New Vista version for tech testers

Microsoft has unveiled more details of its forthcoming Vista operating system via the release of its second Community Technology Preview (CTP).

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By  Matthew Wade Published  October 24, 2005

Microsoft has unveiled more details of its forthcoming Vista operating system via the release of its second Community Technology Preview (CTP). Offered only to beta testers and subscribers to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and TechNet, this latest version of the forthcoming desktop platform gives a glimpse of Media Player 11 and new additions to Microsoft’s Windows Security Center. Looking in more detail, this second preview release – known technically as build 5231 - offers: - An advance build of Media Player 11. This multimedia application has been visually enhanced, now includes an incremental search function, and builds in a wizard that has been designed to help users share music, both with other users and other devices. - A pre-release version of Internet Explorer 7. This packs in several new interface features: Maxthon-like tabbed browsing; a variable web page zoom function; a ‘links explorer’ that replaces IE6’s Explorer panes; anti-phishing technology; a different approach to menus (icons rather than headings)l and vastly improved printing support. - New sections within Windows Security Center; namely Spyware Protection and General Security. General Security is designed to give the user a one-glance overview of their system’s security settings, letting them know if new patches are required, better passwords, different sharing preferences etc. The next CPT release of Vista looks set to integrate Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware app into the Spyware Protection section. - All-new Control Panel items, including a new audio control panel, a peer-to-peer function, and new wireless networking options. - Improved diagnostic tools. One new wizard, for instance, has been created to help users cope if an impending system failure is detected, while under Computer Management in Control Panel is what’s called a ‘Reliability Monitor’, which tracks long-term reliability. - In keeping with the fact that many consumer users are now storing large numbers of digital pictures on their PCs, a digital photo manager has been included called - appropriately - enough Microsoft Digital Gallery. - A new Mobility Center has also been added. This groups together various laptop options, including some all-new power management settings, potentially helping mobile users to keep on computing for longer. The release date for Vista beta 2 – which will feature more features and be closer to the final retail version of the Vista OS - has yet to be confirmed. Microsoft is still aiming to ship Vista in the second half of next year.

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