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May 5, 2009

Windows 7 RC free to download

Posted: 10:19 AM ET

The Windows 7: Release Candidate (RC) was officially published for public download this morning. The Release Candidate is a (mostly) finalized version of the software that has successfully completed beta testing and has potential to be a final product.

My download of the 2.36 GB DVD image file is currently speeding along at 3 MB/sec (thanks for the bandwidth, CNN!). It appears Microsoft has solved its distribution issues after demand for the beta version of Windows 7 crippled servers when it was released in January.

I first installed an earlier beta version of Windows 7 on my home computer in March, and, to my surprise, everything worked. There were no drivers to upgrade or software compatibility issues to resolve. Unlike my experiment with Vista's beta software that had me reinstalling XP several days later with less hair and a brimming swear jar, I am still running Windows 7  beta today and plan on upgrading to RC this afternoon.

Reviews of Windows 7 suggest that my experience may not be an isolated case.

Jeremy A. Kaplan at claims:

Quicker to install, more polished and customizable, and easier to use than earlier builds, the Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) is a nice step towards finalization of the operating system.

Anyone is free to download and use Windows 7 RC until the temporary license expires June 2010. I don't recommend installing preproduction software on any computers used for critical applications. But if you're a tech enthusiast with a bit a time to spare I think you will be quite happy with this new version of Windows.

Any guesses as to how Apple will incorporate Windows 7 in its "Mac vs. PC" campaign?

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Filed under: Apple • computers • Internet • technology • Windows

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Windows 7 RC free to download » - Conquering Atlanta one bar at a time.   May 5th, 2009 10:51 am ET

[...] Here is a copy of an article I wrote for the Tech blog. [...]

Dal   May 5th, 2009 11:08 am ET

This article is totally useless. I had never heard of the techonology before and nowhere could I find exactly what this application is for or what it does. Just a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo. Reading this article I felt like I started in on a conversation already in progress.

Satchmo Bevins   May 5th, 2009 11:16 am ET

Folks in the "know" downloaded it last night ahead of the rush.

Just have to know who to pay attention to. And where.

Have fun!

Rex   May 5th, 2009 11:41 am ET

Will W-7 be available at no cost to those of us saddled with Vista(the NEW Melennium!)? I could not get my laptop to upgrade to XP due to hardware constraints built in.

Bret   May 5th, 2009 11:43 am ET

The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours.

Hey, this is better performance than I'm getting now!

Bri   May 5th, 2009 11:44 am ET

Uh, Dal, it's WINDOWS. You've never heard of Windows? Are you a bot?

Adam   May 5th, 2009 11:44 am ET

Folks in the "know" got it over a week ago.

Anti-7   May 5th, 2009 11:45 am ET

I installed the beta a while back and it is a nightmare.. The drivers for my mobo arent available, the SLI drivers fail, MS word constantly locks up and the computer constantly bluescreens! MS, yet another failed attempt... back to XP

Fulorian   May 5th, 2009 11:46 am ET

The license to Windows 7 RC is until June 30th, 2009 – not 2010. That's a huge difference. I hope nobody reads your article and installs Windows 7, only to find themselves hopelessly trapped into reinstalling XP/Vista next month.

John C.   May 5th, 2009 11:50 am ET

Like Dal above, I could not figure out what the heck was being hyped in this article. Therefore, went to the download site and discovered it is a BETA windows 7 release. What a bunch of hooey.

Mike   May 5th, 2009 11:58 am ET

Windows 7 is so much better than Vista. It is what Vista was supposed to be: A lightweight (meaning it doesn't take a ton of computer resources), stable operating system that improves upon XP's successes. If Microsoft wants this OS to be a hit, they will need to give it away or drastically reduce the price because the Vista pricing was ridiculous.

I installed a beta version on a 1.8 pentium mobile laptop (with 1gb of ram and a 40gb HD) and was very surprised at how well the OS worked. It moved quickly and efficiently. To the naked eye, it looks essentially the same as Vista. The only real visual difference is how the toolbar shows running programs (with icons instead of textboxes).

If Vista drove you crazy with it's problems or its performance, grab a copy of Windows 7. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Adam   May 5th, 2009 12:01 pm ET

@ Anti-7

You mean the Beta had problems, wow who would of thought that. Did you bother putting in bug reports and finding workarounds or were you one of those people who thought they would get a free OS and not bother making it better. So far I have it installed on 3 machines one using crossfire one in sli and a laptop sound to me like user error or the lack of tech knowledge to even use and test a beta.

