The Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) (build 7100) is now available to the public for download. The beta keys Microsoft gave out during the public beta will work just fine with this build. The RC is available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors in English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.
This is different from the beta, which was available in English (32-bit and 64-bit), German (32-bit and 64-bit), Japanese (32-bit and 64-bit), Arabic (32-bit and 64-bit), and Hindi (32-bit). If you are already on the beta, Microsoft recommends a clean install of the RC build: the upgrade path is not supported.
It will be available at least through June 30, 2009, with no limits on the number of downloads or product keys available. So you don't need rush to make sure you get your copy. When you're ready to download the RC, it'll be waiting for you. So Microsoft is trying to deter the huge stampede of Internet users looking for Windows 7.
Here are the system requirements:
- 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB of RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher driver
So what's new in this build anyway? The Engineering 7 Blog has three separate posts detailing some of the changes. Overall, it is faster and has a ton of bugs fixed. We'll have a post that goes deeper into the changes in the near future.