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Old 11-12-2007, 11:22 PM
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Default Windows '7' to replace Windows Vista

With Windows still managing to find its way to over 95 percent of the desktop computers sold each year, it's not surprising that one can find plenty of people interested in giving their feedback about what future versions of Windows should be able to do. A few years ago, before Windows Vista had even shipped, Microsoft sent out a wish list form asking people what features they would like to see in the next version of Windows, currently code-named Windows 7. The top wished-for features in this list were recently leaked to the public and have popped up at various sites (e.g., Neowin). While anonymous sources at Microsoft tell us that they bear no relationship to the actual feature set Microsoft is currently writing for Windows 7, the list does provide interesting insight into what the Windows-using public most wants from Windows.

The features are listed in no particular order, but they break down into various categories depending on what part of Windows the feature request falls under. Many requests for improvements in Internet Explorer, such as a session restore function, are fairly obvious wishes for features that already exist in competitive products such as Firefox and Opera. Other suggestions, such as a tabbed Windows Explorer, look for features from web browsers to migrate into the general user interface.
Some of the feature requests are clearly unrealistic, such as the desire to "back up" Xbox 360 games to the PC (yeah, I don't think Microsoft will be doing that one). Others are minor user interface enhancements that would be nice additions but wouldn't really change the Windows experience, such as a progress bar when hibernating the system. However, there are a few that make good sense and would be welcome additions to the operating system, such as a built-in video and audio codec manager.

Excerpt from the leaked list.
A Windows 7 insider who wishes to remain anonymous told Ars that the leaked feature list was gathered before any real development on Windows 7 was started, and readers should not expect to see requests from the list necessarily implemented in Microsoft’s next major Windows release.
The Windows 7 team was directed to look at all major desktop operating systems, including the latest Linux distributions and Apple's OS X Leopard, but this was more for general impressions than to look for specific features to implement. Development of Windows 7, which is being built off the Windows Vista code base, is apparently proceeding at a fairly brisk pace, with about half of the desired features already implemented. Unlike the tortuous development process for Windows Vista, the Windows 7 team is actually ahead of schedule at this point, although as with all major software projects, this may not last.
One thing that Windows 7 is likely to contain is a new look for the user interface. The same Microsoft insider told Ars that several options are currently being considered, with the general goal being a cleaner look rather than adding on more gloss and shine. Of course, this too could change before Windows 7 hits the shelves. Microsoft has not committed to a firm release date for Windows 7, but a target date of somewhere between late 2009 and early 2010 is the current goal.
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