Next week Microsoft will make available Windows 7 Release Candidate (otherwise known as buid 7100), this is the next step towards a final release which hopefully will happen before the end of the year. So, should you try it? If you like technology, are comfortable installing an Operating System, then by all means I think you should give it a shot. Not only will you be able to have a foot in the door once it is finally released, but in my experience testing so far, Windows 7 has proven incredibly stable and performs very well (better than Vista in many cases).
Of course you should have a Vista ready machine with current hardware and drivers (while you can upgrade a current Vista installation, a fresh installation is always preferred and recommended). If you have enough free hard drive space you can easily create a new partition and dual-boot both Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft has done things right this time, and they say that any hardware that will run on Vista will run on Windows 7, and in my experience so far, this is true. As a matter of fact, the out of box driver support is excellent for most common hardware (Windows 7 even auto installed my Brother Printer drivers!)
There are plenty of new features which are well worth taking a look at in Windows 7 including Library folders, a redesigned task bar, a new feature called jump lists which lets you pin things to the task bar. It also comes with Internet Explorer 8 (and even the ability to remove it from use). Media Center has undergone a pleasant facelift as well as Windows Explorer – even Word Pad and Paint now sport the ribbon interface seen in Microsoft Office 2007.
While there are still a few last minute bugs to be squashed, I haven’t seen anything critical that would stop someone from making this an every day operating system. For the uber-geeks, Windows 7 now also support multi-touch for touch screens which is very cool. There are also some great improvements in networking which make connecting to wireless, hotspots, and mobile broadband much easier – under the hood are also some very cool features like VPN Reconnect and great integration with Server 2008 R2 which will be released at the same time as Windows 7. In addition, the upper end versions (Pro, Ultimate, and Enterprise) will come with a very cool virtualization feature which will allow running older programs in an included fully licensed version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 which runs in a virtual machine (certain hardware requirements apply).
Microsoft has indicated that Windows 7 Release Candidate will be available to beta-testers, MSDN and Technet subscribers later this week, with the general public being able to get a hold of it starting May 5th. The release candidate supposedly has an expiration date of June of 2010, which should allow people to easily run it until the final version is released.
Recently I have been playing around with Virtual Servers – these are server operating systems hosted within a virtual container which allows a single physical server to actually host multiple server clients. The advantages of virtual servers are numerous, from the ability to almost instantly create new containers, to keeping costs down for people who need a web server, but don’t have the need for a dedicated server (along with the costs).
I have been using VPSLAND as my virtual hosting service for a number of months, and I must say I am pretty happy with both the product and the support. VPSLAND by far has one of the best price points for their virtual server, and offer both Linux and Windows based VPS servers. I currently have 2 plans with them, a Windows and Linux EZ plan, which both come with a host of features including the great Plesk control panel which makes managing domains a breeze.
I was especially impressed that their Windows EZ plans came with a number of much needed applications installed, including full PHP and MySQL support (which many Windows hosting providers don’t have). In addition, I have full Admin access via RDP (Remote Desktop) to the Windows server VPS which makes configuration and installation of custom applications a breeze!
There are certainly numerous advantages to having your own server vs a web hosting package, as you can much more easily configure the system to run how you want it to, and are not restricted so much as you are with many pre-packaged hosting providers. VPSLAND offers quite a few nice options, including the Plesk Power Pack which allows one-click installation of many popular web applications like WordPress, or Joomla.
Support at VPLAND uses a web based ticket system (which helps keep their costs down), and I have been pleasantly suprised to see that my submitted tickets have all been addressed in a reasonable amount of time. They have been quite helpful in keeping my server up and running, and have also been very friendly helping me fix some things that I myself messed up (many companies do not offer support for 3rd party applications, but the guys at VPSLAND have been great at helping me figure out some issues on programs I have installed).
For those wishing to host their own websites with much more control than the average hosting service, I would definitely recommend checking out VPSLAND’s VPS server plans. Even if you are fairly new to web hosting, or just want to host a few personal or business sites, having your own server to experiment with is the way to learn! From a price, product, and support point of view, VPSLAND offers a very good set of packages.
You can check out their offering here: http://vpsland.com