Announced December 19, Microsoft's latest CTP (Community Technology Preview) release of Windows Vista, Build 5270, includes a variety of improvements to security, performance, and the user interface. It also includes updated versions of some of the applications that will ship with the operating system. We took this latest pre-release version of Vista for a test drive in our labs and were generally impressed with its stability, responsiveness, and polish.
Vista still has a long way to go before it ships. But it's clear that Microsoft's developers have been busy in the two months since the prior CTP release, build 5231. Major changes in this build include a new look for the Start button—one that no longer has the "Start" label—improved use of Aero Glass effects like transparency and animation, and integrated Windows Defender (formerly Windows AntiSpyware). There are also updates to Internet Explorer 7 and more to see in Windows Media Player 11.
Although Microsoft still asserts that its goal is to ship Windows Vista in the second half of 2006, its timeline for interim releases has shifted somewhat since the last CTP. Microsoft says that Vista will be essentially feature-complete by the end of this year, but that there will be another CTP release—perhaps as late as February—prior to beta 2. Credit: PC Mag