If you missed out on the limited public beta release (Build 7000) of Windows 7 back in January, here's your chance to score the first release candidate (Build 7100) of Microsoft's big redeemer. This time around, there'll be no limit on the number of downloads or the number of serial numbers given out - until the end of July, that is.

Just head over to www.microsoft.com with your Windows Live ID in hand to start the 2.5GB download and grab a serial number. If you don't have a Windows Live ID, you can easily sign up for free.

The RC will be fully functional until March 1, 2010. Those of you still using the beta should start preparing for a reformat - as your machine will start shutting down every two hours on July 1.

If you're looking for a little help getting the RC onto a machine without a DVD drive, try reading our guide How to install Windows 7 on an IdeaPad S10 (or other netbook) without a DVD drive. It was written when the beta arrived, but will still help get up and running with the RC.

Tim Hanlon