Windows 7 has been around since early 2009 in either beta release or release candidate. The fact that this is a very stable client OS has been echoed time and time again throughout the IT community.

Microsoft released a statement that said to upgrade from Windows 7 beta to the RC version was not supported. As with most things in software, not supported and impossible are completely separate matters. Earlier I posted the workaround, which called for copying the installation source files to a rewritable location and then modifying a configuration file to, more or less, ignore an upgrade compatibility check, making such an upgrade possible for those who didn’t mind the risk.

Now that Microsoft has announced its public, release-to-manufacturing date (RTM) — when the product will be shipped and available on store shelves — many IT enthusiasts are wondering whether they should upgrade their current RC version to the public release.

Whether a similar workaround becomes available or not, it is my humble opinion that we should not be upgrading “test” software to “gold” software, no matter how stable the RC seems. When I say “gold” I mean the known-good, publicly available version. This software is always supported as its given, unless there are updates for the original code that are bundled or made publicly available during the release process to fix critical issues.

In the case of RTM software, I feel it is best to bring the system “back to basics,” meaning to wipe and install the operating system on a formatted hard disk. This will give the user the best chance to experience the software in its intended state.

IT enthusiasts will always attempt to push the limits and see what is possible. This is why I am certain that information will soon be released about upgrade possibilities. I simply don’t suggest doing so in any environment you rely on. Enjoy Windows 7!

What do you think about directly upgrading software releases? Would you try upgrading from RC to RTM, even for your home system?