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Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Release Candidates available

Windows 7 The Release Candidates (RCs) for Microsofts upcoming Windows Client Operating System, Windows 7, and Microsofts upcoming Server Operating System, Windows Server 2008 R2, are now available for public download.

While these Release Candidates were already available for download to TechNet and MSDN subscribers from April 30th, now everyone can legally (and safely) download the bits belonging to the Release Candidates for both the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86-64, or x64 for short) version of Windows 7 and the 64-bit versions (x64 and ia64) of Windows Server 2008 R2.

   

Version information

The technical identification string for the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidates is 6.1.7100.0.winmain_win7rc.090421-1700. This string contains the following information:

  • These Release Candidates are still identified as NT version 6.1. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 showed NT version 6.0. A common misconception is Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 are also Windows NT version 7.
  • These Release Candidates were compiled on April 21st, 2009. Compiling succeeded the first time and finished around 17:00.
  • The Build number is 7100. Builds with a number between 7000 and 7100 are members of the Release Candidate (RC) branch. Numbers above 7105 are members of Branch pushing towards RTM. More information here.

  

Changes from Beta

Microsoft communicated the following changes in functionality between the Beta versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (Build 7000) and the Release Candidate versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (Build 7100):

Windows 7

  • Internet Explorer 8 (RTM)
  • Remote Media Streaming
  • Windows XP Mode & Windows Virtual PC 7 Beta
  • Several enhancements to the Windows Taskbar, JumpLists and Search
  • Several enhancements to Windows Touch
  • Several enhancements to Windows Media Player
  • Tweaks in User Account Control (UAC)
  • System partition reduction (from 200MB to 100MB)
  • Several Direct Access improvements

More information on the changes between Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC is available on the E7 blog here and here.

Windows Server 2008 R2

  • Internet Explorer 8 (RTM)
  • Several DirectAccess improvements
  • New PowerShell cmdlets
  • Applocker User Interface
  • Tweaks in User Account Control (UAC)
  • Print Administrator delegation
  • Several changes to Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
  • 64 Logical Processor support in Hyper-V (up from 32) 
  • Hyper-V Processor Compatibility Settings

More information is available in the What’s Changed in This Release Candidate of Windows Server 2008 R2 section on TechNet.

  

Downloads

Windows 7

To get your hands on the bits and product key, related to the Release Candidate (RC) for Windows 7 you can use the menu provided here. ISO downloads are available in both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions in English, German, Japanese, Spanish and French. Sizes for the ISO downloads range from 2,413MB (x86) to 3,119MB (x64)

Additional Language Packs can be found on Microsofts Connect Website. Windows7Center.com has the skinny on the Language packs, including the Connect Invitation ID to get started and a lengthy tutorial on changes the screen language.

The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor beta can be found here. This tool can be used to scan a PC to see if it's ready for Windows 7, and reports any known compatibility issues.

Windows Server 2008 R2

To obtain bits and a product key for the Release Candidate for Windows Server 2008 R2 take a look here. Both ISO downloads as VHD downloads are available.

ISO downloads are available in 64-bit editions (x64 and ia64) in English, German, Japanese, Spanish and French. Sizes for the ISO downloads range from 2,371MB to 2,930MB.

The downloadable VHDs are available in English only and contain a fully functional evaluation copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition (RC) supplied as both a Full installation and Server Core installation.

Note:
The downloadable VHD for Windows Server 2008 R2 RC requires Hyper-V.

Additionally the Release Candidate for the Windows 7 RC Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is also available. This Kit allows you to customize and deploy the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Operating Systems in large environments. The Windows AIK download weighs 1,435MB.

   

Concluding

Welcome to the Windows 7 Release Candidate!

Further reading

Microsoft PressPass: Windows 7 Release Candidate Is Available From Microsoft 
Leaked Windows 7 RC Build 7100 May Contain A Trojan 
RTM Builds – Clearing the Confusion 
Windows 7 Ultimate test version available to public today 
Windows 7 RC Download now up for non-subscribers 
Windows 7 RC Now Available to Public 
Windows 7 Release Candidate Available for Public May 5th! 
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidates are now available on MSDN
Windows 7 Release Candidate Is Available From Microsoft 
Windows 7 Release Candidate Is Available From Microsoft 
Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate and WAIK – now available 
Announcing Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) 
Windows 7 Release Candidate is now available! 
RC for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 released 
Download Windows 7 Beta Display Language Interface Packs (LIP and MUI)  
Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows® 7 RC

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