How Microsoft Enhances Windows 7 Release Candidate
Article by George Norman
On 27 Feb 2009
We already know that Microsoft plans to move from Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 Release Candidate, and from then on it will put out six different versions of the Windows-based OS on the market (SKU strategy here). What we did not know was precisely what new bits and pieces would be introduced in the Release Candidate. Now we do!

“We’ve been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we’ve received on Windows 7. It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible. Some have asked if the featureset is "frozen" then what will we change--we change a lot of things in the beta based on feedback and we try to do so in a systematic manner with the focus on the goals for the release,” says the Windows Engineering team.


Here is a detailed list of changes you can expect to get in the upcoming Windows 7 Release Candidate, changes that are not featured in Windows 7 Beta Build 7000:
- Alt + Tab with Aero Peek effects.
- A new keyboard shortcut: Windows Logo + Number (1, 2, 3 for example) will launch and switch between applications.
- A more obvious flashing effect for some applications (like Outlook and Messenger). A “needy application” in the taskbar will signal your attention to it. With Windows 7 this is done with a more noticeable animation curve, a brighter orange color, and a total of 7 flashes, not just three. 7 flashes because it is Windows 7.
- “Open With” option in the taskbar. When you need to open a file with a certain program, simply press down Shift and drag and drop it onto the desired program pinned in the Quick Launch.
- Taskbar scaling.
- The color hot-track effect is maintained when you hover the mouse over a thumbnail in the taskbar.
- Newly installed programs will not be automatically pinned to the taskbar.
- Only 10 items in the Jump List are automatically suggested.
- Increased pinning flexibility with Jump List.
- New view options for gadgets and desktop icons.
- New networking overlay icon.
- Automatically lock the machine without having to activate the screensaver.
- Seamlessly switch between the Balanced and High performance power plan.
- “Unsaved Theme” text for when you customize your OS’s looks.
- Several improvements to Windows Media Player: Internet Radio playback, camera and camcorder video digital support, a new Now Playing view, unplayable content filtering, CD or DVD playback resuming, improved Jump List and a simple way to access the advanced settings.
- Additional support for Device Stage.
- Enhanced Sound UX
- Better performance

“The work of acting on feedback responsibly and managing the development of Windows through all phases of the process is something we are very sincere about. Internally we’ve talked a lot about being a learning organization and how we’re always learning how to do a better job, improve the work we do, and in the process work to make Windows even better. We take this approach as individuals and how we view building Windows. We know we will continue to have tough choices to make as everyone who builds products understands and what you have is our commitment to continue to use all the tools available to make sure we are building the best Windows 7 we can build,” commented Senior Vice President, Steven Sinofsky.

UPDATE: Microsoft announced further RC enhancements – details here .

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7 Beta 1, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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