Vista, Office 2007 beta updates

Vista, Office 2007 beta updates

Summary: This week, Microsoft made new beta versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007 widely available. If you're interested in evaluating what the Windows and Office families will look like beginning next year, this is a good place to start.

TOPICS: Microsoft

The week, Microsoft made new versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007 widely available.

If you didn't sign up for the Windows Vista Beta 2 Customer Preview Program, you have another chance. Microsoft has now reopened registration for Vista Release Candidate 1. Details are here. The short version:

  • It's available in English, German, and Japanese, in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
  • It's beta software. Don't even think about installing it on a production system unless you've read the system requirements and the release notes, you're comfortable with beta software, and you have reliable backups.
  • It's time-limited and expires on June 1, 2007.
  • If you choose to install as an upgrade over an existing copy of Windows XP, you can't roll back to your old installation later.
  • There's no official support.
  • Yes, you need to activate the software, which you can do on two computers.
  • It's a big download: roughly 3GB for the 32-bit version, 4GB for the 64-bit version. You'll need to burn the ISO file to a DVD or mount the ISO file using a disk utility to use it. Or you can choose to have a DVD kit mailed to you.
  • Afghanistan is on the list of countries where you can choose a download location or have a DVD kit shipped. Iraq is not.

In other Microsoft beta news, Microsoft released a "technical refresh" to Beta 2 of Office 2007. If you're evaluating Office 2007, you definitely want this update, which fixes a lot of bugs and interface enhancements. It's a 500MB download, available for free from this page. It installs as a patch over the existing Beta 2 code and updates all programs that are part of the Office Professional Plus package, plus OneNote. It's especially recommended for anyone who wants to use Office 2007 with Vista RC1.

Before you install the update, note Microsoft's warnings of compatibility and known issues: Officially, they recommend saving all files you created with Beta 2 (or an earlier version) using one of the older, supported Office 2003 formats before installing the update. Also, make sure you have at least 2GB of free disk space available or the patch will most likely fail. After installation, you'll discover that the expiration date for the software has been updated to March 31, 2007.

I've got Office 2007 Beta2TR and Vista RC1 working together here. If you're interested in evaluating what Microsoft's product roadmap will look like in 2007, this is a good place to start.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • They charge for the Office 2007 Beta Download

    it's not much, but it really is quite rude to charge to download a BETA that expires.
    • First 3 million were free

      And I think the charge for new registrants is $1.50. I'm not sure I would call it rude, but it sure does send a lousy message. Especially when Windows Vista, which is five times the size, is being made available for free download with no "cost recovery charge."
      Ed Bott
  • dotJustSayNo!


    Does it use WGA to to prove the "Windows Genuine Aggravation" on your Vista RC1 is legit?

    I wonder if WGA will croak on Office 2007 Beta Update as well as Win XP SP2+ ?

    If you have to pay $1.50 for it, shouldn't you get MS product support like everything else they sell?
    Or do they dump you to the chatgroups?

    As you can tell, MS Office is not one of my favorite products any longer. When Vision 2002 went off to register with Microsoft BEFORE I could find out if it would work on my computer BUT after it installed DirectX, that told me that my last days of MS Office were here. I've stuck at Office2K at work and home for those times I have to use it, legit copies at both places, and also very stable copies.

    Other times its OO 2.x on secondary computers that don't handle inter-office apps or docs. Not a perfect solution but something that doesn't trip potential false copyright-fraud alarms in Redmond.

    I sure wish that Microsoft had done it right in the first place back in 1980. Required registration of the CD code to a person or corporate entity. Put that info in a database. Then required challenges to the registration to ANY LATER CDROM registration attempts and then asked for some proof of passage of ownership, like a bill of sale or corporate takeover or something like that. Then the WGA crap would not be necessary.

    For me it colors every MS license acquisition decision I will make from now on as to whether its necessary to deal with the potential of a false negative response from an inadequately programmed or broken automated ActiveX Server component somewhere who-knows-where! Because the next step is to deal with an inadequatly trained telephone-support person in Mumbai or Pakistan or who-knows-where! That still may not work the next time WGA croaks up as a "critical update"!!!!

    Microsoft has a very checkered history of updating their OWN servers to the latest security patch level. Who's to know if they update their ASP servers properly or not? WGA is an ASP device with client and server components. Has anybody at Microsoft gone through and determined ALL possible issues that might come up with older client WGA components with newer server components? Or vice-versa? They have had more problems lately with regression issues than ever before. One of their security updates killed Front Page 2000 on one of my computers. The OS refused to run FP2K. Until I removed the WGA component. That then required me to update the WGA before I got any more updates, security or otherwise!

    DO I want to buy any software Vista or otherwise if its got WGA buried in it? No. Its not likely without some sort of extremely compelling reason, duress or client pressure.

    Office 2007 will most likely NOT get a recommendation because of its total involvement with dotASP and dotNet which makes it incompatible most likely with any of our corporate web sites because all of them are based on open source software and systems.

    Vista Beta was a really bad joke. Security Idiots obviously had taken over software management. XP SP2 with a pre-programmed firewall, local group and domain policies can do practically everything Vista seems to be able to do in the security department that's really meaningful. That amounts to a $49 dollar upgrade at retail prices from third parties.

    The last chance MS has with me is Vista RC1. It has to install on EVERY KNOWN GOOD P3, P4 and AMD Opteron-on-up CPU based machine I have and can put my hands on. That means any computer currently running XP Pro SP2 without a major hassle for the users or a WGA issue BEFORE I will recommend it for future use at my company. No MS excuses accepted. Period.
    • dotJustSayNo! Part 2 One more qualification

      The versions of Vista RC1 acceptable are one of the Pro or Enterprise versions with the firewall and local domain capability. The Home versions are inadequate completely. I found that Vista Beta would install at least on the 4 computers I tried that had previously ran XP Pro SP2 without errors other than the WGA crap.

      I do not expect to bother with the Aero user interface. It seems a perfectly wasteful way to slow a perfectly good business machine down.

      I would suspect that in Duo or Dual systems that one of the CPUs will be handling the Aero user interface almost exclusively. Leaving the user still running all of his apps on the one remaining processor. Yeah that's a great speed advantage!