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Looking at the Windows 7 Pre-Beta
As the world nervously and anxiously looks forward to the final release of the next generation of the Windows O/S, which is currently called Windows 7, we all wonder what benefits and features it holds in store for us. I have spent a lot of time studying information and demonstrations that have been released by Microsoft about Windows 7 to this point, and I hope this will answer some of your questions.
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What is Windows 7?
Between 1985 and 2000, we met Windows 1.0 and saw it grow through at least 22 major releases, up to Windows 2000/ME. In 2001, we were introduced to Windows XP and hated it before we fell in love with it. In 2007, the general public had Windows Vista thrust into its hands, and wanted their old XP back. Windows 7 is the next generation after Vista, and is currently in Pre-Beta release.
Microsoft Corporation has finally taken note of the voice of the end-user, and third party developers! With the "Rocky" launch and poor transition from XP to Vista, Microsoft was bombarded with feedback, and it appears the developers have listened.
Microsoft says they are going to make Windows 7 the most stable platform they have ever released, and make it easier for developers to create more powerful applications that use less system resources than ever before. The new O/S is designed to run on the same hardware as Windows Vista, and should be compatible with all Vista software and drivers.
For the end user, they are providing a familiar interface (similar to Windows Vista), while adding "intuitive interaction features" that will take advantage of modern and future capabilities of the countless mobile devices that interact with your computer, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDA systems, mini-notebooks, etc. The platform is designed to grow with the technological "eco-system", instead of previous examples of making the "eco-system" change to be compatible with Windows.
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Features, Improvements, and the Core
They are paying special attention to multi-touch support, for systems like the HP TouchSmart, and making many programs compatible, that were not originally created with touch-screen interface users in mind. For example, if Windows 7 knows that you are using a touch screen, it will add a little extra space between menu items in a program not made for touch-screen users. More applications will provide on-screen keyboards, recognize gestures, provide tablet-like handwriting input areas, etc.
There is a new enhanced taskbar with interactive preview thumbnails, allowing much easier navigation between open windows, and the ability to jump to a commonly used task or file with one click. From the previews I have seen, it looks pretty exciting.
Microsoft has also finally updated some of the basic tools, such as MS Paint and the MS Calculator. They have also enhanced the desktop "Gadgets" so that you have more ease-of-use and freedom in displaying only the gadgets you want open, anywhere on your desktop, instead of confined to a sidebar.
They have provided core support for media formats, including H.264 video, MJPEG, 3GP, MPEG2-TS and other common codecs. DirectX enhancments have also been made, making 3-D applications more stable and compatible than they are with Vista. HD video formats and plug-ins are also enhanced.
Microsoft is also focusing on improved networking, to make it easier to connect and sync portable devices, connect to remote networks and the Internet, and search/share data in other computers in your network. They have improved Network diagnostics tools, and Web services platforms for developers.
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Windows 7 Pre-Beta information What Microsoft has in store for the next-generation operating system, Windows 7. Windows 7, performance, stability, release date, Microsoft Beta
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Performance and Stability
Microsoft says that Windows 7 is more energy efficient, through reducing background activity, and that they have improved the Windows kernal APIs. Rendering graphics is going to be smoother and faster, and performance of Accessibility features will also be "significantly faster" than before.
Microsoft has taken note of the fact that many people are not getting very long use of their notebook computers running on battery power, and have optimized the system services to keep excessive processing to a minimum, to decrease power consumption. They have also provided tools to third-party developers to optimize applications to reduce excess background activity when running on battery power, and "scale-up" automatically when the system is plugged in.
The Service Control Manager makes it so a service can be "automatically started and stopped when a specific system event, or trigger, occurs on the system." What this means is, instead of a process running in the background 100% of the time, even if you only use it once a month, it will only turn on when you actually use it.
There have been numerous security enhancements made to the Operating System as well.
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According to the Microsoft development team, the release schedule is going to be determined on completion of the various stages of the project. So, in other words, we don't know the exact date at this time. Once it finishes completion of Pre-Beta, it will move into Beta. Microsoft has speculated on a final release date of Early 2010, however, that is not chisled into stone yet.
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Please note, this information is not all-inclusive list of all the changes and features that Windows 7 includes. Some of them may not be included in the final release. This article was written based on information released by Microsoft Corporation and is subject to change, as the software is still in development at this time. For more information, please visit http://www.microsoft.com.
I am not an employee of Microsoft Corporation at this time.