Microsoft is currently preparing a release client of Windows 7. The latest build to date is Build 7046.
According to Neowin the internal RC (release client) testing phase will start on April 10, 2009.
The german site Winfuture says that this RC will be released internally (to TechNet subscribers for example) on February 27, 2009.
GeekSmack reported that Windows 7 Build 7042 was compiled on “February 11”. A Build 7048 does not even exist yet. So we have the following timeline:
– January 29 : Build 7032
– February 11 : Build 7041
– February xx: Build 7048 does not yet exist
– February 27, 2009: RC 1 internal testing
– April 10: Public release of RC 1 (approx. if there are no crucial problems)
If they RC will be released soonish TechNet subscribers (cost is about $349 for one year) will be able to download the RC and there will hopefully more to report.
Right now here’s an interesting sidenote: Microsoft will not support customizing the boot screen animation! But I’m pretty sure that some “protweaker” will be able to modify the dll’s so we can still customize it. Here is the official statement:
This is not something we will support in Windows 7. We’ve talked about and shown a great many “personalization” elements of Windows 7 already, such as the new themepacks which you can try out in the beta. The reasons for this should be pretty clear, which is that we cannot guarantee the security of the system to allow for arbitrary elements to be loaded into memory at boot time. In the early stages of starting Windows, the system needs to be locked down and execute along a very carefully monitored and known state as tools such as firewalls and anti-virus checking are not yet available to secure the system. And of course, even though we’re sure everyone would follow the requirements around image size, content, etc. due to performance we would not want to build in all the code necessary to guarantee that all third parties would be doing so.