When Build 7000 of Windows 7 leaked onto the Internet recently, some bloggers speculated that Microsoft had deliberately leaked Build 7000. If that's the case, Redmond has some 'splainin' to do: numerous users have reported that Windows Media Player 12 (the media player included in Windows 7) corrupts some MP3 files.
Microsoft is aware of the bug and is working on a patch, but if you've decided not to wait for an official Beta 1 of Windows 7, what should you do in the meantime to protect your MP3 collection? Join us after the jump to learn how to protect your precious rips and purchased files - and for your chance to tell us if this has happened to you.
Although the official release of Beta 1 of Windows 7 isn't expected until early January, a leaked copy of what looks like Beta 1's been making the rounds on the Internet for a few days. ZDNet's Ed Bott (a one-time colleague of mine back in the days of Windows Me) has spent some "quality time" with the build, and reports some interesting tidbits from the EULA:
The revision ID at the end of the EULA is: Win7_B.1_PRO_NRL_en-US - so it sure sounds like Beta 1 is on the loose.
There's no limit on the number of installs you can perform, but they stop working on August 1.
Redmond says you can't use Beta 1 in a production environment.
You can install Beta 1 in a virtual machine instead of a normal installation, but only one VM per hardware device.
Potential privacy concerns (such as Customer Experience Improvement Program and automatic error reporting) are turned on by default, but you can turn them off if you prefer.
Beta 1 must be activated.
Releasing benchmark test results to third parties without Microsoft's prior written agreement is not permitted.
If you've already fired up Beta 1, what surprises have you discovered? Hit Comment after the jump and tell us about it.
Windows Vista never did manage to win over an enthusiast following, leaving many eagerly awaiting the release of Windows 7. But while Microsoft's next OS is still a year (or less) from release, you can already get your paws on the beta 1 version (build 7000). Windows 7 beta 1 isn't supposed to make its way into the public sector for another couple of weeks, but leaked copies have already started appearing on BitTorrent, and initial reactions is that it's pretty good.
"This beta is of excellent quality," ZDNet wrote. "This is the kind of code that you could roll out and live with. Even the pre-betas were solid, but finally this beta feels like it’s “done.” This beta exceeds the quality of any other Microsoft OS beta that I’ve handled"
ZDNet noted "exceptional" performance while playing with the beta code, saying it feels faster and more responsive than is typical of beta builds. But what the site didn't find were any new features compared to earlier builds.
BlogsDNA lists several torrent links for the DVD ISO image, which should make installation a breeze for anyone wanting to chance pre-release software.
ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 maven, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, rose to the challenge and has put Windows 7 build 6956 up against Vista SP1, Vista RTM (the original and worst), and Windows XP SP3 in three benchmarks: boot time, Passmark Performance Test 6.1, and Cinebench R10.
Not surprisingly, Windows Vista SP1 blew the doors off its RTM ancestor, but was similarly run off the road by Windows 7, which also made Windows XP SP3 eat its dust in virtually every test. The only test in which Windows XP SP3 held off its two-generation newer rival was in the OpenGL version of the Cinebench R10 benchmark. If this performance level continues until Windows 7 sees the light of day sometime next year, Windows 7 users will be very happy, and Windows XP diehards who have resisted "Mojave" will finally upgrade.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on how you rate Windows 7 versus its predecessors.
In the coming days and years the uses for multitouch will only grow, some will act as innovative new pieces of technology that the world will benefit from, and then there will be others that lack practical use. This is the latter.
While the PQ-DVD made app (the same folks responsible for the iPod video conversion software) looks like a Microsoft Surface made just for synching media to and from an iPod (because it is), it just doesn’t look useful. The tasks, while pretty, would be far easier to complete with the traditional mouse and keyboard.
Admittedly, the software is easy on the eyes – nobody’s questioning that. But ultimately, this is a party trick. Sure it’s cool to show off when people are around, and you might use it once or twice when you’re home alone, but you and I both know that there are far easier ways of opening that bottle of beer than with your molars.
