Update - Microsoft Vista Beta 1 rollout now underway

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft has officially confirmed to Tom’s Hardware Guide that Vista Beta 1 has been released to subscribers to Microsoft’s exclusive testing programs and to exclusive invitees.

Quoting from Microsoft’s official statement released minutes ago : "With this Beta 1 release, Microsoft is encouraging Software developers, IT professionals and Windows enthusiasts to start testing the Windows Vista platform."

"The focus of Windows Vista Beta 1," says Microsoft’s official statement, "is the fundamentals - security, deployment, manageability, reliability and diagnostics. While the code also includes an early look at the new user-interface design, the majority of end-user features in Windows Vista will not be included until Beta 2. In addition to these fundamentals, Windows Vista Beta 1 also includes the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1 built into the platform. The technical Beta of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP SP2 also is available today."

Earlier this morning, Tom’s Hardware Guide confirmed the temporary product activation key - which is the code required for a user to install the product - was made available to subscribers to Microsoft’s exclusive developers’ testing programs.

Also this morning, the Web site ActiveWin.com - one of the most tenacious followers of Windows news - has obtained copies of Microsoft’s privacy statements for both Vista Beta 1 and the Internet Explorer 7.0 beta. Both statements make detailed explanations of certain features which may or may not collect personal information from users, to allay customers’ fears about how such information would be used. The official date of publication for both documents clearly reads "July 27, 2005."

One of the more interesting new features listed in the privacy statement for Vista Beta 1 is called "Games Explorer," which is said to list all games installed on the computer, and retrieve "rich metadata" about those games. The information collected about the games a user plays, says the statement, is stored in the local System Registry and is not sent to Microsoft.

The privacy statement for Internet Explorer 7.0 beta lists a "phishing filter," which is said to be capable of warning users about the possibility that the Web site currently being visited is impersonating a trusted Web site. This feature is turned off by default, says the statement, but in order for it to be used properly, the Web site’s address and other information about the user’s computer, are sent to Microsoft for automatic evaluation.

Related stories :
THG interview : Microsoft on Vista, rich metadata, new graphics stack, virtual registry
Expect virtual filing, new drivers, little else from Vista Beta 1, experts say
Windows Vista Beta 1 may ship Wednesday morning

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