It’s been only 20 months since Vista was launched worldwide, and Microsoft is already nearly finished on a new version of Windows. I’m not sure if such a short period of time between two versions of an operating system is something positive or not, especially after the lack of enthusiasm generated by Vista after its release. In a way it feels like Microsoft is in a hurry to make up for a faulty, irritating OS that’s often regarded more as a visual theme for XP than as a really new computer management system. Vista issues apart, the truth is that Windows 7 has started to fill up pages all over the web with its new features and functionalities. It’s easy to understand: talking about the possible future characteristics of an upcoming OS is sometimes more exciting than analyzing the OS itself!
So what does this new Windows 7 include? But wait… why on earth is it called Windows 7 anyway? If you count all Microsoft OS releases since Windows 3.1, numbers don’t seem to balance. The explanation is in fact quite easy:
- Windows 3.0, 3.1 and 3.11 were the first public versions of Windows, and they used version numbers as part of their official names.
- The following version, Windows 95, was then officially Windows 4.0. Windows 98 and Me were just minor updates of that fourth version (4.10 and 4.90 respectively).
- The next step is Windows 2000 – that is, Windows 5 – followed by Windows XP which was again a minor update (5.1).
- Then there it comes Windows Vista, which obviously corresponds to the sixth version of Windows.
- And finally Windows 7, which was used as a codename for this version but which has finally become the official name for the next Windows version.
As for new features in Windows 7, I’m afraid it’s going to look very similar to Vista. We had the chance to look at some leaked screenshots a few weeks ago, but Microsoft apparently forced the publishers to take them down. In general terms, the new Windows 7 File Manager is going to be an evolution of Windows Vista’s shell and will allegedly include a new menu system based on the Office 2008 “ribbon” toolbar.
Gadgets in Windows 7 will also be embedded in the File Explorer. There will be improved and updated versions of Paint and WordPad, an enhanced Start menu and toolbar and also a more complete Control Panel with many new items.
You should always take into account that these are all just rumours that will – or will not – be confirmed as Microsoft works on the new OS. In fact, according to the schedule published on its website, the next PDC 2008 (which will take place at the end of October) will host a special event where Microsoft intends to reveal more detailed information about the new features in Windows 7. But while we wait for Mr Gates to confirm or deny rumors, why not dreaming a bit about what we would really Windows 7 to be? Let’s see…
- I may be old-fashioned, but I still prefer an XP-style File Explorer, with all its menus and toolbars. It kind of makes me feel like I’ve got everything under control.
- No more UAC. Seriously. Please let us users manage our computers the way we want, not the way our OS commands us to.
- A more user-friendly Start menu. I’m really looking forward to see what Microsoft means when they say they’ve improved it in Windows 7.
- Full compatibility with hardware and software products. The next Windows is supposedly going to fix this, but I just have to see it before believing!
What about you? What are your expectations about Windows 7? What features do you dream of? Do you think they’ll be fulfilled?