Microsoft issues Windows 7 RC on road to October launch

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The last test version of Windows 7 has reached a wide audience and is now believed on track for a late October release, putting Microsoft's last cards on the table as it prepares to square off against Mac OS X Snow Leopard.



As part of a staggered launch that will see the public get the release on May 5th, Microsoft early on Thursday morning published the release candidate for Windows 7 to those in its developer network. The Redmond, Wash.-based software developer says reflects the feedback and tweaks made to the operating system since its public beta was released nearly three months ago.



Compared to the earlier preview version, the candidate is a surprise as it has multiple new features added late into development. Among the more notable changes are a remote streaming service that Windows 7 PCs share music or videos over the Internet as well as a beta, optional Windows XP Mode that lets owners of Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate run Windows XP apps in a hidden Virtual PC emulation environment -- not unlike the Classic mode that has been available to run Mac OS 9 software in most versions of Mac OS X, or the pseudo-native mode used by apps like Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion.



Those who've used the beta will also notice changes to basic interface features: Aero Peek, a feature which lets you see active apps' windows just by mousing over their taskbar icons, is now also invoked when using the traditional task switcher. It further handles many open app windows more gracefully in the taskbar and provides more (and more advanced) JumpLists, or (for those more familiar with them in Mac OS X) context-sensitive menus for taskbar icons. For the few users currently running Windows 7 on tablets and other touchscreen PCs, more features are also explicitly controllable through touch rather than reverting to a trackpad or keys.



Windows 7's new XP Mode, which runs older apps in a virtualized environment. | Image credits: Microsoft.



Internet Home Media Access shares content outside of the local network. | Image credits: SuperSite for Windows.



Unlike with Windows Vista and earlier pre-release versions of Windows, Microsoft doesn't plan to deliver a second release candidate. The OS giant has said since late in 2008 that its next public step after the release candidate will be the final version, also known as the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) build. Publicly, the company has always been hesitant to provide a date and has always insisted that Windows 7 would be ready about three years after Windows Vista hit stores, or early 2010 -- though the presence of a release candidate with seven months left in 2009 has already cast doubts on this estimate.



A PC maker, however, may well have undermined what has been increasingly evident is an attempt to push Windows 7 to completion for the holiday shopping season. Acer told UK site Pocket-lint on Thursday that Microsoft will ship Windows 7 on October 23rd and that a new Acer all-in-one PC will be one of the first systems to allow the Windows 7 option when it becomes available. A Microsoft-run trade-up program will give customers an incentive to buy PCs within the 30 days before the release.



A JumpList provides app-specific actions, such as for the Control Panel. | Image credits: SuperSite for Windows.



While the news puts Windows 7 on shelves months ahead of schedule, the advance release isn't surprising to most observers. Microsoft has found itself under attack from both corporate buyers actively shunning Vista's lack of compatibility -- a key motivator behind XP Mode in Windows 7 -- as well as continued pressure from Apple and even itself. The company has been sufficiently frightened by recent increases in Mac market share to launch a concerted negative ad campaign attempting to portray Macs as too expensive, and has seen its Windows revenue eroded by a necessary but unprofitable move to continue selling Windows XP for netbooks.



In its latest quarterly report, Microsoft reported a 6 percent year-over-year drop in total revenue; it's a relatively small amount, but the first the company had registered in over 23 years and one the company said would be turned around by Windows 7.



As such, the release candidate is an important part of a public relations strategy to improve Windows' image that Microsoft knows is particularly time-sensitive -- both for its own bottom line as well as a race against the clock to avoid giving Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which itself is gaining late feature additions, enough lead time to tempt customers away from Windows.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 163
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 694member
    It doesn't matter when they release this. Apple is ahead on many areas of the OS war already. Redmond, start your copiers for Windows 8!
  • Reply 2 of 163
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Windows 7 won't be able to touch Snow Leopard because of Resolution Independence. Snow Leopard will have Resolution Independence, right?
  • Reply 3 of 163
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 694member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    Windows 7 won't be able to touch Snow Leopard because of Resolution Independence. Snow Leopard will have Resolution Independence, right?



