Windows 7 RC1 is available for download

Want to find out what the buzz is all about Windows 7? Now is the perfect time: Microsoft just released “Release Candidate 1” for Windows 7. For those that are not familiar with the application development process, when a program (such as Windows 7) reaches the “RC” stage, that means the final product will be very similar to the RC – only minor changes will be made before official release.

The good thing about Windows 7 RC1 is that you can use it until June 1, 2010 – the key will expire then. However Windows 7 RC1 will start shutting down every two hours starting on March 1, 2010; you are supposed to have purchased a copy by then (and/or upgrade to the next RC version):

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.

Windows 7 RC1 will be available for download at least until June 2009 and there is no cap on how many people can download it.

These are the system requirements for Windows 7 RC1:

  • 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

You can learn more and download Windows 7 RC1 from the Windows 7 homepage.

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  1. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Speaking of buying a laptop: if you really are going to buy one, wait until after July 1st. Anyone that buys a new laptop/desktop after July 1st (one that has Vista on it) will get a free upgrade to Win7 when it comes out.

    As for when Win7 is coming out? Microsoft says maybe as early as the end of 2009. Most likely I would say start of 2010.

  2. Kinetix

    Ah, well. I’ll wait until its released for real. Are there any estimates on when that will happen?

    Oh, wait. I could always buy a laptop and go to somewhere with wireless internet and use that to download it. xD

    EDIT: Yay, edit feature!

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss


    First thing first before you do anything with Win7: backup your laptop(s) with Macrium mentioned at This way even if something goes wrong, you can restore.

    Secondly, You can upgrade the Vista -> Win7 without loosing any data. For the XP machine you would have to do a clean install.

    Thirdly, no matter what you do, you are always a MS test subject. :P

    Lastly, I hear Win7 rocks.

  4. Kev93

    The changes in windows 7 ‘Theoretically’ be done in a service pack, making a new release was the best thing to do. In the OS that I sometimes work on, changes like this would be worth a new release. (Then again, our OS is free, so our users don’t complain about buying new releases.)
    BTW, Win 7 is faster than Vista, but not that impressive even compared to Red Hat or Ubuntu.

  5. Emrys

    Ashraf (and all), I have two lap tops; a Vista SP1 and an XP SP3. From time to time I’ve had grief from both. I do have the original system CD-ROMs and am unsure if I should even try to switch. I read the info on the MS site and it looks like a clean install is the only way to go. All the neat stuff I’ve got from GOTD would be lost, if I understand the process correctly. I’m tempted, but I’m afraid I’d be another MS test subject on a system not ready for release, and I’d end up with a wiped version of my original systems in need of a few hours of all the MS updates released since XP was sans SP1.

  6. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    The source of the download is not the problem for Kinetix. The problem is his internet connection.

    Also I don’t think we are allowed to rehost the Win7 download… sorry =(.

  7. Jean-Luc Picard

    Maybe if ashraf lets us I could put it on my website and you could download it from there???
    Also 32bit or 64bit? (And if ashraf does let me then make sure to use the MD5 Sum to make sure I’m not cheating you!)

  8. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss


    You have a good point. Could Microsoft have made all these changes with an SP? I don’t know – maybe, maybe not. We would have to know the underlying development to know for sure. However releasing a new Windows earns them a lot more money then an SP would. Of course the bad image of Vista was also a reason.

  9. Sue D. Nymme

    Well okay that’s great and all… but does “it’s faster” really justify a whole new operating system release? Of course speed is good, but they couldn’t just make Vista faster? Sure they could. This is about “people have a negative view of Vista. Quick, change the name!”

  10. Sue D. Nymme

    Hi Ashraf,

    Thanks for responding.

    I have looked and looked, and so far just about the only differences I’ve seen between Vista and Win7 are UI-related or driver-related.

    There are more input options (pen, touch, etc). Preview panes for minimized applications are improved. Better support for solid-state disks. More codecs for Windows media player. Powershell is included. More options for bitlocker. New biometrics framework.

    Other than possibly the biometrics stuff, what is so new here that it’s a major revision? This is no more of an update to Windows than Vista SP1 was. Am I wrong?

  11. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss


    At face value Win7 may look like it could be “Vista SP2” but the differences between Win7 and Vista are below the hood. Win7 is a lot more efficient, and a lot more light on resources. Heck it can even run on a netbook.

    So I highly disagree with you about it being “Mojave” all over again. The changes between Vista and Win7 cannot be accomplished w/ just a service pack; Vista would need a whole makeover.

  12. Sue D. Nymme

    Windows 7 looks to me to be the exact same thing as Vista, with a few optimizations and UI changes. It’s basically “Vista SP2”.

    My guess is that this is Microsoft’s push to bury the marketing mistakes they made with Vista, nothing more. It’s “Mojave” all over again.