Windows 7, Not Ready for Prime Time
If you’ve been following the news about Windows 7 you’ve probably noticed a lot of positive reviews. We’ve all been hoping for a great version of Windows. Vista was a big disappointment and those of us who have so many years invested in Windows really want Windows 7 to succeed.
Unfortunately, Microsoft may have been letting all the positive reviews go to their head. There’s now hints of a release candidate later this spring and an actual release this summer. Microsoft isn’t alone. Some folks have started a petition to have Microsoft release Windows 7 immediately. Wake up folks, there’s a reason for beta testing. All the good press is because the current version of Windows 7 is great for a beta version but it still needs to complete a normal beta cycle. If Microsoft called it a release all the reviews wouldn’t be as nice.
- Pre-Beta – This release at the PDC introduced the developer community to Windows 7 and represents the platform complete release and disclosure of the features.
- Beta – This release provided a couple of million folks the opportunity to use feature complete Windows 7 while also providing the telemetry and feedback necessary for us to validate the quality, reliability, compatibility, and experience of Windows 7. As we said, we are working with our partners across the ecosystem to make sure that testing and validation and development of Windows 7-based products begins to enter final phases as we move through the Beta.
- Release Candidate (RC) – This release will be Windows 7 as we intend to ship it. We will continue to listen to feedback and telemetry with the focus on addressing only the most critical issues that arise. We will be very clear in communicating any changes that have a visible impact on the product. This release allows the whole ecosystem to reach a known state together and make sure that we are all ready together for the Release to Manufacturing. Once we get to RC, the whole ecosystem is in “dress rehearsal” mode for the next steps.
- Release to Manufacturing (RTM) – This release is the final Windows 7 as we intend to make available to PC makers and for retail and volume license products.
- General Availability (GA) – This is a business milestone and represents when you can buy Windows 7 pre-installed on PCs or as full packaged product
A reasonable beta is required to flush out the bugs especially when you have such a HUGE user base. This week a potential security flaw was found in the new User Account Control feature. Long Zheng has pointed out how a simple script can be used to change the UAC settings.
Sacrificing security for usability: UAC security flaw in Windows 7 beta.
One result of this news was the addition of a new feature for WinPatrol v16. WinPatrol currently lets you know if someone has changed the auto-update settings. The new version will also warn you if someone has changed the settings for User Account Control. UAC settings are global so if one of your kids removes this feature everyone will lose this feature. WinPatrol v16 will alert you if malware makes the change or someone else using your machine. WinPatrol v16 b3 will be available on Monday at http://www.winpatrol.com/beta16.html