Last week, I reported that Microsoft was prepping a Windows Vista interim build to deliver to beta testers and Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners. That build has been delayed, but is still coming: Microsoft now plans to ship Vista build 5365 within the week.
Curiously, after posting my report last week, a number of other Web sites posted information about an interim build, including screenshots purporting to be of Vista build 5361. I have no information about the validity of those reports, but I can tell you that build 5365 is still happening, and will be delivered soon. Reports that the interim build is not happening are false.
"We are considering releasing updated Windows Vista code to Windows Vista Technical Beta program participants as well as select TAP customers, but do not have a date to share at this time," a Microsoft representative confirmed. "As you know, in addition to the CTPs, we sometimes provide a select group of testers with current pre-release versions of Windows Vista based on their feedback and testing needs. These builds are not CTPs. As we have said, the next CTP will conclude the Beta 2 process and will be called Beta 2. We are on track to deliver Beta 2 in the second quarter of this year."
Build 5365 will include major changes to the User Account Protection (UAP) feature, my sources tell me. It is now linked to something called "Secure Desktop," which is what the CTRL+ALT+DEL keyboard shortcut will now trigger as well. Microsoft changed the behavior of UAP in order to bypass a potential flaw in the original implementation. It's unclear whether such a major change at this late stage will cause any further delays in Vista's schedule.
Other new features in build 5365 include major changes to Windows Backup and the Windows Recovery Environment, and a further deemphasizing of the virtual folders/saved searches functionality, which drops almost all support for keywords.
Additionally, Microsoft is preparing to finalize Windows Vista Beta 2 (currently set to be build 5372) on May 22, two days earlier than the previous schedule. Microsoft is planning to distribute Beta 2 at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), which is being held that week in Seattle.
For more information about Windows Vista, you should check out the recently posted conclusion to my Vista February CTP/Build 5342 review, Where Vista Fails, in which I point out the various broken promises and missing features that making Vista a disappointing upgrade.