Wes Finley-Price   May 5th, 2009 12:03 pm ET

@ Fulorian
"The RC will be available at least through July 2009" - meaning you can download it until then.
"The RC will expire on June 1, 2010." - meaning you can use it until then.
Source: Microsoft's Windows 7 Download Page

Adrian - Geekbox Computers, Inc.   May 5th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

All I can say is, Thank you Microsoft 🙂 Can't wait to get all of our customers on this software.

Adrian - Geekbox Computers, Inc.   May 5th, 2009 12:22 pm ET

(when the full version is released mind you... hehe)

dustin   May 5th, 2009 1:20 pm ET

Ill put it on my old comp just too look at it. Cant be any worse then some they have put out

adub   May 5th, 2009 1:30 pm ET

you window haters need to stop. if you dont want it then dont get it. all you fools are crying about windows not working but windows is like 88% of the market. mac is like .0000000000003% (although it is moving up). windows is the best operating system ever and you all know it. HATERS

Kev   May 5th, 2009 1:47 pm ET

So wait can i instal this on my MacBook?

Moe   May 5th, 2009 2:29 pm ET

Reading comprehension... that which sets apart those who know what they are talking about and those who are just freaking idiots that do nothing more than drool over themselves.

there is a lot of drool being left as comments by people on here who are "confused"... if you READ THE ARTICLE, there is no reason to be confused. If so, step away from the computer you are currently using and never touch it nor another ever again.

Mark   May 5th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

There's a reason you didn't experience many driver issues etc. going from Vista to Windows Seven. Windows Seven *IS* essentially the Vista core with a slightly prettier interface. Microsoft would rather we not think of W7 as Vista 2 because everyone hated Vista so much. That's why they were very worried about the rollout of W7. Nobody wanted another Vista. When was the last time you hear Microsoft even use the word Vista ? Nope. Everything is now generically "Windows" to try to make us forget about Vista and thiank new and exciting things are coming. Sorry, it's just Vista 2.0

Andrew   May 5th, 2009 3:05 pm ET

I love Vista and will continue to think its a great operating system. Crashed far more often using every version of windows XP than i ever have with windows Vista. I have only ever blue screened windows Vista once and that was because i overclocked some unstable ram.

I don't know how other people somehow magically have huge problems with Vista. I'm thinking its more operator error than system error.

Craig   May 5th, 2009 3:11 pm ET

I'm trying to figure out what everyone hates Windows, especially Vista so much? I'm a 37 year old professional that lives and beats the crap out of my computer 10+ hours a day. I do email, surf, do heavy graphics work, record hi-definition music and video, etc on it every day. I've never experienced anything drastic and devastating with the OS. It's fast, intuitive and gorgeous to boot. From my experience in supporting people having "nightmares" with it, 99.99% of the time it was because they did not know what they were doing or they were expecting 10 year old hardware to run it. New software always takes advantage of the advances in hardware. Don't expect your older computer to be best buddies with the latest and greatest in software. Plain and simple. Some of my clients are on Macs, so I own a Mac as well. I don't feel the Mac OS is any more intuitive or powerful than the Windows OS. Neither does anything revolutionary over the other. It all comes down to personal preference and marketing/media coverage. It's like saying Chevy is better than Ford. It's all subjective folks. Get over it.

Scott   May 5th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

I for ok, one, have never had a bit of trouble with windows Vista. Sure, I had the occasional IE freeze, lock-up, then shut down. That went on during Win 95, 98, 2000, ME, etc.. To me, ME was the worst OS ever developed. Yes, most parts of XP were fabulous, but even it had some flaws. If you don't like it, don't buy it, use it, or bitch about it. Instead, make your own! idiots...

Blake   May 5th, 2009 3:22 pm ET

"windows is like 88% of the market. mac is like .0000000000003%"

Your Windows market share is pretty close, 87.9% is the actual number. The Apple market share is 9.73%, with an additional .7% utilizing ipod Touch and iPhone and 1.02% using Linux.

Mobile net application data also show iPod and iPhone with a 65% market share in mobile platforms, while Windows Mobile holds about 6% of the market share there. Not too incredible.

