Latest Windows Vista Preview All Business

Microsoft releases an enterprise-focused CTP; next preview to target broader market.

Microsoft made its latest Community Technology Preview for Windows Vista available to testers on Feb. 22, saying this was an enterprise release that was also feature-complete for the first time.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker also gave information about several deployment tools and imaging technologies that will be made available alongside Vista, including the Windows Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit, the new UserState Migration Tool, and the new image format called Windows Imaging Format, which provides neutrality across languages and form factors.

But Michael Burk, a product manager for Windows Vista, declined to give any information about the software giants plans for future versions of Windows Vista SKUs, saying this will be released shortly.

Brad Goldberg, general manager of Windows Client Product management, also said on a conference call this Windows Vista release is "a business-focused release that will provide significant value for business customers."

But, while this enterprise Vista CTP release is targeted at testers within companies and enterprises, the next CTP release, which will be available next quarter, will be targeted at the broader consumer market, he said.

Microsoft has also, with Windows Vista, moved beyond its previous policy of having a single Beta 2 release. All the CTPs form part of the broader Beta 2 release, Goldberg said, adding that this second beta process will culminate in the CTP release available next quarter.

This enterprise CTP addresses several customer issues, especially around the four main challenges enterprises face when deploying new versions of Windows on their PCs. First is around application compatibility and how the new operating system will impact the existing environment, Goldberg said.

Microsoft developed the Windows Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit alongside the release of Vista, which is a shift for the company. A beta of this will be released at the same time as the next CTP release and will allow organizations to start drilling in and understand overall compatibility in their organizations and what the actual impact will be, Goldberg said.

The UserState Migration Tool, which will be available soon, will help organizations migrate data off existing machines and onto new ones.

The second area of value is around providing a more secure and compliant desktop infrastructure, including investments and work in Internet Explorer to provide a safer browsing experience for users. The third value area is around connecting people to information so they can work smarter, while the last big area of business value is around increasing mobile and remote productivity and helping organizations optimize their IT infrastructure, Goldberg said.