back to article Windows 7 first beta due January 2009

Microsoft has dashed hopes of a December release for Windows 7's first beta, having created initial confusion on this important code drop. January 2009 now looks set to become the month when Windows testers will get their hands on the first-full pre-release build of Microsoft's next client operating system. In particular, …


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  1. Pete Silver badge


    oooh, multitouch and some different eye-candy. Can't wait!

    Someone should tell these guys that (aside from a few pundits, who make a living from being excited by the mundane, invisible and infinitisimally different) that operating systems mean nothing any more. Once you've got something that doesn't crash, is secure and lets you do what you want with the data you have, there's not really a lot of reasons to care.

    Putting aside Clarkson (which would always be a good move), no-one is interested in the working of their cars - provided they get you to where you want to go reliably, safely and economically. So it is with computers - they do a job, that's all. Whether they run Windows 7, XP, Linux or anything else (if there is anything else?) is irrelevant, provided it gets the job done.

    Of course we'll know that MS have nothing new to offer when they start listing the various screen pretties as selling points. Oh wait .....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    to a torrent site near you in January then?

  3. AJ

    Windows 7, How Many Versions?!

    Lets hope the freaks at microsoft have realised what a huge booboo they did when they introduced Vista by bringing it out in far too many versions, this being one of the reasons why people didnt upgrade from XP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A simple 'Home' and 'Professional' would be enough...

  4. Doug

    which version of Windows to target?

    I'm already getting asked which version of Windows to target for testing. Some are starting to hear they need to start testing for Vista but with Windows 7 due in such a short time, they are wondering if they shouldn't try to push this off as long as they can. History is going to show once again that there will be differences between Vista and Windows 7 so what'll be lost or wasted going for Vista now.

    My recommendation is usually to get their AJAX based version going ASAP and look at putting the backend software in a virtual machine. There's nothing like a virtual machine to isolate you from the host computers complications. If that's not happening, try to put it off as long as possible no matter what the betas look like. Because what ships has always been a surprise.

  5. filey
    Gates Horns

    We have all heard about the need to recycle...

    It feels too soon, too much like a recycled vista. Seems likely i will be using XP for a few more years

  6. N


    Once youve had a Mac, theres no going back!

  7. filey
    Black Helicopters


    Will windows 7 be able to do anything regarding the 3GB ram limit?

    it was silly the mainstream vista couldnt use any more ram than xp, usually when i buy a new machine it has loads more ram than my last. My current machine came with 2gb and its near 4 years old.

    Is that a spider? I blooming hate those things...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    what to expect?

    "...The beta will be the first full release of Windows 7 code and give people a better idea of what they can expect from Windows Vista's successor..."

    given that it's windoze, i think we can expect:

    * crashes

    * gaping security holes

    * fugliness

    *half-baked copying of rivals' innovations

    * avalanche of patches, fixes and service packs for months after release

    * will sell by the truckload to people who don't know any other OSes exist

  9. Rogan Paneer

    Not a propitious date

    Probably thought that it would be prudent to avoid the anniversary of the Pearl Harbour attack. If the W7 beta bombed, it might give 7 December another reason to be 'a day that will live in infamy ...'

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @ AC 20:03

    I think you're giving M$ and the pirates far to much time. My money is on the official beta hitting the torrents by mid December.

  11. Piro Silver badge


    You know that's a restriction of 32-bit addressing, right? Enabling PAE doesn't work in the way you'd hope, and every 32 bit app is only going to be able to access a limited amount anyway. It's not Windows' fault. The 64 bit version is the correct version.

  12. filey
    Gates Horns


    yes, i know its a limitation of 32 bit addressing

    maybe mainstream windows needs to go 64bit, and maybe virtualisation for older apps?

  13. theotherone

    a traitor

    @ filey ..

    wow, a non tech-freak in our midst...shoot the traitor who dost not know the 32 bit memory restrictions

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    2GB is a limitation on 31 bit addressing (not that popular). 32 bit addressing should give you access to 4GB. The limitation is the stupid way that windows uses available memory. Back in the days of windows 2000 (if memory serves correctly) MS introduced a kluge that got them up to 3GB for applications. I'm guessing that they never got around to fixing the code properly.

