Microsoft took the "beta" tag off Internet Explorer 8 today with the announcement of Windows Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1. IE8 RC1 is the next best thing to a full release of the software. Stocked with all the features, functions and most of the bug fixes you'll see in the final version.
IE8 for the most part appears nearly ready for widespread release, so don't be surprised if the final version arrives relatively soon.
The release candidate software comes in bot 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Vista as well as a 32-bit Windows XP edition. There is no installer for the Windows 7 Beta and RC1 will not work properly on the new OS. Microsoft has said the version of IE8 currently running on the Windows 7 Beta and the current IE8 revision are two seperate builds and should remain so.
If you aren't running Windows 7 and would like to get the latest version of IE8 the Windows Internet Explorer blog has a great post for upgrading to IE8 RC1.
As previous mentioned for Windows XP users if you are not running service pack 3 it is recommend that you install it before upgrading to IE8 or you will not be able to roll back to a previous version.