Microsoft opens Vista Beta 2 to the public

Microsoft has made the latest beta of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system available to the public. This move comes just over a couple of weeks after the initial Beta 2 release, which was open only to a closed user base of registered beta testers, Microsoft Developer Network members, and some customers. Now, all users are free to download Vista Beta 2 in its entirety via Microsoft's Windows Vista Beta 2 Customer Preview Program. Users can either download the release straight from Microsoft's website, or—since the Beta 2 disc image does weigh either 3.5 GB or 4.4 GB—order an installation DVD for a nominal fee. Naturally, Microsoft does warn that this public beta release is intended for "developers, IT professionals and technology experts" and that it should not be run on a user's primary machine or in a production environment. However, users with a spare PC now have the opportunity to get a free sneak peek at Vista before its official release early next year—and perhaps even to help Microsoft chase a few bugs, as well.
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