CES 2009: Microsoft releases first Windows 7 beta

 

Microsoft has unveiled the first beta of Windows 7, enabling users to test the improved user interface and other features of the forthcoming operating system for the first time.

At the CES 2009 show in Las Vegas, the company also announced availability of its updated Windows Live services for consumers.

Windows 7 Beta 1 is available immediately to subscribers of MSDN and TechNet, while everyone else will be able to download the software from the Windows 7 web site from 9 January. The ISO image file is approximately 2.7GB in size.

"I really believe that Windows 7 is the best operating system we've ever developed," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft.

"I encourage you all to get out and download it."

This build of Windows 7 has all the features and user interface improvements showcased at the Professional Developer Conference in October, but which were missing from the preview version distributed at that time, according to Laurence Painell, Windows marketing manager for Microsoft UK.

These include HomeGroup, which is designed to make it simple for users to get Windows 7 computers to find each other and share files such as music and video stored anywhere on a home network. It also includes support for Libraries, to help users organise collections of files, regardless of whether they are stored on the local computer or elsewhere.

Windows 7 Beta 1 also includes touch-based interface support, enabling users with touch-enabled hardware to access their PC using fingertip control. The user interface enhancements such as support for Jump Lists - shortcuts to key functions in applications on the task bar - are also now present.

For business customers, Windows 7 Beta 1 now supports Direct Access, which enables mobile workers to securely connect to the corporate network without the need for a virtual private network, and BranchCache, which locally caches content from remote file or web servers. These features require infrastructure based on Windows Server 2008 R2, however.

Microsoft is advising business users to use Windows Vista as a stepping stone to Windows 7. Because it is expected to be compatible with virtually all Vista applications, apart from low-level tools such as anti-virus software, firms can begin compatibility testing ahead of availability to prepare for a migration to Windows 7.

Painell also said that Windows 7 Beta 1 is feature complete, but declined to indicate whether any further betas will be issued before the final release, expected before the end of 2009.

"I can't comment on this, as it depends on tester feedback whether we need to do a second or third beta," he said. However, he added that Microsoft expects to be adding updated components such as device drivers right up until the final release.

Also available now is the new Windows Live, which includes updated versions of Messenger and Photo Gallery featuring better integration so that friends can get an update in Messenger when a user adds a new photo to their gallery, for example.

Microsoft announced that Messenger will integrate with Facebook RSS feeds within the next few months, enabling users to get updates from this source as well as already supported social networking services such as Twitter.

A new function called QuickAd was also announced, where users can add information from advertisements directly into emails on Windows Live, something that will boost Microsoft's web advertising clout.

Windows Live Essentials will be pre-loaded on all Dell consumer and small business PCs from February, Microsoft said.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


CES 2009: Microsoft releases first Windows 7 beta
 
 
 
Top Stories
 
 
IAG hands digital chief his own ‘Labs’ division
Enterprise ops chief squeezed out in restructure.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
The 5 Windows 10 privacy issues you should be aware of
Jul 31, 2015
There are a few unsettling details when it comes to Windows 10 privacy
Windows 10 is here! (For some)
Jul 29, 2015
Delivery of the free upgrade versions of Windows 10 began today - have you got yours yet?
Microsoft reveals Microsoft Send, a new enterprise chat app to rival Slack
Jul 27, 2015
Microsoft Send is MSN Messenger for grownups, and you could be using it at work very soon
Developers offered $500,000 grants to find HoloLens uses
Jul 8, 2015
Can augmented-reality end up in business?
Microsoft Tossup: The planning app for unorganised groups of friends
Jul 8, 2015
App allows friends to research venues, vote on plans and chat. And depending on how you run your ...
Latest Comments
Polls
Should law enforcement be able to buy and use exploits?



   |   View results
Yes
  14%
 
No
  51%
 
Only in special circumstances
  18%
 
Yes, but with more transparency
  18%
TOTAL VOTES: 822

Vote