Microsoft Delivers Windows Server R2 Beta 2

Redmond moves ahead with its next version of Windows Server, which is still due to ship before the end of this year.

Microsoft Corp. officials told beta testers on Thursday that the second beta release of its Windows Server 2003 R2 update is now available for download.

Microsoft made the R2 Beta 2 bits available on its Betaplace Web site.

R2 is a fairly minor version of Windows Server, built on the recently released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) code base. R2 integrates a number of the myriad Windows Server 2003 feature packs that Microsoft has shipped since April 2003, plus adds a few new features.

Among the new features slated for inclusion in R2: a new file migration tool kit; simple-SAN management tools; a new storage-resource-management subsystem (code-named Corral); and centralized file and print management facilities.

The R2 release is slated to ship by the end of calendar 2005.

Microsoft announced Beta 1 of R2 in December. There were about 1,500 testers who got the initial Beta 1 drop, Microsoft officials said. Since then, Microsoft added 1,300 more testers to the R2 ranks.

Build 1939 is the official R2 Beta 2 version number, testers said. But Microsoft recently identified R2 Build No. 1927 as the "Beta 2 Escrow Build."

According to testers, who requested anonymity, Build 1927 included a number of changes from the Beta 1 build. (These changes are still part of 1939, testers said.)

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