Microsoft is revving up the Windows Vista Beta 2 engine this
week with a whole slew of announcements, white papers, tools, and of course the
Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) aimed at getting all of us back on
the bandwagon! Let’s take a closer look.

Bill Gates introduces Windows Vista Beta 2

At WinHEC on May 23, Bill Gates
announced that along with the release of Windows Vista Beta 2, Microsoft is
also releasing Beta 2 of Windows Server Longhorn as well as Beta 2 of 2007
Microsoft Office system. Here’s an excerpt from that speech:

Today is a milestone
for us in terms of the huge investment and big innovation going into the next
major version of Windows, and all of the complementary products.
We’re actually announcing today the beta of three major products. You can say
the three most important Microsoft products, and we’ve never had this
synchronized in this way before, and we think that’s a great thing for us in
terms of seeing how they work together, and then for customers as it comes time
for them to roll these things out. So, very specifically, Windows Vista Beta 2
is coming out today. The Windows Server, Longhorn Beta is coming out today.
And, likewise, what was called Office 12, but now the 2007 Office System coming
out. Each of these is a very, very important product, and they all fit within
some very common themes in terms of what we’re doing.

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You can read the entire
or watch a video of
the event.

Kernel improvements

As all of us Windows veterans know by now, having a solid operating
system kernel is the key to stability. One of the things that Microsoft is
touting with the release of Windows Vista Beta 2 is that they have made
substantial enhancements to the kernel at the core of the Windows Vista. For
more on the Windows Vista kernel, take a look at the white paper “Kernel
Enhancements for Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn.

What’s new in Beta 2?

Even if you’ve been following the development of the Windows
Vista operating system for a long time now, you’re probably wondering just what
exactly is new in Beta 2? Well to help us answer that
question, Microsoft PressPass has put together the Microsoft
Windows Vista Beta 2 Fact Sheet
to help us all zero in on what Microsoft is
considering to be the key points in Beta 2.

Get the comprehensive guide

If you want to get the whole story on Windows Vista, then
you need to take a look at the comprehensive “Windows
Vista Product Guide
“. And when Microsoft says
“comprehensive” they aren’t kidding. This Word document weighs in at

However, it does cover almost all of the features and
functions that make up Windows Vista as well as detailed information about the
different editions (SKUs) that will be available.

Take the test

One of the most controversial issues surrounding Windows
Vista has to do with the hardware requirements necessary to access the full
potential of the new operating system including its high-powered graphics
system. Well, now you can determine how well you current system will fare if it
were tasked with running Windows Vista today by downloading the beta version of
the Windows
Vista Upgrade Advisor
. This tool is designed to help you determine if your current PC is ready for an upgrade to Windows Vista. In
addition it will help you to choose the edition of Windows Vista that’s right
for your needs.

Getting a new system?

If you discover that your current system won’t be able to
power Windows Vista you may want to consider a new system in the near future.
If so, you’ll want to know the difference between a Windows Vista Capable PC
and a Windows Vista Premium Ready PC. To get the scoop, you need to visit the Windows
Vista Capable and Premium Ready PC page


Microsoft is pumping up the Windows Vista Beta 2 volume with
lots and lots of information. I’ve pointed out links to a lot of this
information and I’m sure that by the time you visit these sites, there will be
a lot more. As always, if you have comments or information to share about the
Beta 2 or any of the Windows Vista information I’ve mention, please take a
moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us hear.