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Windows 7 Release Candidate Now Available For Download For Free

Microsoft has finally released the release candidate of its next operating system, Windows 7, to the general public and will allow millions to test it for at least 11 months without any hiccups.

The software, which punters will need to use at their own risks, expires officially on the 1st of June 2010 but starting in March next year, machines with Windows 7 will start to shut down every 2 hours. This, Microsoft hopes, will encourage consumers to switch over to the new, non-expired version.

Windows 7 is likely to be released as early as October 2009 and is already available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, in five different languages (English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish). Minimum requirements for the 32-bit version are as follows : 1GHz or faster CPU, 1GB memory or more, 16GB disk space and DirectX 9 or better.

You should be able to upgrade from any operating system up to the release candidate without any issues. The installation process is intuitive enough to allow even novice users to make the right choices.

There is no limits on the number of Windows 7 RC that users can download over the trial period (which ends in July 2009), which means that you should be able to install them on all your computers if you want to. The 2.4GB ISO file is also available on bit-torrent although you would certainly need to be careful about Trojan infected versions.

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Our Comments

For the first time in more than a decade, we are impressed by a Windows OS again. We genuinely look forward to updating to Windows 7 when it is officially released. We've already installed it on our main working computer and the jump from Windows XP to Windows 7 appears to be as enthralling as the one from Windows Millennium to XP. Great times indeed.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.