There will be no single, catch-all Beta 2 of Vista, according to Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsofts Platform Products & Services Division in Redmond, Wa.
Instead, Microsoft is planning to rely increasingly on CTP (Community Technology Preview) builds to get its feedback from Windows testers.
Allchin, who was on a cross-country press and analyst tour this week, stumping for Vista and Longhorn Server, was showing off the December CTP build of Vista, released in mid-December, as well as some of the features in what is likely to be the next CTP, timed to hit some time in the first calendar quarter of this year.
In Microsoft parlance, CTPs are interim test releases that represent a product snapshot in time. They are usually less stable than traditional beta releases.
When Microsoft first launched the Windows CTP program last year, company officials said they hoped to deliver monthly Vista CTPs. But it now seems Microsoft is moving toward more of a quarterly CTP delivery schedule.
The December CTP, Build 5270, which Microsoft released to testers in mid-December, is the "partner" CTP, Allchin said.