Next Windows 7 Release Almost Ready For Close-Up

Release Candidate

In a blog post earlier this week, Microsoft developer Yochay Kiriaty said Microsoft will let attendees of next month's TechEd 2009 conference test their applications for compatibility with Windows 7 free of charge.

At TechEd, to be held from May 11 to 15 in Los Angeles, Microsoft will set up a Windows 7 'Bring Your Own Apps' lab that includes a secure Windows 7 test platform for developers to test and debug their applications, Kiriaty said in the blog post.

"Just bring your applications and we will load them on the test platform, and our dedicated consultants will help you investigate any application compatibility issues and offer architectural guidance," Kiriaty said.

It's another example of how Microsoft has painstakingly sought to avoid the application compatibility issues that plagued Windows Vista and led to what Microsoft still feels is an unfair negative bias in the market against Vista.

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Microsoft has avoided specific statements on Windows 7 and said only that it plans to launch Windows 7 in late 2009 or early 2010. In Microsoft's third-quarter earnings call, company officials refined that somewhat and said plans are to launch Windows 7 in Microsoft's 2010 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2010.

However, the Windows 7 Release Candidate looks to be just about ready. Microsoft earlier this month indicated on its partner portal that the Windows 7 RC will be publicly released on May 5, and in March posted information on TechNet that suggested a May release. On both occasions the information was quickly removed and replaced with the Windows 7 beta page.

On Thursday, the Microsoft blog Neowin reported that Microsoft has finished work on Windows 7 build 7100 and will offer it as the official Windows 7 Release Candidate. On Friday, Neowin reported that Windows 7 build 7100 had begun circulating on Torrent sites.

Many Microsoft watchers believe the company will hold off on unveiling the Windows 7 Release Candidate until May 15, the final day of TechEd, so as to generate the maximum amount of anticipation from its tester community.