Microsoft developers have provided users with a laundry list of new features and interface changes for the upcoming Windows 7 Release Candidate build.
The company issued a blog posting from senior programme manager Chaitanya Sareen outlining 36 changes to the Windows interface that users can expect in future versions of Windows 7.
Many of the changes are designed to speed up operations, such as new keyboard shortcuts and a simplified process for editing the taskbar. Sareen also confirmed that improved controls for multi-touch keyboards would be included in the release candidate.
The company is also focusing on speeding up performance in the operating system, such as with the Start Menu.
Microsoft also plans to add more features to the Windows 7 interface. The new 'aero peek' preview feature can be triggered by pressing 'alt-tab', while alert windows on the taskbar will be made more visible.
"A careful balance must be struck between providing information and not irritating the customer," Sareen wrote of the so-called "needy windows".
"With the new taskbar, we received feedback that Outlook reminders or a Messenger chat sometimes went unnoticed because needy windows were too subtle."
Perhaps the most discussed change users will find in the release candidate will be in the user account control (UAC) component. Microsoft vowed to change the security settings for UAC after researchers discovered that the feature could be disabled without any warning or notification.
The upcoming release candidate is set to be among the final builds of Windows 7 before the operating system ships to OEMs and then retailers. While the company has set the first quarter of 2010 as its target period for release, recent development schedules suggest that Windows 7 may be out before Christmas.
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