Microsoft Windows 7 RC1

Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is a polished piece of work, ready for prime time

Microsoft Windows 7 RC1
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RC1
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RC1
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RC1
  • Expert Rating

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  • Early beta tests suggest that the OS will be quicker than Vista


  • Too soon to make a proper assessment of the operating system

Bottom Line

It's way too early to make a proper assessment of Windows 7, but Microsoft has made its intentions clear: Windows 7 is intended to right the wrongs Vista wrought, but retain that operating system's good points. And at this point, we can't argue with that. Our early beta tests suggest that the OS will be quicker than Vista, which can only be a good thing. We'll be updating this review as we get more information on and time with Windows 7, so be sure to bookmark this page.

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Windows 7 RC1: Windows Explorer and search tweaks

In Windows 7 RC1, both Windows Explorer and file search have been tweaked in subtle, but generally useful ways.

One small but useful change is the way in which Windows Explorer displays folders in the Address Bar. Previously, if you browsed to a folder deep within your hard disk and the entire path could not be displayed, the parent folder of your current folder might be truncated. In Windows 7 RC1, the parent folder and the current folder are always displayed.

Searching has been slightly improved as well. In the beta, when you searched for a file, it also displayed snippets of information from the file that were quite useful in determining whether the file was the one you were searching for. In Windows 7 RC1, you now get more of a good thing — the snippets are longer, and they're included more frequently.

In addition, in the beta, you would see file properties within search results, but those properties were not labeled. In Windows 7 RC1, they are labeled, making them easier to understand. In addition, there have been some layout and colour changes. The result is that, overall, search results are easier to scan.

Windows 7 RC1: A few desktop tweaks

Among the more entertaining additions to Windows 7 in RC1 are a slew of very un-Microsoft-like desktop backgrounds that make one wonder whether people in the Microsoft art department have been ingesting chemical compounds that are not strictly legal.

Many of the new backgrounds are a mixture of Sergeant Pepper-style psychedelic art and Japanese anime, with a chaser of Hieronymus Bosch thrown in. They're thoroughly entertaining and the most unlikely art you'll ever see coming out of Microsoft.

In Windows 7 RC1, you can also control whether to hide or display desktop icons and gadgets. Right-click the desktop, select View, and you get a menu that gives you control over whether you want to display the icons and gadgets or hide them.

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