Windows 7 Release Candidate - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Windows 7

CNET Editors' note:

The 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. The Download Now link will take you to Microsoft's download page where you can choose the version that fits the system you'll be using, pick your language, then register for Windows 7 Release Candidate and receive a product test key.

The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours.

CNET Editors' review

The good: Strong design and Microsoft don't always go together, but they do in Windows 7. Users might take a while to get used to the new taskbar and Aero Peek, but they're a pleasure to use.

The bad: Performance is still hit-or-miss in Windows 7. At the ripe age of seven, Windows XP still performs better in some categories.

The bottom line: Windows 7 is more than what Vista should have been, it's where Microsoft needed to go. How much damage Vista did and whether Windows 7 is enough for people to finally abandon Windows XP are questions that nobody has the answers to right now.

Deserved or not, Microsoft had dug itself a cool, deep, dark hole with Windows Vista. Users demanding that Redmond extend the life of Windows XP wasn't exactly something they could be proud of, either. Bombarded by complaints and negative press even after the first service pack was released, the bar had been set high for Vista's successor: Windows 7. This review is based on an official copy of the Windows 7 RTM that Microsoft provided to CNET on July 30, 2009.

Product Spotlight: Windows 7

Luckily for Microsoft, Windows 7 is more than just spin. It's stable, smooth, and highly polished, introducing new graphical features, a new taskbar that can compete handily with the Mac OS X dock, and device management and security enhancements that make it both easier to use and safer. Importantly, it won't require the hardware upgrades that Vista demanded, partially because the hardware has caught up, and partially because Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make Windows 7 accessible to as many people as possible.

It's important to note that the public testing process for Windows 7 involved one limited-availability beta and one release candidate, and constituted what some have called the largest shareware trial period ever. As buggy and irritating as Vista was, Windows 7 isn't. Instead, it's the successor to Windows XP that Microsoft wishes Vista had been, and finally places it on competitive footing with other major operating systems like OS X and Linux.

Microsoft is offering six versions of Windows 7: Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, OEM, and Enterprise. The three versions that Redmond will be promoting most heavily are Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate, although Starter will also be available to consumers.

Windows 7 will support both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The bare minimum requirements for the 32-bit include a 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB available hard-disk space, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. 64-bit systems will require at least a 1 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 20GB of free space on your hard drive, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. A touch-screen monitor is required to take advantage of the native touch features. Do note that some users have claimed to have limited success running the Windows 7 beta with less than 1GB of RAM, but that's not recommended.

Windows 7's Aero in pictures

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Installation
Microsoft is offering several paths to install Windows 7. People can buy a new computer with the operating system already installed, upgrade from Windows XP or Vista, or do a clean install on a computer the user already owns. The clean installation took us about 30 minutes, but that will vary depending on your computer.

The upgrade procedure is different depending on whether you're running Windows XP or Windows Vista. Vista users merely need to back up their data before choosing the Upgrade option from the install disc. Both XP Home and XP Pro users will have to back up their data, then choose Custom from the install disc. Custom will have the same effect as a clean install, although it'll save your old data in a folder called Windows.old. Once you choose Custom, you'll need to select the partition of your hard drive that contains Windows XP, and then follow the instructions to enter your product key and allow the computer to reboot as needed.

If you're not sure if your current computer can run Windows 7, you can download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft.

Features: Taskbar and Aero Peek
Although the look of Windows 7 may seem to be nothing more than some polish applied liberally to the Vista Aero theme, make no mistake: This is a full replacement operating system, and more than just "Vista done right." From driver support to multitouch groundwork for the future, from better battery management to the most easy-to-use interface Microsoft has ever had, Windows 7 is hardly half-baked.

Aero Peek shows the desktop when you hover over the right edge of the toolbar, and is also an option in the program-switching hot key Alt+Tab. (This image was taken from the Windows 7 Release Candidate, but looks and functions the same in the official version of Windows 7.)

