back to article Windows 7 fast track alarms technical testers

Microsoft has moved to contain growing criticism from beta testers that it's railroading the Windows 7 and Windows Live test programs, leaving bugs unfixed. Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has invited technical beta testers to contact him and provide details of areas where they feel Microsoft is not listening to their feedback …


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  1. jon

    vista sp5

    it is only service pack 5 for vista. It won't need that much testing :]

  2. Nik Simpson

    One tester, and suddenly it's trend

    I'm part of the W7 private beta (and for every previous beta back to NT 3.1), and I'm very happy so far, does that cancel out chris123. Seemed to me that his post was partly sour grapes that we hadn't received any intermediate builds, he didn't have any specific problems with W7 beta 1 that I could see.

  3. Slate

    Appears ready for RC to me

    To be honest Windows 7 seems nothing more than a service pack to Vista with a name change to appease disgruntled Vista users who will maybe think this is now all new and improved. This guy, is is "Chris" or "Christ"123NT, the article can't seem to make up it's mind seems to be just having a fit because he's not "special" any more he's upset that he can't go around bragging he has the latest and greatest and we don't, because now anyone can get it. Also after using Win7 for a few weeks now, I find it stable and nowhere near the resource pig that Vista was. At idle it uses ~350-400MB of RAM compared to 1-1.5GB for Vista. I haven't had a crash and finding drivers has been easy. It seems like MS is actually implementing some genuine improvements here, so why not give them a break?

  4. Stephen Sherry

    Oh, the good ol' days of development and testing

    I remember when Beta was the release used for testing before it was ready to ship (as in, honestly ready to ship), and release candidates were honestly ready for potential release. And of course everyone knows, the Alpha testing phase that was the "beta in-house" version that no one outside got to see. But I think modern software developers, MS is a good example, have created a new post beta-beta, and have semantically rewritten the release terms to suit their PR angles (and to save money on real, experienced, Beta/Alpha/whatever testers).

    As far as I see it Beta now is really what Alpha used to be, but it is no longer in house. Beta now is what RC used to be, and RC is just another phase added that they didn't want to make a new name for, so they just shifted the terminologies back.

    Most old developers don't care as they wouldn't touch Windows since Vista was release, and most new developers are MS drones who wouldn't know better it it hit them in the head and shouted "look at me, I'm rewriting the past, and you don't have a clue because you're a NooB that let us train you!"

    I'm one of those old developers that really doesn't care because it's the same thing MS has been doing for about a decade (at least!) and the fact hardly anyone has picked up on it actually amuses me a little :P

    But hey, what do I know, I don't Twitter, and didn't waste my money on a MS certification, and didn't take a pundit course on cursing and insulting loudly to prove my pointless points. So don't listen to me, because I obviously couldn't possibly have a clue.

    Mine's the one with "I'm With Stupid <--" on it

  5. Michael Sheils

    Is that all it takes to make an el reg article these days?

    One forum poster is a bit pissed off for not getting more toys to play with so the reg rasies the alarm bells.

    If this is all it takes for you towrite up a story then you should make one about my disgust in EA for not listening to my concerns for Battlefield Heroes since they have seen fit to not give me a beta key yet.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Are these the same ...

    Beta people who tested Vista? Oh, Jesus help us all.

  7. Herby

    Why do they call it beta testing?

    I thought that the releases were the "beta", and then when you finally got SP1 (or whatever they call the "fix") that was the "real" release.

    XP with SP3 probably has more fixes that actually work!

  8. Algis Petraitis

    Too many things not yet on Windows7

    This operating system cannot even copy a CD or DVD without third-party programs. DISKCOPY D: D: still work only for floppy.

    They made a "Burn ISO to disk" function but its impossible to mount ISO file as a drive letter nor open/extract ISO file as a ZIP file. Yet they distribute their own software by ISO files. Why do we need to burn wasting a blank disk and then read from it instead of reading from ISO directly?

    They added H.264 but MKV still do no play without loading codecs from sites I am not sure we can trust.

    Too many small and simple things, that are needed to make Windows OS more usable, are still missing even from "Ultimate" version.

