Microsoft releases download of Vista RC1

Microsoft is offering Vista beta testers a pre-RC1 ISO download. Users can download the file and create a bootable DVD using a common DVD burning software. Microsoft will stop the program after 100,000 successful downloads.

With the final release date of Vista approaching, Microsoft understandably wants to get all of the major software bugs out. Testers are urged to install and test the operating system, "as soon as possible". Crashes, hangs or other errors should be reported with the built in "Windows Error Reporting" dialog box.

Testers can download the ISO file using either an Akamai download manager or the built-in browser downloader. The Akamai program can pause, resume or stop the download, which is helpful when downloading such a huge file. While the website will let anyone download the ISO file, only beta testers will receive a valid product ID to install the OS.