The stability of each Windows Software Version
programmer will be quite happy to accept software that has a few bugs, and will be keen to
play with the leading (and bleeding) edge software as soon as it becomes available. A large
bank, on the other hand, will take a much more conservative view, and will require software
of proven quality and stability.
Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) want to use and sell the latest software technologies.
This is in contrast to enterprise management, which needs to take a much more conservative
view. To ensure stability and administration functionality, software will only be used when
it is completely safe to do so.
The Software version chosen is dependent upon what is deemed to be an acceptable level of
risk. Can a company live with the anticipated level of bugs? Here are views on the stability
of each Microsoft Software Version:
Here are my conservative views on the stability of each Software Version:
Community Technology Preview (CTP)
This is a preview of the proposed technology. It is a way to get feedback from the technical
community, customers and partners during the development of a product.
A Beta Version is not suitable for general users, and it should never be used in a production
environment. Beta Versions are meant only for testing, training or authoring purposes –
besides the bugs, the features are subject to change. By the time the Beta 3 version is available,
the content should be reasonably firm.
Beta versions have a habit of corrupting older versions (including Beta releases) of the software.
Load the Beta version onto a computer that does not contain any work of importance. For each
new Beta release, be prepared to reload the Operating System, and start from scratch.
Release Candidate (RC)
The Release Candidate version is more stable than a Beta version – it is unlikely that
any new features will be added. Most bugs will have been eliminated, but it is still subject
to change. The Release Candidate Version should not be used by the general public, and definitely
not in a production environment.
This is a new category of software version. The pre-release can be used in a production environment
- but there may still be a few bugs. The "Go Live" release can be upgraded to the final RTM
Official Release – Release to Manufacture (RTM)
This is when all the advertising ballyhoo starts. The product is now fully supported and reasonably
stable, but there are still countless things that can go wrong. There could be problems with
printers and devices, drivers, upgrading from older operating systems, inadequate hardware,
software incompatibilities, etc, etc.
Service Pack (SP)
Due to the pressure for an early software release, a large number of problems usually need
correcting in the first Service Pack.
It is a wise manager that will wait until the dust settles, and the feedback and fixes become
By the time Service Pack 3 is available, the software will be stable – if you can wait
that long. And sometimes there will be no Service Pack 3 at all (let alone a Service Pack
2), as the next newest, shiniest and brightest (and buggy) software creation will be on offer