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A New Vista: Microsoft Releases Vista Beta 1

Windows Longhorn, now known by its final name, Windows Vista, took its first highly visible development step today, entering widespread beta testing. Windows Vista Beta 1 was released this morning to manufacturing, and will be distributed to IT pros, analysts, and the press this week.

Microsoft's Brad Goldberg, General Manager for the Windows client, noted that what's new in Windows Vista Beta 1 over previous pre-release editions is largely focused on IT functionality, including security, deployment, manageability, reliability and diagnostics. Most of the major end-user changes are not scheduled to be incorporated until Beta 2.

TechWeb obtained a late pre-release of Beta 1 last week, and we've been testing it for several days now. Microsoft also briefed the press last week on some areas where we can expect to see changes, both in Beta 1 and later in Beta 2.

Microsoft also posted a handful Windows Vista Beta 1 images on its PressPass Web site. They don't tell the whole story, but you might find them interesting.

At Last, Internet Explorer 7.0

Among the more evident improvements from Windows XP is the inclusion of Internet Explorer 7.0 with real tabbed browsing. IE7 includes basic configuration options for tabbed browsing (such as an on/off setting), and an easy way to click to get a new tab window. Although a few more tab-browsing configuration options and mouse-click shortcuts might have been preferred by IE users, the basic functionality as shown in the Beta 1 pre-release is at least as good as Firefox's plain-vanilla tab-browsing features.

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