Microsoft Pulls Vista RC2 Public Download

On Monday, just two days after making Release Candidate 2 RC2 of Windows Vista available to the public through the Customer Preview Program CPP, Microsoft pulled the download confounding many users who were hoping to get the last public prerelease version of the product. But despite rumors of problems Microsoft says its removal of RC2 was all part of the plan.

Windows Vista RC2 was an interim release distributed for the purposes of final testing by a limited audience a Microsoft representative told me late yesterday. Once that limit was reached and the necessary feedback was collected from the CPP audience Microsoft closed the site. For now Windows Vista RC1 remains the primary version for distribution and ongoing use.

 The limit referred to incidentally was 200,000 users. Microsoft program manager Nick White says that the company distributed RC2 to that many CPP customers in fewer than 72 hours and then closed the download. However, a Microsoft representative tells me that Vista RC2 is still available to technical beta testers and to Microsoft Developer Network MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

Virtual PC 2007 Beta Appears

Earlier this week Microsoft shipped a beta version of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to testers providing customers with the first version of Virtual PC to natively support Windows Vista. Virtual PC 2007 creates a virtual machine VM environment in which a guest OS can run in a window under the physical machine's host OS.

Virtual PC 2007 is a 32-bit application and supports only 32-bit guest OSs but it can run under both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. It supports Intel's and AMD's microprocessor hardware virtualization features and provides dramatically better performance than does Virtual PC 2004. I was told that Virtual PC 2007 will support Vista's Windows Aero UI but the current beta supports only the Vista Basic UI. Like its predecessor Virtual PC 2007 will be free when the final version is.