    Hopefully! And that it is activated fully. Or whatever..
  • Reply 4 of 163
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,435member
    Bring on Windows Reshash



    "lipstick on a pig"





    At WWDC Microsoft is going to learn what Apple can do and just when the Redmond photocopiers get close ...Apple will light the wick and leave them coughing fumes.



    Snow Leopard is step one towards a glorious future for the platform. Nothing is going to stop Apple.
  • Reply 5 of 163
    Ive been a windows and mac kid my whole life. Ive run both and enjoyed some of windows stuff.

    Win 7 is NICE. I really have enjoyed it from day one, much better than testing Vista. Its not even fair to compare Win7 to Vista, but sadly Vista did come to existance. While I am much happier with OS X, I wouldnt discredit Win 7 too much. The beta was solid and its only getting better. I dont foresee this to take back the lost windows users, but I do see this helping keep the cutomers. I hope this one is successful and lasts as long as XP.
  • Reply 6 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    Windows 7 won't be able to touch Snow Leopard because of Resolution Independence. Snow Leopard will have Resolution Independence, right?



    LOL! Please take a look here: http://www.istartedsomething.com/200...a-dpi-scaling/



    Vista is fully resolution independent and Windows 7 has even improved on this area. I doubt that Snow Leopard will be so good at this even while I know that the technology is in OS X since Tiger.
  • Reply 7 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post


    LOL! Please take a look here: http://www.istartedsomething.com/200...a-dpi-scaling/



    Vista is fully resolution independent and Windows 7 has even improved on this area. I doubt that Snow Leopard will be so good at this even while I know that the technology is in OS X since Tiger.



    On my only Vista machine in the house (the HTPC) uses the DPI setting too. I have it set to 1024x768, but the dpi set to 800x600 to make it actually useable on a TV. The other resolution is to make things easier for my projector also hooked into the system. Resolution indepenence does work in Vista. Other things... not so much.



    "Cancel or Allow" ugh. Enough already, I used that program HOW many times? Remember for once.





    I am however, very excited for Win7. I expect a decent OS. Vista is the ME of today's day.

    (Though Windows 7 really is just Windows 6.5... an update to Vista, so I do have some worries there)
  • Reply 8 of 163
    dizzy13dizzy13 Posts: 67member
    It could be out as early as August as the email I got says they are on or a little bit ahead of schedule. It would be great if Snow Leopard came out at the same time as 7 and just crushes it!
  • Reply 9 of 163
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    I am however, very excited for Win7. I expect a decent OS. Vista is the ME of today's day.

    (Though Windows 7 really is just Windows 6.5... an update to Vista, so I do have some worries there)



    Actually, it's not even Windows 6.5. If you look at the build number, it's 6.1, so it's a lot closer to Vista than Microsoft is willing to admit. Although, after playing around with the leaked version of Build 7100, Windows 7 is looking like the Vista that Microsoft should have released two and a half years ago.
  • Reply 10 of 163
    Anybody know if it has builtin support for playback of Blu-ray discs?





    Thanks.
  • Reply 11 of 163
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Paladinkn00be View Post


    Ive been a windows and mac kid my whole life. Ive run both and enjoyed some of windows stuff.

    Win 7 is NICE. I really have enjoyed it from day one, much better than testing Vista. Its not even fair to compare Win7 to Vista, but sadly Vista did come to existance. While I am much happier with OS X, I wouldnt discredit Win 7 too much. The beta was solid and its only getting better. I dont foresee this to take back the lost windows users, but I do see this helping keep the cutomers. I hope this one is successful and lasts as long as XP.



    I'm afraid I have to argue your points - Having beta tested both Vista and now Windows 7, I'd say that Windows 7 very much feels like Vista, except of course that unlike Vista, Windows 7 is very stable and fairly fast (I do only have 1GB of RAM however and can definitely tell the machine is spending an awful lot of time swapping and would certainly gain an enormous speed bump by at least doubling the memory available).



