Gentlemen (and ladies), start your downloads: Windows 7 RC is now available on MSDN and TechNet. (Remember how I keep telling you the reasons why you want that subscription!). Here is the public announcement from Microsoft Ireland. What I like about this announcement is some of the Partners I am responsible for in my role are called out for their internal adoption of the Beta.
Dublin: April 30, 2009: Microsoft has reached a significant milestone with the Release Candidate (RC) of the highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system, now available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Broader, public availability will begin May 5, and will be accessible from www.microsoft.com/windows7 site. Based on feedback from millions of customers and partners around the world, the Windows 7 RC is on track to provide customers the quality and value they want and need.
“We’ve been listening to what our Partners and Customers have been saying,” says Ronald Dockery, Business Manager, Client, Microsoft Ireland. “With Windows 7 we focused on what customers told us they liked, and we made improvements to what they didn’t like. “
More than 32,000 participants from approximately 10,000 companies have signed up to have access to a breadth of helpful tools and resources needed to prepare for Windows 7. Irish Partners such as Novosco, Brandon Consulting Ltd, Maxima Ireland and Nitec Solutions have already invested significant time and resources to preparing for Windows 7, demonstrating their support and excitement.
The RC milestone is an important step on the path to final delivery for Windows 7 as it indicates the operating system is entering the final phases of development and is ready for thousands of partners to test, evaluate, and develop new applications, device drivers, and services. As a result of this work, customers will have access to the broadest array of software and hardware options the industry has to offer. The milestone also indicates now is the time for IT pros to evaluate Windows 7, put it through its paces, and examine how it will operate in their environment.
Novosco is a leading provider of virtual infrastructure services in Ireland. The Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner specializes in helping its customers solve business challenges with emerging technologies and offers services across a broad range of areas: infrastructure optimization, disaster recovery, compliance and security, productivity and performance, managed services. With Windows 7 Novosco users have experienced improved system performance. “Everything is faster,” explains Colin Rainey, Technical Manager at Novosco. “From the boot-up sequence to finding files on the corporate network to connecting to the domain, our employees have noticed phenomenal improvements in performance.”
“What’s even better is that by eliminating performance-related calls to the help desk, which also supports external customers, those support employees are free to help our customers and keep their systems running efficiently.,” says Rainey.
Gary Melvin, Sales Director of Brandon Consulting Ltd said, “Having deployed Windows 7 internally and with selected customers we have noticed sizeable performance gains on the same hardware running previous versions of windows , in particular boot times , extended battery life and ease of use around mobility.”
According to an independent report by Forrester Research: “…The beta of Windows 7 shows significant promise, and most IT operations professionals are looking forward to its availability and eventual enterprise deployment.”
In the same report, Ben Gray notes “start preparing for it now, and the best way to prepare for Windows 7 is by deploying Windows Vista. Short of that, begin testing your applications and hardware for compatibility against Windows Vista; It will pay off with greater compatibility with Windows 7.” (“Get Ready for Windows 7”, Forrester Research, Inc., April 2009).
Designed to improve workforce effectiveness and productivity, Windows 7 delivers advanced capabilities driving maximum value from IT investments. IT professionals and small and medium businesses will find that Microsoft is committed to delivering tools and support that enhance software compatibility as well as ease deployment and migration concerns. For IT professionals in enterprise environments, Windows 7 along with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, an add-on subscription, helps enterprise customers make people productive anywhere, enhance security and control, streamline IT management, and reduce costs. Some key features for IT professionals include:
· Direct Access: This feature enables IT Managers to provide the mobile user with reliable and secure access to the corporate network resources when user is on the Internet, without having to initiate a VPN connection. It also allows servicing and updating of remote PCs, even when they are on the road. This helps to ensure that all mobile PCs are always up to date and Powershell means IT Pros can automate many standard tasks, to help reduce helpdesk costs, minimize user disruption and ease PC management. Direct Access is delivered by Windows 7 with Windows Server 2008R2.
· BranchCache: Delivered jointly by Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2, this feature enables IT pros to decrease time branch office users spend waiting to download files from remote servers by caching the previously accessed content locally in a branch’s network.
· BitLocker™ and Bitlocker To Go Drive Encryption: This helps ensure that sensitive data is protected across PCs and removable storage devices.
Windows 7 RC builds upon the beta version with a focus on simplifying everyday tasks, working the way customers want and making new things possible. The latest version of Windows was designed to ensure the highest level of device and application compatibility with software and devices that worked with Windows Vista. New to the RC are advancements, such as Remote Media Streaming, Windows XP Mode (beta) and Windows Virtual PC:
· Remote Media Streaming: Enables secure, remote Internet access to home-based digital media libraries from another Windows 7 PC outside the home.
· Windows XP Mode: Utilizing Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode allows small and medium business users of Windows 7 users to run many Windows XP productivity applications, launched right from the Windows 7 desktop. Windows XP Mode will be available to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate customers via download or, for the best experience, preinstalled directly on new PCs. As part of today’s announcement, Microsoft is releasing the beta of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC. For larger businesses where management is important to reduce the total cost of ownership, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) within the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) adds management to Windows Virtual PC including centralized policy, administration experience and deployment.
In addition, some innovative features were enhanced for Windows 7 RC based on feedback received during the beta period:
· Refined navigation: Several minor enhancements to the Windows Taskbar, Jumplists, and search make navigation and finding exactly what you want much easier
· Internet Explorer 8: InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 prevents browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies and usernames/passwords from being retained by the browser. With Windows 7, you can start an InPrivate session straight from the Jump List. You can also open a new tab from the Jump List.
· Windows Touch: Controlling the computer by touching the screen is a core Windows 7 user experience. Improvements in the RC includes several Windows Touch updates, including the ability to drag, drop and select items with touch, even inside Web sites that scroll both horizontally and vertically.
For those interested in previewing Windows 7 and experiencing the new features first-hand, the Windows 7 RC will be publicly available in the coming week on the Microsoft Download Center (http://microsoft.com/downloads). For customers who want to take advantage of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC, there will also be a download available on the site.
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