According to a post put up this morning on Ian Moulster’s (a Microsoft product manager in the UK) blog, Microsoft is providing only a limited number of copies (both physical and downloaded) of Vista Beta 2, and they are “fast approaching the cut-off point.”
Those still interested in becoming part of the beta program can go to Microsoft’s beta registration site and sign up for the program. The site requires a “Windows Live” ID, which is essentially the same as your Passport sign-in for Hotmail, and once signed-in you can obtain a beta product key and start downloading the massive 3.2GB file, which comes in the form of a DVD ISO image.
According to the site, as long as you start your download today, even if you get cut off you will still be able to resume the download at a later time, provided of course that you use a download manager that allows file resuming, or use Microsoft’s supplied ActiveX-powered Akamai download manager. However, after July 14th, even interrupted downloads will be cut off.
Beta testers are encouraged to activate their copy after installing. Moulster mentioned on his blog that activation may bring future benefits. “We may be able to provide people who have activated copies with future…stuff,” he said on his site. “I’m being vague because I need to be, just trust me and make sure you activate.”
A similar beta program is in process for Office 2007, the new version of Microsoft’s venerable suite sporting a radically redesigned user interface. According to Moulster, there is no cutoff point at present for the Office 2007 beta program, although this may be subject to change at a later date.
Windows Vista is scheduled to be released to the public in January 2007. Office 2007’s ship date was recently bumped forward to a similar date.