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The Windows 7 RC1 is the last step before the final version of Windows 7 and you can use it for free until June 2010.
If you need help installing this OS you can read our dual boot guide, so you can run 7 along your current Windows XP or Vista installation. If you want to remove a previous beta version of Windows 7 before installing the release candidate we also have a guide for removing your dual boot partition.
These documents provide important information you should know prior to deploying and using this Release Candidate of the Windows 7 operating system, including known issues that you may need to avoid or work around.
The documents are continuously updated, so you should check this location for updated versions periodically. Updates will continue until the next public milestone release, at which point they will be replaced with fresh documents for that release.
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.
* 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 learn more about the Windows 7 RC1, see Frequently Asked Questions.
Keep up with the news
The best way to keep up with what's happening is to follow the team blog. And, you can get non-technical news, tips, and offers in the monthly Exploring Windows newsletter.
* Internet access (to download Windows 7 RC and get updates)
* A PC with these system requirements:
o 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
o 1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
o 16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
o DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
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