Paul Thurrott over at Windows SuperSite has put together a quick review of Vista 5456 that was just released a few days ago. He also supplies some great screenshots and here are the key things that I found worth noting:
But what we get in build 5456 is dramatic improvement in reliability, usability, performance, and fit and finish. It is, quite simply, the build Microsoft should have shipped as Beta 2 to millions of people around the world. This build is so much better than Beta 2, in fact, that I’m begging the company to offer it to everyone that signed up for the public beta through the Community Public Preview (CPP). … But the important point here is that, for the first time in a long, long time, Windows Vista looks really good. This is what I had hoped to see in the public release, and it’s a good omen for RC1.
Unfortunately Microsoft did not open up this test to the public but it makes me anxious to get my hands on RC1. I am sure plenty of people continue to scour the P2P networks looking for this build since many people have said that their existing Beta 2 product key works fine and has no troubles activating.
Hopefully Microsoft continues to make Vista more stable and decides to open up these releases to the public.