What's New In The Windows 7 Release Candidate

Windows 7’s Release Candidate is free and available for download, but what’s all that different from the beta version? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Regular readers will know we’ve been covering Windows 7 for quite a while, but a few changes have still popped up. Here’s the key stuff to watch for.

Virtual XP, a.k.a. XP Mode

The much-hyped, somewhat lamented, previously unseen Virtual XP installation, available as a free download for Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise, is available in the Windows 7 Release Candidate.

Media Streaming

It didn’t get much mention in the lead-up to the Release Candidate, but Windows Media Player has a pretty clever, if somewhat limited at the moment, function to let you stream your music, movies, and other media over the internet—provided you can verify yourself and friends with a Windows Live ID.


Windows 7’s Release Candidate has a serious wealth of resources for those who like an eye-catching desktop. There are no less than 70 new wallpapers to choose from, sound, colour, and window themes that accompany each general theme category, and a theme choosing tool that lets you mix and match those categories to your heart’s content.

The Other Stuff

For the rest of the changes, we’re going to let Microsoft speak for itself on all the little changes to Windows 7 Release Candidate. This helpful video shows off a lot of the new interface, menu, design, and operation tweaks that have gone into the RC since the beta was first launched:

Now that you’ve had a chance to look around and test things out, what do you think of Windows 7 Release Candidate’s looks, feel, and, well, chances at changing Vista-soured minds? Tell us your impressions in the comments.

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