On Thursday Microsoft announced the latest step towards the final version of Vista’s first service pack. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC Refresh is now publicly available and can be downloaded, with instructions, from Microsoft’s website or via an Automatic Update within Windows Vista Of course the update isn’t for everyone, just those interested in checking out what’s to come with the expected February release of the first service pack. Systems that haven’t been updated to the earlier versions of SP1, including the Beta, will require two or three (Vista Enterprise and Ultimate) updates before the public RC refresh can be installed. Here’s what you’ll need as prerequisites if you decide not to use Auto Update: “KB935509 This updates is only required on Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate editions (which have Bitlocker capabilities). This update is required prior to installing KB938371, the second prerequisite update and is required to prevent potential loss of data on Bitlocker encrypted systems during updating. KB938371 This update consists of fixes for several components (including the TrustedInstaller), increases the success rate for installing the service pack and enables the service pack to be uninstalled successfully. KB937287 This is an update to the “Servicing Stack” or the Windows Vista component installer technologies built into Windows Vista. This update enables the built-in installer to properly and successfully install the service pack. “ Originally, the release was only available to 15,000 beta testers, but Microsoft decided to open it up to the general public. In the interest of gaining additional tester feedback, on Thursday, we made the Windows Vista SP1 RC Refresh available via Windows Update to interested beta testers on the public TechNet site. We are still on schedule to deliver SP1 RTM in Q1 CY08. The final release date is based on quality, so we will continue to track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date,” Microsoft said, according to ZDNET. Now the bold ones can go forth debugging this bad boy while the rest of us kick back and wait for the final release.