New operating system in the pipeline

With the paint barely dry on Windows Vista, Microsoft has already released the beta version of its brand new operating system, Windows 7. Those of us still playing the “where have they hidden that, now?” game in Vista are probably wondering whether we need yet another upgrade, so what will Windows 7 offer us that we don’t already have?

According to Microsoft, of course, it’s the best thing since sliced bread:

Over the past few years, you’ve asked us to make some changes to Windows. We listened closely. Now it’s time to share an early look at how we’ve used your feedback. Windows 7 is faster, more reliable, and makes it easier to do what you want. Both the everyday things and the killer “is that really possible?” things.”

… which of course makes me wonder whether that means they’re saying that Vista is slow and buggy? But we’re not here to bash Microsoft, especially as the list of the list of features for Windows 7 seems pretty sane and well considered.

The new OS focuses on usability, with features like an improved taskbar, better device management and so on. It also claims to boot up and shut down faster, and to nag you less than Vista does, which has to be an improvement (if you’re not yet sick of Vista’s constant ‘are you sure you’re allowed to do that?’ and ‘have you thought this through’ messages then I’m guessing you’re nine years old and used to that kind of thing.)

And the most exciting thing Windows 7 offers, which will no doubt feature pretty heavily in Microsoft’s marketing for the product, is touch screen capability. Which sounds pretty cool, but as you’d have to have a touch sensitive screen for this to work, it could be a while before we see whether this is actually useful or just a spot of bandwagon jumping.

So is it going to be everything they promise?

Well, detractors are saying that it’s just Vista polished and rebadged. But early reports from those who have run a beta version of Windows 7 are pretty good. In fact it’s even been said that it could almost be released as a finished platform – fairly high praise for a beta. The promised speed boost seems to have manifested, the OS is reported to have lost many of Vista’s irritating quirks, all the Vista drivers still work, and it plays nicely with most software packages.

“Windows 7 is very, very good and without a doubt the best beta version of a Microsoft OS I’ve ever tested — and I’ve been working with beta releases of Windows since Windows 95.
– Dwight Silverman on

“I like Windows 7, a lot. Microsoft seems to have put a lot of effort into developing a core operating system that is free from the pointless frills of the likes of XP and Vista. The OS is solid and fast and based on what I’ve seen so far I’d have no problems in rolling out beta 1 and using it daily.”
-Adrian Kingsley-Hughes on

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