Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC): Instructions for Free Download
Get Windows 7: Windows 7 RC via Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC): Instructions for Free Download.
Get Windows 7: Windows 7 RC
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Welcome to Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) testing. We're on our way to Windows 7, and if you like trying out pre-release software, now's your chance. You get to see what's coming, and we get to see if our changes and fixes from the Beta testing are working correctly.
How do you test the software? You put it on your PC, and then do what you'd normally do. Your PC will automatically and anonymously send our engineers the information they need to verify the fixes and changes they made based on the Windows 7 Beta tests.
Here's what you need to know:
This is pre-release software, so please read the following to get an idea of the risks and key things you need to know before you try the RC.
- Downloads will be available until August 20, 2009. After that, you can still install the RC and you can get a product key if you need one.
- Watch the calendar. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you'll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. You'll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use. (Learn more about installing Windows.)
- Protect your PC and data. Be sure to back up your data and please don't test the RC on your primary home or business PC.
- Tech details/updates: Before installing the RC, please read the Release Notes and Things to Know for important information about the release.
- Keep up with the news. You can keep up with general technical information and news by following the team blog. And, you can get non-technical news, tips, and offers by subscribing to the monthly Exploring Windows newsletter.
- Keep your PC updated: Be sure to turn on automatic updates in Windows Update in case we publish updates for the RC.
- Installation: You can install the Windows 7 RC on a PC running Windows Vista without backing up the PC—but we encourage you to make a backup for safe keeping. If you're running Windows XP or the Windows 7 Beta, you'll need to backup your data, then do a clean installation of the RC, then reinstall your applications and restore your data. If you need to do a backup, please see How to back up your PC for more details and a suggestion for how to backup a PC running Windows 7 Beta or Windows Vista.
To install and use the RC, you'll need to know how to:
- Troubleshoot problems. You're pretty much flying solo, so you'll need to handle your own tech support, and rely on other RC testers for their know-how
- Burn an ISO file to make an installation DVD
- Install Windows
- Backup and restore your PC
- Set up a network
- Create and use a system recovery disk
- To learn more about the Windows 7 RC, see Frequently asked questions.
Here's what you need to have:
- Internet access (to download Windows 7 RC and get updates)
A PC with these system requirements:
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Please note these specifications could change. And, some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of "touch," may require advanced or additional hardware.
Get the download
The 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. Just choose the version that fits the system you'll be using, pick your language, and click go to register for and download the RC.
Downloading the Windows 7 RC could take a few hours. The exact time will depend on your internet provider, bandwidth, and traffic. The good news is that once you start the download, you won't have to answer any more questions – you can walk away while it finishes. If it gets interrupted, it'll restart where it left off. See this FAQ for details.
Download 32-bit version
Select language English German Japanese Spanish French
Download 64-bit version
Select language English German Japanese Spanish French
IT pro? Go here to get your download and the resources you need.
32-bit, 64-bit? Once relatively rare, today's more powerful PCs often use 64-bit versions of Windows. If you're not sure what to download, just match the version you're currently running. Here's how to check.
Get a Product Key
Just need a Product Key? It's easy to get. If you've already downloaded the RC or have an installation disc, start the download process above by selecting your version and language. You'll be asked to enter your Windows Live ID, and to answer a few registration questions. Then you'll see the product key you can use to activate the RC, and you won't need to go through the download process again.
Information about Windows 7 is preliminary and subject to change. Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of "touch," may require advanced or additional hardware. The features and functionality you find in the pre-release product may not appear in the final version of Windows 7. If we change the software before it's released, we'll change this information accordingly. We're not making express or implied warranties with this information.