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The first thing that should stand out is the new taskbar. This is one of the best improvements Microsoft has made--third-party program dock makers are going to have to do some serious innovation when Windows 7 goes public. Besides incorporating the translucent style of Aero, the new taskbar is arguably even better than the Mac OS X dock. It features pinned programs using large, easy-to-see icons. Mouse over one and all windows associated with that program appear in preview. Mouse over one of those preview panes to reveal an X to close the window. Hover over the preview to show a full-size preview of the program, or click on the window to bring it to the front. Because of the button size, people with touch screens should find it especially easy to use.

Jump lists are another new taskbar improvement that make recently opened documents easier to get to. Right-click or left-click and drag on any program icon pinned to the taskbar to see a list of files that you've recently used in that program. In Internet Explorer, this will show recently visited Web sites, although it doesn't yet seem to work in Firefox.

If you've noticed the missing Show Desktop icon, that's because it's been baked into the taskbar itself. Mouse over to the right corner. Hovering over the Show Desktop box reveals the desktop, and then hides it when you mouse away. Click on the box to minimize all your programs.

Resizing programs has been simplified and improved by the capability to drag a window's title bar. Drag a program window to the top of your monitor to expand it to full screen. If you want to work in two windows simultaneously, drag one to the left edge and one to the right edge of your screen, and they'll automatically resize to half the width of your monitor. Dragging a program away from the top or sides will return it to its original size. This is an entirely new feature in Windows 7, but it should prove easy to adopt because it mimics and expands on the maximize/restore button that people have been resizing windows with since Windows 95.

Theme packages also make it much faster to change the look of Windows 7. From the Control Panel, you can change the theme under Appearance and Personalization. Microsoft has created several theme packages to give people a taste for what the feature can do. Click on one to download it, and it instantly changes the color scheme and background--no need to reboot. Users can create their own themes, as well.

Windows Media Player and Device Stage
One of the biggest new features makes Windows Media Player useful again: you can now stream media files from one Windows 7 computer to another, across the Internet and out of network. Even better, the setup procedure is dead simple.

Microsoft reinvigorates the Windows Media Player by allowing users to stream their media files to themselves. All it takes is two Windows 7 computers, an Internet connection, and a free Windows Live ID. (This image was taken from the Windows 7 Release Candidate, but looks and functions the same in the official version of Windows 7.)

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

When you open Windows Media Player, there's a new Stream option on the toolbar. Click it, and you're presented with two choices. Both require you to associate your computer with your free Windows Live ID. When you've associated a second Windows 7's WMP with that same ID, you can remotely access the media on the host computer. Windows Media Player's mini mode looks much slicker, emphasizing the album art--sometimes at the expense of clearly seeing the controls, but it's a definite improvement.

The new Device Stage makes managing peripherals significantly easier, combining printers, phones, and portable media players into one window. A large photo of the peripheral summarizes important device stats and makes it easy to identify which devices you're using. Device Stage can also be used to preset common tasks, such as synchronization. Device Stage support for older devices makes one of Windows 7's best features applicable to peripherals and externals that don't need to be upgraded. One annoying change is that Bluetooth driver support no longer comes baked into the operating system. If you need a Bluetooth driver, you'll either need the installation disc on hand or you'll have to go download it.

Touch-screen features in Windows 7

Search, touch screens, and XP mode
Windows 7's native search feature has been improved. Files added to the hard drive were indexed so fast that they were searchable less than 5 seconds later. Search result snippets now include a longer snippet, and highlight the snippet more clearly. This should appeal specifically to people who juggle large numbers of long documents, but it's a useful feature for anybody who wants to find files faster. However, the search field is available by default only in the Start menu and in Windows Explorer, and cannot be easily added to the taskbar.

Touch-screen features worked surprisingly well. The hardware sometimes misread some of the multitouch gestures, occasionally confusing rotating an image, for example, with zooming in or out of the image. Overall, though, there were few difficulties in performing the basic series of gestures that Microsoft promotes, and this places Windows 7 in an excellent position for the future, as more and more computers are released with multitouch abilities.

Experts and people or companies who hope to use Windows 7 for business situations will appreciate the new XP Mode. It doesn't have much of a practical application for the home consumer, but if you need to access programs designed for Windows XP that have not been upgraded to Windows Vista or 7, XP Mode creates a virtual environment within Windows 7 that should assuage any fears of upgrading without backward compatibility.

