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Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 Fact Sheet
An overview of the features included in Windows Vista Beta 2.

May 23, 2006

Microsoft Corp. has released Windows Vista™ Beta 2 to developers and IT professionals with Microsoft® Developer Network (MSDN®) and TechNet subscriptions, as well as to members of the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and the TechBeta program. Microsoft will also make Windows Vista Beta 2 more broadly available in the coming weeks as part of the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP). Microsoft is aiming for business availability of Windows Vista in November 2006, and general consumer and new PC availability in January 2007.

Windows Vista Beta 2 for the Enterprise

Windows Vista will help businesses empower their people to be successful in several critical ways. Windows Vista delivers value for business customers by simplifying communication with co-workers through mobility and collaboration improvements, finding information through improvements to search and organize capabilities, and reducing IT complexity and cost through enhancements to application compatibility, deployment and security. With Windows Vista Beta 2, Microsoft has focused on improving the experience, reliability and overall quality of Windows Vista in these areas, providing a more complete and productive testing environment for customers.

Enabling the Mobile Workforce to Stay Better Connected and Be More Effective

Mobility: New tools are designed to help organizations realize the benefits of mobile computing. Examples include the following:

Windows® Meeting Space. Windows Meeting Space, the new collaboration feature in Microsoft Windows Vista, is a simple yet powerful tool that enables face-to-face collaboration among small groups of Windows Vista users, anytime and anywhere.

Windows SideShow™. Windows SideShow is a new platform that supports secondary screens that original equipment and general hardware manufacturers can include in their designs for portable computers, keyboards, mobile phones, remote control units and other devices.

Better touch and tablet technology. Windows Vista provides a new set of features that will make Tablet PCs more useful for mobile workers, such as better-integrated pen support, touch-screen support, digital ink input, and new handwriting-recognition technologies.

Find, organize and use information more effectively:Windows Vista is designed with a variety of enhanced tools and features to help IT pros make it easy for users to find, share and use critical business information.

New Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection. This provides IT administrators with a way to store user data and settings on a central server more securely and efficiently, allowing them to manage, secure and back up desktop and laptop user data against loss. This allows users with multiple computers or kiosk connections to keep documents, media and favorites in sync wherever they are.

Instant Search. This search field, available throughout Windows Vista, enables users to search by a file name or property or even text contained within a file. It quickly returns pinpointed results based on these criteria. Instant Search is also contextual, optimizing its results based on current activity, whether it is searching Control Panel applets for music files in Windows Media® Player 11, or all files and applications in the Start Menu.

Search Folders. Search Folders are saved “searches” that are instantly run once they are clicked. Users can easily save their customized Search Folders and view their files and e-mail in many flexible ways.

Streamlining desktop deployment and management: With Windows Vista, enterprise customers will have access to Microsoft’s advanced deployment technologies and will be able to take advantage of best-practice guidance and solutions for deploying the new operating system.

Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) Solution 3.0: A beta version of the BDD 3.0 is scheduled to be available for download in June to enterprise customers. This BDD solution encompasses and builds on the entire Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) suite of deployment tools first released in February.

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. The Upgrade Advisor beta is a tool designed for consumers and small businesses that tests for hardware, device, driver and application compatibility on current systems.

Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) Version 5.0 beta. Microsoft is releasing the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 beta at the same time as the release of Windows Vista Beta 2, allowing enterprises to immediately begin working on their Windows Vista deployment planning. The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit beta is designed to assist customers in understanding the scope of their application environment, identify applications that will need enhancements, and help fix applications issues. New features in ACT 5.0 include the following:

Program Compatibility Assistant. This tool offers end-users recommended compatibility changes for applications written specifically for Windows XP that fail during the installation process.

Online Community Compatibility Exchange. IT professionals can provide immediate feedback to Microsoft and ISVs on their own application compatibility experience, while sharing this information with other IT professionals. In addition, ISVs can deliver critical compatibility information to their customers for multiple versions of their applications.

Microsoft Standard User Analyzer. This application compatibility tool helps developers and IT professionals diagnose issues that would prevent a program from running properly without administrator privileges. Using the Standard User Analyzer to test applications can identify issues with file access, registry access, tokens, and more, and will then return the results in a graphical interface for developers.

Improving Security and Protecting Corporate Data:Windows Vista helps keeps individual PCs running smoothly and more securely, and provides organizationwide system protection.

User Account Control. User Account Control in Windows Vista increases security and improves TCO by lowering the barriers to using Windows without administrator privileges. Standard users can now perform more tasks and enjoy higher application compatibility. This helps reduce the impact of malware, the installation of unauthorized software, and unapproved system changes.

Internet Explorer Protected Mode. Internet Explorer® Protected Mode helps protect users from malicious Web sites by restricting the browser's ability to modify user or system files and settings.

Windows Firewall. Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is centrally manageable through Group Policy and provides advanced new capabilities to help better protect an organization’s network and PCs from malicious attacks.

Windows Vista Beta 2 for Enthusiasts

Windows Vista makes finding information, staying connected, and interacting with PCs much easier than in the past. Windows Vista lets users enjoy their digital entertainment more by simplifying and improving the way they use, organize and share photos, video, TV, home movies and music. It even makes it easier and more fun to play PC-based games. Windows Vista includes innovative mobility and connectivity features that enable mobile users to use it more effectively than ever. Finally, Windows Vista simplifies the setup of PCs and is designed to be dramatically more reliable and secure compared to any previous version of Windows. Whether it is used for balancing a checkbook, studying for school, watching a movie, listening to music, or playing a game, the experience will be better on a PC running Windows Vista.

