Microsoft officially released the Windows Vista Release Candidate 1, which is a major milestone marking the path to shipping Windows Vista. RC1 is touted to become Microsoft’s most widely distributed test versions ever and available to users who will have a chance to experiment with it and provide feedback ahead of Vista’s scheduled November 2006 release for enterprise users and January 2007 for consumers. According to Microsoft, the product is already, by most parts, complete. But the company said that it is continually fixing bugs as well as continuing to work on improving performance, stability and compatibility. Microsoft claims that it has made a number of very significant changes since the release of Beta 2. Some of these changes include better hardware detection and improve device support. RC1 will supposedly include support for HD-DVD and BR-DVD formats, more SATA controllers, wireless printers and Media Center tuners. The company also said that the new release candidate will have significant improvements in the way it handles large media libraries through built in applications like Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and DVD Maker. This may be an attempt to follow the lead of Apple which has bundled a number of great software with the Macintosh operating system. A release candidate usually means that there is a possibility that this is going to be the version that will be shipped in the end. But Microsoft is quick to point out that this is not the case with the Vista RC1. The company hopes that releasing RC1 to a wide audience will enable it to get more feedback about its quality and see if it is sufficient enough to merit a release or if more time is needed to fix problems in the OS.