Search snippets do a better job of highlighting relevant terms in your documents, exposing useful data even if it's not in the file name. (This image was taken from the Windows 7 Release Candidate, but looks and functions the same in the official version of Windows 7.)

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

It's not easy to set up once you've downloaded the XP Mode installer. You'll need to double-check that you have the right hardware, and can get the right software. Hardware Virtualization Technology, also known as AMD-V, Vanderpool, or VT-d, must be supported for it to work. Motherboards older than two years probably won't work, and even if you do have a newer one you might have to go into your BIOS and activate Hardware Virtualization. CPU-identification utilities are available from Microsoft that can tell you if you're in the clear or not. However, if compatibility is the issue, this hassle will be worth it to you. Users will have full access to peripherals connected to their Windows 7 hardware, including printers, and the clipboard can be used to cut and paste between the virtual operating system and the "real" one.

Security
User Account Control, or UAC, is back in Windows 7. Microsoft has tweaked the feature so that it's less intrusive, but it's not clear whether that means you're actually more or less secure than you were in Vista. UAC was one of the biggest changes in Vista. It tightened program access, but did it in such a way as to frustrate many owners of single-user computers. Windows 7 provides more options for user customization of UAC.

Windows 7 supports a feature that won't be useful to most users, but businesses might do a double-take. XP Mode is a free add-on for Windows 7 that creates a virtual XP environment in which you can run older programs. (This image was taken from the Windows 7 Release Candidate, but looks and functions the same in the official version of Windows 7.)

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The default setting is to notify users only when programs try to make changes to the computer, one step below the most restrictive setting of Always Notify. Under Always Notify, anytime a program tries to access the Internet, or you try to make changes to the computer, Windows 7 will require user confirmation. The second-least restrictive option doesn't dim the desktop when UAC is activated, and will only notify the user when programs try to make changes to the computer. When the desktop dims, Windows 7 is locking it down and preventing access. Never Notify is the most relaxed option, and is only recommended by Microsoft for programs that aren't compatible with UAC.

UAC also displays a blue banner when confronted with a program from a known publisher versus a yellow banner and exclamation point when the program is from an unknown publisher. The number of clicks it should take to use UAC safely has been reduced, However, it's important to note that it's a less aggressive default posture by UAC.

A less glitzy, but no less important, change to how removable drives are handled also can affect your media. Unlike Windows XP and Windows Vista, Windows 7 will no longer AutoRun external hard drives and USB keys when they're connected. This kills off a risky vector for malware infections that has been the bane of many security experts.

Security in Windows 7

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Although Microsoft is working on a revamp of its antivirus and antimalware program, now called Microsoft Security Essentials, it won't be bundled with Windows 7. Users are still required to download a third-party antivirus and antimalware program, although the Windows Firewall remains intact. As with many features in Windows 7 that have been carried over from Windows Vista, people will notice there's far more granular settings control than before. Features like filtering outbound traffic, which were available in Vista but not exposed, are easier to access in Windows 7.

