Windows 7 Release Candidate 1's Best Surprise New Features

A hot official copy of Windows 7 RC1 is on our desktop and we're poking around. But here are the three best new new things in Windows 7 Build 7100. This crazy background? Baked in.

Stream Your Library Over the Internet With Windows Media Player
This is hot—it'd be hotter if it was easier to set up. Windows Media Player's Remote Media Sharing will let you access your media library from anywhere over the internet. You need a Windows Live ID that you associate with your Windows 7 user account using a tool you have to download. (This could grow to include other "online identities," like Facebook I'm guessing, but I wouldn't hold your breath for your Gmail account.) You also need the same version of Windows Media Player running on both computers. After everything's all associamated, then your home library you wanna stream from should show up just like a local library under the "Other Libraries" section in the side navigation pane. Can't do this in iTunes, buddy.

Windows XP Mode
To encourage enterprise people to let loose and rock Windows 7, it runs a full-fledged Windows XP virtual environment using Microsoft's Virtual PC. It requires an additional download (booo), but you won't have to worry about your applications breaking like with Vista. Update: Paul Thurrott has more info and a huge walkthrough on XP Mode, including the crushing revelation it's gonna be free for Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate, not Home Premium, which is the version regular people are going to be running.

The Most Insane Default Backgrounds Ever
Look at these. Yes, these are just a handful of the ridiculously awesome backgrounds packed inside Windows 7. Some are the products of acid trips through a nightmare land of anime hell that I would never wish on anybody, and some are simply stunning. Just wow. Click to make bigger, obvs. Update: Okay, the backgrounds were in some of the builds between the Public Beta and the upcoming RC, but they weren't, you know, public. UPDATE: You can download all of them here. Or you can find them in the Gizmodo Flickr pool.

These are simply in addition to all of the new things we already knew about, like tweaks to Aero Peek, better shortcuts, UI improvements and of course, lots of bug squishing. We'll be testing everything in depth soon! [Windows 7 Coverage at Giz]

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