Your PC, simplified. You told us what you want in a PC. We listened. And made hundreds of little improvements and a few big ones that add up to a whole lot less. Less waiting, fewer clicks, and less complexity. With less of what you don’t need, Windows 7 helps you do more. More work, more play, and more of everything in between. Making every task simpler and every day easier. See for yourself—get the Release Candidate.
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.
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.
You don't need to rush to get the RC. The RC will be available at least through July 2009 and we're not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.
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
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.
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.