Final Vista test build expected this week

It looks like the final broadscale Vista test build is going to hit some time the week of October 2.

Microsoft officials acknowledged last week that the company is planning to release one last broad technical test release of Windows Vista in October.

(We’re betting there will be a few more small, private test builds before the Vista is released to manufacturing in the next few weeks.)

Currently, it’s looking like that last major test release will hit some time this week.

The first hint that the new test build would hit the week of October 2 came from Vista Program Manager Nick White. White posted on September 28 that testers should watch for a new beta release of the Windows Mobile Device Center – a feature of Vista – some time the week of October 2.

Yesterday, Windows expert Paul Thurrott posted a prediction that the new Vista build, which Thurrott says will be christened Release Candidate (RC) 2, will hit on Friday October 6. Thurrott said the new release will be Build 5743.

I’m wondering if this final test build will throw in any more concessions to appease Symantec, McAfee, encryption-solution vendors, handwriting recognition developers and/or any other current or former Microsoft partners who don’t like the direction Vista’s taking.

Will Microsoft relegate Vista’s centralized Security Center dashboard to a user-/OEM-selectable option, as opposed to an integrated component? Will the Redmond software maker take the proactive step of unlocking BitLocker in order to head off another potential European antitrust investigation?

Guess we’ll find out in a few more days.

Meanwhile, on the topic of antitrust investigations, Microsoft lodged on October 3, its expected appeal of the $356 million fine levied by the European Commission for Microsoft’s failure to comply with all the terms of the 2004 European antitrust ruling against the company.

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