    We do not need another Vista failure. Microsoft - take your time, fix the bugs, add necessary small things, and release a good product this time. We do not need product with 500 bugs fixed after first service pack, and another 500 bugs fixed after second service pack, and even then still too many quality problems remain in Vista for it to be of acceptable quality.

    My advice - proceed with Beta2, Beta3, etc. and release Windows 7 at Q1 2010 earliest. Now its an economy crisis anyway so too little can pay for upgrade, especially if it will be less than excellent quality.

  9. Jason Harvey
    Thumb Down

    Consumer Test

    Microsoft has championed the selling of beta software since MS-DOS 1.0. Ship it and wait for feedback and then fix the bugs and sell the bug-fix versions as new releases. It's a great cash cow.

    As far as my test of Windows 7 goes, it won't let me watch videos using containers like matroska (even with the codec installed). WMP just locks up the system completely. These videos work flawlessly in Windows XP. I have no clue about Vista because I don't have a machine with it installed, but considering that Windows 7 is basically Vista 1.5, I would guess that Vista may not be free codec friendly either. But having WMP completely lock the system (no mouse movement, no lock light status changes on the keyboard, no nothing) shows the complete lack of refinement at Microsoft's sweatshops. Why they don't just focus on fixing the problems they've already created instead of breaking things that work or making new problems I'll never understand.

    I'd rather have an interface that looks like windows 3.1 on an operating system without the bugs than all this flash and glitz that crashes all the bloody time.

  10. John PM Chappell
    Gates Horns

    Wasn't impressed

    I wasn't impressed by the build I was invited to test, so I can't say I am surprised. In my opinion it's doomed because of underlying decisions that go all the way back to the introduction of Win95 (e.g. workarounds to permit buggy applications and broken drivers and hardware to function).

  11. raving angry loony


    Um, folks, the paying customer has been Microsoft's "beta testers" for YEARS now. What these so-called "Beta" folks got was an alpha release. The first 3 service packs are "beta". Only then can an operating system from Microsoft be considered "production". It's been that way for years now.

    I'm especially impressed that they're going to charge users for a Vista service pack. That shows a level of chutzpah that I've not seen in Microsoft since they tried to convince us that WinME was anything other than a pile of horse dung.

  12. OpenSauce

    This is the safest most secure Windows yet.

    ... and that's what they said about Vista, XP, Windows 2000...

    As we all know, Microsoft operating systems are always rushed out of the door before production ready, as they have to get revenue in. A service pack or two will see it right.

    This is where Linux is winning - it's always work in progress, with evolutionary releases every 6 months from the major players.

    The fact that less than 10% of businesses have 'upgraded' from XP to Vista, and Linux on netbooks hasn't had any impact, obviously ;-)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft transations

    Microsoft_____|_____Rest of world







    Next version......|.................v1.1

  14. Andy Bright


    Vista still isn't out of beta and they've already got the next version to the same level of reliability? Astonishing. Surely that's a good thing no?

  15. P. Lee

    It isn't about the bugs

    All software has bugs, its about drawing a line under vista.

    The longer vista is out there, the more people buy Macs and the more KDE looks just as good...

  16. Kevin


    I'm shocked with windows 7 it actually installed and runs on a Micro ATX VIA C7 800 mhz (1st gen) board with 384 megs or ram. It does not run very well but hell this particular board and configuration had issues running windows 2000 and XP so I can't blame Microsoft. Oddly though it actually booted up faster than 2k, XP and even ubuntu which was very interesting to note.

    and @ raving angry loony

    Microsofts done it in the past

    windows 98 was a service pack for 95

    Windows XP was a service pack to 2000 that added some prettiness and made it easier for average users to migrate to.

  17. Kevin Bailey

    @Algis Petraitis


    Can't mount a ssh share as a drive letter.

    Can't mount an FTP share as a drive letter.

    Can't sync files between two locations. (forget blimmin the chaos which is the off-line file stuff)

    Can't login to an ssh session.

    No Key manager.

  18. RW

    Marketing calling the shots again

    That's what it looks like from where I sit.

    Marketing doesn't give a bucket of stale piss about technical issues: it's all glitz, bling, smoke, and mirrors as far as they are concerned. If aircraft manufacturers allowed marketing the power that MS does, you'd have airplanes falling out of the sky every day.

