Stephen Sinofsky, Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft, has written a blog post to everyone testing the Windows 7 Beta giving out details about skipping the Windows 7 Beta 2, and going directly to the Release Candidate (RC) build, also known as a Beta refresh. The Release Candidate will be the last testing phase of the Windows 7 fully featured operating system before the final version of Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build, which ships to companies and consumers all around the globe.
The engineering team said in their blog post that "At the peak we were receiving one "Send Feedback" note every 15 seconds!" giving an impression just how much feedback Microsoft is receiving during the Beta phase. The blog also suggests that Microsoft is watching and reading peoples blogs and forums about the impression of Windows 7, and accommodating accordingly to peoples impressions of the Beta.
We can expect to see bug fixes and some improvements overall in the Release Candidate, as the team has been fixing issues with smaller things such as keyboards, cameras and other devices providing it doesn't affect performance, behaviour, compatibility, or reliability.
No dates were given on the Release Candidate (RC) or the Release to Manufacturing (RTM), but we can expect the Windows 7 Beta will be very similar to the final version we can expect in stores later this year.