back to article First Windows 7 beta puts fresh face on Vista

Microsoft has officially released the first Windows 7 beta. While it's been one of the web's worst kept secrets, Microsoft was still keeping quiet about the details and timing of the final release at the time of writing. Everyone expects release later this year. A leaked briefing paper for OEM vendors suggests that the date …


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  1. James


    Windows 95, and then Windows 98...

    Need I say more?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A turd by any other name...

    ... is still a great being steaming pile of poo

  3. Erik Aamot

    so then ..

    .. by WinMaths .. NT 6.1 = 6+1 = Windows 7 .. correct ?

  4. jake Silver badge


    Does it help me get my job done better and faster?

    If not, I'll stick to what I'm using.

    So will my clients.

  5. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    Ooooh, shiny...

    Actually, more like 'Ohhh no, more shiny things' .

    Why can't MS concentrate on actually doing the things we want an OS to do, like copying files properly or running well on existing hardware and peripherals instead of needing processors so fast that you could calculate the meaning of life on them?

    Of course, it makes the marketing slime work harder to sell what may appear superficially to be the same old OS but I'm not really seeing a downside to that..

    Strip the bloat and give us an OS we can rely on.

    Paris, streamlined, sleek, fast and definitely compatible with my old hardware...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    and I should get W7 because...?

    "This is Windows Vista with a new face, not a major new version of Windows"

    As Vista doesn't offer me anything that I couldn't do with XP (and yes, I have machines running both of them), I think I'll pass, unless they're giving it away.

  7. ChrisInBelgium

    Vista -> Windows 7

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Well this is the one folks

    Better start getting used to it. Windows 7 is going to be the one coming to a network near you soon.

  9. jonathan keith
    Gates Horns


    I've not been able to find any information on this anywhere, so maybe El Reg and its readers can help. Does Windows 7 have Vista's DRM system built in to it still?

  10. yellowperil
    Thumb Down

    Is it really a new OS

    One of the comments caught my eye is that there is no real justification this is a new OS, but just a more polished version of vista with an updated GUI.

    Calling extras like the wmp12, etc, in my eyes these are applications and not really anything to do with the OS, my opinion is they are adding these tools purely to justify the 'Its a new OS' when in fact its just a working version on Vista with extra tools thrown in to obscure this fact.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 Beta 1

    I have Build 7000 installed on my M1330, and I really like it. It builds on Vista, seems to run a bit faster (although I can't say I have any problems running Vista either, so it's hard to tell). The drivers for all my hardware was either preloaded, or Windows tells you exactly where to go to get them, it supports the fingerprint reader in my laptop natively (after installing the drivers Windows pointed me to), automatically installed the display drivers for my graphics card (this caused a problem with the GPU fan stuttering, but a BIOS update from Dell fixed this). All in all, I like it. Everything just works out of the box, much like Vista but 'even more so'.

    But then, I never had a problem with Vista - I think it's a great OS.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security update? compromise your Microsoft Windows-based system and gain control over it.

  13. Mark

    The question is

    Have they finally fixed the dire network problems that Vista suffered from?

    The only problem that I currently have with my vista box is copying large numbers of files across the network, 2000 small files take about 1 min to copy and 15 mins for vista to work out how long the copy is going to take, if they have fixed this i'm sold...

    Would be nice for them to put the fix into Vista if they have fixed it of course, but then there would be little point in upgrading again so I guess that's not going to happen.....

  14. Dex

    ...."This is Windows Vista with a new face, not a major new version of Windows."

    After trying the beta out from one of the widely avalible "versions" i got 7000 and tried it out (i had tried 6870 build before) and tbh apart from a few GUI changes i didn't think much of it, I'm hoping this is free "upgrade" for those that use Vista (not just from a set upgrade date but from it's [Vista's] release) as was stated at the end of the article: "This is Windows Vista with a new face, not a major new version of Windows."

    Flame icon? obvious isn't it? it's all smoke + mirrors...and where there's smoke......

  15. Darren Bell

    Features new?

    Well, I currently have Taskbar previews, DLNA, Flac playback etc. Explain why i should use Windows again?

  16. NB

    oh.... wow....

    it looks.. a lot like gnome + compiz except... well... fucking ugly. Even that music player screenshop looks a bit rhythmboxy.

    as usual MS are playing catchup with Linux and OS X.

  17. Harry

    "and less annoying."

    You mean they've actually fixed windows update so that when you tell it not to reboot, it doesn't keep nagging every couple of minutes? And, especially, doesn't take no answer as permission to do so, despite the fact that the machine is running something important that shouldn't be interrupted?

    If so, wonders will never cease. But pigs are more likely to fly.

