Whatever you do, don't read this Vista guide

Microsoft has just posted a comprehensive product guide to Windows Vista. It's packed with interesting information, including a feature matrix that explains what's in each Windows Vista version. Here's why you shouldn't read it.

Microsoft’s Fred Pullen has posted a downloadable version of the Windows Vista Product Guide Preview. Here’s his pitch:

The Windows Vista Product Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the innovative features and functions that make Microsoft® Windows Vista™ the next-generation Windows client operating system and successor to Windows XP. This guide also provides information the benefits Windows Vista offers diverse users as well as information about the different editions (SKUs) available. It’s about 300 pages, and contains a lot of really great information about Windows Vista. Definitely a must-read!

I’ve downloaded and scanned the document, and it appears to have some good stuff in it, including a matrix that explains which features are in each Windows Vista version.

But I don’t recommend that you try to get this document. Here’s why.

This document is available only in Microsoft’s XPS format. After a fairly hefty download (43MB+), you also have to download and install the WinFX Runtime Components before you can view the document’s contents. Do you really want to install a piece of operating system code that that contains this warning in bold type?

This is a pre-beta release. Therefore, do not install these builds on machines you depend on.”

The file is viewable only in a browser, and on my system at least I couldn’t get it to work with Firefox. So, anyone who wants to read this information needs to be running Windows XP or Windows Vista and using Internet Explorer, and they also have to install a potentially destabilizing operating system component.

Also, I see no way to print this document, although its contents can be selected, copied, and pasted into other formats.

Would it kill you, Microsoft, to make this document available in a plain old PDF format?

Update 13-Apr-2006: The document has been pulled from Pullen's website with the comment: "[I]t isn’t quite ready for public consumption so I was asked to remove the link."