Since I was in the technical beta program on Connect and filed bugs, I was lucky enough to get a free license of Windows Vista. Like with the XP x64 beta, we're getting a single license, download only. Which is unlike the regular XP beta, since there we got 5 licenses, and a box. And in the Windows 2000 beta, we got 10 licenses... Hmm, if this trend continues, we're going to have to give licenses to Microsoft at the end of the whatever the next Windows beta will be (Vienna?). :P
After a very slow download, I finally got it and installed the x64 edition, and I'm happy to report it's running fine. Not that that's particularly surprising, considering RC2 also ran fine, so why wouldn't the final?
Thanks to the ISP from hell, Lijbrandt Telecom, I have to use SecureW2 to authenticate myself. After heaps of problems in the early beta, it was finally starting to work in the later ones, and this is still true in the RTM build. The procedure for installing it is complicated: since I use an x64 version of Windows (true for XP too), I have compiled the SecureW2 sources myself using the x64 compiler that comes with Visual Studio 2005. I then copy aa_sw2.dll and aa_sw2_res.dll to the System32 folder, and import registry settings that I previously exported for XP to register it as an EAP method. Then I have to start the Wired Auto Config service (and set it to automatic for future use), after which I can use the properties for the connection to configure SecureW2 itself.
It isn't perfect though; almost every time after authentication you get a "COM Surrogate stopped working" message (doesn't seem to have any ill effects though), and usually authentication fails on login, so I have to disable and enable the connection to get it working. It's a hassle, but about all I can do until Alfa & Ariss release a version for Vista (that would use the new EAPHost infrastructure).
If you use SecureW2 and want to have more details about how to get it working on Vista, let me know.
After that it's driver time. Creative's beta drivers for the X-Fi install without issue, and sound is working. The real test will be to see if the SPDIF passthrough situation has improved any since RC2, but that I probably won't do today.
So far, so good!