Microsoft rolled out the Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 (RC2) to technical testers on Friday, a version that it says shall be the last before a release to manufacturing. The software giant also promised that this new release would soon be made available to the public.
The new Build 5744 will be the "last interim release before the product is released to manufacturing," a company spokesperson said.
In early September, when Microsoft made Release Candidate 1 (RC1) public, it had said that it would be the one-and-only RC, but changed its mind subsequently. The company spokesman said that RC2 differs from the earlier version by way of improvements in performance, additional application compatibility, and more fit-and-finish polishing of the interface.
In a message to testers, a company official said that RC2 boasts of 'thousands of quality improvements [over] Windows Vista RC1.' RC2 has not been posted to a publicly accessible download site, though officials said that this should happen soon. At the time of the release on Friday, it has been made available only to Technical Beta Testers, TAP Testers, and MSDN/TechNet subscribers.
According to the company spokesperson, Vista's release remains on schedule, though the company allowed itself some leeway by saying that "the quality of the product will always be our first priority."
The much-touted Vista has also been a much delayed product launch for Microsoft. Microsoft is now looking at November for the release of Vista to its corporate customers, and expects retail PCs to access the OS in January 2007.