Windows 7 Release Candidate Public Availability Info

I just received a newsletter from TechNet because I downloaded the Windows 7 Beta 1 public release earlier this year when it became available.

It has an interesting note about the public release of the Windows 7 Release Candidate and how long it will be up for download:

On Tuesday, May 5 (PST), the RC will be available to everyone via our Customer Preview Program. As with the Beta, the Windows 7 RC Customer Preview Program is a broad public program that offers the RC free to anyone who wants to download it. It will be available at least through June 30, 2009, with no limits on the number of downloads or product keys available.

First off – that is close to two months of having the download at your fingertips for unlimited access.  You will be able to install it on your grandmothers machine and every other member of your family!

Another note about installing the Release Candidate that everyone needs to be aware of:

IMPORTANT: 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. After installing Windows 7, you will need to reinstall applications and restore your files. If you need help with the installation process, please see the Installation Instructions.

If you’re running Windows Vista, you can install Window 7 RC without having to back up and reinstall your programs and data. But to be on the safe side, please do backup your data before you start.
Please note: All users of the Windows 7 Release Candidate (including Windows Vista users who have upgraded to the Release Candidate) must do a clean installation of Windows 7 RTM. Please keep this is mind as you consider downloading the Release Candidate as opposed to waiting for the general availability release.

This is important so that the data Microsoft collects about your installation (yes part of the agreement to getting the RC is that you will provide anonymous data for them to see how the OS is working on yours and everyone else’s configurations! If you ran the beta you have already done this as well) to help them in the development of the OS.

Enjoy and let us know how your experience is with the Release Candidate.

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