Simplified setup and innovative security and reliability features: Windows Vista makes a PC safer and more reliable than ever.

Quick Startup. Users can immediately begin working with their PC as soon as they turn it on with Windows Vista new Quick Startup feature.

File Backup and Restore. The new File Backup Wizard in Windows Vista makes it very easy to protect personal data files (music, movies, photos, etc.) from loss. The File Backup Wizard also provides additional options regarding backup destination, and offers the convenience of automated scheduling.

Parental Controls. Parental Controls help parents ensure that their children are using the PC appropriately while helping keep them safe online. These new features also can be set to block children from using inappropriate games.

Windows Easy Transfer. Windows Easy Transfer makes it easy to set up a new computer by automatically transferring important information from the old computer to the new one, such as files and folders, e-mail messages, Windows and program settings, contacts, photos, music and Internet favorites.

Instantly find anything on the computer and the Internet: Windows Vista offers a new interface and improved navigation that make it faster and easier than ever to find and manage information. Testers will experience an unprecedented level of responsiveness from their PC due to these enhanced features:

Windows Aero™. Windows Aero offers an elegant, more visually compelling desktop experience that provides users with a greater ability to visualize and work with information and a smoother, more stable desktop experience.

Tagging Files. Windows Vista’s powerful new search and organization features extensively utilize file properties (metadata) to provide users with an even more dynamic way to interact with their information. Users can tag photos in the Windows Photo Gallery, music in Windows Media Player 11, and documents in the Documents Explorer; it’s simple and provides more flexibility in file organization.

Windows Sidebar.Windows Sidebar boosts user productivity by providing instant access to Gadgets — customizable mini-applications that offer useful information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools. Consumers can try out some of the latest Gadgets, including Sticky Notes, Picture Puzzle, CPU Meter and Calculator. Users will also be able to download a growing number of Gadgets from the online Gadget gallery as they are made available. Windows Sidebar will provide a quick link to this gallery. Developers can learn about how easy Gadgets are to create at

More easily manage and enjoy digital entertainment: Windows Vista supports a complete digital lifestyle and works hard to power even more entertainment experiences.

Immersive Music Experience with Windows Media Player 11.The new edition of Windows Media Player allows for faster and easier ripping, burning, finding, sharing and playing music, and also syncs seamlessly to a large selection of portable media players.

URGE. Windows Vista introduces MTV’s online music service; it is tightly integrated into Windows Media Player 11, offers subscription and download options and provides access to over 2 million songs and exclusive online content.

URGE music service is available only in the U.S. at this time.

Photo Gallery Enhancements. Simple tagging and rating capabilities make it easy to find and enjoy the right photos or videos, using new slide show themes. With Windows Vista, Windows Photo Gallery now allows users to edit their photos with the most commonly used editing functions such as red-eye reduction and cropping and brightness and contrast adjustment. Additional new capabilities include the following:

Printing high-quality photos. Get the best-looking prints from Windows Vista through the new Windows Color System. Users can also order prints of their photos online through thousands of retail photo finishers.

Creating movies and burning them to DVD. Windows Photo Gallery integrates with Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker, allowing users to create movies of their favorite photos and videos, with soundtracks, effects and transitions. These creations can be quickly and easily burned to DVD for playback in consumer electronics DVD players.

New Options for TV and Movies. Windows Vista provides a more complete TV experience as well as extender capabilities.

Windows Media Center. Key improvements let users watch, record and play their favorite shows, and access this entertainment from any room in the house with a Media Center Extender device, such as Xbox 360™ with automatic media streaming support.

Online Spotlight. This feature allows users to download a world of movies and TV shows over the Internet.

Advanced Gaming Platform.Windows Vista represents the most advanced gaming platform for the PC.

Robust Community. With Windows Vista, games include a community for interactive gaming, with easy access to forums and publications that lead to discovery of new features, titles, or communities to further participate in game interaction.

Easy networking. Not only can users easily set up a home network, but they can also enjoy networked and online games, making it easier and more fun to engage with their games and other players. Gamers can participate in interactive gaming as well as gain access to vital gaming information from the online community.

Use a mobile PC more effectively and stay better connected:Windows Vista introduces enhanced features that enable consumers to use their Mobile PCs more effectively. Consumers can stay connected to their friends, family and the content that matters the most with improved features:

Better touch and tablet technology. Windows Vista provides a new set of features that will make Tablet PCs more useful for home users on the go, such as better integrated pen support, touch screen support, digital ink input, and new handwriting recognition technologies.

Windows SideShow. Windows SideShow supports secondary displays for portable computers and other devices, making it easy to view important information stored inside laptops, or access key controls on other devices, even when the laptop is closed or in sleep mode.

Sync Center. Windows Vista gives users one place to manage data synchronization between PCs, servers and devices. The new Sync Center, found in the Start Menu or Control Panel, enables users to initiate a manual sync, stop in-progress sync, see the status of all current sync activities, and receive notifications to resolve conflicts.

Windows HotStart. Windows Vista includes a special mode that starts at the touch of a button so users can instantly use their mobile computer to play movies, TV or music without waiting for the operating system to boot up.

With the release of Windows Vista Beta 2, Microsoft is encouraging enterprises to leverage Windows Vista Beta 2 for their continued deployment testing as well as to download the new Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0, and to provide feedback on the features relevant to their business. Technology enthusiasts are encouraged to download Windows Vista Beta 2 when it becomes available via the CPP program, and to begin testing and providing feedback on the premium consumer features.

Microsoft, Windows Vista, MSDN, Windows, Aero, SideShow, Windows Media, Internet Explorer and Xbox 360 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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