first of the community technology previews in September at its Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles. Monthly updates were promised, and an updated version was released in October. A more traditional test release, Beta 1, was issued in July.

Microsoft has not used CTPs with past operating systems, instead relying on a couple of beta releases. The software maker has used CTP releases with other products, such as its Visual Studio developer tools software.

Srivastava said that the feedback Microsoft is getting from the CTP releases makes the timing of the next beta less critical. "The Beta 2 is still an important milestone for broad customer testing, but it is less urgent," he said.

He added that by shifting away from a monthly CTP release schedule, Microsoft hopes it will be able to more quickly add in new features. "The changes we are making will provide a feature-complete Windows Vista to our customers sooner," Srivastava said.

He reiterated that Microsoft plans to continue having frequent, if not monthly, CTP releases. "They are going to be often."

Microsoft also reiterated its plans to deliver the server companion to Vista, code-named Longhorn Server, in 2007.