Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) FAQ
Article by George Norman
On 27 Apr 2009
With Microsoft putting the finishing touches on Windows 7 RC and preparing to make the software available to MSD and TechNet subscribers as well as regular users, I thought it a good idea to showcase the bits and pieces of info you need to be made aware of regarding this OS version. The info is presented in question/answer form, so feel free to scroll down to the question you need answering.

When will Window 7 Release Candidate be made available for download?

TechNet and MSDN subscribers will be able to download Windows 7 RC as of April 30th. Regular users will get to download the OS as of May 5th. This information has been confirmed by Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, Brandon LeBlanc: “I’m pleased to share that the RC is on track for April 30th for download by MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Broader, public availability will begin on May 5th.”

Can I get Windows 7 RC ahead of time?

Yes, you can. The OS has already leaked to torrent sites, both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. You just need to be careful because there are also fakes as well as genuine Windows 7 RC versions available via torrent sites.

What is the official build for Windows 7 RC?
Windows 7 RC has the official build string 7100.0.090421-1700 (or 7100.0.winmain_win7rc .090421-1700), indicating that it was compiled on the 21st of April 2009.


What size is the leaked Windows 7 RC OS?
The download weighs in at over 2GB for the 32-bit version and over 3Gb for the 64-bit version.

Can I download Windows 7 RC from torrent sites?
Well, of course you can, but I think you would be better off waiting for the official release, especially if you have any reasons to doubt their authenticity.

If I have Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 installed, will I be able to upgrade?
Microsoft has already announced that it would much rather you perform a fresh install, or upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 (as opposed from Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 Release Candidate). As a matter of fact, all attempts to upgrade builds prior to Build 7077 will be automatically blocked. Additional details on this topic, including a workaround on the matter, are available here .

If I have Windows Vista SP1 installed, will I be able to upgrade Windows 7 Release Candidate?
Yes, in fact that is precisely the scenario Microsoft had in mind for Windows 7 RC ( details here )

If I have Windows XP installed, will I be able to upgrade to Windows 7 Release Candidate?

No. Microsoft does not support an XP to Windows 7 upgrade path.

Will there be a Windows 7 Release Candidate 2?

Not that we know of. The next step in the development plan is Windows 7 RTM (release to manufacturing), not another RC.

Will I be able to get Windows 7 RTM for free?
No, you will not. Windows 7 RC will be the last publicly available version of the Windows 7 OS.

Is Windows 7 RC feature-complete?
Yes it is.

Which Windows 7 version will be installed on my machine?
The official Windows 7 RC release will install Windows 7 Ultimate on your machine.

What about a product key?
If you already have a product key from your Windows 7 Beta, you can use that. If you do not have a product key, keep in mind that you will only need it before activating, not while installing the OS.

What if I do not provide a valid product key?
During the installation process you will be prompted to provide a product key; leaving that space blank will not interfere with the installation and will not restrict your Windows 7 RC usage – for 3 days at least. After 3 days the OS will prompt you about activating your Windows 7 RC version.

Can’t I just disable the automatic activation option during set up?
Yes, but this will only buy you 30 days. When that time is up you will be annoyed by constant prompts (and forced black background).

After I get a valid product key and activate by Windows 7 RC, how long will I be able to use it?
Windows 7 RC comes with an expiration date of March 1st, 2010.

Will I get any other annoying prompts?
Yes, you will get some UAC (User Account Control) prompts, but Microsoft says you will get some 29% fewer prompt compared to Vista.

Tags: Microosft, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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