Last week, Windows 7 build 7048 escaped from Microsoft’s labs and quickly made its way to the Internet, where the x86 and x64 versions quickly became top downloads of the week. Most of the first looks I've seen so far about this build have focused on a handful of obvious details, especially the greatly expanded options to remove Windows features such as Internet Explorer and Media Player. For this post and its accompanying image gallery, I decided to dig deeper and see what sorts of changes you’re not likely to notice right away. I found a total of 21 changes, big and small, that are nearly certain to be part of the Windows 7 Release Candidate.
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A few Windows 7 beta testers (and some high-profile pundits) are working themselves into a lather over the perceived shortage of feedback from Microsoft. I’ve read many of the complaints, public and private, and I think some beta testers need a refresher course in the basics of what it means to be involved in the development of a product as complex as Windows.
My ZDNet colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is not too proud to beg to Microsoft: Can we have a Windows 7 beta 2 please?Once upon a time, I might have agreed with him. But now that I’ve had a chance to see how this beta cycle works, I think Sinofsky and Co. are making the right choice. One beta, one release candidate, and then ship it. Here's why.
I’ve been spending most of my time lately conducting in-depth research into how Windows 7 works, in preparation for my next book. In the process, I’m discovering stuff that simply doesn’t become apparent during casual testing. My biggest surprise so far? I inadvertently installed the 64-bit beta version of Windows 7 in a virtual machine with only 512MB of RAM. How well did it work? I was amazed, and you will be too.
Most analysts who looked at Microsoft’s announcement earlier today of its new lineup of Windows 7 editions have focused on the number of SKUs and are busily debating whether the new selection will make choices more or less confusing for Windows customers. But there’s a more important story buried in the details. By making upgrades easy and cheap, Microsoft could finally convince its enormous user base to start paying extra to unlock features in higher-priced editions and pull in billions of dollars in additional revenue.
Microsoft has finally released details of how it’s going to distribute and sell Windows 7. Like virtually every other announcement in the Windows 7 development cycle so far, the final decision appears to be aimed at handling a common objection – in this case, the perception that there are too many editions of Windows Vista. For Windows 7, most customers will have a choice of no more than three editions, with a clear upgrade path from one edition to the next.
Conventional wisdom says corporations have completely rejected Windows Vista. But I’m seeing evidence lately that Vista’s image is improving with age. A new report issued today by Benjamin Gray and his colleagues at Forrester Research confirms that Vista is getting a new lease on life in the enterprise. Ironically, Microsoft’s well-executed development of Windows 7 is a big part of the reason.
In the past few months, I’ve written extensively about Windows 7, often focusing on a specific set of features or technologies. Inevitably, someone in the Talkback section says I’m dodging the most important question: Is there a single killer feature in Windows 7 that justifies an upgrade, especially for someone who is happy with Windows XP and has chosen to avoid Windows Vista?Maybe not, but I can point to five places where a host of small changes add up to big potential for increased productivity.
Microsoft executive Bill Veghte raised some eyebrows this week when he told CNET's Ina Fried that he couldn't guarantee Windows 7 would be ready for the holiday season this year. Frightening? Not really. Just pro forma statements to go along with the beta. If you look at some recent documents, one official and another leaked, you can narrow down the Windows 7 release date to sometime in July 2009
In the past two-plus years, I’ve read countless complaints about the Windows Vista user interface. It has too many options for ordinary users. It doesn’t offer enough options for advanced users. It’s dumbed down and overcomplicated, sometimes all at the same time. Maybe Microsoft's software designers have learned something from all that criticism, because I see plenty of small but significant improvements in Windows 7. The most revealing is a dialog box that includes this refreshing option: "Let me choose."