  18. Michael Nielsen

    lol, ingenious

    So Microsoft sells a beta version, and get's millions of users to pay for the privilege of beta testing Microsoft's new operating system.

    They then patch it, add a few tidbits, and calls it Windows 7, and then wants to sell it to the same millions of users who paid for the privilege of beta testing vista. So they manage to sell the same product to the same user twice, lol..

    Ingenious marketing strategy :-). (should leave those who bought vista with a nice warm fuzzy feeling).

    If I had bought vista, I'd be fuming, lol. I wonder what it's going to cost, considering the high end vista costs about 499pounds in Denmark, so High end Windows 7 - another 499 pounds ?

    Seriously IMO, it should be a free upgrade, to be fair.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    I still think that the screen shot on the first page of the article looks like a KDE 3 desktop.

    So having put everyone through the pain of moving everything round in Vista and the concept of "Ribbons" in Office and so on, the egg heads at Microsoft have decided to change the UI yet again.

    When I got my new laptop it came with Vista and I made it dual boot into Linux. Now I can find my way round the Gnome desktop but I still find Vista so confusing after years of NT and XP.

    I can understand making minor tweaks to the UI because no-one gets it right first time but I assume its some doctrine chiselled in stone at Microsoft that the UI MUST be changed?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    So essentially, W7 = Vista SP2 = Windows ME2.2

    You'd have thought that after that miscarriage of design, the OS team would have hit themselves over the collective heads with a Clue-by-Four, salvaged the usable bits of Vista and built a proper OS out of it.

    But no, instead, what's touted as "the future of Windows" is just a hastily slapped together patch better befitting a home entertainment system than a personal computer, without adressing the major issues plaguing th system it's built from.

    I guess XP will have to soldier on until Windows8 ....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Windows 7 taskbar

    So it's an exact copy of the OS X dock then.

  22. Peter Kay

    It's a little bit more than a facelift

    To be fair (and bearing in mind I've not tried the beta yet), it's a bit more than just a facelifted Vista. There have been optimisations to the memory footprint and it now supports heterogenous graphic adapters (so you can have a card from Nvidia and one from ATI at the same time) to name but two features.

    Microsoft aren't about to change their architecture again, when Vista is designed to curb some of the worst excesses (admin level privilege, insecure API design) of pre Vista Windows.

    You might as well say, with a fair degree of justification, that XP was just a facelifted Windows 2000 and most people (eventually) loved XP.

    Whether even Windows 7 offers enough for the average person in the street is another matter.. It's still going to have the same driver issues, and the same incompatibility with poorly written Windows apps - particularly the large number that expect admin privilege.

    Given my own Vista experience (generally positive. couple of driver issues, some of the bundled software (backup, migration) is utter shit) I recommend a) 64 bit and b) 4GB.

  23. Adrian Waterworth


    ...if it's largely still Vista under all the flashing lights and whistles, it will presumably still be slightly hit and miss when it comes to certain specific applications such as audio processing (multi-track recording, mixing, mastering, etc.) Or indeed anything else that needs dedicated, high(ish) performance, real-time(ish) response from the processor, memory and disk subsystems? Or have they finally implemented a "turn off all the extraneous memory, processor and interrupt hogging crap that you don't really need" feature in this one, rather than leaving it up to you to find it all and disable it yourself. (Even XP was bad enough in that respect.)

    Still, at least I suppose it means that the manufacturers of audio interfaces, etc. don't have to start chasing yet another driver spec/architecture. Given that some of them still haven't come up with decent 64-bit or Vista drivers, there'd be no chance of them releasing Win7 ones before Win8 (or whatever) came along...

  24. Paul

    Downloads stuttering?

    I managed to get the 32-bit ISO from TechNet after a painful download that died numerous times on the way only to find that when you request a key it doesn't play nice and throws up an error. Anyone manage to get a key yet?

  25. Chris Matchett

    So why would I want this instead of XP?

    You can probably guess that I'm revising for my ITIL v3 Bridge but you/MS seem to have listed functions of Windows 7 but none of the Utility for me. Why does MS think that I want these new features? What am I going to do with them?

    So I can start and switch between applications in both XP and W7 fairly quickly.

    I can connect other devices but still have to use iTunes (or iTunes type software) for my iPod. W7 might let me control my TV using my WinMo phone. Why would I want to? I could do that using infra-red and some software on many phones already and that existing technology hasn't made any difference.

    I can connect to private networks without using a VPN in W7? Well I can connect to private networks using a VPN in XP. End result: connected to private network. Why would I give a toss that it was using VPN, VPL, a thong or commando?

  26. Marc Savage

    Why ?

    Why change things ?

    One of the things that most annoy people about Vista is the change to the way you do things. A generation have grown up with the same basic look and feel to Windows. Now they are obsessed with changing it.

