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Latest Vista SP1 tweak open to everyone with a week to spare

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Microsoft is now letting the common rabble get its mitts on the latest beta build of Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

While the company released the tweak on January 9, it originally restricted the download to approximately 15,000 steely-nerved beta testers. Two days later, the company was feeling more adventurous. Microsoft posted on Friday the latest code for open public consumption on its website along with a set of instructions for installing the update.

From a Microsoft statement:

“In the interest of gaining additional tester feedback, on Thursday, we made the Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh available via Windows Update to interested beta testers on the public TechNet site. We are still on schedule to deliver SP1 RTM in Q1 CY08. The final release date is based on quality, so we will continue to track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date.”

With kit at hand, let's move to the caboodle. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC Refresh (sounds like a citrus soda, dunnit?) requires multiple reboots and has rather laborious installation process.

Caution: If you install this on any mission-critical machinery you are quite simply mad. We are contacting the authorities. The nice men arriving shortly will make sure the voices go away forever. If you are among "individuals, organizations, and technical enthusiasts who are comfortable evaluating pre-release software," you can continue. And may God have mercy on your soul.

Users must uninstall any previous version of Vista SP1 before getting RC Refresh. Microsoft instructs users to wait one hour after uninstalling so Windows can "clean up and complete the uninstall" prior to installing RC Refresh. [Microsoft also asks that you wait 15 minutes after eating before continuing with the effort - Ed.]

Two to three updates are also required before RC Refresh can be installed — with a restart required after each one. Users then move on to Windows Update readying the prerequisites for the pack "over the next several days."

In a nutshell, don't expect to tackle this thing over lunch. We highly recommend careful perusal of Microsoft's instructions before attempting this trick.

Refresh is time-limited. The deadline for uninstall is June 30, 2008. After that date, the OS will no longer operate properly. We'll let you fill in your own joke there. ®

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