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Windows 7 RC Downloads Now Closed

Microsoft today stopped offering downloads of the Windows 7 release candidate free for testing. Those of you who managed to download a disc image prior to the cut off date will still be able to register, activate, and even obtain new keys until October 21.

"You will still be able to register your product and get registration keys but, the media will no longer be available for download," wrote Stephen L. Rose in the Windows Team Blog.

While it may seem a little old fashioned to be trying out the RC when Windows 7's already finished and is released to manufacturing, this will likely be the only way to legally use a build of Windows 7 from now through mid-2010 without paying a single dime.

With Windows 7 hitting retail on October 22, it might be worth hanging tough with that Windows Vista installation for another couple of months before going ahead with the upgrade – unless you have an unused PC to spare.

Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.