The Microsoft Windows 7 Beta was a solid release, but testers have been barraging Microsoft with feedback on how to make it even better. Microsoft is now talking about what testers can expect in the Windows 7 Release Candidate, which some sources expect to arrive as early as April.
The Windows 7 Release Candidate will have "quite a few changes" that reflect feedback Microsoft received during the beta, Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, wrote in a Thursday post to the Engineering Windows 7 blog.
The Windows 7 RC changes are mainly minor adjustments that reflect Microsoft's desire to give users more control than they've had in previous versions of Windows, according to Chaitanya Sareen, a senior program manager with the Windows 7 team who outlined these changes in the blog post.
In addition to altering User Account Control in Windows 7 to address security issues raised by Windows 7 beta testers, the Windows 7 RC will improve audio reliability, add support for FAT32 hard drives and bring native support for .MOV files -- the video format that many digital cameras use -- to Windows Media Player.
The Windows 7 Beta doesn't let newly installed programs automatically attach themselves to the taskbar, leaving that decision to the user. In the Windows 7 RC, new programs will automatically appear at the bottom of the Start Menu, where users can launch them or add them to the taskbar, Sareen wrote.
Microsoft designed the Windows 7 Beta to give users more taskbar space, but testers have asked for even more room. With that in mind, Microsoft has tweaked the Windows 7 RC to open up between 24 percent and 39 percent more icons before the taskbar scrolls, Sareen said.
Microsoft also has changed the flashing open window effect in the Windows 7 RC to make it more noticeable, in response to users who felt it was too easily lost in the background. This window will be colored orange and will flash seven times, Sareen wrote.
The Windows 7 RC also will make it easier for users to find and connect to networks through the taskbar. Microsoft has added a new overlay icon that shows when there is a local connection without Internet access, Sareen wrote.