Microsoft kicked off the beta 2 testing cycle for Windows Vista on Wednesday with the release of its planned Enterprise Community Technology Preview (CTP) for businesses.
The Enterprise CTP, the first feature-complete test version of Vista, is one of two CTPs that Microsoft plans to make available to roughly 500,000 testers as part of the unofficial beta 2 process. The Redmond, Wash., company last month detailed its plans for a two-phased beta 2 process.
Microsoft said the Enterprise CTP offers many features designed to reduce the cost and complexity of desktop deployment, as well as improve browser and data security, mobile and remote productivity, and the way people are connected to corporate data. For example, the code offers a standard corporate imaging format to reduce the number of images administrators need to support, a more intuitive way to search information, faster on/off speed for laptops, a new mobility center and the ability to access terminal server applications without a VPN.
Microsoft told business users and partners to focus their testing on the new corporate-oriented features in this Vista build. Still, the company warned customers and partners to watch out for application incompatibility issues that will crop up as a result of the new user account feature.
Next quarter, Microsoft plans to make the second CTP of Windows available to between 1 million and 2 million consumers before it ships the release candidate next fall and the final code by the end of 2006.