Microsoft has released an interim build of Windows Vista to 100,000 Customer Preview Program (CPP) participants, and made the new build available on TechBeta, TechNet, TAP and MSDN.

The latest version speeds up the installation and upgrade procedures, so that when you install or upgrade, the process goes more quickly than it did in earlier builds, the company said. The release also includes bug fixes and other minor improvements to the "fit and finish" of the operating system.

The build, 5728, is the first public release of a new Vista version since the debut of Release Candidate 1 (RC1) on 1 September, which had version number 5600. Microsoft does not view it as a milestone or major revision and released it primarily to get feedback on the upgrade and installation experience, it said. The new release also includes overall performance enhancements, improved stability and allows users to turn off the start-up music.

The 100,000 CPP participants who received the newest build were chosen at random. In addition, any member or subscriber to TechBeta, TechNet, TAP and MSDN can download it for free.

Microsoft has said Windows Vista will be in the hands of volume licence customers by November and available to consumers by the end of January.