Comparing Windows: XP vs. Vista vs. 7
Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7
Minimum hardware
  • --Processor: 300MHz
  • --RAM: 128MB
  • --Super VGA graphics device
  • --HD: 4.2GB (for SP3)
  • --Processor: 1GHz
  • --RAM: 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit)
  • --Support for DirectX 9 graphics device with 128MB of memory
  • --HD: 20GB (32-bit), 40GB (64-bit)
  • --Processor: 1 GHz
  • --RAM: 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit)
  • --Support for DirectX 9 graphics device with 128MB of memory
  • --HD: 16GB (32-bit), 20GB (64-bit)
Interface
  • --Luna theme
  • --Introduces task-based windows options
  • --Skinning possible but difficult
  • --Desktop Cleanup Wizard automates removing old icons
  • --Aero theme
  • --Introduces transparent panes, window animations, live thumbnails of running programs
  • --New desktop sidebar supports gadgets
  • --Supports touch screens
  • --Aero theme
  • --Supports slideshow backgrounds, RSS and theme packs
  • --Introduces Aero Shake and Aero Snap
  • --Desktop gadgets can be placed anywhere
  • --Supports multitouch on touch screens
Explorer
  • --Replaces tree navigation by default with task pane
  • --Improves image handling
  • --Offers thumbnail previews and group views
  • --Supports some metadata
  • --Task pane integrated into toolbar
  • --New breadcrumb navigation
  • --New metadata display
  • --Improved icon resolution
  • --Some documents can be edited from the preview pane
  • --Support for federated searches and libraries
  • --Virtual folders aggregate content from local and networked drives
Start menu
  • --New layout
  • --Devices and some Control Panel options appear in menu
  • --Added search box
  • --All Programs folder changed to a nested format
  • --Configurable power button
  • --User profile picture
  • --Taskbar jumps appear in the Start menu and replace the right column when viewed
  • --Documents, Pictures, Music buttons now link to their libraries
  • --Control Panel options have been integrated into search results
Taskbar
  • --New look
  • --Hideable icons in System Tray
  • --Refreshed look
  • --Alt-Tab hot key now shows preview thumbnail of program
  • --Interactive mouse-over preview panes
  • --Replacement of the Quick Launch bar with pinned programs
  • --Program-specific jump lists based on pinned programs
  • --Aero Peek for mouse-over desktop viewing
  • --Revamped System Tray
Devices
  • --Introduces Universal Plug-n-Play
  • --New driver library allows for downgrading drivers when necessary
  • --Debuts portable device API, designed to communicate with cell phones, PDAs, and portable media players
  • --Introduces Sync Center for managing data synchronizations
  • --New Device Stage provides a centralized, unified window for managing all aspects of printers and portable devices
Misc.
  • --Introduces context-menu CD and DVD burning from Windows Explorer
  • --Supports multiple versions of a single DLL to prevent programs from overwriting each other
  • --Introduces Hibernate and Sleep modes
  • --Remote Desktop for accessing a computer from another location
  • --Fast user account switching
  • --Built-in drive partitioning
  • --More powerful screen-capturing tool
  • --Hybrid Sleep and better configuration options for more nuanced power management
  • --User-based file-type associations
  • --Previous Version automatically backs up changes to individual files
  • --Expands Windows Explorer disc burning to include ISOs
  • --Introduces XP Mode
  • --Expanded options for disabling components
  • --Can search text in scanned TIFF
  • --Additional power-saving features for laptops

Performance
Windows 7 feels faster than Windows XP and Vista, but it turns out that's not always the case--sometimes, it's the slowest out of the three operating systems. CNET Labs tested four 32-bit Windows operating systems: Windows 7 RTM build 7600, Windows 7 Release Candidate build 7100, Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, and Windows XP SP3, all on an Inspiron Desktop 530 Mini Tower running an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E4500 at 2.20 GHz, with a 128MB NVIDIA 8300 GS graphics card, 4GB of RAM, and two 320GB SATA 7,200rpm hard drives.

Microsoft Office Performance (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Windows Vista SP2 (64 bit)
571 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (64 bit)
600 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (32 bit)
684 
Windows 7 RC Build 7100(32 bit)
752 
Windows Vista SP2 (32 bit)
673 
Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
483 

iTunes encoding (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Windows Vista SP2 (64 bit)
199 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (64 bit)
199 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (32 bit)
187 
Windows 7 RC Build 7100(32 bit)
188 
Windows Vista SP2 (32 bit)
189 
Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
187 

Boot time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Windows Vista SP2 (64 bit)
60 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (64 bit)
50.3 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (32 bit)
41.25 
Windows 7 RC Build 7100(32 bit)
44.81 
Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
40.03 

Shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Windows Vista SP2 (64 bit)
5.68 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (64 bit)
5.32 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (32 bit)
5.1 
Windows 7 RC Build 7100(32 bit)
6.2 
Windows Vista SP2 (32 bit)
5.69 
Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
29.9 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Windows Vista SP2 (64 bit)
4,813 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (64 bit)
4,822 
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 (32 bit)
4,213 
Windows 7 RC Build 7100(32 bit)
4,184 
Windows Vista SP2 (32 bit)
4,174 
Windows XP SP3 (32 bit)
4,217 

