Ignore what you have heard before, I can guarantee you now, hand on heart (and money on it), the public release candidate of Windows 7 has been built and is ready to go. With a build string of 6.1.7100.0.winmain_win7rc.090421-1700, the release candidate build is at 7100, and will be made available for download probably in the next couple of weeks.
It was compiled on April 21st 2009 at 5pm in the evening, and is following the win7rc escrow path as opposed to the winmain path, which is normally there as a fallback point if all goes to hell.
For the last known previous build, 7057, which is all-but-guaranteed to be the same as in this build, click here.
Sinofsky and the "lack of transparency" policy seems to have gone to pot with an esteemed technology plumber around Redmond, leaving leaks here, there and everywhere. It does make me smile a little inside knowing he's annoyed at such a leak of a major release, but that's the student rebel in me.
What's new? Very little, to be honest, and most of it is under the hood. As I've said many times before, it is much faster, more efficient and has a higher response, with less crashes.
On the other hand, this build has all the hallmarks of it being the build 7100, from the command prompt screen and the Windows version dialog. However, the installation screwed up (or it must have done) so there's little to show except the installation. If the installation was correct and it's just Windows playing up, and how the real release candidate will behave, Microsoft are royally screwed.
My colleague, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, has a full question and answer post which some may find useful to read, and Mary-Jo Foley has her latest post which contains a juicy thought or two.
Will you be downloading the release candidate to see what's new and how it feels? Are you even interested or just bored to hell of the Windows 7 news? Will Sinofsky shed a tear over even more leaks within his team? Leave your comments here.