Windows 7: an upgrade to Vista, not an overhaul

Screenshots  of Windows 7 leaked this week on the ThinkNext.net site shows Windows 7 looking more like an update to the Vista user experience and not an overhaul of Vista. That makes sense given the short timeframe to develop and release Windows 7, and Microsoft's change to shorter OS release cycles over the past mega-Windows OS releases. Balmer is saying Windows 7 should be here in 2009. Frankly, most of the screenshots show pretty minor updates to the Vista user interface: a simplified Start menu, ribbon menus (BOO!) in apps like Wordpad, and redesigns to Windows Explorer and other control panel apps. So far, not a lot to get excited about, at least in this group of leaked screenshots.

Will we have more Windows Live applications as part of Windows 7? Yes, they'll likely replace their current day counterparts. I'd guess services like Live Mesh and Office Live Workspace will also be more tightly integrated in Windows 7 along with the addition of touch interfaces and application virtualization for the OS.

The real benefit of all this is to make Vista more palatable to IT and take some of the stain off the Vista reputation. The timing of Windows 7 is at about the point where organizations will start to seriously consider a Vista rollout program. Call it a makeover, but not an extreme one, or call it an effort to whitewash Vista's bad wrap. The Mojavi Experiment commercials are already trying to help that out anyway. The bottom line is, don't expect Windows 7 to rock your socks. We've not seen anything to indicate that will be the case.

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