Windows 7 pre-beta (build 6801)

At first glance, Windows 7 appears to be an advanced iteration of Windows Vista, but more consumer-friendly, with many user interface enhancements.


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Check out our Windows 7 photo gallery for the first official screenshots of Microsoft's successor to Vista. (Credit: Chris Duckett/Builder AU)

Although Windows 7 won't be available until 2010, a pre-beta version is available to developers. At first glance, it appears to be a more advanced iteration of Windows Vista. Windows 7 also seems to be geared more toward the consumer with many more user interface enhancements. Windows 7 builds on the internals of Windows Vista. One immediate benefit is that Windows 7 should have fewer compatibility problems upon release. CNET News took a look at Windows 7 Ultimate Build 6801 and found it to be a remarkably stable and feature-rich alpha.

Up front we noticed a more intuitive interface within Windows 7. For example, if you drag a window all the way to the left or right edge, it'll snap to fill half the desktop, knowing that you intended to view another window at the same time. Also, the toolbar ribbons available in Office 2007 will be available within Windows 7 accessories, such as WordPad and Paint.

Missing is the Welcome Center from Windows Vista. The sidebar also appears to be missing, although you can simply install gadgets to the desktop. What is seen when you first boot into Windows 7 is Windows Live Messenger.

Another important user interface change from Windows Vista is in regards to User Account Control. In Vista, you could have this protection either on or off. In Windows 7 there's a slider control between "always notify" and "never notify", allowing you to find a personal setting that fits you.

New features include a Bluetooth File Transfer Wizard that lets you share files between two computers. There's also Sticky Notes, similar to an application on Mac OS X, that allows quick notes to be "pasted" over the desktop; there's even a corkboard to post your notes for easy review. A new accessibility feature is the Windows Key: the plus key gives the screen an instant zoom, and the minus key returns the resolution to the normal size.

The included version of Internet Explorer is the current beta 8.

The boot process is much faster, although this hasn't been confirmed in a lab. Restore from hibernation appears much quicker.

Although it was not available in build 6801, CNET saw the new Taskbar in Windows 7 available in a more advanced build. The new Taskbar uses icons, not the names, across the bottom.

Microsoft is being coy about final release dates for Windows 7, stressing that it will depend on the quality of the builds. The company is hoping for the new operating system to be available roughly three years from Windows Vista's January 2007 release. From what we've seen in build 6801, we think they'll make that deadline.



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Jayko posted a comment   

The Good:Vista looks without the hunger for Memory and CPU

The Bad:Taskbar looks a bit weird

I think its great that MS have brought out and OS that has a nice Aero interface without the hunger for hardware, but they are pretty much selling a SP for Vista at an OS price.

LobsterMooch
5
Rating
 

LobsterMooch posted a review   

The Good:Sounds like an improvement, but can they pull it off?

The Bad:So many useless gadgets being added, I wish they would spend time on making it a viable OS and then worry about gadgets as free downloads or as part of a SP. If 7 fails I'll go back to XP.

After Vista I find it hard to trust MS to release a complete, fully tested and functional product. If W7 manages to eliminate the compatibility issues Vista had (Especially with regards to games)and doesn't chew up the memory like no tomorrow it will be a plus.

Ronald
3
Rating
 

Ronald posted a review   

The Good:If Windows 7 really can run fast on a netbook system, then it may be worth considerin.

The Bad:if it is just a speeded up Vista, then it is really a service pack rather than an OS upgrade and should be provided to users at service pack prices. Other OS's such as Linux and OS X, and even the XP clone, ReactOS, provide what users want or need right now.

Benchmarked on an E8400, Vista was 13%-34% slower than XP. That is a massive productivity hit. Windows 7 will have to outperform XP if it is to be sold as a productivity improvement. GeeWhizz features without timely performance are just another boat anchor. Given the global meltdown, an OS that reduces productivity is a non-starter.

Far Side
6
Rating
 

Far Side posted a review   

The Good:Its not Linux!

The Bad:Will have to put up with linux and mac users dissing it for the next year... if you don't like windows or M$, don't use it! Simple really...

Sounds and looks alright so far!
Don't understand why some people say Vista is unstable, my Vista Ultimate has yet to crash. Its been installed for the best part of a year now so I'm happy.
And the only people I know of who have installed XP over the OEM Vista are fools who buy laptops with 512mb Ram and expect it to work. Brickbats to the retail outlets that continue to sell these low-specced machines.

Lycan22
1
Rating
 

Lycan22 posted a review   

The Good:better than Vista

The Bad:Still made by the same narrow minded company

Sticky notes! amazing! M$ are so revolutionary! (sarcasm)

retardedninja
9
Rating
 

retardedninja posted a review   

The Good:awesome in so many ways

The Bad:1 driver doesn't work for me (not ms's fault)
having trouble trying to share files with vista over a vpn

Absolutely brilliant. I use it now as a primary operating system and it is awesome. it is _so_ much more than vista could ever dream of being.

John Ralph
3
Rating
 

John Ralph posted a review   

The Good:Just to find out if there is one

The Bad:Went back to XP and no problems. Will get a Mac next time. Cant waste my time in business with this MS rubbish.

Tired of the never ending problems with Vista. Dont care about Win 7 - just want a stable platform without MS trying to out do Mac.

got2bgr8
9
Rating
 

got2bgr8 posted a review   

The Good:Less security issues and most programs and drivers already work.

The Bad:IE 8

I using windows 7 pre beta now... It actually shows sp 3.5 and most programs run on it. some drivers work from xp but most are vista. It is just a pre beta but if it comes out as good as this looks it will be worth while. The super bar which is actually very close to that on a mac is very cool. Its actually very fast and no where close to the over kill on security as vista. Only problem that i see so far is it runs on IE 8 beta and well hopefully by release IE is no longer a beta but a full release cause it is slow.

HartOz
1
Rating
 

HartOz posted a review   

The Good:Better than Windows 95

The Bad:Written by Micro$oft

It looks like M$ have not learned from the Vista fiasco.
XP just reached maturity before they launched Vista, which wasn't really finished. 90% of all enterprise users run XP. Even PCs that have shipped with Vista end up having XP installed over the top.
As a CGI professional, I wouldn't dream of running Vista, too unstable, too bloated.
M$ should stop trying to copy Apple, and concentrate on delivering a stable platform.

HardcoreHarris
9
Rating
 

HardcoreHarris posted a review   

The Good:Same Kernel as Vista SP1

The Bad:Can't release sooner.

Guys, let me clear some things up for you. Vista SP1 is Very stable. Windows 7 will be using the same Kernel (Driver Layer) asd Vista SP1 (and Windows Server 2008) And so any hardware that is compatible with Vista, should theoretically be compatible with Windows 7, so yes it will be very very stable at release considering the reasonable stability of Vista SP1 now.


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User Reviews / Comments   Windows 7 pre-beta (build 6801)

  • Jayko

    Jayko

    "I think its great that MS have brought out and OS that has a nice Aero interface without the hunger for hardware, but they are pretty much selling a SP for Vista at an OS price."

  • LobsterMooch

    LobsterMooch

    Rating5

    "After Vista I find it hard to trust MS to release a complete, fully tested and functional product. If W7 manages to eliminate the compatibility issues Vista had (Especially with regards to games)an..."

  • Ronald

    Ronald

    Rating3

    "Benchmarked on an E8400, Vista was 13%-34% slower than XP. That is a massive productivity hit. Windows 7 will have to outperform XP if it is to be sold as a productivity improvement. GeeWhizz featu..."

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