Windows 7 Release Candidate now available

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While various builds of Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 7, have been making the rounds of several less-than-legal download sites, users who signed up for the original Win7 beta have been stuck with the original beta build.  That’s all about to change, as the Redmond giant has just made its release candidate build available for any and all who could want it.

Users who are interested in the new RC build can use any keys they may have gotten from one of the original Windows 7 builds or request a new one.  Both 32- and 64-bit versions are available.  The updated version includes several improvements, additional features and bug fixes over the old 7000 build.  Many more programs work without crashing and for those that do still have issues, the built-in troubleshooter does a better job of coming up with solutions. 

Microsoft has said that the public will have access to the Win7 RC downloads until “at least through July.”  It should be noted that while the RC build of Win7 is usable free of charge until March 1st, 2010, the beta build of the OS expires on August 1st of this year, and the system will begin shutting down every two hours starting on July 1st.  From the website:

Remember expiration dates: Please plan ahead for the Beta and RC expiration dates. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to rebuild your test machine using a valid version of Windows before the software expires. Windows will notify you that the expiration process is beginning and two weeks later your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. The Beta expires on August 1, 2009, and bi-hourly shutdowns will begin July 1, 2009. The RC will expire June 1, 2010, and the bi-hourly shutdowns will begin on March 1, 2010. In both cases, you’ll need to rebuild your test PC to replace the OS and reinstall all your programs and data.”

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