Microsoft Ships Feature Complete Vista CTP

As promised Microsoft delivered its first feature complete Windows Vista Community Technical Preview (CTP) this week: build 5308. The February 2006 CTP includes Vista features aimed specifically at businesses. Microsoft said this is the first CTP to focus largely on business users.

"Windows Vista is as much of if not more of a business release," said Brad Goldberg, general manager of Windows Client product management during a conference call with journalists and enthusiast Web site operators.

According to Goldberg, Vista will make networks more secure and simplify how businesses complete complicated tasks such as logging on to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) Microsoft is also loosening permission levels so that some tasks such as setting up printers can be accomplished by non administrators.

Other business oriented tools in the February CTP include image based deployment tools that create disk images that can be edited on disk without the need to recreate them from scratch and a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC). The February, CTP is also the first to include several consumer oriented features such as the Windows Sidebar and Welcome Center.

Microsoft says it will ship its next Vista CTP in April. That release, sometimes referred to as Beta 2 or RC0 (release candidate 0), will be made available to the public. Microsoft still expects to ship the final release of Vista in time for the 2006 holiday season, which runs from October through December.