    I've long maintained that what MS needs is many, many more unpleasant grizzled old guys in short-sleeve dress shirts and buzzed gray hair who have to authority to say "no, that's not going out like that. Period."

    This leads me to contemplate MS's two-faced (or split-tongued) publicity. The Windows license says, in effect, don't use this software for critical applications, but they know full well that it's used for online banking and commerce, in medical contexts, and God knows what other circumstances where health, life, and/or wealth are at stake.

    Look, guys, either it's a domestic-grade system or it's a commercial grade system: which is it?

    [The answer: a domestic-grade system, and not a very good one at that.]

    I wish el-Reg had a "piss on 'em" icon. Sarah, dear, howzabout it?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Jason Harvey

    >I have no clue about Vista because I don't have a machine with it installed, but considering >that Windows 7 is basically Vista 1.5, I would guess that Vista may not be free codec friendly >either.

    You're certainly right about having no clue :) matroska is fine on x86, trickier under x64 - and breadth of Windows 7 vid support OoB is something of a sea change......DivX & Xvid decoders are native - MPEG-4/3GPP with H.264 video and AAC encoders likewise - not forgetting precocious support for media coprocessors. Lots to moan about elsewhere but you're way off the mark here..

    MS developers are much more upbeat than with the last tech beta from my perspective and the pace is refreshing not worrying.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Bugs in Windows? Never!

    Paris - no bugs in her.

  21. David Kairns

    Service Pack 7 - More Crap from Redmond Sewer.


  22. Paul
    Gates Horns

    Too fast for Win 7?

    Id say that its right on time for vista Sp1!

  23. jake Silver badge

    Earth to Microsoft Marketing ...

    "Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has invited technical beta testers to contact him and provide details of areas where they feel Microsoft is not listening to their feedback."

    Gawd/ess. Where would I start ... I'll refrain (you're welcome), other than "I don't want monolithic and huge shovelware masquerading as an OS".

    Me & mine will be sticking to what we have for the foreseeable future. Ta for asking.

  24. David Kairns

    RW is Right - ALL Marketing BS

    MS dips their junk in YET another vat of new shiny paint and expects users to believe they are doing something.

    Vista proved they're on the way out.

    Mere inertia will keep them alive for a while -- that's alot of inertia.

    I'm selling cubic volumes of deep space. Where's the MS customer list quick.

  25. David Kairns


    Good point me.

    Now that MS is running exclusively on old moldy inertia, time to scream loudly to Linux to get the stuff useable *without* needing to hire live-in programmers for setup and daily use.

    I've found they're doing that already, so it shouldn't be too long, but hurry the F up!

    Mac is allright for over egotistical niche users -- pretty white plastic brigade.

  26. Kanhef

    @Kevin Bailey

    Can't decompress archives (zip, rar, etc) without third-party programs.

  27. Christopher Rogers

    @all the flamers

    You'll still use it, no matter how much you vent your spleen here. Personally i stick to a heady mix of XPSP3 Server 2003 and suse, until such times as the Haiku Project has taken off, then i can go back to the BEOS style fanboi days. It was always the betamax to microsoft's VHS.......

  28. Mark

    Sounds to me like..

    Someone just got upset because he got the same builds the public got, and now his bragging rights have disappeared

  29. Lionel Baden

    @Algis Petraitis

    I thought people got pissed off with all the built in crap !!

    I personally dont particulry like the fact that windows would be mounting my iso's i would turn the function off !

    Daemon tools lite for me :)

  30. Mage

    It doesn't matter

    No amount of testing and bug fixes can make a poor design into a good one.

    Windows is past its "sell by".

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Algis Petraitis, Kevin Bailey, Kanhef

    OK, so you've got some features you'd like to see added. Fair enough. But 1 - I'd rather at this point see a release that is as stable abd bug-free as they can make it, rather than adding any more features at this stage, and 2 - isn't MS constantly getting bashed for building in functionality that has been traditionally provided by thirs parties?

    Oh and Kanhef, sure it can (at least zip, I've not tried RAR).

    Paris because we'd all like a stable, bug free... Ahem.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason W7 is being fast-tracked ...

