Enrich Your Windows 7 Experience with RC Enhancements and Windows Live
Article by George Norman
On 17 Mar 2009
Late last month Redmond software developer Microsoft let the world in on what changes it plans to implement in Windows 7 Release Candidate (details here). Some of these changes have already been put in place and we got to check them out in the builds that leaked online – Build 7048 and Build 7057. Microsoft has now come out to announce that it will implement further enhancements in Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) which should make for a more pleasurable user experience. Speaking of which, Microsoft also advises you to enrich your Windows experience by taking advantage of what Windows Live has to offer.

Starting with the Windows 7 RC enhancements, here is what Steven Sinofsky had to say on the Engineering Windows 7 blog: “Hey folks, just wanted to provide another update on some of the changes you will see in the Release Candidate. Again, there are many and this is not an exhaustive list. Of course we continue to gather telemetry from the large number of people running the Beta full time. Just a reminder, the Beta is the only official build from Microsoft.”


As Steven Sinofsky mentioned, the list of changes is quite long, so let’s not waste any time and get into it. Here is what you can expect to get in the Release Candidate version of Windows 7 (compared to Windows 7 Beta 1, Build 7000 and on top of the RC enhancements we’ve covered a while back):
- To improve your desktop experience, the RC will include: improved taskbar thumbnail overflow, recently used items in the Control Panel jump list, PowerShell jump list, remote desktop jump list, taskbar settings will be saved within 30 seconds (they would not be properly saved if the OS encountered problems when it shutdown).
- Multi-touch zoom support in Windows Explorer.
- In the Windows Explorer and Libraries department you will see these enhancements: invert selection, single click “going up” navigation, “Artist” view in Music Library encompasses album artists and compilation albums, new folders are always visible in Explorer, new right-click context menu, content view for search results, smarter re-indexing whenever new apps are installed.
- The sound schemes have been modified. The sound you heard when you would shutdown or logoff has been trimmed just a bit, making for a 400ms faster shutdown/logoff.
- Device Stage will provide enhanced support.
- Devices and Printers will feature the following: unified experience for removing devices, hardware properties display, improved eject experience, USB devices will be re-activated upon resume, FireWire camera support.
- Legacy Hardware functionality has been restored.
- Add Printer Wizard features enhanced responsiveness.
- The Windows 7 system partition dropped in size by half; the default page file size has also been reduced.
This is on top of the fact that the system partition is created automatically during the installation process, and that a drive letter is automatically assigned for dual boot systems.
- Improved driver support.

So when will we get to put the Release Candidate to the test? Initially Microsoft planned to make Windows 7 RC available on the 10th of April, but reports point to the fact that this deadline will be extended to May (the last week of this month to be more precise). Steven Sinofsky also hinted that the RC will be made available to the general public in the same manner as Windows 7 Beta 1, Build 7000 was.

If you want to further enhance your Windows experience, Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, Brandon LeBlanc advises you do this via Windows Live: “Today, users are increasingly expecting that their PC (and their OS) allow them to do things on their desktop that have an online component such as e-mail. This is where Windows Live Essentials comes in. For example, when you’re at home on your laptop you can use Windows Live Mail, but when you’re on the go you can access that same mail from any computer with an Internet connection by going to Windows Live Hotmail. Windows Live Essentials combines what you do on the PC with what you do on the Web. That’s the benefit of software + services.”

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7 Beta 1, Windows 7 Release Candidate 1, Build 7048, Build 7057
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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