It’s official! Windows 7 RC download now available

windows-7-RC-downloadMicrosoft has released Windows 7 Release Candidate for download [not the torrent version]. The release moves Windows 7 closer to final distribution, and includes XP visualization.

The Windows 7 RC is available for both 32- and 64-bit versions and are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish.

Here’s what you need to know:

This is pre-release software, so please read the following to get an idea of the risks and key things you need to know before you try the RC.

  • You don’t need to rush to get the RC. The RC will be available at least through July 2009 and we’re not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.
  • Watch the calendar. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. You’ll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use.
  • Protect your PC and data. Be sure to back up your data and please don’t test the RC on your primary home or business PC.
  • Tech details/updates: Before installing the RC, please read the Release Notes and Things to Know for important information about the release.
  • Keep up with the news. You can keep up with general technical information and news by following the team blog. And, you can get non-technical news, tips, and offers by subscribing to the monthly Exploring Windows newsletter.
  • Keep your PC updated: Be sure to turn on automatic updates in Windows Update in case we publish updates for the RC.
  • Installation: You can install the Windows 7 RC on a PC running Windows Vista without backing up the PC—but we encourage you to make a backup for safe keeping. If you’re running Windows XP or the Windows 7 Beta, you’ll need to backup your data, then do a clean installation of the RC, then reinstall your applications and restore your data. If you need to do a backup, please see How to back up your PC for more details and a suggestion for how to backup a PC running Windows 7 Beta or Windows Vista.

You can view the full download instructions and the download links here.