I found a site on the web yesterday afternoon that said this version was leaked, and how to get it, and I spent the rest of the day and into the evening downloading the ISO torrent and burning the DVD, and then installing this, and it looks like it was well worth it. Now, instead of my Windows 7 evaluation copy expiring on August 1st of this year, I'm now good until the 1st of March, 2010. And the rumours seem to have been correct about this being an RC1 of it, because there are some major changes from that first version, notably in Control Panel and other system folders. So the story that said this one has over 400 changes to things we've been reporting in our feedback on the version 7000 copy may very well be correct. I don't have an easy way of counting them all, and I really don't want to - I'm too busy enjoying a really good Operating System for the first time in many moons, meaning "since XP Pro". And all I can say about this one is, "Mr. Microsoft, you did it right with Windows 7, and good on you!
I may even forgive you now for Vista Home Premium...."
Enjoy your day, Everyone!
And 'PS' - This is not an April Fool's gag, in case that's what you're thinking. Check it out.
Another 'PS' - Now, I know for sure this isn't your ordinary garden-variety beta - the 7000 version had a 'feedback' link on every page beside the title bar's control buttons, upper right. This one doesn't have any of that, nor any other built-in 'feedback' link to Microsoft. Its GUI is nice and clean, just like a regular release.... so I'm assuming this really is RC1.