Microsoft just let loose a Release Candidate for Windows 7, the operating system that will bring peace, love, and joy to PC users everywhere and finally stop folks from switching to Macs instead of using Vista. Maybe.
So today I find myself in possession of eight DVD copies of Windows 7 RC (32-bit – boo!) for some reason. Maybe they sent them to all TechNet subscribers. Maybe all Microsoft MVPs got them. Regardless of the reason, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with them all. I already downloaded the DVD from TechNet after all!
Although perhaps not everything it’s been built up to be, Windows 7 is a seriously worthy upgrade from Vista. I’ve already switched my laptop to Windows 7 RC and am happy to report that it boots much faster, runs solidly, and thrashes less than it used to. It’s especially nice in virtual machines – Windows 7 in VMware Fusion and VirtualBox on my Mac is like night and day compared to Vista. It even runs great with only 512 MB of RAM, something Vista just can not do except in Basic guise.
I’m not using the OS too heavily (all my day-to-day work is done in Mac OS X) but I do want to point out some seriously nice features in Windows 7. These are also present in Windows Server 2008 R2, an operating system I’m much more interested in since I actually use it in production!
- DirectAccess and BranchCache are very cool additions. DA punches through firewalls like a VPN, but there’s no VPN client involved! It’s all based on standard Internet protocols like IPv6 and IPsec, kinda like Back To My Mac. BranchCache is also very nifty, creating a peer-to-peer or server-based distributed cache of a remote SMB file server. I’ve been playing with this and will report more on it eventually!
- BitLocker To Go applies Microsoft’s solid disk encryption technology to USB drives. It works. And Windows 7 now tries to help keep you from losing your keys, something I seriously need help with!
- PowerShell is spreading throughout the Windows and non-Windows world, and I’m loving it!
- VHD files are now first-class storage devices, and can be managed (and even booted from) just like any other drive. Sweet!
- Windows 7 also includes the new iSCSI initiator with QuickConnect. I’ll be covering this more soon!
So Windows 7 ought to keep some of the PC masses away from the Apple store. But I really didn’t need 8 copies of the DVD… What do you all suggest I do with them?