    They should leave the option for legacy look and feel.

  27. Duncan Hothersall

    To be blunt

    this is a Vista Service Pack, and should be given free to those poor suckers who have shelled out for Vista already.

    What a tawdry history the Vista releases have. First they traded out all of the significant new features from Longhorn; then they completely fucked up the rollout of Vista with far too many drivers unavailable, far too many bugs, and a dodgy "Vista capable" PR campaign which resulted in millions of machines running an OS that they couldn't cope with; now they are adding a few bits of fluff and eye candy and having the gall to call it a new version.

    And the IT market responds by rolling over and taking what it is given, because MS has a monopoly grip and even when they are peddling utter shit, it's the only shit that's certified and supported by the MS-dependent ecosystem, so it's the shit they have to use.

  28. Rob

    Quick Launch?

    Dare I ask whether any useful parallel to Quick Launch remains? It's the most useful thing about any Windows taskbar - a couple of rows of small, regularly used app shortcuts!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "vista with a new face"

    That's all I needed to know.

    XP will continue with its strong user base for another few years yet then.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So where's the button "I'm a developer"...

    1. Converts the format to Windows Classic view/Show Files as details/Show status Bar/Set Background Coffee Bean/Makes all Menus appear, add UP button,

    2. Removes Indexing and that stupid combined search

    3. Makes OpenLinkinNewWindow open in a new window, somewhere else.

    4. Removes Gadgets, Clocks, and all the things that aren't running.

    5. Stops all indexing, and other crap.

    6. Removes UAC, gives you local admin permissions, allows you to see, straightaway and modify what IP card setting are, see invalid certificates without first going to the page etc.

    7. Lets you see possible display all settings of cards, to allow you to know which monitors you can buy without having to buy them first.

    8. Removes all tat, fancy ninky nonk icons, and stupid music, helpful dogs, and so on.

    9. Sets the close window to the same locations in the same place regardless of what type of file it is.

    10. Reverses out all those stupid "Great new interface" ideas that are only there to justify the incapable their reason for existing.

  31. Robert E A Harvey
    Gates Horns

    As predicted

    Vista with knobs on.

    It's like detroit. Same crap cars, more chrome.

  32. Steve

    Erm Right

    So its Windows Vista with a slight new GUI made to run a bit faster (Sure can do that by turning off the eye candy in vista) and a few extra programs thrown on top for good measure...

    And we get charged for it yay

    Reminds me of my old Amiga when MagicWB came out least they told u it was a nice new GUI.

  33. Steve
    Paris Hilton

    Erm Right

    So its Windows Vista with a slight new GUI made to run a bit faster (Sure can do that by turning off the eye candy in vista) and a few extra programs thrown on top for good measure...

    And we get charged for it yay

    Reminds me of my old Amiga when MagicWB came out least they told u it was a nice new GUI.

  34. Neil

    New Version

    Of course they are going to make it a new version. The reason being that Vista has such a bad rep (although personally I like it) that calling it Vista SE or whatever would be a disaster. Marketing it as a brand new version of Windows that fixes all of Vistas "issues" is far more likely to sell copies.

  35. Mark Silver badge


    So they upgrade a couple of apps, re-skin the front end and make it not run like shite - that's MS innovation for you. Will there be about 15 versions of the damn thing or maybe just a desktop version and a server version?

    This is just Vista SP-whatever but they want to distance it from the stigma so someone might buy it.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    New taskbar

    Looks crap. It will make it much harder to keep track of multiple windows in the same application, having to rely on tiny thumbnails instead, when a lot of windows look similar/the same.

    I hope M$ has provided a way to disable it.

    Otherwise, improved performance and hopefully less annoying than vista = good.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Really, really, really innovative.

    "The Start menu still exists, but if you pin an application to the taskbar it appears there whether or not it is running. It makes sense..."

    Makes perfect sense, especially to OSX users. Come to think of it, I'm sure I was using an X window manager that did that 10 years ago (when Windows was still REALLY lame compared to every other OS)

    Never let it be said that M$ are years behind everyone else and desperately trying to add new features to their buggy, bloated snafu of an OS.

    Scientist icon because it must have taken hundreds of boffins to come up with M$ new ideas.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sounds promising


    This is Windows Vista with a new face, not a major new version of Windows.


    Which, realistically, is probably for the best - an optimised, functioning and improved version of Vista has got to be better than another new buggy, bloated and unsupported (think drivers) OS.