Evidently, with sales of iPhones and iPods surging, it is clearly evident that Apple is on the verge of a breakthrough in market share. Notebook sales have at times neared a 20% market share for Apple, with surveys of college students revealing that 25% will look to Apple to purchase their next computer. And in the highest price categories, nearly 50% of notebook sales are Apple computers.

What does this say to me? If you are looking for a bargain PC with a shoddy operating system, which attempts to mimic the latest features of MAC OS-X, includes plenty of pre-loaded junkware, and a spectacular affinity for getting viruses, then go ahead and keep buying Window's PCs. But sooner or later you'll be the minority. Eventually the better product wins out, Consumer Reports ain't lying. . . Apple is making the better product, and it isn't hard on the eyes either.

Mike   May 5th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

LOL.. common people are you really that dense? So it seems by reading these first comments. Dal, Rex, and Fulorian you might want to wait till the final version is released before you install. Sarcasm alarm went off on Kev, but just in case it's in need of a tune-up.. NO!! lol.. With VMware maybe...

I installed Beta 7000 months ago and was pleasantly surprised at the spread increases and numerous other 'new' features.. I'm sure I will love the RC, I will be running it for the next year on at least one of my less critical machines.

John Ng   May 5th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

Just get ubuntu 9.04 – free now, free tomorrow and free after 2010.
Works on old AND works on new hardware.

Windows is spent force. No need to spend money on OS anymore.

Jordan   May 5th, 2009 3:45 pm ET

Seen it. Might as well call it Vista 2. I just wish Microsoft would stop creating all this expensive virus-prone bloatware that just slows down in a few months anyway. They just need to stop and rethink everything under the hood. Putting another pretty face on Vista isn't helping consumers.

acadamis   May 5th, 2009 3:56 pm ET

I think it's funny the feedback from users who hated on Vista, most of it makes no sense if you were in IT. I believe Microsoft did bad marketing with Vista and didn't explain the groundbreaking features like .wim files, Windows Deployment, addition of tons of group policies. It seems like they aimed marketing at the people who browse the web and view photos, no diss to them but you are not going to get true PC users in that group. 7 is great and will bring great features to the consumers and Enterprise users especially. The bad rep it got was from users who just listened to other idiots who had no clue regarding technology. Those users are now using a Mac, spending an extra grand to view those pictures. If you work in IT like I do myself and ask users who hopped on the Mac wagon why they like it, you get hilarious responses, give it a try, totally worth it.

Lonny Watts   May 5th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

Microsoft gets it right usually about once every 10 years. Windows 2000 & XP (1999 – xx). This seems right on schedule.

Kevin   May 5th, 2009 4:28 pm ET

I thought all Windows versions were still in beta. ;^)

Sofia   May 5th, 2009 4:28 pm ET

Love all the bots here. To Adub, Mac has 10% market share, nice job speaking without knowing the facts. And I do not see any Windows haters here, I see people frustrated with Windows product and rightfully so. If you had issues with a product you would complain too, love your useless post.

I've heard good things about Windows 7. People saying they don't know what is being written about in this article are either bots or VERY DUMB.

Kev, I would assume you can as long as you have all the min. specifications.

My point of view, yes it will be better than Vista, worse than XP and the same old same old.

Jim   May 5th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

It's true that the core is only an incremental step up from Vista, but overall, the OS has been slimmed down to half the lines of code that Vista has. The result is an operating system that is much faster and easier on the computer's hardware. In fact, the first public unveiling of the Windows 7 beta was run on a netbook. I haven't had the emotional meltdown with Vista that so many other people have had, but I've been very impressed with the previous beta and imagine that I'll be at least as impressed with this one once I burn the .ISO to DVD and install it.

steve   May 5th, 2009 4:51 pm ET

i'm gonna try it out! hoping it's faster than vista!

Daryn   May 5th, 2009 4:53 pm ET

Put a microsoft product on my computer? Not even for free.

Paul   May 5th, 2009 6:14 pm ET


I've been using XP on two systems at work and three at home and don't remember having any crashes on it. I don’t know how you somehow magically had huge problems with XP. I’m thinking its more operator error than system error.

Chris Wager   May 5th, 2009 7:49 pm ET

Tried it...nice can't wait to buy it....nice OS.

aubrey. $   May 5th, 2009 8:27 pm ET

sweett, man.

