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When we develop brand new products or new versions of existing products we undertake a massive in house testing programme designed to test them on as many different combinations of software and hardware as possible. However it is impossible for us to completely test every single feature on the almost infinite amount of different combinations of hardware and software that form modern PC's.
Therefore we release a Beta version to catch these last few issues before it goes as a "Full Release" at which point it becomes fully supported by P Squared Technical Support (see below)
A Beta version of software is one that has completed internal testing (sometimes called "Alpha Testing") and we feel is now as "bug" free as possible and is therefore ready to be used by the wider world. What we can't guarantee is that an obscure combination of components or other software installed on a PC or maybe a certain unpredictable sequence of actions performed by a user may cause a problem with this version. This could be something as simple as a number or setting not staying when you go back into a screen, or something more dramatic like making the computer need to reboot unexpectedly.
We often release further Beta versions to fix problems found during further testing by ourselves or to fix a problem reported by users, and therefore users of Beta Versions are encouraged to download these updated betas as they become available so they don't find any issues that we have already found and fixed.
These versions could be described as Experimental for want of a better word, and it gives you the chance to be involved in the testing and development of new products. You will often find that suggestions made by people who test the Beta versions are included in the final release, so it is also a chance to get your "ideal feature" added!
Beta versions are experimental and therefore aren't covered by our normal warranty. In other words, if there is problem with it, we may not be able to help you restore your system to a working state. Therefore it should only be installed on a system that you are confident you can restore in the event of a problem. You should always back up your system before installing any software, but this is especially important before installing Beta software.
If you experience any difficulties with a Beta release, or have any suggestions for improvements, you should post these in the relevant product's discussion area in the P Squared Forum at http://forum.psquared.net/ including the name and version number of the Beta software you are using.
Please do not send emails to Technical Support as beta versions are not supported by the P Squared Support Team. Also, we are usually unable to provide technical support over the phone or in person for Beta Versions.
DO NOT USE BETA VERSIONS ON MISSION CRITICAL COMPUTERS UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THAT THIS VERSION IS A BETA RELEASE AND MAY CONTAIN ELEMENTS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN FULLY TESTED. IT IS PROVIDED WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.
When developing a new product, the very first stage of public testing is often referred to as Alpha testing. Essentially, Alpha testing is very similar to Beta testing but scope of the test is usually reduced to just a few public testers. Alpha release software is released in a very early state and is expected to include a number of unfinished features and hence is also likely to include a greater number of issues or bugs. It would not be advisable to install Alpha software in any mission critical situation or to configure Alpha software to use or interact with data or resources that are considered important.