A couple of weeks back, I wrote about the confusion caused by Bill Gates’ announcement of Vista beta 2 availability (the fact that I could download it from a Microsoft site but that other Microsoft channels were saying it was not yet available). Over the following days it because clear that although registered beta testers could get hold of beta 2, it had not yet been released to the public. That all changed this week – the beta is now available for download or order via the Windows Vista Customer Preview Programme – but if you’re going to try it, beware.
I’m running Windows Vista beta 2 on my main notebook PC with no significant issues but others are reporting that beta 2 is not as stable as it should be. The key point to note is that unlike products from some vendors (e.g. Google, who seem to leave products in a perpetual beta cycle – Google Mail for example!) in Microsoft “beta” really does mean pre-release software – not the final product, so don’t use it on your main PC unless you know that your data is safe should Vista implode on you.