Redmond (WA) - Microsoft released a public download of Windows Vista RC1 through its customer preview program (CPP). Before you run to get your time-limited early Vista copy, be sure to make your way through Microsoft's release notes to cover all other upgrades that are necessary to run the new operating system without hiccups.
According to Microsoft, a total of more than five million copies of RC1 will be made available to customers worldwide. Any user fast enough to sneak into the CPP in time, will have an opportunity to install a close-to-final version of Windows Vista, which is planned to be released in January of next year.
Users who are downloading and installing RC1 should be aware of the fact that the software is a release candidate and not the final version of the software, which means that is a time limited version (until 1 June 2007) and that there are still issues that need to be addressed. RC1 is offered as 2.52 GB ISO files for 32-bit and 64-bit systems that are required to be burned on a DVD. Users can chose to either setup RC1 as a clean install, as an upgrade from Windows XP or as an upgrade from the Beta 2 of Vista.
As with any other Windows upgrade, overwritten files will be lost, so be sure to save your Windows XP copy, if you do not intend to upgrade to Vista by 1 June. Users who are upgrading from Beta versions of Vista and 2007 Office systems Beta 2 (build 4017), need to download software updates before installing Vista RC1, according to Microsoft. The Office software requires the Beta 2 Technical Refresh Update for 2007 Microsoft Office System and Vista Beta 2 calls for the KB922917 update to avoid digital rights management hiccups. According to Microsoft, users who do not install KB922917, may have to reacquire licenses for their digital content. Windows Vista Ultimate RC1 could also answer with a "restricted content" error when users try to watch any TV content that was previously recorded, the company said.