    It would appear that 64bit is the get out of jail free card for Microsoft. Anyone that needs lots of memory can probably afford a 64bit processor at the same time.

  15. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    no thanks

    The new Fedora is amazing. who needs another bug ridden operating system?

  16. tony trolle

    only need real 5 versions

    home and home upgrade

    Pro and Pro upgrade

    Mega License Pro VL

  17. Tom

    @n - great catchphrase

    Once you've got a mac theres no going back!

    Too right..

    You're sitting at the back with MS arguing which of the broken branches of computers evolutionary tree to go down!

  18. Kobayashi Gimp


    Whilst I am not an ardent MSFT basher, I see the benefits of multiple operating systems, you comment, frankly doesn't hold water.

    If the 32bit Windows 2008 server can address the full 4GB with PAE enabled, and I can fully load my Ubuntu distro, with server kernel and 4GB usable RAM, Windows 7 32 bit should be able to access the full 4GB ram.

    Even if more is used by the kernel for caching, I don't care. I paid for 4GB, I want 4GB. As a consumer if the OS doesn't allow me to realise the benefits of my hardware, change the OS !!

  19. Richard


    This comes back to there being too many versions. There should be Home and Professional (if they really feel the need to separate them). Both 64 bit capable with 32bit backward compatibility modes. Any more is confusing and unnecessary.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    "a restriction of 32bit addressing" - rubbish

    Look, if boxes with "16 bit addressing" (64KB) could have more than 64K of memory (eg 22 bits worth (4MB) on any decent PDP11) and could do so nearly thirty years ago, why can't we do something similar on a "modern" computer? Couldn't possibly be because the Wintel world has moved us *backwards* in many ways, could it?

  21. Sooty


    "It's not Windows' fault. The 64 bit version is the correct version"

    it isn't windows fault no, it's Microsoft's fault!

    They should have just released vista, and had that install the 32bit or 64 bit version based on your processor. Instead they had to release vista 32 and vista 64 seperately in an attempt to wring a few more sales from people trying both.

    The number of people with 64bit processors vastly outnumbers the people who use vista, or xp, 64. Applications will not go 64bit because they don't want to create 2 versions, and there is still a massive 32bit userbase, teh majority of which, probably don't need to be!

  22. david


    So how does the 32bit Enterprise Edition of Windows 2003 enable access to more than 4GB of RAM? It is 32-bit, yet i have just installed 16GB RAM in a proliant running 32-bit 2003 Enterprise to run SQL server.

    Is it not an MS licensing thing?

  23. Chris Pearson


    "Applications will not go 64bit because they don't want to create 2 versions"

    It's 2 flags in Visual studio to change the build type, but yes you have to do it your self.

    What's really needed is a "universal" installer which will have both sets of binaries, like many older mac apps designed for PPC. Until this is as easy to do as it is to just make single system installer it won't happen.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    64-bit Apps

    @Richard: Forcing x64 on people with legacy hardware where no 64-bit drivers exist would be bad. However, Win 3.1 did that by dropping 286 machines, so maybe it's time to do it again.

    @Sooty: How about the fact that most applications don't NEED to be 64-bit?

    @Chris: See comment to Sooty.

    Just recompiling an application as 64-bit really doesn't gain you much (and may cause bugs, depending on how sloppy your coding is). You'll probably get a slight performance increase due to the additional CPU registers, but you'll also have a larger memory footprint, due to the size of pointers doubling. Most applications (read: your browser, Flash, etc) don't need more than 4GB RAM (normally) and therefore won't really benefit from being 64-bit. Where you start using 64-bit applications (besides drivers and kernel-intefacing applications) are applications that need the extra RAM, eg: databases.

    This is exactly why on Solaris systems you see a 64-bit kernel with a largely 32-bit userland. Most of the userland apps don't really need to be 64-bit, and making them all 64-bit just for the fun of it will only increase disk and memory usage.

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