Vista RC2 Ships -- But to a Select Audience

As expected, Microsoft released what it terms Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 on Friday. The move was widely predicted after at least two Microsoft-focused Web sites jumped the gun and released information and links pointing to the download earlier in the week.

Barring major "showstopper" bugs, RC2 will be the last release candidate prior to Vista’s "release to manufacturing" or RTM late this month or in early November.

However, unlike previous Windows development cycles, Microsoft is not planning on releasing RC2 to a wide-scale test audience.

"Microsoft is distributing this build to a select number of Customer Preview Program (CPP) participants, in addition to the regular distribution to TechBeta, TechNet, TAP and MSDN," said a Microsoft spokeswoman in an e-mail.

As the earlier Microsoft postings had stated, RC2 is Vista build 5744. The RC process for Vista began in early September.

The release candidate is available via Microsoft’s Connect site here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services,, and .NET magazines. Contact him at [email protected].