The software giant seeks testing from users and says the final code of the OS is targeted to be delivered to business in November and to PC makers and retail in January 2007.
SEATTLEMicrosoft is still aiming for an on-time delivery of its Windows Vista, but in the meantime, it wants as many people as possiblemillions and millionsto take it for a test drive.
Despite suggesting it might delay the OS again if it receives negative feedback from testers, Microsoft executives speaking at WinHEC said the company was working to deliver the final code of its Windows Vista operating system to business in November and to PC makers and retail in January 2007.
It will also deliver a new logo program, designed to help buyers distinguish between basic and premium-level PCs that offer the OS in time for the holiday season.
Despite the potential to delay, Microsoft wants as many people as possible give its Windows Vista Beta 2, released on May 23 to WinHEC attendees and now available as a download, a test drive.
The software giant expects that as many as 2 million people will try it out.
"This is the final big milestone beta were working to offer to the market before the big release," Bryan Koski, a product manager in Microsofts Windows Group, said during a WinHEC presentation in Seattle.
"This is our biggest launch in a decade. Its actually our biggest launch ever."
The company has also devised a series of scenarios under which it says businesses could benefit from deploying the OS and it will use themand encourage PC makers to adopt them as wellin an effort to convince businesses to make the move quickly.
Among them is worker productivity, backed by features designed to make it easier to find and use information by searching across file types on the desktop and across external devices and the network, Koski said.
Click here to read more about early feedback from testers of the Vista beta.
Features such as Client-Side Cache allow a person to do a search on the network and still have access to them when disconnected preview documents without having to open them.
To listen to eWEEKs Podcast about Microsofts "Beta Bonanza," click here.
Although must IT managers arent expecting to make the move for at least a year, while they test out the OS and wait for its first service pack update to be released.
"Deployment is costly," Koski said. "So one of the ways we overcome that is to talk about how we lower the cost of deployment, how we lower management costs."
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John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET News.com, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.