Microsoft appears to be well on its way to releasing Windows 7 Beta 1, and may have it available by the middle of January. To get your hands on a copy, you'll need to attend one of Microsoft's upcoming MSDN Developer Conferences, with copies ready perhaps in time for the January 13 events in Chicago or Minneapolis. Word around the web is that attendees will either receive a Windows 7 Beta DVD at the event, or if the Beta isn't ready in time, Microsoft will send a copy in the mail as soon as they become available.
Earlier this year, Microsoft gave out alpha editions of Windows 7 to those who attended PDC. At the time, Microsoft said it would release a beta version in early 2009, though it still has not committed to a specific date. Attending an MSDN Developer Conference ensures you'll be one of the first to get a copy, and it's not too terribly priced at $99, assuming you're not planning to go solely for the DVD.
Attendees will also have a chance to win several prizes, including a Mindstorm NXT robot with a copy of Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, a Mobility Pack consisting of a LifeCam NX-6000 and Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000, and a Gamer Pack containing some Xbox 360 swag.
According to a blog post by Bob Familiar, an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft, the Windows 7 Beta 1 will be available at the upcoming MSDN developer conference. Said conference will take place from December 9th to February 19th.
In the post, familiar writes, “attend an upcoming MSDN Developer Conference and you will receive a Windows 7 Beta 1 DVD.” It hasn’t been made clear whether or not this means that attendees will receive the disc after or during the conference, but it has been confirmed by other Microsoft employees that the beta will be available.
One such confirmation comes from Keith Combs, who has stated that the DVDs will be available on January 13th. This places it right in time for this year’s CES, and mounts for an even grander unveiling at the trade show.
In recent times, there have been quite a few reports about some enterprises having professed their liking for Windows XP. The consumers and enterprises that have vowed to abstain from Windows Vista, or plan on running old software owned by them, are scampering for used XP-toting PCs.
There is no dearth of Windows XP PCs as millions of users are supplanting their old PCs with newer ones that run Vista; a Gartner study pegged the number of discarded XP PCs in 2007 at 197 million.
Kaplan advises consumers to be slightly more cautious while purchasing secondhand PCs online as they are very likely to come loaded with a pirated version of XP.
The talk of Vista and XP is known to have elicited some passionate responses from Maximum PC readers in the comments section before and so you are expected to be ready with your astute views on this occasion as well.
If your graphics card doesn't support DirectX 10 or 10.1, don't worry about it, Microsoft has your back. The resourceful programmers at Redmond are working on a new component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) to be included in Windows 7, which essentially ports DX10 duties to the CPU.
The upshot is that everyone will have access to DX10 eye candy even if the hardware doesn't support it. Minimum requirements for WARP10 are the same as they are for Vista - an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. So if you have the hardware to run Windows 7, then in theory, you should be able to enable advanced effects regardless of your videocard.
"Our primary goal during WARP10 development was to produce a rasterizer that met or exceeded all the precision and conformance requirements of the Direct3D 10 and 10.1 specifications," writes Andy Glaister, Principal Development Lead of Microsoft Desktop and Graphics Technologies. "We wanted to do this while achieving a high level or reliability and stability. If this rasterizer was going to be used as a fallback for when hardware was not functioning, it’s important that it worked in all scenarios, configurations and different types of machines."
Hit the jump to find out how WARP10 compares to integrated graphics.
After a brief look back at the original taskbar in Windows 1.0 (Windows turned 20 this month), the Engineering Windows 7 blog dug deep into the enhanced features of the Windows 7 taskbar in its most recent entry.
A More Visual Taskbar
The Windows 7 taskbar now features large icons, support for Aero Glass, and no text, and when a window is maximized, the taskbar and the window's title bar no longer turn opaque and dark.
Smarter Program Launch Options
Windows 7 no longer has separate taskbar and Quick Launch buttons for applications, avoiding duplications. Right-click a button on the taskbar, and you can open recently-used documents associated with the program. How can you tell which button represents a program that's already running? A new feature called Color Hot-track changes the color of a running program's taskbar icon when you move your mouse over it.
To find out what's new with thumbnails, the notification area, and for your chance to sound off about the changes, join us after the jump.