Windows 7 RC Stress Testing Begins

Microsoft hopes to double the number of free tests during the Release Candidate phase because it doesn't want to repeat the same mistakes it made with Windows Vista.

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Ozkaya recommends Microsoft hold a series of worldwide seminars as it did during the launch of Windows Server 2008, which is widely seen as a successful launch. He also recommended Microsoft extend the free testing period for the Release Candidate, which Microsoft is apparently doing. The test version doesn't expire until June 2010.

According to Ozkaya, among the features and improvements the Bright Group looks forward to with Windows 7 are -- in addition to quicker reboot and wake-up times -- mostly user interface features. Windows 7 makes some significant changes to the Windows taskbar, and users tell Ozkaya that the new taskbar is much more usable. The company also likes a new search feature that highlights within found documents instances of the words or phrases being searched, as well as the ability to unlock Windows gadgets from the side of the screen where they were locked in Windows Vista.

Another early adopter is John Obeto, managing partner of small managed IT services company Logikworx, which has 12 employees already running Windows 7 as their full-time systems. Logikworx has to be an early adopter in order to best advise its clients on the next generation of Microsoft's operating system, but it's also seeing customer interest as well.

As a point of fact about how quickly Logikworx moves its clients to new versions of Windows, all of the company's clients are 100% on Windows Vista. "Nearly all of them already subscribe to Microsoft's volume licensing programs, so there's no incremental costs for them," Obeto said. Running Windows Vista already will help move companies to Windows 7, since Windows 7 doesn't have any significant additional hardware requirements beyond Windows Vista.

Obeto has been showing clients the next version of Windows for months, and he's already signed on 10 of them -- small businesses with at most 30 PCs -- to move to Windows 7 the day the new operating system is released. Obeto has few complaints about Windows 7 and said Microsoft has done a much better job in the early goings of Windows 7 than it did with Vista.

"One of the things you often run into initially with upgrades is device coverage," he said. "Vista seemed not to pull the entire Windows ecosystem with it, but right now I'm able to install Windows 7 and not have a problem with it, even with some pretty old hardware, and I'm not running into application compatibility problems that I had with Windows Vista."

He also sees significant improvement in Windows 7 in terms of more relevant search results, fewer User Account Control security prompts, VPN-less corporate computer access with Direct Access, and the introduction of Windows XP Mode to run older applications.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

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