Microsoft made available for download Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate (RC) Build 6.1.7601.17105.100929-1730 and I thought I’d put together a small list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers for testers.

1. What are the languages supported with Windows 7 SP1 RC?

Just as for the Beta, Windows 7 SP1 RC is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

2. When did Microsoft complete SP1 RC?

The Build number indicates that the company signed off on the bits on September 29th, 2010.

3. Who can test Build 6.1.7601.17105.100929-1730?

Windows 7 SP1 RC is a public testing release, just as the Beta development milestone was. Still, this Build is designed for users with some experience in testing pre-release software, and not for end users to run day to day. More »

An integral part of the Software Assessment Management efforts from Microsoft, the Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer 5.1 is available for download accompanied by a range of resources designed to streamline usage. MSIA is a tool designed to permit customers to scan either a local machine or computers connected to a network in order to identify and produce a report containing a list of core Microsoft software products installed. In addition to MSIA, the company is also offering for download documentation containing a User Guide and a FAQ. According to the Redmond giant, MSIA is capable of putting together software inventories only for networks with a maximum of 250 computers.

“MSIA reports the results of the scan in three possible formats, based on the user’s selection: HTML, Excel, and Text. These reports contain details such as the names of all the installed Microsoft products, links to the list of computers scanned, links to the error log, and so on. In addition, the summary report enables users to enter corresponding license purchase information for all software detected in the scan,” Microsoft revealed. More »

1. Windows 7 Beta – why?

Beta is a label synonymous with a critical milestone in the development of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, as it marks the company moving away from dogfooding and testing internally early Alpha Builds towards the point where the product meets the necessary quality standard to be made available as a preview release to the general public. Microsoft is essentially inviting the public to lend a helping hand in building the next iteration of the Windows platform, by testing the operating system and providing feedback, which permits the company to soften all the rough edges of the software before RTM.

“We need a bit of information so we can gather your feedback and in case we need to send information about the Beta. We will also collect automated reporting feedback from PCs running the Beta to help collectively analyze issues and file bug reports where appropriate,” Microsoft informed.
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At the beginning of this month, specifically on March 5, Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager Internet Explorer, launched the first public beta of Internet Explorer 8 at the MIX08 conference in Las Vegas. Hachamovitch emphasized from the get-go that the build was addressed not so much at the general public as at web content developers by marking a consistent leap in terms of standards support. But undoubtedly there are a variety of questions revolving around the subject of Microsoft’s next iteration of the IE browser. For some of them the Redmond company already has answers in place. Moreover, Microsoft is also offering for download a document in which it has compiled the IE8 Beta 1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

“In Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Developers, the browser architecture has been reengineered to address interoperability with other browsers and will offer additional support for popular standards. Most notably, it will include improved support for the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.1 specification and it renders the ACID2 test correctly. In addition, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Developers will offer enhancements to DOM L2 & HTML support. Our goal for the final release is complete CSS 2.1 support,” Microsoft revealed. More »

Microsoft resources focused almost exclusively on wrapping up the Windows Vista client, and then delayed yet again into 2008, with the deadline set by the summer of this year, Windows XP Service Pack 3 is long overdue, and at the same time in its final stages of development. At the end of December 2007, the Redmond company opened up the testing process of XP SP3 and made available for download a public Release Candidate. The Standalone Update Package for Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate weighs in at just 336.1 MB and was dropped via the Microsoft Download Center.

Not surprisingly, although it was mute for the most part of 2007 on both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3, the Redmond company is favoring, in terms of information disclosure, its latest Windows client. Starting at the end of 2007, Microsoft managed to become extremely chatty about Vista SP1. Not so much about XP SP3. The reason is of course understandable. Vista, made available but a year ago, is pushed to the foreground, with XP left to eXPire in the background. More »

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