Microsoft is extending the public download period for the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) from the end of June to mid-August. News of the extension was first reported on the SuperSite Blog yesterday, then later confirmed by Microsoft.
"The Windows RC download program closes August 15," Windows OS Senior Community Manager Stephen Rose wrote in a blog posting. "After that, you won't be able to get the download, but you can still install the RC and get a \[product\] key if you need one."
Those still on the Windows 7 Beta, which was released to the public back in January, face a more pressing deadline. Beginning July 1, that version of Windows 7 will continue to work normally but will automatically reboot every two hours until it officially expires on August 1. The cure for this behavior, of course, is to upgrade to the RC build. That build doesn't expire until next year.
Microsoft will most likely finalize Windows 7 in the weeks ahead. The company had previously announced that it would release Windows 7 to manufacturing by mid-July and then deliver it to customers in October.