New Windows 7 build leaks to Web, may be RC

And Microsoft reveals another 27 changes to the OS since public beta

A Windows 7 build that may be the first release candidate has leaked to the Internet, according to several file-sharing sites.

Searches on Mininova.org, for example, found multiple copies of Windows 7 Build 7057 that have been added to BitTorrent since yesterday. Pirated versions of both 32- and 64-bit editions are available.

The appearance of Windows 7 Build 7057 follows the leak of Build 7048 by just a week. This newest edition is the third to hit BitTorrent since Microsoft stopped offering the public beta of Windows 7 last month.

Traffic on Build 7057 has been lively. As of mid-day Friday, Mininova reported that one 32-bit BitTorrent of the operating system had been downloaded more than 37,000 times.

Screenshots of the leaked copy posted elsewhere on the Web, including My Digital Life, show that the end-user licensing agreement (EULA) labels it "Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System Release Candidate 1."

The site, however, questioned whether Build 7057 was actually a release candidate. "A more likely scenario is that build 7048 is pre-RC or RC preview build which includes the RC1 EULA," said My Digital Life.

Neowin.net, on the other hand, posted shots of Build 7057 that indicated it would expire March 2, 2010, not the mid-summer 2009 expiration date built into the beta.

Windows 7 leaks have been a problem for Microsoft since previews were first handed out in October 2008 at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference. Since then, other versions have appeared on BitTorrent, including a pirated copy of what was later released Jan. 10 as the beta.

In related Windows 7 news, Microsoft revealed 27 more changes it has made to the operating system in the last two months. Chaitanya Sareen, a senior program manager on the team, again detailed improvements and modifications in an entry to the Engineering Windows 7 blog, the second time in the last two weeks he's provided inside information on progress.

Among the changes Sareen highlighted were four affecting the Window 7 desktop, seven to the Windows Explorer file manager, seven to printer and other device drivers, and the addition of more network drivers.

Microsoft has declined to set a timeline for the Windows 7 release candidate, but Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president in charge of the Windows engineering group, has repeatedly hinted that the RC build will be offered to the public for a test drive when it is finished.

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