However, Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows Commercial Product Marketing at Microsoft did not specify when exactly will Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) be released to manufacturing, which is the milestone when it will also ship to select users close to the company, such as MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

Speculation from various sources indicates that Microsoft might in fact be planning to release Windows 7 SP1 to manufacturing by the end of 2010.

This detail has not been confirmed officially by the software giant, and needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Still, it would make sense for the Redmond company to sign-off Windows 7 SP1 by the end of 2010. Early events next year, such as the International Consumer Electronics Show 2011 would offer a great opportunity for Microsoft to announce the RTM of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Users need to keep in mind that this is all speculation on my part, and that nothing has been confirmed. More »

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 »

The Release Candidate for the first major upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is now available for download.

After the RC Escrow and the full RC Builds were leaked into the wild earlier this month, it’s now Microsoft’s turn to provide early adopters with the actual Windows 7 SP1 RC bits.

As was the case with the previous public development milestone of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, the Release Candidate Build is offered to testers through TechNet.

Early adopters can either register and get a guided experience when accessing the bits, or skip the registration process and grab the SP1 RC from the Microsoft Download Center.

“We are releasing the Release Candidate (RC) of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) to the public,” revealed Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc. More »

Although Microsoft doesn’t normally deliver support for pre-release software, there are exceptions to this rule, and an update designed to resolve issues related to Taskbar functionality in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is an illustrative example in this regard.

The Redmond company also offers support for pre-RTM products when it comes down to patching Critical security vulnerabilities that would put users at risk from attacks and exploits.

However, the update released in the second half of August 2010 is not intended to patch a security flaw.

Instead “this update addresses an issue in which the thumbnail controls for some applications are not displayed on the taskbar. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system,” Microsoft stated.

According to the little information provided by the software giant, the refresh is capable of enabling “the thumbnail controls of certain applications to be displayed correctly on the taskbar in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2.”

And although the company doesn’t mention Windows 7 SP1 Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta in the Knowledge Base article, the releases on the Microsoft Download Center reveal that early adopters running the public Beta of the first upgrade for the two platforms should also deploy the update.

Windows 7 SP1 Beta was released to testers in the first half of July 2010, and continues to be available for download to the public.

As it released Windows 7 SP1 Beta, Microsoft made it clear that it planned to wrap up and deliver the RTM bits of the service pack in the first half of 2011, most probably in the first quarter of next year, rather than by the end of 2010, as previously speculated.

Following the release of Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800, work on the upgrade continued, with Microsoft having reportedly released a new interim version of the service pack to TAP and OEMs.

The software giant confirmed that Windows 7 SP1 Beta Refresh Build 7601.17077 indeed shipped to a select pool of testers.

Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800 is available for download here.

Here are the download links for KB2259539:

All supported x86-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

All supported IA-64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

Some media and storage devices can cause crashes of computers running the latest iteration of the Windows client, Microsoft informed.

The Redmond company did not offer a specific list of hardware products that have problems playing nice with Windows 7, but the software giant did deliver a few details.

Not only Windows 7 computers are impacted by this issue, but also Windows Server 2008 R2 machines.

According to reports from users, the crashes are associated with freshly installed third-party applications designed to be used in concert with devices relying on multiple transport Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) or on the Windows Portable Device (WPD).

Microsoft explained that Windows 7 PCs will crash when MTP or WPD devices are connected for the first time. More »