First off, too eager testers could get their hands on Build 7232 (6.1.7232.0.winmain.090610-1900), compiled on June 10, just two days after 6.1.7231.0.winmain.090608-1900 finalized on June 8. But la piece de resistance would come only a few days later with the advent of 6.1.7260.0.win7_rtm.090612-2110.
Leaked Build 7260 brought to the table a .VHD file containing the 32-bit edition of the operating system. Information offered by Wzor for the Build pointed out that 7260 was one of the candidates for the gold Build of Windows 7. It belonged, after all, to the RTM branch build of the operating system, and not to winmain, the main branch tree. Another clue indicating that RTM was indeed close was the disappearance of the various aspects related to Release Candidate throughout the operating system, such as in the End User License Agreement ow in winver.
After the release of 7260, the RTM branch builds of Windows 7 continued to evolve, and went all the way up to 6.1.7262.0.win7_rtm.090617-1900. So far, Microsoft has yet to update winmain beyond 7233, but it is bound to do so in the immediate future. The company is now less than a month away from releasing Windows 7 to manufacturing, as RTM is planned for the second half of July.
Windows 7 Build 7260
There's no installation, but there is a set up process necessary before getting started. The experience is similar to what Builds 7227 and 7231 offered the past week. With a little change. While the Builds mentioned above contained an extra step in the set up, related to the configuration of Home Group, Windows 7 Build 7260 skips this stage in the same manner as RC Build 7100, for example. Otherwise, as you can see from the screenshots below, the EULA now simply refers to Windows 7, an indication of the RTM stage.
Leaked Windows 7 Build 7232 delivered a new wallpaper, dubbed Harmony, featuring a stylization of the Windows logo. The background is also present in Build 7260. But what is even more important, Windows 7 Build 7260 no longer features the Betta fish wallpaper. The fact that Microsoft has fished the Betta background out of Windows 7 is yet another clue pointing to the proximity of the RTM build.
Otherwise, there's nothing new compared to previous pre-RTM versions. Because it ships as a VHD, no doubt some users will decide to skip this build entirely. Those that don't will find out that the official Release Candidate product keys offered by Microsoft still work like a charm, and that will activate the copy without any issues. As soon as I am able to actually install Windows 7 Build 7260, I'll make sure to provide an update with additional screenshots, with the full eye candy specific to the operating system.