Microsoft’s Windows 7 RC Build 7048 reviewed

Redmond (WA) – ZD Net’s Ed Bott has done a bang-up job of assembling a Windows 7 RC review. The before-and-after images show how features have changed between build 7000 and build 7048. Some basic features have been reworked, and there’s some new tweaks and eye/ear candy for those who like flashy operating systems. The image gallery shows compelling proof that Microsoft’s OS is making progress.

Bott took both 32-bit and 64-bit builds on two separate notebooks and PCs to determine how well they worked. Bott reports no significant problems during installation on any machine or version, and the entire process went smoothly finding nearly all necessary drivers from either the install or a subsequent Windows Update (a Dell XPS M1330 wireless adapter and sound driver had to be tracked down manually).

Bott has prepared a list of 21 separate changes which are identified in his 6-page article which are also demonstrated visibly in his image gallery (link above). Some of the biggies are:

o A new way to switch Control Panel views, and easier settings for ClearType
o Support for pen/touch devices
o Aero Peek provides Eye/Ear candy with new themes
o New Office-like ribbons for WordPad and Paint
o Easier and more comprehensive backup/advanced recovery options

It is obvious Microsoft has made significant strides between the early beta and the current release candidate. With a planned release date possibly as early as July, though certainly before the end of this year, Microsoft will be in the final nailing-down phase of remaining bugs and issues — though as with past Microsoft OSes, it is likely early adopters will have to wait until the full service pack 1 release to get the true Windows 7 that should’ve initially shipped.