It looks like Microsoft release the ‘general available beta’ version of its upcoming Windows 7 operating system is not solely for the purpose of getting feedbacks and bugs report, but for incline towards marketing and publicity. With a typical beta software, you would expect developer to further improve on the first beta or beta 1 before releasing beta 2, beta 3…. and finally release candidate (RC) 1, RC 2 and so on.

But it’s not the case obviously for Windows 7, at least for the beta and RC release that going to be available to general public. Microsoft released Windows 7 Beta (Beta1), the first and also likely to be the only beta for Windows 7 in early January. Since then, build 7004 (which is Beta2), build 7012, build 7015 and build 7016 of Windows 7 have been leaked to Internet, suggesting that Windows 7 is going for limited testing.

Currently, news is that Microsoft has started work on Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) phase. Thus, the public release of Windows 7 is likely to be only Beta1. Beta2, Beta2 and the rest will be skipped and the next pre-RTM release of Windows 7 available to general public will be Release Candidate.

Furthermore, it’s also expected that only one Windows 7 RC build will be released, scheduled to be in April 2009 as reported on citing Microsoft source, with some people even guessed the release date as April 10, 2009. There won’t be any RC2 before RTM (release to manufacturing) of Windows 7.

Provided there is no major coding error or bug been discovered, it’s possible that Windows 7 final RTM may be released as early as August 2009 during the autumn or end summer season, with the final retail channel Windows 7 availability unlocked at the beginning of 2009 Christmas season.

Beside, there is also a leaked news about free Windows 7 Upgrade Tech Guarantee Program for Windows Vista system purchased on or after July 1, 2009, making the rumor of imminent arrival of Windows 7 more realistic.

Update: Download Windows 7 RC