I'm sure many of you have seen this, but the public version of the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) is now available:

Read this first

Here's what you need to know before you get started:

  • You don't need to rush! The RC will be available at least through July, and we're not limiting the number of downloads or product keys. So you have plenty of time.
  • Installation: If you are running Windows 7 Beta you’ll need to back up your data (preferably on an external device) and then do a clean install of the Windows 7 Release Candidate. Then, you’ll need to reinstall applications and restore your files. If you need help, please see the Installation Instructions.
  • Back up your data: We know you know this already, but please back up your data and please don't test the RC on your primary home or business PC.
  • Keep your PC updated: To get critical updates, be sure to turn on automatic updates in Windows Update.
  • 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.

Get the download

Both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. Just choose the version that fits the system you'll be using for the test, pick your language and click go to register for and download the software.

Enjoy!