Microsoft Corp. has announced on Thursday the availability of Release Candidate (RC) of Windows 7, marking an significant milestone to the final availability of its latest operating system.

New to the Windows 7 RC are advancements such as Remote Media Streaming, Windows XP Mode (beta) and the upcoming beta of the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

The new features are made by listening to our partners and customers”, said Bill Veghte, senior vice president for the Windows business at Microsoft.

“The beta of Windows 7 shows significant promise, and most IT operations professionals are looking forward to its availability and eventual enterprise deployment,” according to a report from Forrester Research Inc.’s Ben Gray.

With Windows 7, customers will have access to an array of software & hardware options the industry has to offer as well as the strong industry and partner support of Windows 7.

The Windows 7 RC has been made available for IT professionals to download from MSDN and TechNet subscribers since April 30, and a broader public availability will begin May 5 on the Microsoft Windows 7 site. By now more than 10,000 companies have signed up for Windows 7.