Did you happen to miss the fact that today was the deadline for grabbing an official copy of the Windows 7 Release Candidate? In all actuality that time slipped by at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time today.
For those who did grab their official copy of the Windows 7 RC you can still access your key for it by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/download.aspx and following these instructions on the page:
To look up your product key or get a new one, just go through the steps like you’re starting a download. Go to the bottom of this page, pick your version and language, and click go. From there, sign in with your Windows Live ID, and your product key will appear on the next page.
Take note of the fact that those keys will only be available until 21 Oct 2009 which just happens to be the day before General Availability of Windows 7. The release candidate will still work though until June 2010 with shutdowns every two hours starting on 01 March of 2010.
However, those keys are not much good if you do not have the Windows 7 RC ISO file so what do you do if you want the look and feel of Windows 7 until it is otherwise available to the general public?
- Download the Windows 7 Transformation Pack and turn your Windows XP/Vista or Server 2003 system into a replica of Windows 7.
- Follow these instructions using several different resources to turn Windows Vista into Windows 7.
- Head over to TweakVista and see how they suggest you can make Make Windows Vista look like Windows 7.
- Use one of these Windows 7 themes for Windows XP and Vista.
The other thing to do is keep an eye out for a Windows 7 120 Day Eval version although I do not think that is going to come around until well after General Availability in October.