Users can now download the Release Candidate of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.
In an unprecedented move, Microsoft is allowing anyone to try out the latest pre-release version of Windows for 12 months unitl 1 June 2010.
Key reasons for this include maximising the scope for feedback and testing of the RC and making it easier for organisations to migrate from older Windows operating systems to Windows 7. Those who download the RC should be comfortable with installing an operating system and be aware that, although it is 'near-final', the RC is a test version and therefore does not benefit from Microsoft customer support.
Microsoft said Windows 7 includes a Windows Virtual PC mode which allows XP users to run many Windows XP productivity applications, launched direct from the Windows 7 desktop. Windows XP Mode will be available to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate customers via download.
John Curran, UK Windows Product Manager, said, "In the UK alone, hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the Beta version of Windows 7 and provided valuable feedback."
The software, is available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers to download. End users will be able to get hold of the new operating system on the Windows 7 site.