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.

SuperSite for Windows.