Windows 7 Release Candidate First Impressions and Observations

windows 7 release candidate build 7100

I did an in-place Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) upgrade on April 26, 2009.  For changes made from the beta version of Windows 7 to Release Candidate 1 see:

Below are my first impressions and initial observations:

The Good

  • The System Seems Snappier: Moving from Vista to Windows 7 Beta provided a substantial performance boost to my system. After 1 hour or so, the system seems somewhat snappier still.
  • Faster Access to Remote Drives: Navigating to and around my Drobo Drive (shared from another XP system on my network) seems dramatically faster than it was under either XP, Vista or Windows 7 Beta). This was a major annoyance under the Windows 7 Beta which was worse than under XP or Vista.
  • System Search Indexing Problem Fixed:  During my first couple months of using Windows 7, the Start menu search function (eg: searching for, say, ‘device manager’) had indexing problems where it took 30 seconds to a minute to search for and find system files/apps. It stemmed from customizations I made to the indexing options. I was never able to recover from whatever I did. After this upgrade the system search is wicked fast again!

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How to Upgrade to Windows 7 Release Candidate

windows 7 logoI completed an in-place Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) upgrade from the original beta build 7000. The upgrade took approximately 1.5 hours and went smoothly. The upgrade went faster than my original upgrade from Vista to Win7 Beta. See my ‘Windows 7 Release Candidate First Impressions and Observations’ post for post-upgrade details).

[May 5, 2009 Update: Download the Windows 7 release Candidate here. It will be available here until July. They are not limiting the number of downloads this time. The release candidate will function until March 1, 2010 after which it will nag you several times a day to purchase the RTM version. It will cease functioning on June 1, 2010. Until then, party!]

windows 7 release candidate installation screenThe instructions for how to do an in-place upgrade are set out below. I edited them  to make them easier to follow from the instructions provided by Paul Thurrott on his SuperSite for Windows blog  here. See similar instructions here (scroll down to the ‘How-To’ section).

Despite Thurrott’s ivory-tower purity of not recommending users do in-place upgrades, I went ahead anyway. At worst, I could have rolled back to my prior Windows 7 beta image. Doing a fresh install is obviously the best practice. But anyone that takes even a cursory look at my ‘The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them’ post can understand why I was loathe to do yet another clean install for just a release candidate. That said, I probably will do a clean install when the RTM version comes out this summer.

In the mean time, here are the instructions for how to do an in-place upgrade:

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