Another refresh build of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate (RC) Refresh 2 has been released, again to Microsoft Connect beta testers. Again, interested users can also use the registry hack to trick Windows Update to offer the latest version of SP1 RC Refresh 2 to your machine and install the SP1. SP1 RC Refresh 2 has the build version of 6001.18000.

Download Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh 2 from WU.rar (unlikely to work anymore as SP1 RTM officially released and pushed via WU). Unpack the RAR archive and run the SP1_rcr2RK.cmd to add the required registry key into the system registry. If you have installed any previous SP1, uninstall it first. Here’s the brief steps to install the latest SP1 RC Refresh 6001.18000.

  1. Uninstall Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh v.744 or any other beta version if installed. There’re reports saying that the SP1 RC can be upgraded without uninstalling first, but try at your own risk.
  2. Run SP1_rcr2RK.cmd from Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh 2 from WU.rar.
  3. Check for updates in Windows Update.
  4. Install all pre-requisite updates for SP1, namely Update for Windows (KB938371) and Update for Windows (KB935509), with the later for Vista Ultimate and Enterprise edition only.
  5. Reboot the computer.
  6. Check for updates in Windows Update again after waiting for several minutes.
  7. Install Update for Windows (KB937287_6001.1800), the “installer” code for SP1.
  8. Wait for several minutes, and check for updates in WU again.
  9. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (KB936330) will be shown as available. Install accordingly.

For those who wants standalone offline setup package can download Vista SP1 RC 2 Refresh 2 via BT torrents (no longer available).

Apparently, in the EULA of this version of SP1, it stated that the release is RTL version. After installing SP1 RC Refresh 2, system properties will only show “Service Pack 1” without any build version, and there is no longer any “Evaluation Copy” watermark in the bottom right corner of desktop. And probably there is no expiry date to this version of test build too, though you won’t want to keep it after final version been released.

There are many unofficial rumors on the possible release date of RTM gold version of Windows Vista SP1, from the earliest first week of February, 15th or 16th February, or the later the same date with official launch of Windows Server 2008. But one thing is for sure, Microsoft is still committed to release Windows Vista SP1 in the first quarter of 2008.

Update 2: Windows/Microsoft Update and Automatic Updates now automatic roll out Windows Vista SP1 without the need of any registry hack.

Update 1: Official Windows Vista SP1 5-languages download links and full 36-languages Windows Vista SP1 standalone setup installer.