Microsoft released a “Customer Preview” of Vista today, which is available to the general public. Previously, Vista has been in private beta testing. According to C|Net, Microsoft is still planning a January release.
Casual users beware, Microsoft warns that the beta version is not yet ready for primetime:
“This is beta code and should not be used in a production environment or on a main machine in the home. Beta 2 is intended for developers, IT professionals and technology experts to continue or begin their testing of Windows Vista. Before you decide to use Beta 2, you should feel comfortable with installing operating systems, updating drivers, and general PC troubleshooting. Some risks of using beta operating systems include hardware and software incompatibility and system instability. If you have concerns about installing this beta software on your computer, we encourage you to obtain the final release version of Windows Vista when it is available in 2007.”
I will probably install the beta on one of my extra computers this weekend. If I do, I’ll post the results and my thoughts.