how to deselect vertices in 2.5?

in 2.49 i would just hit b twice to get the brush and just deselect or draw the bounding box but I can’t find how to do these two functions. can anyone help? Thanks.

Press C for circle select (if you can’t find something just do a search or look in the Select menu on the 3d view header in edit mode).
Hold Alt for deselect

when I hold alt to deselect it doesn’t work. middle mouse button works though. thanks for help