New IE, Media Player Features Expected to Debut in Windows Vista Refresh

Scoop: Testers will soon have a new Community Technology Preview build, the second one that Microsoft has issued for its next-gen Windows client. Some of CTP2's features include Windows Media Player 11, the resurrected "Sidebar" pane an

Microsoft is poised to release to testers the second Community Technology Preview (CTP) release of Windows Vista, paving the way for a second full-fledged beta, which is now expected in December.

Among the new features which could find their way into the updated build are a number of Internet Explorer 7.0 enhancements; the resurrected "Sidebar" task pane; Windows Media Player 11.0; and new networking functionality.

Robert McLaws, president of Interscape Technologies, said that Microsoft released CTP 2 of Vista on Thursday night. "Build 5231 (aka Windows Vista October CTP), compiled on Oct 4, 2005, was posted to the Connect website a short while ago," McLaws said.

Other beta testers said they did not see the CTP 2 on Microsofts private Connect testers site. But Windows expert Ed Bott clarified that the new CTP 2 build was apparently made available to members of Microsofts Technical Adoption Program (TAP) elite beta-test program, and not to all Connect members..

In any case, Vista CTP 2 should go to a wider group of Windows testers imminently..

Microsofts CTP product builds are not considered to be beta quality. Instead, they are interim snapshots, intended to provide testers with a glimpse of where particular products are, in between full-fledged beta releases. Microsofts developer division has been championing CTP releases for nearly a year. The Windows client and server teams both launched their first CTP builds in September at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

Microsofts current plan is to release a mid-October CTP, followed by a mid-November CTP. In December, the company is looking to deliver the full-fledged Vista Beta 2 release in December, according to partner sources close to the company.

Microsoft officials did not respond to a request for comment on Vista CTP 2 by the time this article was published.

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