As you can see in the chart, we found that Windows 7 RTM was the fastest to shutdown, and was tied with XP for iTunes encoding. However, it was slower than XP and Vista for both booting up cold by a bit more than 1 second, and slower than either of its predecessors in its Microsoft Office performance. After having used Windows 7 beta, RC, and now the RTM for more than six months combined, it still feels faster for us when launching programs, opening the control panel, and dragging icons, files, and folders around than XP. That's not to denigrate the value of the benchmarks, but keep in mind that the perception and reality might differ based on hardware and usage.

Support
When you try to use a file already in use, Windows 7 goes beyond Vista and XP by telling you not just that it's being used, but where it's being used so you can manage the situation faster. Other than that, Windows 7 offers on-board operating system support nearly identical to Windows Vista. Screen darkening, one-click action hand-holding, and a useful question mark icon on all Explorer windows maintain Vista's improved help features, when compared with Windows XP.

In sum
Windows 7 looks like the operating system that both Microsoft and its consumers have been waiting for. By fixing most of the perceived and real problems in Vista, Microsoft has laid the groundwork for the future of where Windows will go. Windows 7 presents a stable platform that can compete comfortably with OS X, while reassuring the world that Microsoft can still turn out a strong, useful operating system.

Windows 7 Release Candidate:

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.1 stars

    out of 173 votes

    • 5 star: 91
    • 4 star: 40
    • 3 star: 18
    • 2 star: 8
    • 1 star: 16
  • Current version:

    4.2 stars

    out of 68 votes

    • 5 star: 40
    • 4 star: 15
    • 3 star: 6
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 6
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 68

  • 5.0 stars

    "thank you2"

    December 3, 2010  |   By aldaeyh

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    I hope to be of a high speed and better performance

    Cons

    All the best

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "So Far, the best version of Windows I've ever used"

    October 30, 2009  |   By intrepi

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    It has a lot of built in Utilities that allow you to set whatever you like in each area of Windows 7 Professional Upgrade. Configuring it is something that you need to take your time, do each area and then go on to the next.

    Cons

    The Upgrade version can be a proper pain if you are trying to do an upgrade from Xp which was upgraded from Win98 SE. The XP was loaded onto a FAT32 formatted hard drive and this was a no go for Win 7.

    Summary

    Once I had everything configured with drivers that I could find, it was very stable, no crashes, no issues. It will check your memory, rate your PC and do almost everything but you will have to go a little deeper into WIn 7 to find some of your hardware, device, driver and related hardware. You can set them up with a desktop link so it provides options to those things you want quick access to. I wasn't able to get all my driver issues dealt with as HP is a little slow on getting drivers out for some of their laser printers. Nvidia has drivers out for the graphics cards but very little if any software for updating or anything else. I'm sure there will be some issues coming up with some hardware, software and related drivers but so far, things are much better than I expected. Vista too has come into a better light and has greatly improved with all it's updates. If you have Vista running well, there isn't any need to rush on Win 7 as it's never a bad idea to wait until the first SP1 comes out. For those running XP, I'd strongly recommend you make a move on Win 7 as the speed and overall improvements warrant the move up. I got 2 Upgrades for my 2 PC's when they first offered them so I managed to get both Pro Upgrade's for $ 270
    Canadian and very glad I took advantage of the offer when I did. I was a little more than skeptical about it at the time as I had an inclination it might be another Vista nightmare but I then considered what would happen to Microsoft if they tried marketing another fiasco before it was ready and it was then I knew they wouldn't attempt that again without losing whatever they had left in the confidence game. Personally, I doubt if I would buy a different version than the Pro as the Ultimate is just too high a price for the
    additional options and the other versions wouldn't really fill my requirements. I really think Microsoft needs to reconsider some of their license conditions as I've just about reached the point of calling them in Redmond and asking them if I can rent my computer from them. It really is fast approaching a time when you'll be paying a monthly fee to use their OS and quite frankly, I look forward to Linux, Mack and Google's Chrome as it will hopefully keep Microsoft in check with reality. However, WIn7 is a great product and that's coming from no friend of Microsoft as I've been one of their best bashers with no regrets. Bad is bad and sad is sad so saying much else about Windows ME - WIndows 98 First Edition and Vista's initial release was both bad and sad. This one from where I sit, is the best of what Microsoft has ever come up with and it's going to be their lifeline for staying in the ring with all those PC manufacturer's looking for a good marketable product to enhance their sales. If I could only get to understand what their support people are saying, I'd be tempted to give Win7 a full 5 stars but it's unlikely this corporation will ever change it's stripes when it comes to providing their idea on support. For those that think that Microsoft can and has never done any wrong, WIn 7 will support your findings very well indeed but keep in mind they aren't perfect and they are greedy. If you doubt that take a look at the price tag and the previous law suits they've lost as it might give you some idea as to why Microsoft needs to enhance their finances. Windows 7 should accomplish this without too much trouble. It really is the best ever and none too soon.

