This post contains highlights of today’s Windows Vista / Longhorn and IE7 for XPSP2 Beta chat after 2 pm PST today. You can download the full transcript in Microsoft Word.

Microsoft typically hosts these chats in order to get feedback on the product and the beta process from the large number of participants. This chat focused primarily on the process of the beta program, but there were some interesting tidbits. The dialogue is of the Microsoft experts who may be designers, programmers or marketing guys, repeating one of many questions thrown at them in order to reply to it.

Mike A [MS] (Expert): Q: [61] when is MS antispyware going to be reconized by Security Center?
A: Good question, a lot of programs are still being integrated into the build itself. I can say that a newer, unproven test build currently seems to have this integrated with some minor changes. Basically yes, it will be (already is) recognized in newer test builds.

Rich L [MS] (Expert): A: Vista will be released on DVD only due to its size.

Paul Donnelly [MS] (Expert): Q: [22] Is there more to Windows Vista than what we are currently testing, is there more to expect in terms of functionality and user interface enhancements in future builds of the product?
A: You will see changes as we move forward. Also, one of the reasons we want to get to feature complete sooner is so we can get the complete feature set in your hands sooner to get your feedback.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [263] Since Vista’s size was mentioned, why do OS releases keep growing on disk usage? Wouldn’t it be wise to throw away legacy at some point? Or at least modularize it so it will be optional to install?
A: Backwards compatibility is a very delicate subject and has little to do with the actual size of the OS on the disk. We have to be very careful about what we take out as it has huge implications for appcompat and other things.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [174] Can I ask about the issue of Ebay selling builds of Windos Vista and the issue of priracy? I found someone selling this for 15 dollars?What is Windows – Microsoft oppion on this?
A: This is not legal. Send all reports of this to LHABUSE@MICROSOFT.COM. We will get them removed as quickly as possible.

Dean Frost [MS] (Expert): Q: [41] Install times seem to be incredibly long with my machine. Athlon 64 3200+ takes over an hour to install both x86 and x64 versions. Is this due to the beta status or will the final builds take just as long?
A: The retail product should be much faster. In beta 2, staged builds should be implemented and average install times are supposed to be around 20 minutes, on average machines.

Paul Donnelly [MS] (Expert): Q: [186] Is this chat NDA?
A: Contents of this chat should not be shared beyond beta participants until after 2PM Pacific today. After that you are free to share.

RichardD[MS] (Expert): Q: [185] Upcoming builds will have better driver support? At the very least, I’d like to see all the drivers from WinXP on Vista as well!? Can’t tell you how many drivers are missing from our various platforms and thus REALLY making it hard to test.
A: Depending on the supplier of drivers, and what type of driver (x86 x64), we do plan to include more drivers for furture builds. Because we do not create 3rd party drivers, it is very difficult to ascertain exact build dates for new driver implementation. As a beta customer, we encourge you to write up driver request bugs for the devices you are having trouble with. Thanks

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [202] What does IDW and CTP mean?
A: A lot of people get confused by this because these terms get used by different teams at Microsoft for different things. IDW is an internal term that has made its way to our techbeta. It stands for Interim Developer Release. Basically the quality is good enough for us to release it to the general technical population inside and (now) out side Microsoft. This is still lower in quality than out beta programs.
CTP = Community Technology Preview. This is a generic term that could potentially apply to any Microsoft pre-release. For Windows it generally means the releases that we make available to Techbeta (all of you) and MSDN.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [198] Will there be a refresh IE7 Build on XP?
A: Eventually there will be, but there isn’t exact date info yet.

Gawain [MS] (Expert): Q: [126] Are there any plans to incorporate SSH? Telnet is ancient, archaic and provides little security. While we still need it to talk to our hardware devices, soemthing secure like SSH would be very helpful.
A: We have an active issue on improving telnet / adding ssh, so I know the development team is aware of it.

James A [MS] (Expert): Q: [146] How come Windows vista takes over an 1 hr to install when XP took 35 minutes
A: The first priority is getting the feature set in place and making sure that everything works right. This is common practise for all software development. Performance is usually handled later in development. So it will definitely get faster, but right now we want to make sure first that everything’s working okay.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [44] I know Microsoft doesnt usually give dates out, but when will Beta 2 of IE7 be released? We’ve heard nothing for the past 6 months.
A: 42.

James A [MS] (Expert): Q: [370] Will we ever see a Windows (Server) release that boots into a textmode console, not loading any UI components at all?
A: This is the Windows Server Foundation (at least, that’s what we’re calling it at the moment. The name may change.) and it is planned to be an install option during setup of Longhorn Server.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Just a reminder everyone. We can’t really answer FEATURE specific questions. The questions we can help with are releated to the running of the techbeta itself.

SamW [MS] (Expert): Q: [235] Are FAT32 partitions (data) useable from current beta?
A: Yes they are, but like Windows XP the size limit for creating them is 32GB per partition.

Paul Donnelly [MS] (Expert): Q: [311] do you have any funky stats any where showing testers locations and systems they are running?
A: I’ve got some analysis I’ve done. We have testers in all 50 states and in over 100 countries right now. Perhaps the most remote testers is on the island of Saipan.

James A [MS] (Expert): Q: [288] What ports are used when activating Vista? I’m having trouble activating through our corporate firewall (no proxy authentication is required).
A: As far as I know Activation uses port 80. If you’re having trouble activating, it might be an issue other than the firewall. But expecially if it is the firewall or the proxy, we’d love to see a bug filed on that!

Rich L [MS] (Expert): Q: [406] To get full functionality of Aero Glass will not only a video card with 128MB RAM or higher but a 64 bit processor be needed? Will there be recommendations specific to getting the most from Aero Glass?
A: To get full functionality out of Aero Glass the video card hardware must be directX 9 compatable. This has more to do with pixel shading than it does with the amount of video memory and 32 or 64 bit processors.

Dean Frost [MS] (Expert): Q: [125] How will the new boot loader in vista handle dual boot situations with XP and 2003 server? will the underlying NTloader and boot.ini change for those 2 OS’s as well to work better with Vista
A: I’m going to steal a quote from the newsgroups from Vinnie Flynt, as he said it quite well. “Multiple boot menus. First one is for BCD store compliant entries. There will be one legacy. When you click that, it shows all the entries in the boot.ini. Currently, it also shows a Vista entry. That is because we are in a transition period and you are seeing the last dependency on boot.ini. 5231 is still writing an entry to the boot.ini for Vista. Beta2 should not have an entry for Vista in the boot.ini. You shouldn’t see a duplication of cases where you only have 1 boot.ini entry, we will just default to that when you select the legacy entry.
The bcdedit is the IT tool for modifying the entries and should be available whether you are in XP, W2k3, or Vista. It is just a matter of finding the binary in the Vista %Windir%\system32 directory and then pointing it to the \boot\bcd.”

[having screwed up a dual boot ourselves, see more about BCDEDIT.EXE in Extreme Tech’s article, MSDN’s article, and a thread on Neowin.net]

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