Microsoft: 'Upgrade your Vista beta versions'

If you're still running a beta version of Windows Vista, you only have five weeks to upgrade to avoid disruption

Upgrade to the final code of Windows Vista or face bi-hourly shutdowns of your PC, Microsoft warned yesterday. If you're still running a beta version of Windows Vista , now may be a good time to upgrade.

From 1 June onwards, all PCs running beta versions of Windows Vista will automatically reboot every two hours, Microsoft said. Microsoft explains exactly how people can shift to the final code on its website.

Notifications of the upcoming expiration have started going out to users of Vista Ultimate Beta 2, Release Candidate 1 (RC1) and RC2. "Customers will have ample time to back up data and migrate their PCs to the final version of Windows Vista," said a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Microsoft is kind enough to offer reduced prices for users running RC1 or RC2 beta versions of Windows Vista who want to upgrade to the full version. You'll have to back up your files and completely reinstall the operating system.

Roll back

You can also do a so-called 'roll back' to the previous Windows version you were running, if you prefer not to upgrade to Vista. You'll need the original installation CD for that Windows version though.

If you continue to run your Windows Vista beta version after 1 June, you'll only be able to log in for two-hour sessions to retrieve data, Microsoft said.

"After two hours of use, the PC will automatically reboot without providing the opportunity to save data. The opportunity to log in normally for these two-hour sessions will only be available for a limited time," Microsoft stated on its website. The 'limited time' ends on 28 August after which you won't be able to log in at all.

A spokeswoman said they expected "most beta users [to] have moved to a full version of Windows" by the 1 June date.