Tag: "windows 7"

Windows 7 released to manufacturing

Microsoft has announced that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 have now been released to manufacturing.

This means that MSDN and Technet subscribers will be able to get their hands on a copy from August the 6th, Volume Licence customers from the 7th of August and Microsoft Partner Program members can get it from the 16th, Action Pack subscribers from the 23rd.

Here's the press release:

Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows Division, has just announced on the Engineering Windows 7 Blog that Windows 7 has reached the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone.

As I mentioned previously, RTM officially happens only after sign-off occurs. What happens is a build gets designated as a RTM contender after going through significant testing and meeting our quality bar for RTM. Then, it goes though all the validation checks required for RTM including having all languages of that build completed. If all the validation checks have passed – sign-off for RTM can occur. Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600.16385 as RTM.

Included in Steven’s blog post is a video of sign-off happening from the "Ship Room." Sign-off consists of representatives from all the teams here at Microsoft who helped build Windows 7 signing-off for RTM.

Also happening very shortly, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will get on stage for his keynote address to the Microsoft field community at MGX in Atlanta. MGX is an internal Microsoft event held every year. This is where we bring in our folks in the field from around the world and talk about selling Microsoft’s latest products. We’re a global company and this event is super important to us. As you can imagine, Windows 7 is a hot topic at this year’s MGX and we’re anxious to hear what Steve has to say, and I will update that here.

Not only is RTM an important milestone for us – it’s also an important milestone for our partners. Today’s release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success. We delivered Windows 7 with predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers.

Our customers told us what they want (and expect) and we defined those specific experiences and then built features to support them (like HomeGroup and the Windows Taskbar enhancements). Our customers also told us that “fundamentals” on both the hardware and software side was extremely important. Windows 7 today runs great on the broadest array of hardware types ranging from netbooks to the high end gaming machines. We worked closely with OEMs so that their PCs ignite features in Windows 7 to excite their customers.

Of course, today’s release is also the result of the amazing amount of feedback we received from the millions of people who tested Windows 7 – from Beta to RC. We actually had over 10 million people opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). That’s a lot of people opting in to help us make Windows 7 a solid release. Through CEIP, our engineers were guided by customer feedback all the way to RTM. We also have had a great group of beta testers who have dedicated a great deal of their time to testing Windows 7 too. A special thank you goes out to all the people who helped test Windows 7.

I’d also like to give a shout-out to my friends over on the Windows Server Team. Today they are also announcing that Windows Server 2008 R2 has RTM’d. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 together can help businesses cut costs and increase productivity. Click here to read their blog post on Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM.

The RTM code will be delivered to our partners within the next few days who will then start preparing to deliver some amazing new products timed to hit at General Availability (GA) of Windows 7. And going forward, I expect to be showcasing MANY of these new products here on The Windows Blog.

We continue to be overwhelmed at the community’s response to Windows 7 and it has been an extremely rewarding experience to witness. We hope the enthusiasm will continue to grow even more as our partners build amazing experiences with their products and Windows 7.

Get your Windows 7 copies while they're cheap

Today the European pre-orders started for Windows 7.

Amazon currently have Home Premium E for £44.97, and Professional E for £89.97. That's less than half of the normal price.

(Disclaimer these links go through my Associates account).

Keep in mind these are full versions not upgrades. So it really is a good deal, the only disadvantage is you cannot perform upgrades at all with these, due to Internet Explorer being removed from the European editions. You also get both 32-bit and 64-bit versions in these packages.

Get 'em now while they're still for the offer price.

What features Windows 7 has lost from Windows Vista

With it looking like Windows 7 is just days away from being completed.  I thought it might be an idea to go over the applications and features that are absent from Windows 7, a lot of stuff is missing, and it will no doubt surprise people how much stuff has been stripped out compared with Windows Vista.

Windows Mail - gone

The most backward step in my opinion is the removal of Windows Mail formally Outlook Express.  In seemingly utter stupidity we now have a mainstream operating system that doesn't include an e-mail client, nor a newsgroup client.  The last operating system I used which didn't have an e-mail client built in was RISC OS 3.5.  People expect to be able to hit their POP3 and IMAP servers with Windows.  People are now expected to download the Windows Live Essentials pack to get Windows Live Mail.

Windows Photo Gallery - gone

One of the best new features of Windows Vista was the included photo gallery application.  It was, frankly stunning and had all the features you'd expect, cropping, colour correction the works, and best of all its tagging features were second to none.  But its gone.  The leftovers can be seen in Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 7 which is an image viewer, and that's it.  People are now expected to download the Windows Live Essentials pack to get Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Windows Movie Maker - gone

Windows Movie Maker was often dismissed as junk, of course by people that were spending hundreds of pounds on Adobe software.  For almost all users Windows Movie Maker was ideal for putting together home videos, it was easy to use and had enough advanced features to satisfy most people's needs.  People are now expected to download the Windows Live Essentials pack to get Windows Live Movie Maker.

Web Filtering and Activity Reports from Parental Controls - gone

Windows 7 still includes parental controls, but they lack any web filtering, and the really awesome activity reports are gone.  Unlike the above applications, the Family Safety pack from the Windows Live Essentials suite doesn't plug into this at all and fill this hole, if it did it wouldn't be so bad.  But it doesn't, it does its own thing completely seperately, which can only be described as /facepalm.

