Vista 'Pre-RC1' Getting Good Blog Buzz

Aug 25, 2006 (11:08 AM EDT)

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Microsoft late Thursday began distributing the newest build of Windows Vista to a select circle of testers. The new version, dubbed "Pre-RC1" by the Redmond, Wash. developer, immediately got the thumbs-up from several prominent Windows enthusiast sites.

Officially pegged as Build 5536.16385, the preview of Release Candidate 1 (RC1) marks significant progress toward the final, Microsoft claimed. "We have made a lot of progress since Beta 2 and 5472, and we think you will notice the quality improvements that we've been seeing in the daily builds," wrote Nick White, a Vista program manager, on the group's blog.

Testers who downloaded the new build generally gave it good marks in their first impressions.

"Installation was quick, performance is great, way better than the previous one," said someone identified as "Ely" on's message forum. Another tester there, "cheesegoduk," added his (or her) two cents. "It installed in under an hour which is great considering I'm not even using my fast hard disk to test it on."

"Performance is about 3x better so far on my Dell Inspiron 9300, and driver support is phenomenal," wrote Matt Freestone on the Windows Connected blog. "I didn't have a single device that didn't come through setup installed except for the sound card which hit Windows Update and immediately downloaded and installed the driver, and did NOT require a reboot."

Windows Vista, which Microsoft continues to say will ship to businesses in November and will be available to others in January 2007, is expected to roll out as RC1 within the next few weeks. One analyst, however, bet that the date is even closer.

"Internet Explorer is part of Windows and IE 7 development clearly has tracked with Windows Vista development," Joe Wilcox, analyst with JupiterResearch, said Thursday after the release of IE 7 RC1. "Looking back at the tracks, so to speak, major IE 7 builds preceded new Windows Vista builds by no more than a week or two. So my expectation is that IE 7 RC1's release foreshadows that Windows Vista Release Candidate 1's release is imminent."

Microsoft, which closed the Beta 2 of Windows Vista about a month after it unveiled it to the public, has said it will reopen broad availability when the OS hits RC1.