part 1: Before you install
The release candidate of Windows 7 is in deed here. Anyone wishing to download it can do so by visiting
and clicking the download link on the page.
It took me a while to write this review, as I wanted to test and use it to a large extent. For any person who has beta tested in the past, you probably have learned that even if a product looks stable on the outside, it may still contain flaws and glitches on the inside. This was my philosophy when testing the RC.
Many, many people will be downloading the Release Candidate of Windows 7. Before I delve into the cores of the actual operating system, let us discuss why this is so.
First, there is a small portion of users who tested the Beta and now wish to see Microsoft’s progress and development changes. This is natural – Microsoft has “screwed” up in the past and this RC gives them a shot at “fixing” their faults.
On the latter side, the 7 RC is very, very stable. No doubt, many friends and acquaintenses of individuals have already spread that fact – and are probably running a copy right on their own PC.
With that said, there are only a few more things to clarify. The Windows 7 Release Candidate will be available even through July. As the RC download page says, “You don’t need to rush! The RC will be available at least through July, and we’re not limiting the number of downloads or product keys. So you have plenty of time.”
This is good news. If you want the RC, you have months to download, as opposed to the 1 month limit which was placed on downloading the beta.
When writing a review for any product, it is very difficult to “gauge” your audience. Who will be reading this review? Will people who only ran the beta of Windows 7 be part of the readers? What about those first-time individuals, who — thus far — have not experienced Windows 7? So it is important to give a quick statement here.
This review is geared towards two main types of people: The ones who have ran the Windows 7 beta only (and perhaps did not follow along with subsequent builds and reviews), and those who have followed along and read reviews of or tested previous builds. First-time Windows 7 users are encouraged greatly to go through past articles found on www.eurpod.com or this message board.
the 7 RC: What has changed since my Beta Experience?
If you were part of the beta frenzy which took place in January of this year(2009), you probably are running, or have ran, the Windows 7 beta as a secondary OS. The beta release was not at a stable point — though at it’s time it wasn’t buggy either. A lot of people were satisfied with it’s functionality and performance.
But the RC release (or build 7100) is even better than the beta. In some aspects, it is better than any previous release of Windows itself — and I know that this statement claims a huge piece of land for debates. In some aspects, yes, the RC is better compared to Windows XP – but in others, the transition which one has to go through is disheartening. This, however, is more in the realms of Windows 7 rather than the actual RC. Yes, the RC is faster and more responsive than any previous Windows release, though I say again: You will still not have any way of running it under a computer with 256 or even 512 MB of ram.
Build 7100 sports a few minor and major changes when compared to the Beta. First and foremost are the new branding elements added. These include the new “fish” theme on your desktop, the new sample songs and videos, as well as the new themes and sound schemes. RC is, to say the least, ready for shipment. Well, almost. Your default sound scheme is still Windows Vista — and in a few places, you will still see “copyright 2008”, when it is actually 2009.
Portions of the taskbar now flash, which allows you to see what programs are open and which ones are pinned. But for those who hated the taskbar, not much has changed. You still have the same designs, and the same idea of pinning programs onto your taskbar (instead of your start menu — to which you can still pin programs.). You will notice the new start button, which is more 3D and glass looking. Pretty neat. The taskbar can also contain more application buttons.
-The Aero Peak feature (which allows you to “see” within a window) can now be used with the alt+tab keyboard shortcut.
Jump lists: With more options
Jump lists contain useful tasks for any application. For visually impaired users, pressing the applications key on the keyboard for an application on your taskbar (weather it is opened or not) will bring up a context menu containing various options – such as “play all music” when pressing the applications key on the Windows Media player icon.
libraries: They are Taking Over the World!
You have seen libraries in the Windows 7 beta – the idea of using “virtual folders” which agrigate data from a wide variety of sources. Although I have not mentioned libraries in previous reviews much, it is important to note what they do. You can add folders to a library and the next time you visit the library, it will appear to you as though the folder were actually present. For instance, if I added a folder named “oldies” to the music library, every time I go to the music library (from the desktop by accessing the libraries folder), it will look as though the oldies folder actually existed there. Of course, all libraries due is simply “link” folders together so you could have all of your music or documents stored in one spot. Compare this to a website which collects news from various other newspaper websites.
Libraries are in deed a neat and efficient way of aggregating data – but I know it will confuse a lot of people. If you save in the “root” of a library, your document will go on the local disk by default, but you can change the default save location for any library.
In the Windows 7 RC, libraries are more present – and most of your programs which have a “save as” option can utilize basic features of libraries without any modifications from the developer.
Part 2 – coming soon:
Testing the RC!