Chris   May 5th, 2009 9:30 pm ET

this is a awful OS, I DL the ISO image this am and began to install it when it completed and booted it was so slow, constantly locking up and lacked video, sound and wireless drivers which i had to contact HP's tech support and they were gracious enough to help DL and install realtek drivers for sound and ATI Xpress drivers.

the memory usage is poor and proc usage is pegged at 100 when anything is started and does not drop below 65%. its not a slow pc it was running vista ultimate with 3 gig ram 160gig hd, 2.0ghz proc, dedicated 128meg video.

I am going back to Vista U.. You guys need to decide for yourself but i will not use. its made for users whom dont wish to learn how to do anything except point, click and use.

gunther bunky   May 5th, 2009 11:40 pm ET

lol. who cares

Grover W. Denver CO   May 6th, 2009 1:09 am ET

I've been running Mac OS since system 7 in 1996. Each version does what it is supposed to do. and like Mac hardware it get better all the time. I like to do computer work, not work on my computer. That's why I will always use a Mac
Sent from my 2005 G5 dual-core desktop. i could have sent this from my iPhone, but that's too much like bragging.

kage   May 6th, 2009 2:56 am ET

I am not too sure about grabbing a copy just yet. Vista worked well ... not had a crash, lag spike, or even a restart. However, I think I am going to wait until official release. Not meaning anything bad about Windows 7 but I do not like telemetry (auto feedback) feature in RC if you run into any problems. Hopefully, the final version will have that as an option. Otherwise, I will stay with vista and linux.

Brandon   May 6th, 2009 6:07 am ET

The RC is a lot more stable then the beta but it has some MAJOR issues with wireless that aren't driver related. When the wireless is under heavy load it mysteriously decides to drop the entire connection and the only way to get it to see your network again is to do a repair.

I'm not the only one having this issue, and seeing as how this is a Release Candidate, this is very discouraging.

Ryan   May 6th, 2009 7:05 am ET

Looking forward to installing this on my MacBook Pro along with XP. It looks like they will finally catch up to the level of Leopard on the Mac.

I love working with Leopard, but I dont think the older versions were that amazing. Until the past several years there wasnt even enough good software being developed for macs. Now I use both because I have to support customers with both OS's.

Just to give you some perspective I have been a windows user since Windows 3.1, and a MS stockholder from 1994-2007. I switched to a Mac last summer and prefer it over XP for the ability to multi-task better with 10+ windows open, but I am hoping Windows 7 will bring some of the old glory back.

I am a fan of Windows and Mac. I don't know why this whole war has become this huge deal. Half the people that buy macs buy a Windows license anyways too. As long as MS comes out with a good OS they will be right on track. Glad to see its free!

oteast   May 8th, 2009 3:12 pm ET

Many reduce this too much in terms of options. Work into checking beyond the tired options of Windows 7 and OS-X Snow Leopard. The whimsically named "Jaunty Jackolope" (GNU/Linux Ubuntu 9.04) or more RedHat Enterprise Desktop runs well on netbooks to high end gaming rigs. This is not your grandfather's cryptic, nerdy OS of the 90's either. It is polished, easy to install and use and is PACKED with quality applications in the default install CD...yes that's right CD (not DVD). Many more (as in 1000's) are but a click and automated download away in the repositories. Yes, check out games on linux such as Sauerbraten, Games don't do linux, not so....some pretty good eyecandy stuff: Quake, America's Army, Flightgear, etc....they all run natively on linux. BTW if you pay for the full on tech support from RedHat or Canocial [sic], it's pretty darn good. Other linux flavors are also worth a look as well.

duderonomy   May 10th, 2009 10:55 pm ET

I don't understand how so many people had real problems with this OS. I downloaded, installed and had it running in a Sun VirtualBox on my 6 year old Dell host system in less than 45 minutes – most of which was download time (2.36 GB .iso file). I allocated 40 GB hard drive space and 512 MB of RAM. It was fast, completely stable and has yet to crash on me since I got it up and running back on the 6th, unlike Vista which ended up crashing on me prior to the end of the first session.

As far as Windows vs. Mac – give it a rest, seriously. Windows users aren't typically going to win (pun intended) over Mac fans. Conversely, you might win over a windows person to Mac, but they're few and far between. Then everyone ends up using a Windows system at work anyway so what's the point of arguing about it all the time – especially taking up valuable comment space on CNN...

Ultimately, most government and business users (the ones that keep the market alive) will be on Windows until Mac can get real with true business apps which is good for all users (yes, including all the techies through the prism down to include all the day-to-day non-techie users too). This means that the people who are used to using Windows need to be able to sit behind a Mac and intuitively pick up the mouse and keyboard to do whatever they need to do.

