SOFTWARE

Windows 7 release candidate leaked

The release candidate (RC) version of the Windows 7 operating system has apparently hit the streets in the form of various leaked peer-to-peer BitTorrent distributions.

On Thursday, some Web sites were reporting releases of Windows 7 RC that were fakes. However, ZDNet and other news sources on Friday claimed that real distributions of the RC are out there.

Such a leak cycle seems kind of old hat with test versions of Microsoft's operating systems. It's thought that Microsoft's partners leak the bits.

Windows 7 is currently available from Microsoft as a public beta. However, the company has been hinting that the RC will be available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers before May 5, as well as to the public on May 5.

At press time on Friday, the leaked bits were not available to those subscribers.

The BitTorrent releases of Windows 7 RC that have been found "in the wild" are typically described as based on build version 7100.0.090421-1700. The operating system is being distributed as both 32-bit and 64-bit downloads that total about three gigabytes apiece.

Most people advise against downloading unofficial releases of software. In addition, the RC version of Windows 7 to come from Microsoft is expected to contain just a few minor bug fixes designed to fix problems reported in the beta release. No new features are expected in the RC when it arrives.

However, for those who just have to have it, blogger Long Zheng recommended the use of a Windows Shell extension to see if the bits have been altered. The extension, called HashTab, has gotten a favorable review. Zheng also recommended installing the RC in a virtual machine that lacks network access if you really don't trust the bits.

After the RC testing stage, Microsoft will be arrive at its release-to-manufacturing stage, which is when PC builders start imaging the OS for installation on new PCs. Microsoft has typically indicated that the final product release of Windows 7 will happen in early 2010. However, there are rumors that we may see new PCs running the operating system as early as this fall.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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