Print 33 comment(s) - last by hobbes7869.. on May 31 at 6:04 PM

The successor to Windows 7 may soon greet the masses

One of the major keys to Windows 7's great success and massive rebound from the disappointment of Vista was the incredibly popular public beta test program that launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009.  Two years later Microsoft is well on the way to releasing the successor to the popular Windows 7, Windows 8, and it's reportedly preparing for a new beta program.

Softpedia reported last week that it received "Windows 8 Build 6.2.7959.0 Milestone 3 (M3)", an important preliminary build.  Compiled March 7, 2011 (based on the name string of the full build of the release), if authentic the build indicates that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is closing in on Build 8000 -- typically the build at which it launches a beta.

According to CentrumXP, developers now have access to "Build 6.2.7996.0.winmain_win8m3.110429-181" in the winmain_win8m3 branch.  The number in its build string (110429) indicates a release date of April 29, 2011.

That means that by now the Build 8000 may be compiled and almost ready to go.  It still remains to be seen, though, if the rumors are true and this is a beta build.  

One thing that calls that theory into question is the rumor that Microsoft will be working on Milestone 3 from February to July.  A finished build in May is way ahead of that schedule and doesn't quite add up.

According to rumors and leaks, Microsoft will wrap up Milestone 3, move on to a single beta, and finally air a release candidate before a commercial launch in late 2012/early 2013.  

Microsoft appears to be transitioning to a slightly faster release cycle, similar to what Apple does with OS X.  Whether that shorter release cycle will be accompanied by lower upgrade pricing remains to be seen.

The company is expected to possibly release the beta code to the broader developer community (only select developers have the current Milestone builds), and possibly announce a public beta at the Professional Developers Conference 2011 (PDC 2011) September 13–16, 2011, in Anaheim, California.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bills Windows 8 as his company's "riskiest product".  A preview that leaked about a month back showed a GUI similar to Windows 7, but with Microsoft Office's Ribbon inserted in new locations like the Windows Explorer.  Builds have also been seen running on ARM CPUs, which look to begin displacing Intel Corp. (INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMD) x86 designs in mobile computers and servers over the next several years.

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RE: What's so risky?
By Breakfast Susej on 5/11/2011 11:21:38 AM , Rating: 2
Did you read my post I wonder?

I pointed out that I don't have a problem with the ribbon interface. I even went so far as to classify the "problems" with Vista and Office 2007+ as "imaginary"

I like the ribbon interface and use office 2007.

RE: What's so risky?
By omnicronx on 5/11/2011 11:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
I was responding to your backlash comment, not specifically to you ;)

RE: What's so risky?
By Breakfast Susej on 5/11/2011 11:29:08 AM , Rating: 2
Evolution of the GUI as a whole is a good thing.

Still Microsoft to me is a victim of their own success. The demographic of users that Windows targets seems to be highly resistant to change.

Namely business users.

I don't see this as having changed a lot since the transition from XP to Vista. They could in my opinion still suffer a large backlash from "stick in the mud" users.

I don't have a solution to the problem other than take the pain and make the change. Which is a path they have stuck to. I do give Microsoft credit in this at least. They are not afraid to take the pain so to speak in the name of progress.

RE: What's so risky?
By merc14 on 5/11/2011 8:04:25 PM , Rating: 3
You got that right! Most of us love change but the business market sees it as a nightmare and rightfully so when you consider their situation.

RE: What's so risky?
By seamonkey79 on 5/11/2011 8:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
Major changes in interface require re-training your entire workforce... using the same basic interface that essentially all of your employees have been using since 1995... saves money.

RE: What's so risky?
By tastyratz on 5/11/2011 11:55:08 PM , Rating: 3
I support a gaggle of women 40-60 running 800x600 xp boxes and likely to make my life a living hell after deployment if the ribbon was their only option. Easy to say suck it up when its a single 20 something year old power user single install. Ribbon rollout involves training classes, strategic coordination, and flights.

RE: What's so risky?
By DarkUltra on 5/11/2011 8:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
If theres a change, it must truly be better. I don't use Word or Excel much so I can't say if the new ribbon menus is good for me. But I use Windows Explorer a lot to arrange and view files. In Windows Vista and 7, they removed the option to "go up" and replaced it with breadcrumbs. I guess that is indeed faster than an up button since Explorer is considerably slower than its counterpart in XP. But removing the possibility to "go up" or breadcrumb to the desktop is a real nuisance for me. I like to have the Desktop available as a windows so I can move and manage files between other folders much easier than using the "Show desktop" button. I have to click the small double arrow beside the breadcrumbs to get to the desktop - this is much slower than an "up" button, or to breadcrumb there. There was an old version of Windows that also lacked this option, windows 98? I guess they wanted to make the desktop work less as a folder and more as the desktop?

I also miss cut, copy past buttons, properties button and the ability to quickly see how big a file, or several selected files in the details pane that replaced the status bar. I welcome the new options to view resolution and add tags to an image, but the size of the file or files should always be there.

Windows Explorer in windows vista and 7 is incredibly slow at listing files. You select several files, for instance about 500 files in the system32 directory, and get an option to click "Show more details..." and it takes up to 30 seconds to present the size of all the files. In XP it does it dynamically and instantly as you select the files. File operations was very slow in Vista, but improved with service packs and updates, but still it is much slower than XP. I guess Microsoft wants to slow down their new OS so people have to buy a new PC - and thus a guaranteed a new OS license. I'm all for new features, I love the start menu and explorer search feature in Windows Vista/7, but this new explorer is really bad.

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