God forbid I forget to include us Linux fanboys – can't we all just get along!? Good for those who like it, but if you've never compiled a program before for installation then forget about winning over a non-techie.

Oh, and if you don't know what Windows 7 is even after reading the article, just move along – there's nothing for you here...

Loke   May 11th, 2009 6:25 pm ET

After reading the comments on this page I wonder why most of you even read the tech portion of this website. Not only do you have no idea what the hell is going on you make a post to inform all of us that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Terry - TalkingDesktop software   May 11th, 2009 8:58 pm ET

Thank-you Microsoft. I cannot wait to start running my talking program with Windows 7

sparks   May 12th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

I love my vista and won't give it up for anything. I am not a beginner but I'm not a computer genius either. I have no problems with it and don't understand the hate for it. It works fine for me. If windows 7 is a better version of vista and you all like it then how bad was your vista experience really. Sounds to me that the few who didn't like vista have caused others to agree sounds like politics.

Jason   May 12th, 2009 8:30 pm ET

@ Sparks... the problem with Vista was a first-impression type thing.

When Vista was first released, it lacked drivers for about 75% of the Hardware on the market, and the other 25% was sketchy at best. MS has remedied that problem this time, including a few major HW developer companies in their RC.

Vista also has much more intensive requirements, from a HW standpoint than XP. Simply put, XP would run just fine on 1gb of RAM, Vista won't. These factors, combines with the standard nay-sayers, and the fact that it looked starkly different from XP made a lot of people cry "the sky is falling"

These days, Vista is stable and works quite well for most people. Windows 7 should build on that foundation and be a very solid OS. I predict it will be "the next XP." The OS people clamor for, even when Microsoft is releasing 10 😉

Oh, and @ anyone who said "I don't know what this is about" ... please, can you make the bot a little less obvious. The first line of the article is: The Windows 7: Release Candidate (RC) was officially published for public download this morning.

WinDoes7   May 13th, 2009 2:58 pm ET

So far, so good with W7 but, as we all know the true test of time for Microsoft is not in the infacny of the OS install but after long term usage and the file system accumulation of dark matter that never goes away....Hopefully W7 will not faulter and pass the test of time. Until then keep hammering away with your apps, games, and whatever tickles your fancy....Isnt it always the odd versions of Windows that do the best anyway...?

SGF   May 17th, 2009 10:35 am ET

Damn... the new SPTD that was compatible with the beta has again become incompatible with RC, meaning Alcohol or Daemon won't work anymore. They need to start working on b/w compatibility again... 🙁

BMac   May 18th, 2009 10:00 am ET

Everyone says Vista is bad but never any reasons. I think Vista is better in many ways then Windows 7 and 100 % better then XP.

Vista = Aero done right. Aero in Windows 7 is a pain you can see through the task bar when applications are max. You can see through the Internet Explorer top bar. This is very annoying.

The new Task Bar = A pain you don't know what is open what is running and you have to take an extra step to find what window you want to open. It is also a sad copy from the "Mac doc" which Mac will use in their commercials.

Most other things in Windows 7 are unchanged. People don't like Windows Vista because people told them not to like Vista. It is like Saturn cars, Consumer Reports told people for years that the plastic cars are crap and people believed that over time. But the people who owned a Saturn and not just had one by a gift were glad they had one. 83% of all Saturn’s ever made are still register today. You have fan sites such as and you don’t have that with other cars. People who have Vista and really use it like Vista alot. Some people compare Vista to Windows ME which really is not a fair comparison. I would compare it to Windows 2000 Professional many issues with hardware drivers but a rock solid OS. So say to yourself WHAT IS REALLY WONG WITH VISTA? You will find nothing really and you have been fooled. Everyone says Windows 7 is great but in fact is really is Windows Vista Second Edition and you believe Windows 7 is great because they have told you that. So next time for the next Vista or Saturn think before you get on the bashing train and really try a Saturn or Vista for yourself and you will be surprised because you will find that they are really great.

Fred Borrish   May 25th, 2009 8:27 pm ET

I've tried to make this download at 23 other sites.

Oliver Jones   May 7th, 2010 2:48 am ET

I'm pretty much impressed with the stability of Windows 7. It is better than windows Vista which hogs my memory and cpu.-~*

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