HelpWithWindows Newsletter Volume 12, Number 3
February 14, 2009

Tweaking Toolbox Vista

In this issue:

Microsoft: There will only be one Beta for Windows 7

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Windows 7 At the end of January, in a posting to the Windows 7 Engineering Blog, Steven Sinofsky senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group wrote:

"The next milestone for the development of Windows 7 is the Release Candidate or "RC". Historically the Release Candidate has signaled "we're pretty close and we want people to start testing the release, especially because all the features are done." As we have said before, with Windows 7 we chose a slightly different approach which we were clear up front about and are all now experiencing together and out in the open."

Some beta testers and Microsoft partners expressed their disappointment with the path Windows 7 development has taken. Microsoft asked for feedback/suggestions less than three to four months ago, and it is pretty clear that there has been no time for these suggestions to have been incorporated in the operating system.

I have been running Windows 7 since last year, and must say that its performance seems fine, but there are still issues that should be looked at, and it is questionable if some will be addressed. An issue which I (and others) have raised is the Homegroup feature of Windows 7. This is a useful feature for home users, but without having an update available for (at minimum) Windows Vista and (preferably) Windows XP, Homegroup will be pointless for many home users who will have legacy systems running pre- Windows 7 operating systems. The indications I have so far do not suggest that Microsoft will make an update available for older operating systems, thereby once again showing they have some trouble "getting it". Users pass older machines "down" to other family members, and leave whatever operating system is installed on the machine. No one wants to spend another $100 or so upgrading an operating system that is still working fine.

Sinofsky's RC announcement has fanned the speculation on the milestone dates (RC and RTM), Sinofsky had this to say:

"The obvious question is that we know the Pre-Beta was October 28, 2008, and the Beta was January 7th, so when is the Release Candidate and RTM? The answer is forthcoming. We are currently evaluating the feedback and telemetry and working to develop a robust schedule that gets us the right level of quality in a predictable manner. Believe me, we know many people want to know more specifics. We're on a good path and we're making progress. We are taking a quality-based approach to completing the product and won't be driven by imposed deadlines. We have internal metrics and milestones and our partners continue to get builds routinely so even when we reach RC, we are doing so together as partners. And it relies, rather significantly, on all of you testing the Beta and our partners who are helping us get to the finish line together."

Most observers are suggesting an April release for the RC candidate, and an RTM just after summer.

Your Comments.

Microsoft Announces Windows 7 Editions

Windows 7 Early last week Microsoft announced the SKU lineup of Windows 7, and while the company says it will focus mainly on two editions: Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional; Microsoft offers a total of six different Windows 7 versions (more, if you count the stripped-down K, N and KN versions the company is required to sell overseas because of antitrust rulings). This is the full Windows 7 SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) line-up:


Windows 7 Beta 1 Review

I had hoped to complete my review of Windows 7 Beta 1 in time for the last newsletter, that didn't work out, but I have the review ready now at the HelpWithWindows Web site.

Latest Microsoft & Windows News from around the Internet

POP3 Availability for U.S. based free Hotmail Accounts

Microsoft this week announced that POP3 technology is now available to Hotmail users in the United States and Brazil in addition to the countries who rolled out the functionality last month (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands).

Read Full Article

Troubleshooting Windows Explorer Errors

One of our most visited and positively commented article. Having problems with Windows Explorer crashing when you rigt-click an object, or try to browse through the folders on your computer? In a lot of cases, these errors are caused by 3rd party shell extensions that are not functioning properly. Find out how to fix it:

Read Full Article

4 safety tips for using Wi-Fi

Many of us use Wi-Fi at airports and coffee shops, but how many of us practice safe computing practices when using public networks?

Read Full Article

Our Web Sites

Rose City Software

  • Windows 7 Starter Edition (for netbook users)
  • Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging market customers only)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (the main consumer version)
  • Windows 7 Professional (the business SKU for home and small business users)
  • Windows 7 Enterprise (for medium to large businesses and enterprise customers that use Software Assurance)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (for consumers who want all the business features)

Key Feature List:

Starter Home Basic Home Premium Professional Enterprise and Ultimate
Broad app and device compatibility with up to 3 concurrent applications

Ability to join a Home Group

Improved taskbar and JumpLists
Starter features plus:

Unlimited applications

Live Thumbnail Previews & enhanced visual experience

Advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and internet connection sharing)

Mobility Center
Home Basic features plus:

Aero Glass & advanced windows navigation

Easy networking & sharing across all your PCs & devices

Improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To

Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognitio
Home Premium features plus:

Ability to join a managed network with Domain Join

Protect data with advanced network backup and Encrypting File System

Print to the right printer at home or work with Location Aware Printing

Professional and Consumer features plus:

BitLocker data protection on internal and external drives

DirectAccess provides seamless connectivity to your corporate network. (requires Windows Server 2008 R2)

Decrease time branch office workers wait to open file across the network with BranchCache. (requires Windows Server 2008 R2)

Note: Windows 7 Enterprise is available only through Microsoft Volume Licensing

According to Mike Ybarra, general manager for Windows there are some changes to the Windows 7 packaging & marketing in comparison to Windows Vista: "The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition. As an example, some business customers using Windows Vista Business wanted the Media Center functionality that is in Windows Vista Home Premium but didn't receive it in Business edition. Customers won't have to face that trade-off with Windows 7. With Windows 7 there is a more natural progression from one edition to the next."

"The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops. This way, customers can enable the scenarios they want across the broad hardware choices they have. "

"The third change lies in how we broadly communicate in the marketplace, to make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners."

This last point will (according to Microsoft) mean that the company will focus most of their marketing attention to only two primary editions: Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft thinks that these two editions will serve the majority of their customers' needs. Windows 7 Home Premium as the recommended choice for consumers and Windows 7 Professional the recommended choice for small businesses users.

Microsoft has not yet announced pricing for Windows 7.

Your Comments.

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Poll: No new poll this time.

Last newsletter I asked What is your Favorite Laptop Brand? The poll is open till the end of this month, so far the score is: 1. Dell (29.85%) 2. Toshiba (16.42%) 3. HP (13.43%)


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