Sorry, they've all gone now!

I’ve laid my hands on some ‘Windows 7 Release Candidate’ DVDs. Over the next week, I’ve got a series of blog posts planned to talk about some of the features of Windows 7 that will be particularly useful to colleges, and you may want to install a copy of it, so that you can try them out in your particular situation. So if you’re interested in spending a little more time understanding what Windows 7 does, and have a spare computer hanging around, then email me and I’ll pop one in the post to you.

Four interesting things about this:

  1. “Release Candidate” (RC) is the penultimate release before we say “Yes, it’s definitely final and released”. Once we’ve done that, we then call it RTM, or Release To Manufacturing. This RC version is free to use for a year, whereas the RTM version is the final one that you pay for. (Of course, at the end of the year, you then need to upgrade to the released version or revert back to whatever your computer was previously licensed for)
  2. Although we generally advise you not to run the Release Candidate for business critical computers, I know quite a few education customers who already run it on their own laptops/netbooks. I have been running the beta (earlier) version of Windows 7 on my demonstration laptop since January, and have just moved my main laptop onto Windows 7. Because we like inventing new words at Microsoft, we call this “dog-fooding” (as in “We eat our own dog food”). Basically, it’s part of making sure that it’s good enough for you to use, by starting to run our business on it.
  3. This is the first time I can remember that the new version of Windows runs on lower spec hardware than the previous release! We’ve dragged a few older laptops out of various storage cupboards (where they’d been put because they ran Windows Vista poorly) and they all seem to cope quite well with Windows 7. I’ve also talked to a few customers in education who say that it good running on various netbooks, which have definitely been a challenge with Windows Vista.
  4. You should play around with the BitLocker feature, mentioned in the video accompanying yesterday’s blog post, because of the new mode called BitLocker to Go. This gives you encryption protection for USB Memory Sticks (think: ‘personal data loss’) but as I was reading a bit more about it last night, I discovered it also allows you to specify a default that any USB Memory Stick can be read, BUT only encrypted memory sticks can be saved to. This seems really useful in a school – it means that teachers/students can be allowed to bring in their lesson plans/videos/pictures etc from home on a memory stick, but you can stop them copying college data onto it.

Anyway, if you’d like me to send you a installation DVD, then email me and I’ll pop one in the post to you.


Small print: When they’re gone, they’re gone!

Another bit of small print: We have copies for the 32-bit version. Somebody has just asked for a 64-bit, which we don't have, but you can download that from this link: