Windows 7 Beta to RC transition - What you need to know

Every one of us is waiting for the upcoming Windows 7 RC release. In the meantime, Windows 7 Team has blogged on the upgrade experience from pre-RC builds to RC build, even when the RC dates are not officially out. This blog post indeed shows the openness of the Windows 7 Team to discuss various issues regarding Windows 7 RC. If you are expecting any major announcement, then this post does not have any!

The blog post talks a little about upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7, but as we discussed earlier there is no upgrade path available from Windows XP to Windows 7

"There's no change here to the plan as has been discussed on many forums. We realized at the start of this project that the "upgrade" from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results. There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model, etc.) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install"

Microsoft recommends users to do a clean install rather than upgrading from Windows 7 Beta (or any other builds) to Windows 7 RC build. It is not possible to upgrade your Windows 7 Beta to RC unless you bypass the check for the pre-release upgrade. Even though this is not recommended by Microsoft, below are the steps to bypass this check (from the E7 blog):

  • Download the ISO as you did previously and burn the ISO to a DVD
  • Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build)
  • Browse to the sources directory
  • Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad
  • Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. For example, change 7100 to 7000
  • Save the file in place with the same name
  • Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed

(atleast this confirms the new 7100 milestone)

So, make sure you backup your machine or use Windows Easy Transfer to move your accounts, settings, files etc., and then install Windows 7 RC.

Microsoft also discussed about the various leaked builds and the users' complaints in those builds, which was quite interesting

"From time to time we've noticed on a few blogs that people are using builds that we have not officially released and complained of "instabilities" after upgrade. Nearly all of these have been these build-to-build issues. We've seen people talk about how a messenger client stopped working, a printer or device "disappears", or start menu shortcuts are duplicated. These are often harmless and worst case often involves reinstalling the software or device."

And cautioned users only to use the builds which are officially released from Microsoft even though everybody are tempted to try out the new & latest build(s)

"One other related caution is INSTALL ONLY OFFICIALLY RELEASED BUILDS FROM MICROSOFT. It will always be tempting to get the build with the "mod" already done but you really never know what else has been done to the build. There's a thrill in getting the latest, we know, but that also comes with risks that can't even be quantified. For the RC we will work to release a hash or some other way to validate the build, but the best way is to always download directly from Microsoft."

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