For the next development milestone of the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft is asking the community of testers currently running the Beta and pre-RC builds of the platform to not upgrade directly to the Release Candidate bits.
Instead, the Redmond company wants users to revert back to Windows Vista and then perform an upgrade to Windows 7 Release Candidate, or simply do a clean install of the RC. The reason offered by the software giant is the need to test real-world scenarios with Windows 7 RC.
“The RC, however, is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta. We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience,” a member of the Windows team revealed.
Microsoft has, actually, announced that Beta and pre-RC to full RC upgrades for Windows 7 are, in fact, blocked. The upgrading process will fail, as the RC development milestone of the client will identify that users are attempting to upgrade from a different release of Windows than Vista. Of course, there is a technique designed to bypass the restriction already available.
“During development, we introduce changes in the product (under the hood) that aren’t always compatible with what we call ‘build-to-build’ upgrade. The supported upgrade scenario is from Windows Vista to Windows 7,” the Windows team representative added. “As an extended member of the development team and a participant in the Beta program that has helped us so much, we want to ask that you experience real-world setup and provide us real-world telemetry.”
Microsoft has explained that upgrading Windows 7 Beta and pre-RC variants to Windows 7 RC is a process that generally causes errors, which do not exist when it comes down to transitions from Vista to Win7. The software giant is placing little emphasis on such abnormalities, since upgrades between Windows 7 testing milestones are not real-world scenarios and can't influence the end-users.
“From time to time, we’ve noticed (...) 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,” the Windows team member emphasized.