Microsoft Opens Up Vista Beta 2 Testing

Microsoft has officially launched its customer review program for Windows Vista Beta 2, encouraging customers to try out the pre-release, unfinished version of its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system before it goes on sake to the general public in January 2007. The customer preview program will also be used for future release candidates as Vista gets closer to finalization.

Microsoft has posted a tour of Vista Beta 2 so you can get an idea what you might be getting yourself into, and the company has also collected together Vista product information and community forum links.

The Beta 2 release is the same version Microsoft offered to developers at this year’s WinHEC conference (build number 5384), and if you want to participate in the beta, broadband Internet access is absolutely mandatory: the current beta drops at over 3.1 GB.

It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: this is incomplete, beta software with known bugs and problems, and plenty of missing features and unfinished pieces. Do not install the Windows Vista beta on any computer system you must be able to use because, frankly, the software could go belly-up at any time, costing you all your data and untold hours of time rebuilding a system. That said, many experts find the beta to be relatively usable, and IT managers, consultants, developers, and support personnel may welcome the opportunity to get familiar with Vista’s features and capabilities, as well as see how the new operating system will and won’t integrate with their existing systems and applications.

If you’re curious whether your computer is up to the task of Vista, you can check out Microsoft’s online Vista Upgrade Advisor, which is itself beta and the target of some criticism, but should at least give you a ballpark idea of whether a particular system will handle the beta.

Computing

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

The Edge browser is dying. Here's what we know about its replacement

There's a new Microsoft Chromium browser coming, and it looks like it will be replacing Edge for most people. Here's everything you need to know about this new browser, how you can use it, and when it's expected to come out.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Mobile

How to download and install Google’s next-gen Android Q beta?

The first beta for Google's next-generation mobile operating system, Android Q, is finally here -- and you can download and install it yourself. Here's how to download and install the Android Q beta.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Computing

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.
Computing

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.