Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) allows registered users to download Windows Vista Beta 2, Release Candidate 1 (RC1) and Release Candidate 2 (RC2) together with valid product key or serial number to install, activate and use Windows Vista pre-RTM build for up to June 1, 2007. However, if you go to the program’s web page, and try to register and receive a product key, you will notice that Customer Preview Program is now closed and no new registrations are being accepted. However, you can still receive a valid and legitimate CPP (or RC1) product key with the following trick.

  1. You will need a Windows Live account (also known as MSN Hotmail, MSN Messenger, or Microsoft Passport account) user ID and password from here.
  2. Select your country in the form below, and click on Go.

    If the form is not working properly, go to this link.

  3. Login with your new Windows Live account that never been used to get Windows Vista product key or serial CD number (if it’s new one then it’s ok). Else you will have the following error message:

    Windows Vista RC1

    Thank you for participating in the Microsoft Windows Vista Customer Preview Program.

    You have received the maximum number of Product Keys available for this program. Please check your e-mail, including filtered or junk mail folders, for an e-mail message from service@microsoft.com with your Product Key.

  4. Fill up the details in form displayed. Make sure the email address is correct as Windows Vista CPP RC1 product key will be delivered to this email address, just in case you unable to note down the key displayed on screen. (This step may not applicable to some)
  5. Keep filling up the required forms and clicking ‘Continue’. (This step may not applicable to some)
  6. When done, a Windows Vista RC1 product key will be displayed on screen.

    Windows Vista Product Key Label
    Windows Vista Product Key Label with product key in the middle.

  7. The Vista serial will also be delivered via email with subject “Microsoft Windows Vista RC1 Product Key” and sender of “service@microsoft.com”. If you get a verification e-mail instead from Microsoft, simply click on the verification link and you will be brought to a page where it displays the Windows Vista RC1 download links together with product key.

Note that each RC1 serial product key can be used to activate up to 10 computers, and you can only obtain up to 2 Vista RC1 product serials for each Windows Live account ID.

Also, the download link for Windows Vista RC1 (on Microsoft Connect) or Windows Vista RC2. But you most probably don’t need them, as final build of Windows Vista RTM has released.

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