Microsoft has officially opened the flood gates on their most refined Windows build to date, Windows 7 Release Candidate 1. The release was anticipated to show on the 5th of May, and Redmond has kept their word, making it available late Monday evening. Can't jump on the download right now? No worries. Microsoft plans to keep the RC available through July or beyond, and there is no cap on the number of downloads or product keys. Best of all, the RC isn't set to expire for over a year, on June 1st 2010.

Along with the download, Microsoft has provided a brief set of instructions that should be thorough enough to get your installation up and running. If you're not quite ready to let go of your precious XP or Vista installation, check out our dual boot guide. For additional assistance, don't hesitate to swing by the TechSpot forums.