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Over the last several weeks, I have tried to give you as much information about Windows 7 as I can. Writing anything in depth about Windows 7 at this point is a little bit tricky though. Shortly after the Professional Developer’s Conference, Microsoft released a pre-beta copy of Windows 7 and a couple hundred pages of documentation. Although none of that material is protected by my non disclosure agreement with Microsoft, the first beta release of Windows 7 is. I want to bring you as much material as I can on Windows 7, but I am having to be extremely careful not to accidentally disclose anything that is in the current beta, but that was not in the pre-beta build.
Having said that, there is one thing that I will tell you about the current beta. Anything can change by the time that the product is eventually released, but right now Windows 7’s resemblance to Windows Vista is uncanny.
I have to tell you that I am actually a little bit concerned about Windows 7’s future. Many in the industry are referring to Windows 7 as Windows Vista R2. Microsoft has already made public that Windows 7 is built on a Windows Vista kernel. The perception that I have gotten from talking to various people in the industry is that Microsoft is trying to build the operating system that Windows Vista “should have been”. The new operating system is supposed to offer better performance, fewer nag screens, and Microsoft is saying that any applications that will run on Vista will also run on Windows 7.
To me these all sound like positive things, but I have seen quite a few Web sites on which people are saying that they already hate Windows 7. In my opinion it’s a little unfair to render judgment on a product that’s still over a year away from being completed. Even so, I do think that it would be short sighted on Microsoft’s part if they were to make Windows 7 look and feel just like Vista. There has been a tremendous backlash against Vista, and I think that it is going to be important for Microsoft to market Windows 7 as a completely new operating system, not as Windows Vista Part 2.