Windows Vista SP1Microsoft has released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate (RC) 1 standalone installer for free public download via Microsoft Download Center. The release signals beginning of the much wider general testing phase instead of previous test builds release which restricted to registered members of Microsoft Connect, Technet or MSDN, while general users have to resort to leaked versions download via web drive or torrents, or hack to install Vista SP1 RC via Windows Update. Note that Microsoft just labels this release as SP1 RC, but not RC1 or RC2, so it’s unclear if there is any differences with prior release via Connect/Technet or Windows Update.

The SP1 RC setup packages available in 2 versions for each 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) edition of Windows Vista, one with just 5 languages pack included which is English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish, and another one with all 36 language MUIs included. Both will update Vista RTM to Vista SP1.

Download the Vista SP1 RC code now via official Microsoft Download Center direct download links:

32-bit 5 Languages version – Windows6.0-KB936330-wave0-X86.exe (436.3MB)
32-bit 36 Languages version – Windows6.0-KB936330-wave1-X86.exe (548.5MB)
64-bit 5 Languages version – Windows6.0-KB936330-wave0-X64.exe (733.5MB)
64-bit 36 Languages version – Windows6.0-KB936330-wave1-X64.exe (878.5MB)

There is also a “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Before You Install” explanation document available for download. The message is pretty standard, which reminds users that they must uninstall prior version of SP1 beta installed, and must uninstall the SP1 RC before installing final release of Vista SP1. It also explains why you will get to see “Evaluation Copy” on the desktop after installing SP1 RC and requires users to have genuine Windows Vista before installing SP1.

Microsoft also confirmed the leaked and already widely used method to install Vista SP1 RC via Windows Vista by providing the SP1RC Public Availability WURelease toolkit. The self-extracted archive package contains SP1cppRK.cmd script that will insert required registry keys into system for SP1 to be offered by Automatic Update or Windows Update.

Update: Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh build 6001.17128.