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
ATO releases long-awaited Bitcoin guidance
Everyday investors escape the tax man.
 
Why the Weather Bureau’s new supercomputer is a 'gamechanger'
IT transformation starts to reap results.
 
Sydney Trains chief thinks beyond Opal
Plots app to help you find a seat on the train.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Run a small business in western Sydney?
Aug 15, 2014
This event might be of interest if you're looking to meet other people with a similar interest ...
Buying a tablet? Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 goes on sale this month
Aug 8, 2014
Microsoft has announced its Surface Pro 3 will go on sale in Australia on 28 August from ...
Apple's top MacBook Pro with Retina is now cheaper
Aug 1, 2014
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro range with faster processors and new pricing, including ...
Pass on carbon tax savings, warns ACCC
Jul 24, 2014
The ACCC is warning businesses that supply "regulated goods" to pass on any cost savings ...
Have customers that won't pay debts?
Jul 10, 2014
The ACCC and ASIC have updated their advice when it comes to collecting debts.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which is the most prevalent cyber attack method your organisation faces?




   |   View results
Phishing and social engineering
  67%
 
Advanced persistent threats
  3%
 
Unpatched or unsupported software vulnerabilities
  12%
 
Denial of service attacks
  7%
 
Insider threats
  11%
TOTAL VOTES: 433

Vote