    ... is because it is nothing more than Vista R2. Vista already went through the [rigorous] beta testing process and there is no reason to repeat that long process. In addition to that, M$ are trying to put the abortion that was Vista behind them. Releasing Vista R2 as W7 is nothing more than Marketing -- it gives the appearance of something brand new and fresh. The truth of the matter is, M$ hasn't developed anything "new" in years. They just buy other company's innovations, re-brand it and call it "Microsoft [insert application name here]".

    I tried Vista for almost six months but got frustrated trying to get my applications to work correctly and even more frustrated with driver related issues. Service Pack 1 fixed a whole bunch of issues for me and a several more with the help of the plethora of helpful web sites and discussion boards out there. Sadly, the reality of "this issue can't be fixed" was the final conclusion. I "upgraded" to XP [again] and never looked back. My next computer with run some flavor of *nix.

  33. fishman


    Microsoft wants a new version of Windows out for the Christmas 2009 season. Work backwards from that and you get the release dates.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what planet

    I sort of wonder what planet most Reg Commenters live on:

    MS is not exactly on the way out, they've had to shed a few jobs for the first time ever, but they're hardly going down the pan.

    World+Dog will still buy Win7 when they buy a new PC because of the OEM tie-ins - hardly anyone will upgrade but then, that's nothing new, hardly anybody (legally) upgrades their copy of Windows anyway...

    Most people don't actually see a "difference" between the computer and the OS - a PC is a windows machine, a Mac is a Mac and a netbook is, well that's yet to be determined.

    MS will carry on raking money in hand-over-fist because everyone develops apps/games for WinPC - business bods largely equate office software with MS Office, beancounters will continue to use Sage (on WinPC) and games publishing companies will continue to foist DRM into the games and only release through platforms that support that DRM.

    The world will carry on turning and, until the PC is superseded, MS will continue to shovel out shonky beta software as production releases and patch it up as they go and the world will continue to lap it up as the greatest thing ever.

    Outside the technorati inner circle, most people are generally quite happy with Vista now (SP1)... and Win7 has a new name so people might not even realise that it is, in effect, Vista SP2. Of those that do, less will even care unless they have to pay to upgrade.

  35. N

    House of cards

    It just smacks of 'it will all be fixed in the next release'

    well, this is the next release so it had better be fixed, but I doubt it.

  36. Doug Glass

    You Have The Whine ....'s the cheese to go along with it.

  37. Kevin Bailey

    @AC 12:38

    Linking to network shares seamlessly is a real basic core functionality of an operating system,

    If we started on the list of basic tool we'd be here all day:

    Decent editor.

    Decent FTP client.

    Choice of shells.

    Decent browser.

    Decent PDF reader.




  38. Mark Nelson

    @Kevin Bailey

    Actually your list of requirements can be filled with just about any LINUX distribution. Let the flames begin!!

  39. Psymon
    Jobs Halo

    some people have very short memories

    I was quite startled to read of people complaining that features generally fufilled by 3rd party products aren't built into windows.

    Surely, you haven't forgotten the monumental legal battles over the embedding of internet explorer and media player? The outcries and threats from the AV industry when MS dared to build security software into the OS?

    During the IE fiasco, I was wholeheartedly on the side of netscape et al. It was a moral standpoint. MS had behaved atrociously using underhand tactics to gain the advantage. I was an Amiga fanboi back then, and at the time, it was a vastly superior system to win 3.11.

    I eventually had to reluctantly convert back in the days of win95, and cursed everytime it crashed on me. Win98 wasn't much better, and MS still hadn't a clue about networking evironments.

    Then when the EU stepped in over media player bundling, the only reason I agreed with the EU was that I hated MS media player with a passion - only realplayer beat it in the hateful software stakes.

    These days, I don't really care. MS is now a mature, and fairly reasonable company. True, most of the innovative features like diskeepers defrag engine were bought, not designed in-house, but hey, if it works, who cares?

    The real turd churners these days are Adobe, apple software written for windows and symantec. Driven by the desperate need to excrete yet another iteration, they have systematically broken each of their products. The best version of acrobat was 4, prior to the bloatware, DRM infested installers that make distributed network installs nigh impossible... I could go on (and on, and on...)

