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Review: Windows Vista RC 1 Is Almost Ready For Prime Time

The new release candidate of Microsoft's next OS shows a lot of promise and only a few remaining glitches. Is it possible Microsoft may get this one right?

The long wait for a usable version of Windows Vista is finally over -- the newly released Release Candidate 1 (RC1) version of Windows Vista is faster, fitter, and sports a leaner, far easier-to-use interface. Up until now, I've been a skeptic, not convinced that Microsoft would be able to meet its planned date of January 2007 for consumer availability. But this most recent release has turned me into a believer.

Click image to enlarge.

RC1 Vista shows an operating system with significant performance improvements over Beta 2; much-improved networking and wireless support; a leaner, better-designed Control Panel; and overall better "fit and finish." For the first time, it seems as if Vista may well be on track to meet its January 30, 2007, ship date. This is an operating system that, while not quite ready for prime time, is clearly out of dress rehearsals.

While this version of Vista is not significantly different than the version released to a few testers in July, it is considerably improved compared to the Beta 2 release that I reviewed last May.

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