Microsoft has officially released Windows Vista Build 5381.1 today on Microsoft Connect.
Internal sources have confirmed that this is "what will be" Beta 2 – in a couple more days at WinHEC 2006. What we are seeing right now with this build is a feature complete Beta without the performance guarantee. If you want to put it in terms of practical use, etc. this is Beta 2; it will be compiled and recompiled several more times, mini-glitches taken care of, size and speed optimized, and maybe a couple of minor things changed, but for all intents and purposes, those of us that have been dying for another beta ever since the first; it's here. However, Microsoft Connect classifies this as being the Beta 2; so we're not entirely sure what's going on, but when we find out we'll be sure to let you know.
As always, NeoSmart Technologies has the details for this latest build as they come out; and screenshots will be up in our gallery soon. For now, here is the inside peek at 5381.1
Vista 5381.1 x64 Edition:
VISTA_5381.1_64bit_Main_Client_Staged_DVD_EN.iso; at 4,834.25 MB
Vista 5381.1 x86 Edition:
VISTA_5381.1_32bit_Client_Unstaged_CHK_DVD_EN.iso; at 2,296.55 MB
Microsoft Connect users can grab these builds here.
It is interesting to note that the x86 build is *not* available in as a staged build and is a CHK edition; Microsoft couldn't have made it more obvious that x64 is the way to go; unstaged chk builds generally mean trouble:
Q: What are the differences between staged and unstaged installations?
A: Unstaged is the way that we have installed the OS in the past. Files get copied to the HD, then the registry/machine gets configured. A stage build is a sysprepped image. In layman's terms, a stage build is where we install the OS onto a machine with very basic and common hardware, copy that installation to CD/DVD, and then use that CD/DVD to copy the image directly to another machine. In comparison, Staged builds are a lot faster, because it's easier to add/delete components to a pre-configured OS than it is to build the OS from scratch (as we did with the older Unstaged installations).
Q: What's the difference between the Chk and Fre builds?
A: The Chk version has debug symbols built into the executables, which allows debuggers create a more detailed output of any errors that occur. These debug symbols add extra weight to the OS, so unless you're a developer or plan on regularly running a debugger, than you're better off choosing to install the faster Fre build, which doesn't include the debugging symbols and other debugging information.
What's interesting to note however, is that though the x86 build is both a CHK and Unstaged build, it is still a good 600 megabytes less than 5365; while the x64 edition is a whopping 4834 MB: 1.2 GB bigger than its predecessor and too big to fit on a DVD!
We can reveal that this build ships with the regional and IME fixes promised; and is much more compatible on older systems; and comes with complete upgrade path support for Windows XP. So while we expect several great things from this build, it seems to have a down-side for both the x86 and x64 builds; one of them will take twice as long to download, and the other will take twice as long to use and run! Tough choice – but for many the choice has already been made.
Please remember: as always support requests go in our forums where our staff, members, and volunteers can be sure to help you with whatever issue it is you're having with Vista or anything else; but please don't post support requests below!