Jim Allchin’s announcement of Release Candidate 1 of Vista via the Windows Vista Team blog:
To the TechBeta community:
It’s official — Windows Vista RC1 is done!
We could not have achieved this milestone without your support. The quantity and quality of feedback and data we received from you has been essential to helping us progress. Thus we wanted you to be the first customers outside of Microsoft to get access to the bits. Next week, a broader set of technical customers will get them via MSDN and TechNet. But you’re the first! We wanted to get it into your hands asap so you can start giving us feedback right away.
As you can see from Jim’s words above, if you’re a TechBeta or TAP participant, RC1 is now available to you! Soon it will be made available to those of you outside those programs who want to test it. I’ll have word on that next week, so watch this space.
In an RC1 briefing recently, Microsoft group product manager Chris Flores told me that the RC1 version of Vista is significantly improved over Beta 2, the previous public milestone of the product. It includes noticeably improved stability and performance, new functionality such as Tag browsing in Media Center and an IE feature that prevent incompatible toolbars from loading, vastly improved device coverage, and numerous other improvements, Microsoft says. Additionally, the controversial User Account Control (UAC) feature has been significantly changed to be less intrusive.
The RC1 build will time out in May 2007, Microsoft says, and the company will support it with critical updates and other patches through the final release of Windows Vista, which is slated for late October 2006.
Microsoft has posted the RC 1 build, Number 5600, on its TechBeta Web sites for select technical beta testers, including Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners, on September 1.
Microsoft is planning to broaden the beta to include up to six million participants, total, some time next week, according to industry sources.
It’s nice that the Vista team gets a long weekend, but it’s rather odd the way pre-RC1 build 5536 was just released a week ago to a restricted group of testers and then Microsoft extended the audience to MSDN subscribers and 100,000 of the general public who had signed up for Beta 2. Microsoft’s Nick White says that regardless of the proximity of the dates, the feedback is important, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt morale to finally have a Vista build that drew plaudits instead of brickbats. By the way, Robert McLaws points to a reason for the suddenly frisky performance of Vista betas – the debugging code has come out.