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Microsoft rolls out first Windows 7 details

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue October 28, 2008

Windows 7 First Details

Microsoft at its Professional Developer Conference today provided a first look at Windows 7, the company's successor to Vista. The operating system is based heavily on the underlying framework of Vista but focuses heavily on redesigning the interface. The Windows taskbar and the general interface has been improved to speed up common tasks: running apps are simplified to icons and now include Jump Lists that provide shortcuts to common tasks for running apps, such as queuing up playlists in Windows Media Player. Pointing at each item on the taskbar also lets users "peek" at the contents of a running app without having to select the window.

An extra feature known as Libraries also creates directory-independent file organization. Users can browse their picture libraries sorted into groups by their metadata, for example, rather than having to manually create regular or smart folders.

The "ribbon" interface from Office 2007 has now spread into core operating system apps such as Paint and changes the toolbar's buttons based on context, exposing more features without having to search menus.

The software firm has also addressed some complaints with Vista and earlier versions of Windows. The system tray no longer automatically shows third-party icons by default and lets users choose which ones to show. The gadget sidebar has been scrapped in favor of a place-anywhere design that lets users personalize the desktop.

Performance has also improved significantly, the company says. While Windows Vista was previously kept off netbooks due to its sluggish performance on low requirements, Windows 7 should run smoothly on systems using Intel Atom processors and other low-performance systems. Windows engineering senior VP Steven Sinofsky has run a complete smooth demonstration of the new operating system on a test system with just a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

Other additions echo previous last-minute leaks and include Device Stage, a central hub for synchronizing and managing cameras, media players and other devices; a new animation framework; and much more advanced hardware feature support, including very high DPI displays, built-in Bluetooth file transfers and multi-touch input.

Microsoft doesn't say when it expects to release Windows 7 but notes in its presentation that there will be one main beta followed by a feedback stage, a late customer experience beta, and a release to manufacturing, suggesting that the company may skip its more traditional multi-beta and release candidate stages for outside users. Previously, the company has said it hoped to release Windows 7 in early 2010 and may need to start shipping the OS in late 2009 for this to take place. [images via Ars Technica]

by MacNN Staff



  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why don't they just buy a license to OS X and get it over with, this continual copying of elements from OS X is getting tiring - their task bar just looks like a Dock rip off.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fixing wrong end

    "underlying framework of Vista." Holy Cow, they are still not fixing the broken part. The part that meets the interface to the other people's hardware "Drivers".
    Still chained to and building on DOS after all these years.

  1. MatildeMatilde

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It looks like Linux.

    Why can't we have cool, three-dimensional desktops, like in films?

  1. scotte75ky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Poor Windows. It really does look like Mac OS X!

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ok, I have been testing the KDE 4.1 on ubuntu and it not only looks like this, but a lot of the concepts are really ..... converging. It seems that what OS X has had for the last 6 years is where everyone else is headed too. KDE 4.1 is looking almost good enough to switch to full time. I would guess that the next couple of releases will really put it ahead of windows and probably even OS X.
    Nothing like a little competition to keep things interesting.


  1. russell2200

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Holy Bat c*** Batman

    "based heavily on the underlying framework of Vista but focuses heavily on redesigning the interface"

    Excuse my ignorance but isn't it the whole underlying system thats the problem with windows. Fix the interface !!! that still leaves users with the whole underlying system problems.

    At the time many users were not happy with Apple when they drew the line in the sand and simply dumped the old OS and forced users to move to the new OS.

    Microsoft needs to do the same , only problem is they dont have any new great operating system to go to or the vision to develop one.

  1. yackamac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stole the Dock

    Wow! Look the scumbags stole the Dock.

    Just buy a Mac, Bill...

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I disagree, these screenshots are hideous they look nothing like a Mac.
    The other big problem with Vista is the annoying security warnings and the continuous message boxes that ask you to buy this and install that and update this and pay for Norton and that Norton is deactivated for this feature and that Norton wants to do your sister... sheeesh!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get ready...

    Is everyone ready for 2 or more years of these "rollouts" and "first looks" -?

    And - it really looks like a Mac if they had jackasses for GUI designers.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not at all like a Mac

    That blurry stuff that's shining through those translucent window edges? That's the most hideous, irritating, distracting thing I've ever seen in any UI.

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