Microsoft has pledged to open its eyes and ears to feedback from partners as it launches the release candidate of Windows 7.
Windows commercial group lead, Sarah Vaughan, said the release candidate had taken into account feedback from Australian users of the beta version.
“There has been a major change around the release approach with Windows 7,” she said. “That is predominantly around the channel to ensure there is application compatibility and also around the opportunity for service and channel partners to leverage the new capabilities inside it.
“Unique to Australian feedback was around the user access controls. There was a huge change there. The feedback from Vista was that it was too chatty with the user prompts.”
In Windows 7, the prompts have been reduced by around 29 per cent. Vaughan also pointed to design tweaks, the introduction of XP Mode for small business to allow them to access legacy applications, and media streaming as key changes.
Gartner analysts have criticised the XP mode as potentially burdening companies with having to support two versions of Windows – a difficult task if you have 10,000 desktops. Gartner also claimed it would additionally distract companies from the task of ensuring their software is compatible with Windows 7.
However, Vaughan hit back, describing the criticism as misplaced.
“The XP mode is predominantly for small business so the comment around [companies having to manage] 10,000 desktops, it is a fair comment, but it is not pitched for that segment,” she said.
Microsoft practice manager at Dimension Data, Brian Walshe, was gushing in his praise of the release candidate, claiming demand for the operating system within the integrator itself was high and that it would help extend the lifespan of older hardware.
“The biggest problem I have at the moment is stopping people from deploying it,” he said. “We are one of the early adopter partners, so we have been waiting for the release candidate so we can get it out for testing to our group. We have around 100 people we are deploying to.
“The key areas that we wanted them to address – they have pretty much nailed them.”
The release candidate is available for download from April 30 for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and publicly on May 5.