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Windows Vista available to developers

Members of MSDN and TechNet can download the final code of the new OS. Plus, some testers of Vista will get free copies.

Microsoft has made the final code for Windows Vista available to its developer networks, two weeks ahead of the business launch of the new operating system.

After years of development work and a last flurry of testing, Microsoft finalized Windows Vista last week.

On Thursday, Microsoft made the code for Vista available to subscribers of the MSDN and TechNet developer programs, a milestone that was noted on a number of Windows enthusiast sites.

The software maker plans to offer Vista and Office 2007 to volume license customers on November 30, while consumers will have to wait until January for the latest versions of Microsoft's flagship products.

Meanwhile, the company is giving free copies of Windows Vista to members of its technical beta program who filed at least one bug report during the testing of the operating system. The offer does not apply to technology enthusiasts who downloaded Vista as part of the broader Customer Preview Program.