Vista, Office 2007 beta updates

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.

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.