Windows Vista RC2 has been released by Microsoft for free download. Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 is expected to be the final test release before the final Windows Vista product been released to manufacturing (RTM). The Vista RC2 can now be downloaded from Microsoft. Beside, the Windows Vista RC2 torrent has also available so that users can download RC2 via BitTorrent (BT) P2P network, or users can also download from ed2k eDonkey network. RC2 features bug fixes and performance improvement. So how’s it compared with RC1 and is it ready for final release?

ZDNet (dead link) installs and reviews Windows Vista RC2 x64 Ultimate edition on Intel Pentium 4 model 630 based computer and concludes that the system was for the most part very responsive and I was hoping to make the system even more responsive by sticking in a fast 2 GB Compact Flash card. Unfortunately my USB 2.0 interface on my motherboard isn’t the greatest hardware in my experience and it failed the requirements to run ReadyBoost. Almost all of the core hardware is working fine but you might still run in to some obscure printer or scanner that might lack 64 bit drivers. While problems with 64 bit will be rare, it is frequent enough to be a problem. RC2 isn’t ready yet but it’s close. Microsoft has less than a month to hammer out the remaining issues if they want to RTM in November.

PC Magazine reviews RC to ask the question “is RC2 ready for release?”, and concludes that “My experience with RC2 turned out to be a roller-coaster ride, and if my experience is at all typical, it’s not there yet. I expect Microsoft knows it still has work to do and that we’ll see at least another interim revision of RC2, as we did for RC1, if not a full-blown RC3, before the company makes the decision to ship Vista en masse.” PC Maginze also has walk-through slideshow on using Windows Vista.

PC World (dead link) has a hands on Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 and concludes that “software compatibility still has a way to go as Vista request uninstallation of Eset’s Nod32 antivirus program, Symantec’s Norton Ghost 9, and the Toshiba software that provided the Bluetooth stack. Beside, utilities, especially apps that relate to files, are often incompatible with new versions of Windows; and I suspect that such software incompatibility could be a problem with this operating system. Most of my business software works, but the revised namespace alone could cause problems. Windows Vista expects data files to reside in specific places so that it can protect them better. Security is a good reason for the change, but user preference and software compatibility may suffer initially.”

CNet previews Vista RC2 and evaluates whether it’s worthwhile to buy the Vista now, and concludes that “Windows Vista provides a vast landscape of features, some of which we haven’t yet had a chance to test in this build, but by merely scratching the surface, we were considerably less impressed with this build than previous builds. Given that Windows Vista includes Internet updates as part of the installation process, Microsoft has said it might release the existing code to manufacturers and patch Windows Vista systems remotely upon installation and activation. Again, the flaws apparent in Windows Vista RC2 aren’t dramatic, but they’re annoying. If we bought a new Windows Vista computer today, we’d be disappointed; if we upgraded, we’d more than a little frustrated. The version we tested is expected to sell for $399, but we demand much higher quality from Microsoft than what we’re seeing today.”