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In preparing for the imminent Beta 1 release of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0, Microsoft posted to the Web new information about new features expected in the pending product releases.

Microsoft made available on Tuesday two separate privacy notices, providing information about data that Microsoft intends to collect during the beta testing process. Those documents also include information on some of the features, including many security-specific ones, set to be included in Vista and IE 7.0.

A few Windows enthusiast sites posted copies of the Windows Vista and IE 7.0 privacy notices on their Web sites.

Vista, the product formerly known as “Longhorn,” is the version of the Windows client operating system due to ship in 2006. IE 7.0 is Microsoft’s Web browser that the company plans to integrate into Vista, as well as back-port to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Last week, Microsoft officials said to expect Beta 1 of Vista to hit on August 3. But a number of Windows enthusiast sites reported on Tuesday that Beta 1 will hit earlier—on July 27.

Vista Beta 1 will include an audit feature that will allow an administrator to monitor the system and create a security log, according to the privacy documentation.

It also will include a built-in Microsoft’s RMS (Rights Management Services) client. RMS is Microsoft’s software that acts as a DRM system for applications software, primarily Microsoft Office.

Read more here about promised improvements in Windows Vista (formerly code-named Longhorn).

A new Speech Recognizer feature due to be built into Vista will provide “speech recognition within Windows and any applications that choose to use it,” according to the documentation.

“Speech recognition by the Microsoft Speech Recognizer will increase in accuracy by learning how a person uses the language, i.e. the words they like to use, the way they use grammar, and the frequency distribution of words.”

Vista Beta 1 also will include a driver protection feature that will prevent the operating system from loading drivers “that are known to cause stability problems.” Microsoft is planning to include a list of problematic drivers in a Driver Protection List database that will be part of Vista.

“Driver Protection checks this database during Windows operating system upgrades and while the operating system is running. These checks are performed to determine whether to load a driver under this software,” according to the privacy documentation.

A feature called “Network Location Awareness Service” is designed to collect network information, “such as the DNS suffix of your computer, bandwidth availability, and intranet connectivity,” and make this information available through an application programming interface to applications that may require this information.

A “Games Explorer,” designed to list all the games stored on a user’s computer, also will be part of Vista Beta 1. The Games Explorer will keep track of the last time each game was played, allowing users to sort or filter the display of games.

Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Microsoft Reveals More Vista, IE 7.0 Beta 1 Features

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