Seven questions Microsoft won’t answer about Windows 7

Seven questions Microsoft won’t answer about Windows 7

Summary: Microsoft’s news embargo on Windows 7 lifts tomorrow. Today, though, I can confidently report on a handful of questions about Windows 7 that you won’t see answered in those announcements. Want to know how many editions of Windows 7 will be released? Looking for the ship date? Wondering about whether there will be a public beta? Go ahead and ask. Just don't expect any answers. Yet.


I’m spending the day (and probably much of tonight) slaving over a hot Windows 7 PC, snapping screen shots and making notes about what's new. You’ll see the results tomorrow, when Microsoft’s news embargo lifts. Today, though, I can confidently report on a handful of questions about Windows 7 that you won’t see answered in tomorrow’s announcements.

1. How many versions of Windows 7 will be available?

Customers have sent ample feedback to Microsoft about the confusing menu of versions. Setup screens from early builds of Windows 7 contain the exact mix as in Windows Vista, from Starter to Enterprise editions. But don’t draw any conclusions from that, say my sources. The final packaging decisions haven’t been made yet. (And don't ask about Ultimate Extras, either.)

2. How much will Windows 7 cost?

See above. You might guess that the price won’t go up and that Microsoft will offer some attractive upgrade offers to entice XP users. You might even be right. But you won’t get any executives from the Windows team to confirm your guess.

3. What are Windows 7’s minimum and recommended system requirements?

Microsoft has publicly proclaimed that any app or device driver written for Windows Vista will work on Windows 7. So far, though, they’ve been mum about the requirements for memory, CPU, and disk space. Expect that space to remain blank for another few months.

4. What applications and services will be included with Windows Live?

It’s no secret that several programs included with Windows Vista – Mail, Movie Maker, and Photo Gallery, for example – are being replaced by downloadable Windows Live versions. Some of these Wave 3 programs and accompanying web-based services, in fact, are already in beta. That’s not a complete list, however, and the full lineup of Windows Live Wave 3 products and services won’t be made public until November 12.

5. Will there be a public beta?

One of the biggest mistakes Microsoft made with Windows Vista was delivering too many beta releases to too many people. The result was a wave of unfocused feedback that didn’t contribute to the released product. This time around, Microsoft executives aren’t saying who will get access to betas, but it’s unlikely to be a free-for-all download – except via BitTorrent.

6. When will Windows 7 ship?

You’ve entered my pool to guess Windows 7’s ship date, right? The latest round of release-date rumors range from May 2009 to early 2010. If you ask a Microsoft executive, you get a Cheshire-cat grin and nothing more.

6.1. Why is it called Windows 7?

Don’t be a smartass.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • [ sigh ]

    i can think of seven reasons why this article is a waste of time.
    • According to Loverock Davidson and Mike Cox they say it

      isn't required to share anything with you. It's up to M$ to decide when the time is right and that's the way it should be, after all thry're M$.
      Over and Out
      • The Fact Balmer Admitted Windows 7 Is Just Vista Improved

        This should be enough to turn anyone away.
        • Good point..

          I have no idea why Steve Ballmer made those comments
          (and a lot more).

          Lack of focus I guess..

        • Windows 7 an improved VISTA

          The only rational improvement for VISTA is the garbage can. Aafter 6 months of trying to make it work for me I trashed it. And then the overwhelming re-installation of all my software and drivers. I am stil working on that after 3 long days.
      • LOOK EVERYONE!(@)!*()@! HE MENTIONS ME!@(*(@(*@*!!!

        I haven't even commented yet people are still talking about me. Heck yeah, people know I got the mad skills when they reference me.
        Loverock Davidson
        • Don't let yer head swell up TOO much, Rockhead.

          It'll pop and you'll wind up with a royal mess all over your keyboard and monitor.

          And just remember: When most people think of "evil," the first name that pops into their head is DEVIL.

          Moral: Sometimes you don't WANT your name associated with a particular idea.
        • Reference the Loverock!

          Oh Brother! Now he's going to want a pay raise.
      • According to Loverock Davidson and Mike Cox...

        Every prior version of Windows has been completely flawless, leaving no room for improvement. Logically, that can only imply that 7 can be no better than it's predecessors and, given Murphy's Law, almost certain to be worse.
        But I have to admit I have a hard time accepting the possibility of an OS worse than existing versions of Windows...
        Henrik Moller
        • But, but, but .... Windows IS perfect!

          It's those "nuts" behind the keyboard that can't hold on to their screws that cause the problems. If you don't do nothin with your Windows installation you won't have any problems.
          • Ah, what if you do nothing but are connected the Internet though?

            That'll give you problems for sure ...
          • Windows is perfect - not the internet !

            You gotta blame SOMEONE!
  • Brilliant Ed!

    That last question was a set-up! ;)

    Can't wait to hear more. One quickie: Is the build you received the same as Build 6801?
    • Ask me tomorrow...

      Ed Bott
  • question...

    The wave 3 applications will replace some applications that come with vista?

    Isn't this something like an all or nothing bet on cloud computing?

    I'm not sure how popular this would be. Personally, I find cloud computing annoying. But that's because I do not have stable internet, or I use my computer in places I do not have standard internet and I have poor cell reception.

    I'd be interested in knowing more about this.
    • Nah ...

      ... Microsoft is just doing what pretty much everyone has been asking for ages ... making Windows smaller.

      Also, fact is that Live services are evolving faster than the OS can so it makes little sense to build, for example, a mail client into the OS (e.g. Windows Mail) when it'd have already been superseded by a newer version before the OS actually gets to a store near you (e.g. Live Mail).

      Personally, I welcome Microsoft reducing the size of the OS by NOT shipping superfluous stuff that i'd have had to replace anyhow.

      Now, if they could move to only shipping network and core video drivers in the OS ... just enough to let me boot and get to Windows Update so that my machine can download just the drivers it needs, I'd be DELIGHTED!
    • Answer

      It will be a poor performing app that will make everyone over 40
      remember why we moved away from dumb terminals in the first
  • I like the name Windows 7

    -It will be released mid to late summer 2009.
    -Price will the same
    -They will keep all the silly SKUs
    -The requirements will be the same as Vista
    -Windows Live - who cares. Cheapy freebees. Don't need them.
    -Should be able to get the BETAs/RCs from TechNet Plus or MSDN.
    - Let's face it. Windows 7 will be a jazzed up, cleaned up Vista (which is good) with a new name.
    • WGA and DRM

      I am sure it will have WGA and draconian DRM. No
      • gertruded you mention this time and time again

        The DRM is no different than in Apple. So why the Bitch?