All legal Windows Vista users can now try out the SP1 RC Refresh

Last week, Microsoft released the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate Refresh to 15,000 beta testers. In an effort to get even more feedback from customers, the SP1 RC Refresh is now open to the general public.

Microsoft routinely offers up test software to the general public, so this move shouldn't come as a surprise. In early December, Microsoft provided Vista users with the initial release candidate version of SP1.

As reported in previous articles, Windows Vista SP1 brings new anti-piracy measures, faster file copying, improved networked performance, enhancements to ReadyBoost and support for hotpatching.

Microsoft provides the following cautionary notes for those that wish to install this latest update to Windows Vista:

  • Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh is pre-release software and will change before the final release. Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh is for individuals, organizations, and technical enthusiasts who are comfortable evaluating pre-release software and is provided for testing purposes only. Microsoft does not recommend installing this software on primary or mission critical systems. Microsoft recommends that you have a backup of your data prior to installing any pre-release software.
  • Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh is time-limited software.
  • Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh will no longer operate after June 30, 2008 and should be uninstalled prior to that date. After installation your desktop will show the text "Evaluation Copy". This does not mean that your system is no longer genuine but that you have installed a test version of software which is time-limited. The "Evaluation Copy" text will appear on your desktop after the second reboot after installing the service pack. Likewise, the "Evaluation Copy" text will remain on your desktop during the first reboot after uninstall the service pack, but will disappear after the next reboot.
  • If you install Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh it is strongly recommended that you install the final version of Windows Vista SP1 when it is released. To do this, you will be required to uninstall this RC version of Windows Vista SP1.
  • Assisted support (phone, email and online chat) is not available from Microsoft Help and Support for this RC release of Windows Vista SP1. Self-help and peer support is available through the Windows Vista SP1 forum.
  • You must have a genuine copy of Windows Vista installed prior to installing Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh.
For those that don't mind dabbling with test software, the Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate Refresh can be obtained directly from Microsoft.

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