    They started with a great product, and then repeatedly shat on it.

    The evil-doers these days are the black box business practices of Google, or the data mining efforts of the social networking sites under the guise of "fun".

    XP is actually a bloody good system these days. We can grumble about the UI changes, the marketing bods sticking their noses in etc. Under the bonnet though, it's very well thought out, especially considering the mind bending amount of legacy support they have to drag with them.

    And yes, we all know about the whole backwards staggered release schedules, but isn't that the point? Any sys admin worth his salt waits for at least SP1. We know this, MS know this (hell, they bend over backwards to acomodate late OS migrations). They won't openly admit it because it would cause a media/marketing disaster for them. It's a big fat elephant in the room.

    While the rest of the industry seems to be going backwards, MS have slowly and steadily improved their core software.

    While I'm not wetting my pants over windows7 (no winFS? STILL? That's the only feature I'm interested in.) I'm sure it'll be pretty stable and usable.

    C'mon, guys. The world has moved on since netscape.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    @ Jason Harvey

    "I'd rather have an interface that looks like windows 3.1 on an operating system without the bugs than all this flash and glitz that crashes all the bloody time."

    Totally agree.

    That's a big big problem for M$. Most people have no legitimate reason to upgrade, so M$ now has to start breaking things that used to work so that people will have to buy the new OS. The OS these days, probably for the last 10 years, has had all the functionality most people need, just a matter of refining it, but there is no money in that for M$ or the hardware vendors.

    Eventually, Open Source will catch up and that will be the end of many for profit software companies. I wonder what will happen with the price of hardware? Of course, it is my understanding that, software could be written to function more effectively with existing hardware.

  41. Tim Bates

    They still won't listen anyway.

    It doesn't matter how many betas MS release... They don't give a crap what people say anyway.

    Windows 7, in my opinion, is slightly better than Vista, but has the most horrible collection of weird interfaces ever. It's like MS Office 07 meets Mac OSX. The taskbar is a total rip of OSX's dock thingy, but poorly designed, and the damn ribbon has been put in places it shouldn't be (Paint for example).

    I wish MS would look at usability occasionally instead of "ease of use" and prettiness. All 3 are important, but usability is far more important.

  42. Adam White

    RE: Consumer Test

    In that case Mr Harvey, Windows NT 3.51 is the OS for you! There's no support for USB or PCI-X or boot partitions greater than 4 Gb or fancy glitz like DirectX but it's probably the most stable OS Microsoft has ever made.

  43. Steve Liddle
    Thumb Down

    not beta testing the release

    Got vista, it works rather well, win 7 looks good, but seems like it will be too rushed and with the problems listed above do not see a need to upgrade OS for a few years, might even get a new computer with vista or a dual boot with linux :)

  44. richard tanswell

    Vista runs well?

    Anyone who says Vista runs well needs their head testing! OK so they may not have any obvious problems but should they really be happy with an OS that uses more than twice the resources XP does, doesn't mind the fact that it decides what to restrict than the user (ie hardware drivers, programs, it's own processes etc) and is just a royal pain in the backside!

    I persevered for nearly a year, yes SP1 improved things slightly but the fact is, I was still unable to perform many of the functions and use the hardware/software that I did on XP so in the end, had to revert back to my main OS being XP. I can then run Vista in a VM and test it etc but the simple fact is, I don't have half a day a week to try and troubleshoot my Vista problems and just wanted something stable and did what I wanted to do.

    Windows 7 will be exactly the same! As a system admin, there is no way in the world that I would even contemplate rolling out Vista or Windows 7 yet or in the future as XP does all we need it to. Microsoft need to realise that while there is a need for change in some way, Windows users don't care about how their OS looks or feels. It's about performance, flexibilty and reliability! XP gives us this at the moment. Even Excel 2007 causes problems with many financial models so although we like the integration of WSS and Outlook 2007, we will not be upgrading Excel to 2007, just Outlook.

    MS need to listen to the masses if they wish to stay alive. It doesn't look like a repackaged version of Vista in Windows 7 will help that! I'm likening Bill Gates to Tony Blair at the moment, jumped ship at the right time!!

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