Windows 7 Release Candidate now available for unsanctioned download

From the "that didn't take long" files: The Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) test build is available for download if you don't mind grabbing it from (as blogger Long Zheng euphemistically describes it) "your favorite 'content hub.'"

From the "that didn't take long" files: The Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) test build is available for download if you don't mind grabbing it from (as blogger Long Zheng euphemistically describes it) "your favorite 'content hub.'"

Microsoft is expected to release officially the RC bits to its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet testers next week, and to the public on May 5. (I guess it takes a while to set up those public download servers so they won't become overloaded like they did when the Beta of Windows 7 first became available.)

No one with whom I've spoken is expecting any kind of major facelift with the RC build. Performance tweaks, bug fixes -- and that new "remove XX antitrust-magnet feature" option (for IE 8, Media Player, Windows Search and more)  -- are all expected to be in the new build.

I'd expect the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC is close at hand, as well.

Microsoft is quick to caution users against downloading bits from anywhere but its own servers. (And I am not suggesting you should do anything illegal, just to be clear.)

But since the Softies aren't even acknowledging publicly that they finished Build 7100 and provided it to OEMs and selected testers earlier this week, I'm doubly sure they aren't going to verify that the 7100.0.090421-1700 is the real RC deal. So if you really can't wait until May 5, you're on your own.

If and when anyone happens to get their hands on the RC, I'm interested in what you think.