Microsoft Releases Windows 7 RC1

Today, Microsoft released Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) 1 (Build 7100) to the public.

Download it here.

This Release Candidate debuts Windows XP emulation mode, which something I’ve been looking forward to. Users can now install legacy Windows XP applications inside a Windows XP virtual machine. I, for one, don’t foresee myself upgrading from Windows XP unless my current business applications work correctly with Windows 7. Likewise, plenty of businesses I’ve talked to plan on using Windows XP until it’s no longer supported (sometime in 2014).

New features in this build include faster installation, more themes, new drivers and an updated build of Internet Explorer 8.

Microsoft claims the release date should be sometime in January 2010. However, many PC manufacturers will be installing it on new PC’s before the holiday rush.

Update (06/03/09):

The official release date is supposedly October 22, 2009.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released

Microsoft released the last major update to its Windows XP operating system on Tuesday.

Since several people have already asked me, you can download it by clicking here (32-bit version). It weighs in at about 316 MB, so it may take awhile to download depending on your Internet connection.

Some users have complained about various issues installing SP3, ranging from random crashes to endless reboots. However, none of the seven systems (all Windows XP Pro) I updated had any issues. Well, one did. I decided to install SP3 on a co-worker’s laptop over an UNC share and the installer didn’t like that too much. Once I copied it to the desktop, the installation went smoothly. At home, I installed SP3 on a couple of systems over a network connection without any issues.

A Microsoft PDF summarizes all of the changes in SP3: click here to view it. I believe this service pack includes 1224 bug fixes (cumulative since first release).

I’ve been running SP3 for a few days now and it seems stable. Of course, if it doesn’t work out, you can always uninstall it :-)