Saturday, April 25, 2009

Windows 7 rollout gets better

Microsoft confirmed yesterday that the next publicly available test version of Windows 7 will be coming this week.  First to subscribers of MSDN and TechNet and then, again, to the general public.

Numerous blogs are reporting that the Windows 7 Release Candidate have already been 'leaked'.

What's really interesting amongst all the buzz?

If the numerous websites that are displaying screenshots (and more) of the torrent version are right, Microsoft has pulled off nothing less than a few strokes of brilliance to bring Windows 7 to the masses as the economy begins to turn around.

1) Microsoft is now making the product available to even more Beta testers, potentially millions, raising the bar on the ongoing press.

2) Despite a very extensive onboard collection of drivers, the new release will allow even more manufacturers to get on board before the actual RTM.  This was, in fact, the biggest problem with Windows Vista.

3) The XP 'dual-mode' being displayed at winsupersite would eliminate any and all fears of upgrading. If this does come packaged with the actual release, it will simply be a HUGE plus. 

4) Again, assuming that the other blogs and websites are correct, the new RC will extend the expiration of the testing program until Spring of 2010, not only setting aside concerns of current Beta testers but also providing a longer window for promotion, OEM testing, drivers, and more.

The release of any Microsoft Beta product directly to the public was pretty unheard of until last year. 

Here's a few tips for the more technically literate if you haven't already picked up on them.

1) Got a dual-core?  From the command line, launch MSCONFIG.exe, tap 'boot', then 'advanced', and turn on the second core.

2) Try ReadyBoost in Windows 7.  Plug in a flash drive or memory card, allot at least 4 MB, and you will fly a little faster.  The Vista ReadyBoost feature has been brought to Windows 7 and it's plug n play.

Update: April 28, 2009: Microsoft confirmed the addition of  'XP mode' in a press statement here.