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William George (Product Development)

Windows 7 Release Candidate - Awesome OS, free for 10 months!

Written on May 9, 2009 by William George

Earlier this week Microsoft made public the release candidate for their next OS - Windows 7. It is available as a free download from them, which will be good until March of 2010 (with limited usability for a few months after that)... so like many other tech enthusiasts I downloaded it and gave it a spin.

In a word, I love it. I was a big Vista fan already, though I know that ran against popular sentiment, but 7 improves upon Vista is just about every way. So far RC1 is running on two of my four personal systems, and the other two will soon be onboard as well. Once I've had some more time to play with it I hope to post another blog or a longer article, especially on the improvements to Media Center (my coverage of the original version of that is getting quite antiquated). Until then, though, you can try it out on your own by downloading it here.

We've also elected to offer the Windows 7 release candidate as an option on new Puget computers! This is exciting, as it lets our customers who were waiting for Windows 7 get a system now with the OS before it comes out for sale. You will have to eventually purchase a copy and reinstall when it expires, but this is an opportunity that I don't think any other system builder is providing right now. If you'd rather not jump on a pre-release OS, but need a system now, you can also take advantage of our Windows 7 Upgrade Program while it lasts.

Tags: Windows, Microsoft, operating system, Windows 7, release candidate, RC1, Puget Systems

Can you install the Windows 7 RC on a new machine without installing a previous OS like Vista? I mean, do I have to purchase Vista and have it installed on the new machine and then you install the Windows 7 RC, and then sometime in the future I have to purchase the released version? Or, can you do a clean install on a new machine by downloading the RC?


Posted on 2009-05-14 04:50:39

You can do either an upgrade or a clean install with the Win7 release candidate. I personally recommend a clean install, since you don't have junk leftover from a previous OS that way. Keep in mind, though, that when the RC expires you will have to go back through the process of a clean install again with a new, paid/legal operating system. Just purchasing a license for Windows 7 will not be enough, as the final version (called release to manufacturing) isn't set in stone yet and may be different.

Posted on 2009-05-14 16:52:39
Steve P.

How about dual booting? Is it possible to run Vista and Windows 7 on the same machine? Thanks!

Posted on 2009-06-01 00:19:43

You could dual-boot, but personally I don't recommend it. I've found setups with just one OS, or at least just one version of Windows, to be more stable overall; dual-booting can bring in some odd complications.

Posted on 2009-06-01 16:36:09

Ok, not an expert or anything, but my current computer is dual booting XP and Win 7 RC with no complications (of course, your mileage may vary). However, the reason I still use XP is that there is very little support for Win 7 given that it is not even on sale yet. A good example is my US Robotics USB WiFi adapter that has no drivers for, and subsequently won't work in, Win 7 RC. Win 7 is going to be great, but pick your OS choice with care. Keep up the great work Puget!

Posted on 2009-06-10 04:57:38

@Brent -

I'm glad to hear that you are successfully dual-booting! You are definitely correct about official support for Win7 being lacking as yet, given its pre-release status, but you might have good luck using Vista drivers for your hardware. I'm running Win7 64-bit, and so far every time I've not had dedicated Win7 drivers for something (my printer comes to mind as a good example) I have been able to use 64-bit Vista drivers.

Posted on 2009-06-10 07:11:09