Practical Technology

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The next Windows: 7Up (the Un-Vista) or New Vista?

Running away as fast as it can from Vista, Microsoft rolled out an alpha version of Windows 7 at its recent Professional Developers Conference. But is Windows 7 going to be 7Up, the Un-Vista, or is it going to be (gag) New Vista?

Microsoft would like you to believe that Windows 7 is going to be the next great desktop operating system. It’s not. The company would also like you to please forget that it said the same things about Vista. Remember how Windows 98 was followed by Windows 98 Second Edition? That’s what we have here: Windows 7 is Vista SE.

That’s not an altogether bad thing. Windows 98 SE was a big improvement on Windows 98, and at this very early stage, it looks like Windows 7 will also be a major step up from Vista Service Pack 1. Of course, that’s not saying much. Frankly, I think Windows XP Pro SP3 is a step up for Vista users.

Under the hood, Windows 7 uses the Vista engine. However, at the PDC, Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live, promised that Microsoft would be tuning up this notoriously slow and cranky motor. It’s too early to tell how successful that effort will be, but at least Sinofsky’s team is tossing out Windows Mail and Windows Photo Gallery, which have no business being in an operating system.

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