Windows 7 beta wrecks your MP3 files (already has a patch)

Woah, baby. With all the debate going on over if Windows 7 will be The One that converts XP users to another operating system, Microsoft has no room to make a bad impression. And yet, on the same day as Microsoft's first attempt to release its public Windows 7 beta (January 9), Microsoft mentions that the Windows 7 beta already needs a patch. Apparently, with every edit to an MP3's metadata (such as adding the album cover art), Windows 7 will delete a portion of the audio. This is particularly a danger to those MP3 files that you actually dished out your own cash to buy. In support documents for the Windows 7 beta, the following tidbit is revealed.

"An update is available for Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player in Windows 7 Beta. This update addresses some issues with Windows Media Center playback, recording, and MP3 file support in Windows. ... Every time that metadata is edited in an MP3 file that already contains lots of metadata in the file header, some audio at the beginning of the track may be lost permanently. Up to several seconds of audio may be lost. Large headers are common in music files that are purchased from commercial services because the files usually have large album art. Use of tools to add large album art to existing MP3 files may also cause this audio loss. Specifically, any information that causes the header size to exceed 16 kilobytes will trigger the loss. Each edit will increase the total loss."

The patch fixes other issues with audio files as well. But the question begs, why ship a beta and then require Windows Update to install a patch? Why not ship software that you believe to be the best it can be -- even though it is still in beta? Answer: Microsoft is being Microsoft. Interestingly, Microsoft did not include Windows 7 beta in yesterday's patch for the file-sharing protocol Windows Server Message block, an article from Computerworld points out. Microsoft still apparently believes that the flaw isn't all that critical for newer operating systems -- although security experts disagree with that assessment.  

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