Advanced Tag Editor from Windows Media Player - gone

Windows Media Player has seen some welcome changes, but its also seen some dumb changes.  Like the removal of the Advanced Tag Editor which was a godsend for people who edit a lot of song information.  It's gone, if you want to edit songs now you'll have to do it from within Explorer or the Library page (with limited scope).

Mini player toolbar from Windows Media Player - gone

The mini player toolbar sat in the old taskbar and provided the basic play controls for Windows Media Player.  With the new taskbar its been removed, instead we get a more limited controls in the preview display, which are back, next and play/pause, there's no slider like there was before.  Annoying for music listeners.

Quick Launch from the Taskbar - gone

The new taskbar merges the Quick Launch toolbar with the regular part of the taskbar.  This has several downsides including it being more work to launch a second instance of a program, and requires and additional mouse click, others include the extra space required, even with small icons if you pin programs to the taskbar they take up considerably more space.

Internet Explorer - gone in the European Union

If current plans go through the European Union will be saddled with an 'E' edition of Windows 7, and unlike the 'N' versions we had to put up with, we won't have the option of buying the proper version of Windows.  Instead system builders will have the extra hassle of installing Internet Explorer separately, wasting a good 15 minutes on every machine.  This is insane, 2009 and we're getting an operating system that doesn't include a web browser.

As I think of more things missing I'll update this post.

I think Redmond was already onto something

Tom Gromak wrote up a post detailing his experiences with Windows 7.  However, almost everything he mentions positive of it, is present in Windows Vista, which he seems to dismiss out of hand.

Windows 7 is everything Vista was not: Sleek, stylish and speedy.

Sleek and stylish?  It looks pretty much the same as Windows Vista.  If it wasn't for the new less-efficient taskbar it would be almost indistinguishable.  Speed is hotly debated.  On my high-end systems there's no noticeable difference between them, even on low-end systems like my Tablet PC there's no difference.  Sure it might have a lower memory footprint, but who has any systems with 512MB of RAM in them these days?

[A]n easy-to-use screen magnifier, snipping tools [.] lots of ways to view the data on your disks

All the same as Windows Vista.

But it's also got features that, frankly, make OS X start to look a little dated. Some are big, like the many ways you can handle your digital media in Windows Explorer (hint to Apple: I know you want me to use iTunes to manage all my music and movies, but I really want to be able to do meaningful file management in Finder, too).

Identical to Windows Vista.

There's a vastly improved Windows Media player

Up for debate - its got some nice new features like internet streaming and remote play.  But the new interface isn't as smooth, there's an awkward jerk between the now-playing mode and the library, the rip tab has been hidden and you have to hunt around to see how to rip a CD, the advanced tag editor is gone as is the mini-player for the taskbar.  I'd kill to get the advanced tag editor and mini-player back - I'd probably even trade internet streaming for them.

better movie- and dvd-making

There is no movie making, Movie Maker was removed as was Photo Gallery.  You're expected to download the Windows Live Essentials pack to get all that stuff back, the Live version of Movie Maker is still in beta and even worse than Movie Maker was 10 years ago.

re's one example that I stumbled upon that seems so intuitive: Grab a window by the title bar and pull it to the top of your screen, and it maximizes. Pull it back away from the top, and it returns to its original size. Drag it right or left and it auto resizes to a width about a third of your screen's width

Yeah that's nice.

Oh, and unlike Finder (still, Apple? Really?), you can still grab and resize a window from any edge or corner you might like or need to grab.

How Windows has worked for as far back as I can remember.

Minimize a browser window, and you get a nice preview when you hover over its button

In Windows Vista.

Minimize a browser window with multiple tabs open, and you get a preview of each tab and the ability to pick which tab you want opened when you un-minimize IE.

Yup that's nice.

Windows Explorer, the venerable file manager, has new ways to quickly get to commonly used folders and places and, for the first time in a long time, actually works quite well with my home network. XP was always a little spotty in its ability to communicate with my other PCs, and Vista was downright hostile in its overbearing and underperforming ways.

Windows Explorer is the same as in Windows Vista, the only difference being the colour of the button menu, and how the navigation pane is laid out, which is a bit neater.  Networking is the same.

When Vista came out, I had just a short period of time to give it a test drive. But Windows 7? I get a year. A whole year.

Not quite.  Firstly you don't have a year, in March the RC will start shutting itself down automatically every 2 hours, it won't bomb out until June, let's call that 12 months minus the annoying constant shut downs which will drive you insane, and is really only there to enable you to get any data off before it time-bombs.  For Windows Vista however, Beta 2, RC1 and RC2 all time-bombed on the 1st of June 2007, the Beta 2 version was released in May 2006, so again about 12 months.  Comparing pre-release versions to trial versions is also unwise.

All in all a pretty positive article, its just a shame that most of the features he liked we had three years ago in Windows Vista which gets dismissed off the bat as being terrible.

Windows 7 RC up on Connect, MSDN and Technet

As well as the new XP Mode VMs. Public release still on for Tuesday.

Windows 7 RC due for public release 5th May

Microsoft have officially confirmed that the Release Candidiate of Windows 7 will be up for download starting from the 5th of May for the general public.

MSDN and Technet subscribers will get it the bits on the 30th of April. Sweet.

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