Windows 7: Roundup

Over the past month, Microsoft have released the first Windows 7 Beta build to the public and developers via MSDN. Initially, the public release was limited to 2.5 million downloads – until the public surge brought down the release site and Microsoft had to “add more infrastructure” before reinstating an unlimited number of downloads of the software.

Windows 7 features a wide variety of changes and improvements to the Windows line of operating systems. Included in this is a brand new taskbar featuring exclusively icons and working in a similar way to the Mac OS dock (although some say it works better);  much more functionality from the task bar including new “jump lists” for developers to play with; a modified start menu and notification area; a way for developers to include their search in the Windows Search box, and many more visual effects. Ars Technica features a very in-depth run down of the new features, and Tim Sneath’s blog published a list of Windows 7 secrets. Despite the improvements, this is still beta software – Gizmodo even managed to make it BSOD.

The launch hasn’t been without its flaws: the first download contained a flaw where all MP3 files were blanked; then it turns out there was a bug in User Account Control that was eventually fixed.

Despite the minor setbacks, and the still sluggish (but improved) install time, Microsoft seems very confident about its new operating system – it’s even reported that it will skip the traditional second beta, and jump straight to Release Candidate, after the antitrust regulators have had their way with it. Steve Ballmer has also been encouraging businesses to deploy Windows Vista over XP, for their employee’s sake.

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