Vista Upgrade AdvisorUsers who are still running Vista Beta 2, RC1, or RC2 will all have to forfeit their evaluation versions in the coming weeks. This is something that most users understood when signing up for the Vista pre-release program, but many still wanted to see what the next generation Windows was all about.

There are several dates that are important for people still using the pre-release versions of Vista:

  • May 18: Receive warning notifications about the upcoming expiration.
  • May 31: You will be able to log in for 2-hour sessions to retrieve data.  After 2 hours of use, the PC will automatically reboot without providing the opportunity to save data.
  • August 28: Hopefully you have backed up your files by this time…otherwise you better be saying some prayers! 

Microsoft is providing some sort of relief for the pre-release testers of Vista though. Instead of having to purchase a full retail copy these users can actually purchase an upgrade license as Slashdot recently pointed out. The Windows Vista Beta site gives some of the details these users might be looking for:

To install the final version of Windows Vista on any of these pre-release versions of Windows Vista, you may purchase the desired Windows Vista Upgrade. The Windows Vista Upgrade must be the same language version as the pre-release version you are replacing.

To purchase the upgrade you need to head over to the Windows MarketPlace. The pricing for the upgrades are as follows (in U.S. dollars):

  • Vista Ultimate: $259.00
  • Vista Business: $199.00
  • Vista Home Premium: $159.00
  • Vista Home Basic: $99.95

You do, however, have to upgrade to the same version of Vista that you were using while testing. For most people that will mean that they have to upgrade to Vista Ultimate since everyone wanted to get the best version when testing. I guess it’s better than nothing. ;)