What's New in Windows 7 Release Candidate

What's New in Windows 7 RC - Part 1

Almost Ready - Windows 7 Release Candidate

Coming five months after the public release of Windows 7 Beta, Microsoft is making Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) available for download today and you can grab it at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.

Unlike Windows Vista which had two release candidates, this will be the one and only RC for Windows 7 before the final RTM (release to manufacturing) version ships, most likely at the end of the year. Acer in fact has mentioned a date - Oct 27.

Microsoft has since made some tweaks to the operating system in the five month time gap, and in this update article, we take a quick look at some of these new features in the latest release of Windows 7.

1. Faster Access to Power Plans

Useful for notebooks on the go, clicking on the battery icon on the taskbar immediately shows you two different power plans in the pop-out menu: Balanced and Power Saver. Switch to either depending on whether you're plugged in to the mains or low on juice, with one easy click.

2. No Auto-Run for Non-optical Drives

Surprised? According to Microsoft, worms sometimes use Auto-Run to install malicious software on PCs, so Microsoft has disabled the auto-run functionality for USB drives. So don't be taken aback when no windows pop upon plugging in a USB drive.


3. Elegant Taskbar Thumbnail Overflow

Too many windows open on a program? Not too likely now with tabbed browsing, but let's say you have too many Windows Explorer windows opened and minimized. Instead of thumbnails, you'll see a list view when you hover over the Explorer icon on the taskbar. You can then peek at a highlighted window or close a window directly from the list.

The standard thumbnail display of minimized windows when you mouse over the taskbar icon.

When there are too many windows of the same program open however, the thumbnail previews convert to a list view.

4. More Icons on the Taskbar

More icons are allowed now on the taskbar before it overflows. Once it does, a Up/Down icon will appear on the right end of the taskbar, pressing it will let you switch between one set of taskbar icons and the next.

We managed 19 taskbar icons on this 1280 x 800 display before the taskbar overflowed (the up and down arrow button on the far right appears to help you scroll from this set of icons to the next).

5. Pin Programs with a Drop

The new taskbar treats a drop of a file as a pin command. Drop a program and the program is pinned, drop a file and the file will be pinned under its program's Jump List (and that program automatically gets pinned to the taskbar).

6. Pinning New Progams

Windows 7 doesn't allow programs to pin themselves to the taskbar when installed (goodbye taskbar bloat!). If you want to do it however, newly installed programs now temporarily surface at the bottom of the Start menu, which you can now drag to the taskbar.

7. Quick Launch Shortcuts

Pressing the Windows Logo key plus a number (of the program's order on the taskbar) opens a program. If the program is already open, doing that switches to the window.

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