WinInfo Daily Update, June 26, 2006: Microsoft Ships First Post-Beta 2 Build of Vista

Microsoft Ships First Post-Beta 2 Build of Vista

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In the News

- Microsoft Ships First Post-Beta 2 Build of Vista

- Microsoft Drops WinFS, Will Integrate Tech into Other Products

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Ships First Post-Beta 2 Build of Vista

Late Friday, Microsoft shipped Windows Vista build 5456, its first post-Beta 2 version of the next major Windows release. Build 5456 includes many functional improvements beyond Beta 2. In fact, after a weekend of testing the build, I'm concerned that Microsoft didn't wait and release this build as its Vista public release.

Vista build 5456 is the first to showcase Microsoft's quick-install technology: The build installs in 30 minutes, or about half the time of previous builds. In use, the build is more stable and offers much better performance than Beta 2 does.

Although there are no major functional changes, there are quite a few small changes. Microsoft has updated most of the applications, including Movie Maker, to match the Vista look and feel; you can see numerous new icons all around the system. The networking functionality is smarter about detecting public networks and quicker to find home networking resources. Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7 now includes the ability to drag and drop tabs. And Windows shell fans will be delighted to discover that List View is back.

I won't be reviewing build 5456 per se, but I've written up an overview and posted a screenshot gallery, both of which are available at the SuperSite for Windows, at the URL below. I'll be incorporating information about build 5456 into my continuing Beta 2 review.

Microsoft Drops WinFS, Will Integrate Tech into Other Products

On Friday, Microsoft revealed through a corporate blog that it wouldn't deliver its next-generation storage engine, Windows Future Storage, as a separate product as previously planned. Instead, the software giant will ship WinFS technologies as part of other upcoming products, such as with the next version of SQL Server, which is code-named Katmai.

"We aren't pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release," Quentin Clark, a member of the WinFS team, wrote in the WinFS Team Blog. "With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we don't need to deliver a separate WinFS offering."

According to Clark, WinFS work is ongoing at Microsoft. All that's changing is the packaging: Instead of shipping a WinFS deliverable that users could install on client and server versions of Windows, Microsoft will deliver mature WinFS technologies in the near future, then deliver less mature portions later.

This isn't the first major change to the WinFS schedule. Microsoft originally promised WinFS as part of Vista, then last year delayed the WinFS release until Longhorn Server's 2007 launch, promising that WinFS would be integrated with Windows at a later date. Now, it's unclear when or whether that will happen. But Clark suggests that work will continue. "Windows will continue to adopt work as it's ready," he wrote. "We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences--Windows and otherwise."

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