Microsoft has just released a new build of Windows Vista for technical beta testers. Windows Vista Build 5456 offers many security, functionality, and performance advantages over the previous build (Beta 2 – build 5384.4). Vista Build 5456 is quite a large leap number-wise, and according to Microsoft, in features and performance as well.
Some of the new features include a revamped Aero/DWM subsystem, and a completely overhauled and significantly less obtrusive UAP for all those that couldn’t stand the previous one. From what we have been told by Microsoft, the Time Zone bug that plagued all most all previous builds of Windows Vista has been patched, and quite a few fixes in the Regional Settings and IME have been patched.
Paul Thurrott on Friday had the big picture:
Give Microsoft some credit: Though Windows Vista has been delayed innumerable times and has suffered through some horrific growing pains, the company just keeps plugging away. And now that the lackluster Beta 2 release is out the door, Microsoft intends to ship monthly builds to testers in the form of Community Technical Preview builds, the first of which should appear any day now (they’re in the 54xx build number range). Meanwhile, consumers who signed up for the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) and installed and activated Vista Beta 2 will be eligible to receive the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) version of Vista when it ships in, oh, say, August. The idea here is to put these pre-release versions of the product in front of as many eyeballs as possible during the time period where Microsoft is doing performance and fit-and-finish work. Hey, it can only get better.
Unfortunately, better is a relative term.
Update: Paul Thurrott has kicked the tires on build 5456 and says it really is better:
But what we get in build 5456 is dramatic improvement in reliability, usability, performance, and fit and finish. It is, quite simply, the build Microsoft should have shipped as Beta 2 to millions of people around the world. This build is so much better than Beta 2, in fact, that I’m begging the company to offer it to everyone that signed up for the public beta through the Community Public Preview (CPP).