On Monday, just two days after making the Release Candidate 2 (RC2) version of Windows Vista available to the public via the Customer Preview Program (CPP), Microsoft pulled the download, confounding users who were hoping to get the last public pre-release version of the product. But despite rumors of problems, Microsoft says its removal of RC2 was all part of the plan.
"Windows Vista RC2 was an interim release distributed for the purposes of final testing by a limited audience," a Microsoft representative told me late yesterday. "Once that limit was reached and the necessary feedback was collected from the CPP audience, Microsoft closed the site. For now, Windows Vista RC1 remains the primary version for distribution and ongoing use."
That limit, incidentally, was 200,000 users. Microsoft program manager Nick White says that the company distributed RC2 to that many CPP customers in under 72 hours and then closed the download, as it had planned. Vista RC2 is still available to technical beta testers and MSDN and TechNet subscribers, however, Microsoft tells me.