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  • 5.0 stars

    ""I would pay to use this software" -From a Linux user"

    October 27, 2009  |   By adashburn

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    Good driver support.
    Good system stability.
    Nice visual effects: not too overbearing
    Good consumer customization abilities.
    New and improved WordPad.
    Boots up quickly.
    Shuts down quickly.
    Doesn't overload CPU
    Viruses don't like it as much as Vista/XP

    Cons

    The Starter edition (pre-installed on some netbooks) is a trick - forces you to pay $80 to be able to open more than 3 windows at a time.
    Visual effects are a little much for some systems: can be disabled, tho'.
    Expensive price tag: Use BitTorrent!

    Summary

    After the relase of Windows Vista, I became a Lunux convert, lured by the price (or lack therof), usability, and system stability. Windows 7 has restored my faith in M$.

    I tested the Pre-Beta, and even then was impressed with the system stability, and great driver support. The start up time on my Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook (1GB RAM, 120GB HD) was 15 seconds from Hibernation, roughly 45 seconds from power off. Big difference from XP and Vista.

    Installation was not hard at all. It was explained extremely clearly, and there was no freaking out about "what's gonna happen when I press this button?"

    Now, my only qualms are the draconean license and the rediculous price tag.
    I've already solved the price tag problem for you folks.
    Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the greatest technological advancement: BitTorrent

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  • 2.0 stars

    "makes you buy new hardware"

    October 23, 2009  |   By jfheff7

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    runs fast
    because it doesn't support any older hardware

    Cons

    really sucks when it comes to running older hardware
    like digital cameras or any scanners(twain)

    Summary

    won't buy but i like the way it looks

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Completely Awesome!!!"

    October 22, 2009  |   By John_Everden

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    Updated from 32 bit vista to 64 bit Windows 7 Professional All Drivers Where installed
    Xp Mode helps me run ie6 easily as a web designer
    Runs Super Fast compared to vista
    No Hang ups or systems crashes
    Only paid $30 For Windows 7 professional Student

    Cons

    Quick Launch Buttons are no apps on the task bar. Its nice except I catch myself clicking to launch a new browser window and instead it brings up the window I already had

    Summary

    If your a college student use the student upgrade. For $30 dollars you can get windows 7 professional upgrade - that's $170 dollars off. If you have to do a fresh install (running xp or upgrading from 32 bit vista to 64 bit windows 7) the download method is a pain though (digital rivers fault). You have to build the image. The instructions at seven forums work though. Took me about a half hour to figure out and I have a degree in computer science! Here is the link to this http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/30470-make-bootable-iso-student-d-l.html . It runs amazingly faster. I notice the difference in apps, and just using explorer is ungodly faster! I was thinking it may have been $30 dollars wasted at first as it didn't look

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Despite being MS, It's a great OS!"

    October 15, 2009  |   By sabre307

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    It has lots of eye candy and runs well, even on my netbook.

    Cons

    Price, and the interface will have a learning curve for anyone who hasn't moved off of XP yet.

