Received the following from Microsoft, thought I’d pass it on:

We’re excited to announce the availability of the Windows 7 Release Candidate! The RC milestone is an important step on our path to final delivery of Windows 7. RC signifies that engineering and testing have made significant progress, and that the code is entering the final phases of testing.

Feedback from our customers was instrumental in shaping Windows 7 RC. We made a number of enhancements between Beta and RC, including the following:

•Easier, more intuitive navigation through JumpLists, desktop enhancements and improved search relevance
•Improved Windows taskbar scaling
•Improved driver support and management, as well as Device Stage to help manage devices
•Windows Touch updates and Touch Zoom
•More Aero themes
•Improved security and enhancements to User Access Control (UAC)
•Reducing the Windows 7 partition drive size (required for Bit Locker and Windows Recovery Environment) from 200 megabytes to 100 megabytes

In moving from Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC, we listened to feedback from you – our customers and partners — and focused on the improvements you asked for the most. We hope that you will find Windows 7 RC to be a high quality release that makes everyday tasks easier and faster, while making new things possible.

Windows 7 Availability:

MSDN and TechNet subscribers can download Windows 7 RC as of April 30. On May 5, Windows 7 RC will be available to the general public through the Customer Preview Program. Anyone can download the RC build through this program. There will be no limits on the number of keys provided or the number of Windows 7 downloads supported. RC downloads will be available at least through June 2009.

We recommend that you download Windows 7 from the site that best describes you in the table below. Each of these sites contains customized content to support the needs of a particular audience.

Migrate from Windows Beta to RC

For everyone using a Beta version of Windows 7, it is important to migrate to Windows 7 RC to avoid the timebomb that is built into Windows 7 Beta. That timebomb will activate on 7/1/2009. When the timebomb activates, users will experience frequent notifications and forced reboots. (Windows 7 RC also has a built-in timebomb, but this will not activate until 3/1/2010.)

Please visit the Windows 7 TechNet Site for more information.