Officially, only a few thousand lucky Microsoft Windows beta testers have their hands on Windows Vista SP1 today. However, somebody leaked the script used by the beta testers to enable their systems to install Vista SP1, so now you candownload it (or create it) and use it to get your own copy of Vista SP1 beta via Windows Update.
Overview of the Process
The process includes the following steps:
1. Download or create a script that adds two registry keys to your Windows Vista system. If you don't want to download the script, the folks at Softpedia provide the script code in plain text so you can see what it does. Copy the text and save it to a command file (.cmd) with Notepad or another text editor.
2. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges on a system you use for Windows Vista testing (remember, you're going to install a beta of a service pack, so be smart and don't risk breaking your everyday system). To do this, right-click the command prompt shortcut (by default, it's in Accessories), select Run as Administrator, and provide the needed credentials.
3. Run the script you downloaded or created in Step 1.
4. Run Windows Update and install the KB935509 update.
6. Run Windows Update again and install the KB937287 update.
8. Run Windows Update again and install the KB938371 update.
10. Run Windows Update again and install the Vista SP1 beta. Keep in mind that according to some users at My Digital Life, you might need to wait an hour or so before the Vista SP1 beta shows up in your list of available updates.
You Can Get Vista SP1 Beta Now, But Should You?
After working with (and being worked over by) Windows Vista betas during the writing of Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed and other Vista books I have contributed to, I'm not personally keen on spending time with another Windows Vista beta. Users around the web report wildly different impressions - some report better performance, but others report a mixed bag of results. As with any beta, your mileage may vary. And keep in mind that just in case you're tempted to forget you're running a beta, installing the SP1 beta puts a removable evaluation version number stamp on your desktop.