    Summary

    I'm not a fan of MS and use Linux on a regular basis for my personal use; professionally, I have pushed my customers to stay with XP Pro. I have been using the RC for about 3 months now on a netbook with a 1.8Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM, and it has performed marvelously. I have yet to be able to blue screen it, it doesn't seem sluggish when using, and only 1 or 2 applications have had issues running on it. I would blame the application issues on the apps, not the OS, but I don't hold it against them, as they are Vista/XP applications that haven't been upgraded for Win7. From what I have seen, I am recommending that my customers hold off on upgrading PC's until Oct 22 so they can upgrade to Win7 and finally get off of XP.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Works very well for me."

    October 8, 2009  |   By john50ny

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    It has preformed exactly like they daid, except I have to agree the bootup is slow.

    Cons

    The slow boot up.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "242 242 2 222222222"

    October 5, 2009  |   By lasirugamage555

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    this is better than vista

    Cons

    this is very expensive

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Windows 7 RC 64 bits, Great OS great experience"

    October 4, 2009  |   By FrenchyHey

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    32 bits bug root drive, on other hand for Win 7 64 bits on my PC was just perfect, I was able to run BF2142 Deluxe Edition, Call of Duty 4 modern warfare, Brother printer etc.

    Cons

    Bug regarding the root drive for the 32 bits version, it has been fixed after the release but it did continue giving me problems after their release fix , but if experience is equal to Win 7 64 bits this is a clear winner no question about that.

    Summary

    I have made a triple boot, because I wanted to keep all the MS OS that I have paid for on my PC and for the odd exotic games or hardware support i.e. sidewinder that will not work and also to be able to compare with Win 7 on a equal base.

    Anyway XPSP3 on first partition, Vista, upgraded to SP2 on second partition, Win 7 RC 64 bits on third partition, all work great from XP to Win 7, but Win 7 64 bits work great to a point that it is the winner, my computer spec is: Quad Core with all spec at stock no overclock.

    Component Details Subscore Base score
    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU @ 2.40GHz 7.1
    5.9 overall Determined by lowest subscore

    Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB 5.9
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 5.9
    Gaming graphics 2303 MB Total available graphics memory 5.9
    Primary hard disk 139GB Free (175GB Total) 5.9
    Windows 7 Ultimate

    Manufacturer motherboard ASUS
    Model System Product Name P5QL-EM
    Total amount of system memory 4.00 GB RAM
    System type 64-bit operating system
    Number of processor cores 4

    Storage
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Total size of hard disk(s) 466 GB
    Disk partition (C:) 139 GB Free (175 GB Total)
    Disk partition (D:) 101 GB Free (115 GB Total)
    Disk partition (E:) 144 GB Free (175 GB Total)
    Media drive (F:) CD/DVD

    Graphics
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
    Total available graphics memory 2303 MB
    Dedicated graphics memory 512 MB
    Dedicated system memory 0 MB
    Shared system memory 1791 MB
    Display adapter driver version 8.16.11.9062
    Primary monitor resolution 1920x1200
    DirectX version DirectX 10

    Network
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Network Adapter Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (NDIS 6.20).

    __________________________________________________

    Printers: Brother installed as a stand alone on the Workgroup Network, This model is now considered old by today standard (MFC-5440CN), installed the Full suite for Vista 64 bits no warning no problems one reboot and in business and one update for the control center from Brother to fix a bug with Outlook addres book all working as intended from scanning to network PC Ffax, I do not have a modem on my PC itself but using the built in capability of Brother Fax, work great..

    MS Office 2007 all working with one exception VISO is not working but I have my other boot partition for that ;), wrote to Microsoft and waiting for a solution.

    Dual Core and above with virtualisation tech enable in the BIOS is required for 32 bits and 64 bits if you want to do virtualisation of XP in Win 7 but you need the Professional* and above to do that in Win 7.

    For me Win 7 has been a great experience and you don`t need to be a geek also, I do not posses any diploma to built PC or repair them, just a lot of self tough and digging in forum like this.