    I'd also argue the point about winning over users - although re-reading your post, I suspect you're right that it's unlikely to win over lost Windows users (as it seems the majority of switchers' only complaint about having switched is that they wish they'd done it earlier). I do, however, strongly believe (sadly) that Windows 7 will stem the tide of switchers. A lot of people left the dark side due to Vista, whether due to real world troubles or by believing they would experience troubles with the migration to Vista. I think Windows 7, being what Vista should have been, will win over the hearts of Windows fans.



    As a long-time Mac user, I do find a lot of the Windows 7 interface incredibly annoying. The translucent title bars make no sense and very much detract from the desktop, and the fact that every dialog box seems to 'pop' out is incredibly irritating. Some of the changes are very nice however - I do like how hovering over a dock icon displays thumbnail previews of the application's open windows. I also like that the 'desktop' appears as an application in the alt-tab switcher: select the desktop and all of the open windows are hidden. While 'Windows-M' was a quick way to minimize-all, this is better and faster. I also like that each application is given its own volume slider. Nice to be able to still hear email alerts, without having them blast in your ear when turning up the system volume so that you can listen to music.



    While it may sound like I'm praising Windows 7, I'm not. It simply sucks less than Microsoft's previous efforts to copy other operating systems.
  • Reply 12 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by badNameErr View Post


    Anybody know if it has builtin support for playback of Blu-ray discs?





    Thanks.



    Windows Media Center will not be able to play Blu-Ray movies. That will require third-party software. Windows 7 will be able to natively write to BD-R discs, though.
  • Reply 13 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post


    LOL! Please take a look here: http://www.istartedsomething.com/200...a-dpi-scaling/



    Vista is fully resolution independent and Windows 7 has even improved on this area. I doubt that Snow Leopard will be so good at this even while I know that the technology is in OS X since Tiger.



    Interesting....



    1) go to the site with Safari Version 4 Public Beta (5528.16) on a Mac

    2) click on the highest-resolution scaled image

    3) when the image displays, click on it again with the Safari + cursor



    The image will double in size without any apparent loss of resolution.



    You can go 7 or 8 x size before you notice any jaggies, with a maximum of 9x.



    Hmmm...
  • Reply 14 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Windows Media Center will not be able to play Blu-Ray movies. That will require third-party software. Windows 7 will be able to natively write to BD-R discs, though.



    Thanks, FuturePastNow! Much appreciated.
  • Reply 15 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames42 View Post


    As a long-time Mac user, I do find a lot of the Windows 7 interface incredibly annoying. The translucent title bars make no sense and very much detract from the desktop, and the fact that every dialog box seems to 'pop' out is incredibly irritating.



    Use the Windows Aero Basic theme, it takes away the annoying translucent title bars. Before I found that I couldn't stand the Vista/Win7 windows. I found this in Windows 7. I'll admit I used Windows Classic (2000 look) in Vista after being annoyed by the translucency.



    Having switched from Windows to OS X for a daily driver at home a number of years ago I find the newer MS Windows Windows to be too decorated. The extra width of the borders takes significant space making it harder to work on smaller displays. The Sidebar certainly makes use of wide format displays. In Windows 7 the gadgets are undocked though, and the sidebar isn't there to be in the way. I guess the monitor companies are paying MS to build an interface that takes up more space so they can sell us all new larger monitors.



    I hope the IO system gets fixed in Snow Leopard. Nothing like copying a few hundred gigabytes from the network to a second drive and not being able to use the computer for anything else while the copy takes place. Tried this on my Windows 7 machine, slow, but still usable (and there is no second drive in that machine).
  • Reply 16 of 163
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmcglinn View Post


    Having switched from Windows to OS X for a daily driver at home a number of years ago I find the newer MS Windows Windows to be too decorated. The extra width of the borders takes significant space making it harder to work on smaller displays. The Sidebar certainly makes use of wide format displays. In Windows 7 the gadgets are undocked though, and the sidebar isn't there to be in the way.



