Previous versions of Windows have included separate folders for documents, music, videos, and photos (such as Windows XP's My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos, and My Music folders). These folders made it convenient to organize and open different types of files - as long as they were stored in the appropriate folder. However, with the increasing popularity of using network shares and external hard disks for media storage, Windows users have faced challenges in file management.
Although shortcuts to additional media locations, symbolic links to other locations (introduced in Windows Vista), and changing the default location used by a user's media files have all been used to cope with the problem, the results for Windows users have been:
A lot of clicking to find media files
No easy way to see all of the media files of a particular type in different locations at the same time
Enter the new Windows 7 libraries feature. To learn how libraries make media management easier and more powerful, join us after the jump.
If you're like us, you've been patiently awaiting official word on when Microsoft will make available Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing). We're not the only ones pressuring Microsoft for an answer, and thanks to a blog post by Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, we now have some concrete dates to play with.
According to LeBlanc, ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN starting on August 6th. Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members can snag the RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal a little later beginning August 16th (all remaining languages will be available on October 1st). If you're a Microsoft Action Pack Subscriber, you can grab your copy in English starting August 23rd, and again October 1st for all remaining languages. OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning about 2 days after Microsoft makes the RTM official.
Other availability dates include:
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license: August 7th
IT Professionals with a TechNet Subscription: August 6th
Developers with a MSDN Subscription: August 6th
LeBlanc also went on to confirm the availability of a "Family Pack" for Windows 7, which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs, but did not say how much the package will cost.
Now that Windows 7 has officially been released to manufacturing (RTM), expect to see third-party driver development kick into high gear, especially as the OS's October 22nd release date inches closer. AMD appears to be ready and has announced the release of the company's first WHQL-certified ATI Catalyst graphics drivers for the RTM.
AMD's Catalyst drivers are of the unified variety, meaning the same set works with both Windows 7 and Vista. With regards to Windows 7, AMD promises its drivers will offer stability and compatibility out of the gate, bring "full support for the visually stunning desktop environment of Windows 7," better gaming performance when compared to Vista, and full support for ATI FirePro professional graphics.
It's official - Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing (RTM), meaning the code is finished and ready to be pressed on CDs. After significant testing, build 7600 met all the validation checks required for RTM, which also includes having all languages of that build completed, says Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communication Manager at Microsoft.
"Today's release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success," LeBlanc wrote in a blog post. "We delivered Windows 7 with a predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers."
LeBlanc went on to give credit to the "million of people who tested Windows 7," noting that over 10 million people chose to opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
According to LeBlanc's previous blog post, OEMs can expect to receive Windows 7 RTM software images in just a couple of days now that build 7600 has gone RTM. LeBlanc also listed a bunch of other dates detailing when specific segments can get their hands on a copy, which can be viewed here.
Thanks to a recent posting on the Windows 7 Team Blog, we finally have a confirmation on a family pack, and plenty of detailed information on just how everyone will get their copy of the new OS.
Those of us that are run of the mill consumers will be able to get our hands on Windows 7 starting October 22nd, for both retail and pre-order. And, if you beta tested it, let it be known that you “will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7. Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM happens for free as part of your subscription.”
And, giving in to the swirling rumors, solid information on the family pack is finally available. “I’m happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc on the blog.
If you’re looking for any additional information, be sure to check it out here.
Windows 7's display configuration settings have gone through some of the biggest transformations from previous editions, including Windows Vista. And, the changes are more than skin-deep. With improved support for portrait displays, better ways to detect and manage multiple monitors, easy projector connections, and better theme controls, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever before to make the visual components of Windows work the way you want them to. Join us after the jump for all the details.
T-Mobile G1 owners already have an idea what to expect from Google's Android operating system, but now anyone can give the OS a whirl, and they can do it on their PC. No convoluted hacks required - just download the Live CD image, burn it to disc, and reboot your PC.
The hacked OS comes courtesy of the Beijing-based LiveAndroid team, who released its first LiveAndroid alpha build in May. Now in version 0.2, the new release is based on Android Cupcake (version 1.5) and adds some useful functionality, like a mouse-controlled curser, keyboard support, and Ethernet. Still missing are WiFi, Bluetooth, and audio.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Despite what you might have read, Windows 7 has not yet hit RTM (Release to Manufacturing), although it is getting very close, Microsoft says.
"As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready," Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
LeBlanc's statement would seem to contradict the Windows 7 7600 build that has been running rampant on torrent sites, but LeBlanc insists that "just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM." Before Windows 7 reaches that stage, all languages must be completely finished and Microsoft needs to get to a point of "global readiness," LeBlanc added.
Once Windows 7 is complete, there are a few ways you can get your hands on a copy, depending on which category you fall into. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after Microsoft announces RTM, Volume License (VL) customers can get a copy starting September 1st, and everyone else will have to either wait until October 22nd, or trust that the inevitable torrent downloads are legit.
In just a little over three months from now, Microsoft will release Windows 7 to an eager user base ready to put Vista in their rear view mirror. Or at least that's the general feeling among home consumers. In the business world, the reception for Windows 7 might be far cautiousmet with even more fanfare.
According to a survey conducted by ScriptLogic Corp., six in 10 companies aren't planning to purchase Windows 7, many of them citing a "lack of time and resources" as the reason. But it wasn't all about the money. The companies surveyed also voiced concern over compatibility of Windows 7 with existing applications a whopping 40 percent of companies plan to make the jump from XP or Vista to Windows 7 by the end of the year. If you're Microsoft, you have to be happy with those numbers, considering the economy has everyone scrambling to save money wherever they can, and software would be one place to do that.
As for the other 60 percent? They're taking the traditional route and will make sure the new OS doesn't break compatibility with an existing applications.
"The IT department must complete thorough testing to ensure that the applications we rely on each day, specifically radiology information systems and financial applications, will be compatible, before deploying any new platforms or software to our 1,500 desktops," noted Sean Angus, a senior PC technician at Middlesex Hospital.