    As OSs go I'm fairly neutral; it's about choosing the right tool for the job. FreeBSD for (web) servers and Windows for games machines - as examples. Maybe Mac for Multimedia and *nix for netbooks - whatever works best. So I'm not going to jump up and down and go "Oh noes! It's just Vista again", I'm just hopeful that this will (eventually) be the release that Vista _should_ have been; that it might offer something to tempt me to change my home OS (WinXP Pro) when I next do a major hardware upgrade.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    "Strip the bloat and give us an OS we can rely on."

    Sure - which distro would you prefer? Slackware for the dedicated masochist, Ubuntu for the neophyte; Fedora, OpenSUSE, etc for everyone else.

    Which windowing system? Gnome for the "This is not Windows" in your face reminder, of KDE for "This is almost Windows" ease of conversion? Both are highly configurable to either end of that spectrum and other windowing systems are available.

    WINE may even be able to cope with your legacy IT systems - or you could demand that your vendor supply a portable and standards compliant implementation. (Read: Java)

    Personally....I doubt I will touch Win7 (except in a virtual machine) if it is just Vista in new clothes and few more Compiz/Apple rip-offs. XP does everything I need from a Windows PC at home and at work, Ubuntu for everything else.

  40. Jon H

    Sounds like a bunch of updated apps to me, not a new OS

    So new features of this OS are things like WMP12? Surely you'd be able to run WMP12 on XP? I'm using a newer version of WMP than what installed along with my XP installation yet my OS is still called XP.

    And "features" like "Live Messenger will integrate with Facebook, so you can get friend updates in Messenger", that's hardly an OS feature. I use the IM app called Digsby, apart from being able to check all my email accounts, it works with MSN, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo chat and so on, and guess what, it even integrates with Facebook and tells me of friends' updates (and far more). So what's the big deal Microsoft?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    fanboi comment of the day...

    So basically they're trying to make the taskbar more like the OS X Dock

  42. Tom Chiverton


    "Direct Access for network access without VPN"

    Well, that's impossible, so what did you actually mean ?

  43. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Give it miss this time I think

    I usually jump on my local "site" ready for a copy of any new toy MS put out, but quite frankly given the rather poor showing of Vista, think I'll pass and stick with my genuine copy of XP. XP may not have proper support anymore but hell neither does Ubuntu really as such, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    As my late Granny used to say, "All mouth and no trousers!", that just about sums up M$ products of late.

  44. Goat Jam

    Re: Mark

    This my friends, is why Microsoft still, incredibly, has a customer base

    " Have they finally fixed the dire network problems that Vista suffered from?

    . . . . if they have fixed this i'm sold..."

    Followed by;

    " (It) would be nice for them to put the fix into Vista if they have fixed it of course, but then there would be little point in upgrading again so I guess that's not going to happen....."

    As long as Microsoft customers are prepared to fork over the dollars in the hope that the latest and greatest Windows OS will fix the gaping flaws in the only slightly older version of the Windows OS then MS will continue to dominate the industry.

    What people need to do is start standing up and say "Sorry MS, but Vista was a crappy, bloated, broken mess and I'm not going to fork out more money in the vain hope you might have fixed these issues"

    As long as people are prepared to keep buying their crap they have no incentive to actually fix anything.

  45. Tom


    also DLing from technet, also stuttering and can't get a key yet.

    prob just overloaded, you can install without a key anyway

  46. andy gibson

    Year of Linux

    So with this, Vista and the phasing out of XP surely 2009 really is the year of Linux!

    If this OS can run on my client machines of Celeron 2.4's with 512MB of RAM (we don't need any more so don't bother selling me new hardware we cannot afford) then I may show some interest.

  47. Ed


    I've been playing with the latest release for a few days now and from what I can see it's just Service Pack 2 for Vista. It's an improvement over Vista SP1, but nowhere near enough to pursuade me to actually pay money for it.

  48. Chris Matchett

    By Peter Kay 10:58 GMT

    "... it now supports heterogenous graphic adapters (so you can have a card from Nvidia and one from ATI at the same time) "

    Why would anyone want that? People don't want 2 graphics cards of differing origin any more than they would want 2 graphics cards of the same type. In fact people don't want graphics cards at all. They want nicer looking faster images on their screen.

  49. George

    OSX 7

    Taskbar works just like in OSX, should they call it OSX 7?

    And why bother with Microsoft and not get a real mac?

    Microsoft OS glory days are way in the past.

  50. Glyn

    @So where's the button "I'm a developer"...

    I second that lot and add

    12. Make the folder column show the directory in English. Show it as "c:\windows\system32" not "system32 (c:\windows)"

    sense(It doesn't make)

    13. The option to remove the dropdown that lets you sort or group by as group by = sort with extra rows = pointless

    14. When I say "Apply to folders" I mean "Apply to folders" I don't mean "Apply to folders once" or "Apply to folders till you get bored" or even "Apply to folders until you move the mouse"


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