Windows 7 Release Candidate Takes the StageLots of news today (as noted in the news today) on the availability of the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC). Remember, only download the Windows 7 RC from a trusted source – via Microsoft – to save yourself the security risk.

As noted on MSDN and TechNet, the RC is an opportunity for enthusiasts, IT professionals, developers and folks like you to take the OS for a spin and test it a real world environment. With the Microsoft Windows 7 Compatibility Center site now live, you can also get more help with devices and applications on Windows 7 as noted here (from my Twitter post).

Stephen Rose - Sr Community Manager - Windows Client IT Pro put together a video for the Springboard site on what some of the new features in the Windows 7 Release Candidate area. You can find it in his post "Want to learn what’s new in the Windows 7 RC?" and view it here, too.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&amp;playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:9bbba6ce-394b-4cdf-9780-aaa52d7d77e1&amp;showPlaylist=true" target="_new" title="What&#39;s New in the Windows 7 RC">Video: What&#39;s New in the Windows 7 RC</a>

You can also read more about Windows 7 Pro & Windows XP Mode in the Q&A with Scott Woodgate as he discusses the new Windows XP Mode with Virtual PC and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V).

As noted by Microsoft_Gov, Windows 7 RC will have 13-Month Life Span, and PC users can run it until June 1, 2010.

Elinor Mills of CNETNews offers a quick look at some of the security enhancements in Windows 7, with mentions of DirectAccess and BitLocker To Go. 

And a personal favourite story of mine today, from the Engineering Windows 7 blog courtesy of Michael Fortin, is the Support and Q&A for Solid-State Drives (aka SSDs, also as picked up in Tom's Hardware WRT optimization for Solid State Drives).

Around the office, many of us have been particularly interested in the features in Windows 7 to reduce writes. The article is a good read and be sure to check out the frequently asked questions: I read it with interest as I build a new Windows 7 Media Center PC (details to come) which has a 60GB SSD at its heart coupled with a low power WD Green drive for content storage. Prices are getting quite affordable for good sized SSDs (I've looked at 30-128GB drives and settled on a performance 60GB model) and reliability is higher than ever.

"Many of today’s Solid State Drives (SSDs) offer the promise of improved performance, more consistent responsiveness, increased battery life, superior ruggedness, quicker startup times, and noise and vibration reductions. With prices dropping precipitously, most analysts expect more and more PCs to be sold with SSDs in place of traditional rotating hard disk drives (HDDs).

"In Windows 7, we’ve focused a number of our engineering efforts with SSD operating characteristics in mind. As a result, Windows 7’s default behavior is to operate efficiently on SSDs without requiring any customer intervention. Before delving into how Windows 7’s behavior is automatically tuned to work efficiently on SSDs, a brief overview of SSD operating characteristics is warranted.

"… we believe the future of SSDs in mobile and desktop PCs (as well as enterprise servers) looks very bright to us. SSDs can deliver on the promise of improved performance, more consistent responsiveness, increased battery life, superior ruggedness, quicker startup times, and noise and vibration reductions. With prices steadily dropping and quality on the rise, we expect more and more PCs to be sold with SSDs in place of traditional rotating HDDs. With that in mind, we focused an appropriate amount of our engineering efforts towards insuring Windows 7 users have great experiences on SSDs."

Tags: articles, blogs, Windows 7.

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