Microsoft released the second release candidate of their upcoming Windows Vista operating system today.It is a free public download for all users who are interested in testing this new version of the operating system. Downloads are provided for 32-bit and 64-bit systems over at the Microsoft Vista homepage.
This new test version will work for 15 days without product key. If you want to continue using it after that point you need to activate the Vista operating system with a key that you can get by following this link. Note that you do need a Windows Live account to get a key. If you do not have an account yet, create one it is free and should not take longer than a couple of minutes.
I can't seem to find release notes for this, seems Microsoft had no time to update their website reflecting the changes. You can see some screen shots of Vista at Paul Thurott's website. Some board users claim that the new release candidate seems to have less bugs and runs smother than before.
One last thing, you probably can't upgrade from this release candidate to a full version of Vista. I would also suggest that you do not install Vista on your main computer, at least not as the only operating system. Check out my dual booting windows xp and vista guide.
Update: Microsoft has released Windows Vista in the meantime, and the operating system is considered by many to be a step backwards from Windows XP. A total of two service packs have been released for Vista in the meantime that sort out some of the performance issues and other quirks of the operating system that were responsible for the weak reception.
In 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7, Vista's successor that showed that Microsoft is still able to produce quality operating systems. Once Windows 7 was released, Vista's and windows XP's market share began to plummet, as users finally were able to upgrade to an operating system where Microsoft had done lots of things correctly.
Windows Vista users can download all service packs for their operating system from the official Service Pack Center website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.