    PS if you could find a motherboard what will support more then 4 Gig of RAM the more is the merrier if you do a lot of intensive task, but for me the 4 Gig of RAM has been for now more then enough for what I need, video recording with Media Center, games, browsing the internet and playing games some music and MP3 ripping, I like to keep my music fully compatible with all the devices around although ogg vorbis is very good more and more supported by many devices.

    Win7 is also very well integrated with Windows Home Server as well as Vista and XP but that is another subjet.

    Bottom all my experience with not necessary top of the line hardware has just been great, I could improve the video card and get a better power supply but that about it and not necessary in my case for now.

    So for the one that want a great experience get a 64 bits OS and hardware that support it and you will fly, even the 32 bits work great from what I have seen if you exclude that bug for the root drive that bug will not be there when Win 7 hit the shelf as the fix already exist so it won`t be an issue for you.

    Just buy it is my recommendation as this is a very well polish OS and very very stable rock solide that will give you great satisfaction for years to come .

    If you did like XP well this one is for you and I recommed that you buy it without any reserve as long as you did the upgrade advisor first.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Again you did give that OS a bad review that is in itself not fair, the instruction was very clear or should have been clear to you. There was a limit date for the installation of Win 7 and there is an expiration also for your review I am giving you a not helpful as the reader will have a wrong impression if they don`t look further so I must compensate your rating by giving you a not helpful review.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    As you already mentioned, Sony support was not good for Vista so you already know that it was not going to work also in Win 7 and this is not honest for Win 7 OS as your hardware is ``crapy supported by Sony`` you now blame Microsoft and dilute the value of this review.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    I woul not give you a not helpful but compate win me to xp lol, agreed xp at first release was a nightmare before their SP but ME was a try out that did not even last 24 months, well don`t cote me on that but the retailers were not pushing ME also and my sidewinder would not work in ME that I know for a fact.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Wow that reviews is full of crap and your shooting will not make it more legitimate. You truly deserve a not helpul from us.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Hi were you trying the 32 bits version or the 64 bits version as I am curious as this will help everyone to know about this.

    Thank you if you read and answer.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Well you gave us so much information, too bad you don't give you the PC spec on what your RC candidate was running on, maybe your motherboard manufacturer could be a usefull info for us not just.

    And when you mean not new feature over XP Pro??? you mean you already have Ghost and Truecrypt, so if I wanted to buy a PC today should I go XP Pro and spend of Ghost and Truecrypt or get that in Win 7 Pro or Ultimate? if I allready spend for a new OS, new PC what should I do ? I think you know already your answer for that you have not been helpful for us.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    You give a bad review because you don't know how to backup and resintall your Vista or XP after a tryial with an Beta OS after you were satisfy with Win 7???????? you are hot helpull at all and you are inducting the reader wth the wrong impression a one star when Win 7 was not giving any grief???

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Why to go back I hope you took the special offer at 50% for the update?

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    So for you it is now a 5 star review for what I understand? I am happy for you that everything did work out for you.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    That is not going to happen now that Win 7 is a clear winner lol.

    I just love my PC now more then ever.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Wow Apple bash Mcirosoft for year now with UAC, Virus, bloatware, and don't tell the user that a MAC is a closed box without any possiblility for the user to uprade from the aftermarket that have not been approved by Apple control board and that if they want the flexibility they will need an Mac Pro to be equivalent to a PC open architecture at the double of the cost.. See I have not reply to any of your unfonded caracter assasination but I just did the same. So both of our review are useless now. But for you I guess this is beside the point mister Apple worshiper.

    Don't slam the door on your way out as you will not be missed here.

    Updated on Oct 4, 2009

    Very nice and clear of how to install Win 7, I am giving you my hat and I am frankly jealous of your review lol.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "This was not ready for market or even beta release."

    September 28, 2009  |   By tlharrisedfgert

    Version: Windows 7 Release Candidate

    Pros

    Lots of sweet stuff. ALL your thumbs, regardless of whether other programs are set as default handlers, will be shown.

    Cons

    3 days of experimentation, 3 days of smart assed, superior, arrogant responses from Microsoft Techs at it's forum, reallly turned me off. It was a lesson in why Windows continuously makes such serious mistakes.

    Summary

    Expect a long period of bug fix releases.

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