It is all speculation at this point in timeThe first Release Candidate of Windows 7 is beginning to take contour. Following the availability of Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 for the general public on January 10, 2009, and the discontinuation of all downloads on February 12, there has been nothing but complete radio silence from Microsoft on the development of the next iteration of Windows. Still, it is undeniable that the Redmond company is making consistent headway building Windows 7, and that the development process has already moved past the Beta stage to the Release Candidate branch. Leaked information from testers now reveals that Windows 7 Build 7048 carries the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) label.
Various sources, especially enthusiasts on Windows-centric forums, indicate that a select pool of Microsoft testers have received Windows 7 Build 6.1.7048.winmain_win7rc1.090211-1625. Microsoft has yet to confirm or deny that, as at just a little over one month since the public launch of Windows 7 Beta it has started compiling builds of the operating system belonging to the RC branch.
However, the version label associated with Windows 7 Build 7048 indeed suggests that the Redmond company has branched off winmain. At the same time, “090211-1625” indicates that Windows 7 Build 7048 was compiled on February 11, 2009, at 4:25 PM.
Nevertheless, the leaked details on Windows 7 Build 7048 RC have to be taken with a grain of salt, as Microsoft has yet to unveil the actual naming scheme that will be associated with RC branch builds. Before Windows 7 Build 7048, testers leaked information and screenshots on Windows 7 Build 7032 (6.1.7032.0.winmain.090129-1812).
But, for the time being, only the bits for Windows 7 Build 7022 are available for download in the wild, with the 32-bit flavor having been leaked to BitTorrent trackers. As far as Microsoft is concerned, mum's the word for the Windows 7 Release Candidate, which is reportedly planned for an April 2009 launch.
Update: Softpedia has been receiving feedback pointing out that Windows 7 Build 7048 is actually a fake and that Microsoft has yet to start compiling RC Builds of Windows 7. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.