Release Candidate 1 of Microsoft Vista was first released to selected testers on September 1 and Microsoft has continued to broaden the audience culminating yesterday with the admission of the general public as Scot Finnie reports at NetworkWorld:
Early Thursday, Microsoft opened the doors to all comers who would like to test Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1). Testers can access the 2.52GB of data that makes up the next version of Windows either via download or on a DVD that will be sent in the mail.
To initiate either process, would-be testers should visit the Vista Get Ready page and click the “Get Vista RC1″ link.
Before Thursday, only previously registered members of the Microsoft’s Customer Preview Program (CPP) — the 1.5 million people who accessed Vista Beta 1 in the same fashion earlier this year — were given access to RC1. Although Microsoft hasn’t officially announced the number of new CPP registrants it will allow for RC1, some Microsoft executives had previously estimated that the number would reach an additional 1.5 million testers.
Other reports indicate that a total of 5 million testers will be accommodated.
While I’m on the subject, I should also mention that there’s also a new release candidate of the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor which will tell you if your Windows XP system has the oomph to run Vista.