Update: It seems Microsoft decided not to wait any further and the 32-bit version of Vista RC2 can now be downloaded by the general public through their website. Download speed is great at the moment, but I still have to wonder why Microsoft decides not to use better distribution methods like BitTorrent.
As had been anticipated, Microsoft released today Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 (Build 5744) to beta testers through their Connect portal. They expect to make it more widely available next week.
Here's a post from Jim Alchin announcing the release:
People asked for it, and here it is, Windows Vista RC2! We wanted you to be the first to get these bits; next week theyll be available to a broader set of customers via MSDN and TechNet.
All your great feedback has helped us focus on nothing but bug fixes over the past month since RC 1 each and every day. There are thousands of quality improvements since Windows Vista RC1. Youll probably notice improvements in performance, application compatibility, as well as fit and finish work. We will continue improving quality until RTM. If you are an ISV, please use this build (certainly at least RC1 or later) to get certified. Visit www.innovateonvista.com for more information on logo certification.
You are integral to this creation and refinement process. We are just around the corner from RTM and shipping this great product to the world. This will be the last build made available prior to RTM, so please keep the feedback coming so we can hit the finish line. Thanks for your help in finishing the job!
This is going to be the last build of Vista that will be available to the public before it goes gold and then released to business users later this year.