Windows Vista work creeps along with interim build

Microsoft releases an interim build of Windows Vista that improves overall performance.

Microsoft continues to make changes to Windows Vista as the OS creeps along until its scheduled release later this year. The company Monday released an interim build of the OS that improves its overall performance and makes specific tweaks recommended by beta testers.

The release, build number 5472, is now available to Windows Vista Technical Beta program participants, select Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers and Microsoft Developer Network subscribers. About 500,000 users should receive the build, said Mike Burk, a Microsoft product manager for Windows Client.

Specifically, the build makes setting up and controlling a user account on the OS "less chatty," Burk said. "Testers said there were too many prompts and dialogs, so we reduced the number of those," he said.

The build also improves the Windows Media Center feature in the OS so it more quickly shuts down and starts up, Burk said.

In conjunction with the build, Microsoft also released an updated SDK (software development kit) so developers and software vendors can develop applications on top of the new release, he added.

Overall, build 5472 of Vista shows some of the final tweaking Microsoft is making for performance and quality as it prepares to finish Release Candidate 1 of Vista, which is due out by Aug. 31, Burk said. Microsoft is still targeting a final release of Windows Vista for business customers in November, with general availability of the OS on PCs in January 2007.

However, Burk echoed similar sentiments expressed by top Microsoft executives that these release dates are only targets, and the "actual and final dates will be based on quality of the product." It's this kind of talk that has led many to believe the release of Windows Vista will be delayed even further.

To add fuel to that belief, Microsoft recently announced that business customers will have to wait until the end of the year for Office 2007, which has been on a similar release track to Vista and was scheduled to reach business customers in October. The company also pushed the consumer release of Office 2007 a few months beyond its scheduled January 2007 release.

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