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Consumers can download the Release Candidate build of Microsoft's slick new OS, Windows 7, and try it out for themselves. Both 32- and 64-bit versions are available for download.
Consumers can finally get their hands on a near-release copy of the latest version of Windows

Windows 7 has the tech community and the consumer world buzzing.  For consumers, it has been a long four months since the release of the Windows 7 beta which saw hundreds of thousands of downloads.  Some turned to torrents to try to swipe the newer beta builds or the recent Release Candidate, but for most it was a matter of waiting.

The waiting is over at last as Microsoft has officially released the Release Candidate 1 build of Windows 7 to the general public.  The build is available directly from Microsoft for download.

Microsoft is suggesting that novice users not download the build as no tech support will be provided.  Customers who download the build will have to burn the ISO onto a disk.  Unlike the more recent beta candidate builds, the RC1 build requires a complete reinstall, even on machines with a working build of Windows 7.

Both 32- and 64-bit versions of the build are available.  Microsoft recommends users' computers have at least 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of free disk space.

Microsoft is promising not to limit the number of downloads of the new release, like it initially did for the beta release (before later relenting and allowing unlimited downloads).  The beta release proved a headache for some, as the large demand crashed some of Microsoft's servers at the time, rendering many eager users unable to download the beta from Microsoft.  Microsoft is hoping that this time around things go more smoothly.

The test builds of Windows 7 will work until June 2010, but starting in March 2010 they will shut down every two hours.

Microsoft has publicly stated that Windows 7 will launch "no later than January 2010."  However, it now appears that the new OS will land in time for the holiday season, as Acer has leaked its release date as October 23.

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RE: Working OK so far
By icanhascpu on 5/5/2009 9:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
Minimum recommended != True minimum

RE: Working OK so far
By omnicronx on 5/5/2009 10:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't be that bad, if an out of order single core Atom 270 can run it, a dual P3 1GHZ system should be able to handle being a test box. I remember reviewers comparing the 270 directly with a Pentium3-M 1.16GHZ although I am sure the FSB is bumped a bit over traditional P3 chips.

RE: Working OK so far
By jvillaro on 5/5/2009 12:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
A friend just installed it on his EEEPC 1000HE, only 1gb RAM.
So far i rest's as responsive as XP. He even says it's faster.

RE: Working OK so far
By jvillaro on 5/5/2009 12:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
So far i rest's as responsive as XP. He even says it's faster.

So far IT'S as responsive as XP. He even says it's faster.

RE: Working OK so far
By Sulphademus on 5/5/2009 11:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but it would still be a good test. Ya know, for science.

RE: Working OK so far
By Bateluer on 5/5/2009 1:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, that's the only reason I have for doing it. ;)

RE: Working OK so far
By Sulphademus on 5/5/2009 2:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Same reason I ran Return to Castle Wolfenstein on my old PII 266 (256MBSDRAM + 32MBTNT2) running XP. Just to see if I could.

And frame rates still sucked at 640 with everything turned down.

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