As the clock continues to tick toward the Jan. 30 release of Windows Vista for consumers, Microsoft on Wednesday announced free telephone support for Vista users running preview versions of the operating system.
The new phone support is available only to North American users of Vista Beta 2, RC1, or RC2, said Nick White, a product manager on the launch team, in a blog entry. The toll-free line is staffed weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST, and weekends from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Several Vista users left comments on White's blog entry questioning the decision. "Most of the problems are fixed in the RTM version, why have a support line then?" wrote a commenter identified as "PowerHouse."
"I already have the RTM version so I know it fixed a fair number of problems from the RC1 and earlier betas," seconded "rblacher." "I would think the CPP [Customer Preview Program] people would REALLY appreciate a copy of the final build, albeit still with a drop-dead date of May 31, 2007."
The Vista pre-release editions handed out free-of-charge this year will expire June 1, 2007.
Although some beta testers have been given free copies of the final version for submitting bug reports, the general population of users who downloaded and installed CPP editions of Vista will not get a free copy of the final version of the software.
Online newgroups, which until this week had been the only support outlet for CPP Vista users, remain available.