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Hi All,

Today Microsoft Corp. 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 on the Microsoft Download Center at http://microsoft.com/downloads. The RC milestone is a result of feedback from millions of customers and partners around the world. It indicates the operating system is entering the final phases of development and is ready for partners to develop new applications, device drivers and services, and ready for IT pros to evaluate Windows 7 and examine how it will operate in their environment. You guys have been busy. At the peak of the feedback cycle, we were receiving a “Send Feedback” report every 15 seconds for an entire week. Since then, the engineering team has been busy analysing the feedback, fixing bugs, and working hard to improve the overall experience. Many of your suggestions helped us refine the new and improved taskbar, the behaviour of Aero Peek, Touch, Windows Media Player, and much more. In case you have missed the previous E7 blog entry outlining some of these changes in detail, you can read about them here and here.

Windows 7 RC Reflects New Advancements

New to the Windows 7 RC are advancements such as Remote Media Streaming, Windows XP Mode (beta) and the upcoming beta of the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor:

Remote Media Streaming. Enables highly secure, remote Internet access to home-based digital media libraries from another Windows 7-based PC outside the home.

Windows XP Mode. Utilizing Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode allows 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, pre-installed 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 MDOP adds management to Windows Virtual PC including centralized policy, administration experience and deployment.

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. To help enable a smooth transition, Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will help people analyze their PCs in preparation for a Windows 7 upgrade. Available soon, Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will be a downloadable tool that will help people determine their ability to upgrade from their Windows XP-based or Windows Vista-based PC to Windows 7.

In addition, a number of enhancements were made to existing features based on feedback from beta testers, including the following:

Refined navigation. Several 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 and passwords from being retained by the browser. With Windows 7, you can start an InPrivate session straight from the JumpList. You can also open a new tab from the JumpList.

Windows Touch. Controlling the computer by touching a touch-enabled screen or monitor is a core Windows 7 user experience. Improvements in the RC include 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.

Nick.