Microsoft has released a fully featured preview of its Windows Vista operating system to corporate IT departments and developers.
The “community technology preview” release contains the complete set of new features that will appear in Vista later this year, including a set of tools designed to make the operating system easier to deploy in a business environment and to cut deployment cost-per-desktop.
The new operating system will be released alongside an enhanced version of Business Desktop Deployment. The Vista preview also includes an enhanced Management Console 3.0, improvements to the Group Policy setting and new centralised control over removable storage devices.
Other new features in Vista include Windows Sidebar, which gives desktop users easy access to Gadgets – a series of customisable mini-applications that provide information at a glance and quick access to frequent tasks. An RSS feed is also included.
Microsoft said IT departments would be able to develop their own gadgets to provide staff with fast access to sales figures, workflow status and other business information.
Vista also includes a new Welcome Center function at start-up that presents users with key setup tasks.
Windows Vista will also include a series of new security features. Earlier this week, Detlef Eckert, the software giant’s chief security adviser, said Vista would not be shipped unless it successfully completed tests to ensure its code is robust and any vulnerabilities have been identified.
“We are still in early beta testing. The components will be checked and checked again. If it is not working, it will not ship,” he said.