    You can make the window borders less transparent by: 1. increase color intensity (windows will be more opaque) or 2. disable transparency or 3. choose Aero Basic or 4. choose Windows Classic. But I would not recommend the last two because they do look ugly IMO.



    And you can make the boarder width smaller in the Advanced Display settings. Select the boarder and choose the pixel size.
  • Reply 17 of 163
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    Windows 7 won't be able to touch Snow Leopard because of Resolution Independence. Snow Leopard will have Resolution Independence, right?



    As of right now it is still a no go.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Bring on Windows Reshash



    "lipstick on a pig"



    It's more like the pig got some major plastic surgery to look better, with some bionic implants thrown in for good measure. It's still a pig, but it's a technically advanced and decent looking pig.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post


    LOL! Please take a look here: http://www.istartedsomething.com/200...a-dpi-scaling/



    Vista is fully resolution independent and Windows 7 has even improved on this area. I doubt that Snow Leopard will be so good at this even while I know that the technology is in OS X since Tiger.



    DPI scaling is not resolution independence. Neither OS X or Windows has RI. You can turn on RI in Mac OS X Leopard but it's far from complete.
    Code:


    defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1







    1 is the default so any number higher or lower will result in that percentage smaller or larger. For example, using 1.25 will make everything 25% larger.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Interesting....



    1) go to the site with Safari Version 4 Public Beta (5528.16) on a Mac

    2) click on the highest-resolution scaled image

    3) when the image displays, click on it again with the Safari + cursor



    The image will double in size without any apparent loss of resolution.



    You can go 7 or 8 x size before you notice any jaggies, with a maximum of 9x.



    Hmmm...



    Just so you know, this isn't RI, it's Page Zooming. It is resizing the HTML text and adjusting the multimedia and formatting aspects to coincide with the size alteration.
  • Reply 18 of 163
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmcglinn View Post


    Use the Windows Aero Basic theme, it takes away the annoying translucent title bars. Before I found that I couldn't stand the Vista/Win7 windows. I found this in Windows 7. I'll admit I used Windows Classic (2000 look) in Vista after being annoyed by the translucency.



    I'll give that a look. You're right about the window borders - I found the same annoyances with XP and every XP machine I've been given is immediately changed to classic straight away (if not reformatted with Linux first, that is). I see 99% of the people I work with leave theirs with the XP theme, and I wonder how those enormous 'X' buttons and huge title bars don't drive them bonkers...



    Quote:

    I hope the IO system gets fixed in Snow Leopard. Nothing like copying a few hundred gigabytes from the network to a second drive and not being able to use the computer for anything else while the copy takes place. Tried this on my Windows 7 machine, slow, but still usable (and there is no second drive in that machine).



    No doubt. I also notice that adding a large (2GB HD h.264) video file to iTunes pegs my CPU. Seems like that should be an IO bound process, not one using any CPU cycles, system or user...
  • Reply 19 of 163
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,435member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism


    It's more like the pig got some major plastic surgery to look better, with some bionic implants thrown in for good measure. It's still a pig, but it's a technically advanced and decent looking pig.



    That's



    "Some Pig"



    Microsoft Windows 7



    "radiant pig" quality





    I'm jesting of course I think Windows 7 will be a good OS. Not Macintosh good but good enough to stem angy defectors.



    In a way both OS have mirrored each other and Windows 7 represents somewhat of a return to fundamentals as does Snow Leopard.
  • Reply 20 of 163
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I'm jesting of course I think Windows 7 will be a good OS. Not Macintosh good but good enough to stem angy defectors.



    It is very good for MS and I think it will slow down some people jumping to Macs. MS doesn't have to best Apple's OS, just be good enough. The convenience of "I use my current PC", "I can buy a PC cheaper than Apple sells one", and "I know how Windows works already" is more than enough to sell it.



    I think that is how iTunes Store works, too. It's not better quality than other sources of media and it maybe more expensive for certain things, but it's convenient and "good enough" quality for many people.



    In my opinion, MS has a winner here.
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