Us mere mortals now have the chance to download the beta version of Microsoft’s brand-new operating system, Windows 7, which promises to kick Vista to the kerb.
In his keynote speech at the largest consumer technology show of the year, CES, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) announced the availability of this beta. He also announced the global availability of the free, web-based Windows Live, which will soon have some pretty cool features, including Facebook integration for photo sharing.
Also, from February, Dell will have some of this software preloaded on most of its hardware for small businesses and consumers in the form of Windows Live Essential and Live Search, which may be useful or irritating depending on how you roll.
“Windows 7 and Windows Live are part of an incredible pipeline of consumer technology that is making it easier than ever for people to communicate, share and get more done,” said Ballmer.
Well, I don’t know about you, but Windows 7 looks to be a god-send for frustrated Vista users, and any operating system that cleans up its act and leaves a more streamlined user experience sounds promising to me.
Instead of just the usual side menu that XP, Vista and all their predecessors had, the new Windows 7 will have a large taskbar with big icons for switching between programs – from first glance, it’s looking as streamlined as the Max OS X’s desktop environment.
Other new features include Jump Lists and Previews, which promise to make for better productivity by keeping recent files and much-used programs at hand.
The Home Group feature also looks set to make the Windows environment more painless for the consumer by making it a cinch to connect home PCs together for file sharing, printer sharing and so on.
The beta version of Windows 7 is available for download tomorrow from www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: Steve Ballmer gets into his Windows 7 stride at the CES in Las Vegas