Microsoft has launched their Windows 7 Release Candidate for download, available through July. I am writing this post on my HP Pavilion laptop running Win 7. The real big news is that you will be able to use the RC for an entire year!
Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, and kernel improvements.
Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, the XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion.
Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner, Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display. Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds) which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer (source : wikipedia).
Windows 7 is based on the following final system requirements for Windows 7:
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
- DirectX® 9 graphics processor with WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.0 or higher driver
Overall, I’m impressed with how reliable this Windows release has been. It also seems more than adequate in terms of performance. I haven’t taken a stopwatch to measure speeds and feeds, but overall, every common operation in Windows 7 feels snappy and responsive, even on old hardware. I haven’t seen significant changes in startup and shutdown times over Windows Vista on the same hardware.