Microsoft: To reach Windows 7 release candidate, run Vista

It wants 'real-world' data from testers; knows reverting to Vista will be 'a real pain'

Microsoft Corp. Tuesday asked people running the Windows 7 beta to return their machines to Vista before upgrading again to the impending release candidate of Windows 7.

The company will, in fact, block upgrades from the beta to the release candidate, and plans to require users who balk at the request to edit an installation file to successfully update Windows 7.

In a long entry on the company's Engineering Windows 7 blog Microsoft asked users to revert to Vista before trying the release candidate since "upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience."

Instead, Microsoft urged users who have downloaded and installed the beta of Windows 7 -- the only officially-issued version offered to the general public -- to restore their PCs to Vista.

"We want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing beta," Microsoft said in the blog. " As an extended member of the development team and a participant in the beta program that has helped us so much, we want to ask that you experience real-world setup and provide us real-world telemetry."

The problem with upgrading from one pre-release build to another, Microsoft said, is that the bugs or other problems users report in those scenarios are essentially worthless. "We don't always track them down and fix them because they take time away from bugs that would only manifest themselves during this one-time pre-release operation," the company admitted. Microsoft also acknowledged that it is demanding much from users by asking them to restore Vista before upgrading to the Windows 7 release candidate. "We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing [sic], reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain."

The Windows 7 Release Candidate is the next major milestone for the OS, and is expected to hit the street sometime next month.

For people who refuse to revert to Vista, Microsoft offered a short list of instructions to circumvent the built-in check that bumps the user out of the release candidate installation if it encounters the beta. The process involves booting from that an external drive -- such as a bootable flash drive -- or another partition, and then modifying the "cversion.ini" file with a text editor.

Elsewhere in the blog entry, Microsoft reiterated that it will not offer an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 from the aging Windows XP. "We realized at the start of this project that the 'upgrade' from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results," the company said. "There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured; ...having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install."

Windows XP users will be able to purchase an upgrade edition of Windows 7 -- those are always less expensive than the full version -- but will have to wipe the hard drive, deleting all applications and data in the process, before installing the new operating system. However, Microsoft will provide a utility for moving files and settings that XP users can run prior to installing Windows 7.

Microsoft has not committed to a ship date for Windows 7's release candidate, but a leak last month on the company's Web site pegged May for its public posting. Other sources, however, have speculated that Microsoft will issue the release candidate as early as this coming Friday.

Today's request, the most explicit yet about release candidate installation issues, may hint that Microsoft will deliver the public build sooner rather than later.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7windows xpWindows Vista

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?