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Beta Software

Before a commercial software program is released to the public, it usually goes through a "beta" phase. During this stage, the software is tested for bugs, crashes, errors, inconsistencies, and any other problems. Though beta versions of software used to be made available only to developers, they are now sometimes made available for the general public to test, usually through the software company's Web site. However, because beta software is free, the programs usually expire after a period of time. If you choose to test a beta software program, don't be surprised if it has multiple problems and causes your computer to repeatedly crash. After all, it is the beta version. You can tell if a program is still in beta by checking the program's properties. If there is a "b" in the version number (i.e. Version: 1.2 b3) that means it's a beta version.

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