First look: Microsoft Windows 7 Beta

Windows 7 Beta 1 build 7000 has escaped onto the Internet and is now available from various torrent sites, writes PC Pro contributing editor Jon Honeyball.

It has leaked because the core beta testers received it a week or so ago, and one of them leaked it onto the Internet, according to a Microsoft source.

This build is likely to be made available to a wider audience, possibly even to the public as part of a planned “hearts and minds” campaign to start building up the position that Vista was just a temporary aberration and that Windows 7 is a release which everyone will want to use, including those who have clung on desperately to the lifeboat called XP.

There is still a long way to go from a Beta 1 release to production ready code, but Beta 1 of Windows 7 is remarkably complete. Even most of the Help files are in place.

This is not really surprising, given that Windows 7 is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary product. It would be unfair to call it “A Vista Makeover”, but “Vista Done Right” would not be far from the truth.

This release is notable for a number of things. Firstly, the installation is amazingly quick. In fact, installing it onto a VMware Fusion session on my desktop machine, I thought my build was incomplete because it took so little time to get running.

Next up, this build has the new look and feel for the desktop – so you can snap windows to the sides, the button bar is translucent and can be drag/drop rearranged, and it has the new features such as 3D style pop-up and windows browsing. Internet Explorer 8 is built in, and is clearly nearing its imminent release.

Performance is excellent, and I have to say this is the most complete and polished Beta 1 OS release I have seen from Microsoft in a very long time indeed.

Even after a few days of playing, I am starting to warm to the platform in a way that Vista never managed. Vista has always had the feeling of being the lumpen awkward unloved child – full of promise which was never fulfilled, all of which is entirely Microsoft’s own fault.

The spectre of “the Three Pillars of Vista” is one which will haunt the company for a long time to come.

With Windows 7, Microsoft is making strong and meaningful steps to right the wrongs. Assuming no major problems between now and release, or a Vista-esque pulling of key features, this will be an OS that Microsoft can be proud of.

There is no other choice – a second desktop OS flop would be unthinkable for the company.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos