• Windows 7 Release Candidate – why should I care?

    Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I lapes into a verbal shorthand, and confuse the bewilickers out of people. Sorry about that. I’m writing a book about Windows 7 – Windows 7 All-In-One For Dummies – so Windows 7 news really strikes home. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is writing a book about Windows 7…

    My post about the Windows 7 Release Candidate drew this question, posted here, from MW:

    So this means what for a layman?

    MSoft is going to release a full-featured OS for free? Or is a RC some sort of trial?

    I guess my main question is : What differentiates a RC from a fully licensed OS?

    Very good questions, and if I had been thinking  I would’ve answered them in the original post.

    A Release Candidate, in Microsoft’s current parlance,  is sort of a final test version of the product. It has many known bugs, but it’s generally very stable. You shouldn’t install it on your main PC, but if you have an extra PC lying around, installing a Release Candidate gives you a very complete look at the next version of the product.

    In this case, I’m very excited because, frankly, I love Windows 7.

    The RC is free, but it expires. (I’m not sure when this RC expires, but it’s probably late this year.) When the RC expires, you have to replace it with a different program. For most people with the Win7 RC, that means you’ll have to go out and buy a copy of Windows 7, if you like it, or find some other version of Windows (or Linux) when the time limit’s up.

    You should plan from the get-go on completely wiping out the hard drive and installing the new operating system from scratch. That’s true of every beta test copy or Release Candidate of every piece of software – you can’t rely on uninstalling or upgrading. (In Win7’s case that isn’t even an option.) The RC version of Win7 will die, and you need to be constantly aware of the fact that you’ll have to wipe your hard drive when it does.

    Hope that answered your question. Apologies for my abbreviated version.