Windows 7 RC1: Please form an orderly queue

Seattle, WA – There’s no need to rush to download the release candidate of Windows 7, says Microsoft.

Despite it being terribly-fashionable in some circles to deride Microsoft at every opportunity, there appears to be no shortage of people eager to download what is probably the last pre-release version of the new OS, which goes public right around now.

“Thank you for testing the Windows 7 Beta. You’re playing an important role in helping deliver the best version of Windows yet,” says the company. “Now, we hope you’ll join us for the next part of the Windows 7 journey, testing the Windows 7 Release Candidate.

“You don’t need to rush! The RC will be available at least through July, and we’re not limiting the number of downloads or product keys. So you have plenty of time.”

Whether this will mean Microsoft’s servers are in with a chance of not falling in a heap as they did when the last beta was released remains to be seen.

One irritation of RC1 is that Microsoft says a clean install is needed, even for people who had previously been running the beta version, thus forcing them to backup all their data and reinstall all their apps.

The company also stresses the need to turn on automatic update to ensure critical patches are installed.

As the beta and RC1 approach their expiry date – August 1, 2009 in the beta’s case and June 1, 2010 for RC1 – machines will start to shut down every two hours. Machines still using the beta will begin these shutdowns on July 1 this year and RC1 on March 1, 2010.

Both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. People using the Hindi or Arabic versions that were available with the beta version are, rather bluntly, advised to use another language or go back to Vista.

This is where you’ll all be pointing your browsers.