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By GCN Staff

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Get your Vista Beta 2 today

Today is the day. Despite what you may have heard other places, Microsoft's Windows Vista Beta 2 actually hits streets today. (Some previous Vista builds were talked about as Beta 2, but they were not, in fact, Beta 2).

Last week, Microsoft came by GCN to drop off our pre-release copy of Vista Beta 2 so we could have a closer look and swore us to secrecy until this morning. Now, after loading the OS in the GCN Lab, it's safe to say what we suspected after Beta 1: Microsoft has a nice little product on its hands here.

"Little" may not be the best word for it. As you've probably read in the IT press, Vista stands to be a resource hog. John Breeden, the GCN Lab director, ran Vista in its various modes, including the so-called Aero interface (which is, indeed, a terrific way to navigate apps and information, with its scrollable 3D representation of windows, and other perks). On a fairly average system, with a 1.7GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, Aero was virtually unusable. To its credit, Microsoft will be telling users they need at least 1GB of RAM, a fast processor, and likely even a decent graphics chip to fully enjoy Vista. Does that mean you have a PC refresh in your future? Could be.

In other modes, however, Vista Beta 2 was a lot snappier than its predecessor, Beta 1. Folders filled with graphic files displayed all related thumbnails almost instantly.

And we remain impressed with Microsoft's measures to improve security. Yes, User Account Controls could use some streamlining (Microsoft itself admits that), but we're not as annoyed by the feature as some.

Look for the Lab's hands-on review of Beta 2 soon, during which, it should be noted, Internet Explorer 7 worked just fine. Guess it's just me.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on May 23, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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