Both the Longhorn Server and Vista client build number is 5270, testers said. Microsoft made the bits for both Windows builds available simultaneously for testers to download from the Microsoft Connect tester Web site.
According to the ActiveWin.com Web site, Microsoft is making a number of different Windows SKUs available as part of the December drop.
Testers can download the Windows Vista client x86 and x64 builds; Windows Longhorn Server x86 and x64 builds; and the Windows Longhorn Server Code x86 and x64.
A Microsoft spokesperson Monday confirmed that participants in the Windows Server "Longhorn" private beta program had received an updated build of Longhorn Server code as part of the Windows Vista CTP (Community Technology Preview).
"As with Windows Server Longhorn beta 1, code will not be available via public channels such as MSDN or TechNet. The goal of this private release is to continue gathering feedback from private beta program participants, including hardware vendors, system builders, software vendors, developers and technology adoption program [TAP] customers. To date, the first and only public build of Windows Server Longhorn was distributed in September at PDC 2005," she said.
Late last month, Microsoft said it was moving away from its policy of issuing monthly CTPs for Windows Vista, and would now release these based instead on the achievement of quality milestones.
As such, it skipped the November build but promised to deliver one before the end of the calendar year, which it did Monday.
CTPs are interim pre-release versions of a Microsoft product that are not beta quality. They represent a snapshot of a product under development at a given time, and are meant for developers, IT professionals and testers who arent afraid to be on the bleeding edge.
Shanen Boettcher, a senior director in Windows client group, confirmed in a media conference call on Monday, as first reported on Friday, that the December release includes a number of new features and user-interface tweaks.
Last week testers said a new defrag module, tight integration of Windows Defender (the product formerly known as Windows Antispyware), and a functional parental-controls filter were all likely to be in the December Vista build.
Boettcher said that security, performance and reliability are the cornerstone of this CTP release, with the inclusion of features like Windows Defender, which facilitates the removal of malware and spyware.
Windows Defender also has a redesigned user interface to make it easier to use and could be run by a standard user, he said.
The firewall now also has bidirectional support and filtering, as well as advanced features around IP SEC for corporations to manage and configure the firewall.