Microsoft’s Windows 7 development team have made a large number of tweaks to the product based on feedback from the millions of Beta testers around the World. The Windows 7 Team Blog is a great source of information on the product as a whole. The question on many people’s tounges is “What’s changed from the Beta” – the team have written two detailed blog posts to drill into the improvements in the Release Candidate – you can read them by clicking here and here.
I’ve been running Windows 7 since October – I spun up the PDC (Professional Developers Conference) Alpha release as a virtual machine while at the conference and tried it on a test machine upon returning to the UK. I was so impressed by both the speed and stability of the alpha that I upgraded my main machine to Windows 7 a couple of days later.
The improvements from Alpha to Beta 1 were significant – the Beta felt like a finished product.
The Release Candidate (RC) is still a pre-release – meaning that while many people (myself included!) will run it in production it’s not quite finished hence it’s critical to make sure you have an effective backup regime.
As you can see on the Windows 7 Team Blog the RC was published to both TechNet and MSDN on the 30th April and it’s due to be made available for public evaluation from the 5th of May.
To move up to the RC you will have to perform a clean install (unless you really insist on doing it the hard way) – there’s a good reason for this – the details are on the Engineering7 blog at this URL – this is another blog that’s a great source of information on Windows 7.