Anyone can now download the RC1 build 5600 of Windows Vista. However, to install it you need to have a valid product key. If you have a product key for Beta 2 of Windows Vista you are good to go. There is only one ISO image (or two if you include the 64-bit version), but there are different product keys for the different editions of Windows Vista. Of course, I chose the Ultimate one.
Check out this post on the Windows Vista Team Blog for some more details about the RC1 release.
I installed the RC1 build on three machines without any problems. Installation is pretty fast if you do a clean install on a separate partition and it should take no more than about 30 minutes with few questions asked.
Compared to the pre-RC1 build 5536 that I installed previously, I noticed a couple of changes. For example, the Aero Glass interface has become more stable. There is less flickering of the screen when you change display modes, like when you start Windows Media Center or start a slide show. The experience has become smoother.
Although Aero Glass is nice, this UI looks much more impressive. Microsoft demoed Flip 3D at PDC03 and it will be available early 2007, so catching up with this should take Microsoft no more than 3 years, right? 😉