Microsoft is now offering official downloads for the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 release candidates, after both release candidates leaked to the Internet earlier on this week.
The release candidates are provided for It professionals, tech enthusiasts and developers who need to test the "service pack in their organization or with the software they are developing". The release candidate is offered in the languages English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
Users who plan to install the release candidate need to know a few things about it. First, it will not be possible to upgrade directly from the service pack release candidate build to the final version of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. The release candidate needs to be uninstalled before this can be done.
Second, the release candidate expires on November 30, 2011, with notifications starting to appear on August 30, 2011.
Interested users need a Windows Live ID to proceed to the downloads. The following files are offered on the download page:
There is also documentation available that are included in the release candidates.
The release candidate marks a major step in the development of both service packs, which are said to be released in the first half of 2011 if development goes forward as planned by Microsoft.
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