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A quick heads up for those of you who haven't nabbed a copy of the Windows 7 public beta yet but would like to give it a run and see if you like where Microsoft are going with it.
Microsoft will be putting a stop to any new downloads from the 10th of Feb (12am Pacific time) and any remaining downloads still active by the 12th of Feb at 9am Pacific time will be cut off for good. Only TechNet and MSDN subscribers are able to get a hold of it beyond this time and Microsoft will still leave product key registration open for a while longer.
A bit of an update regarding Microsoft's Windows 7 development since the public Beta (build 7000) release on Jan 7. It's been discovered that an internal beta update was compiled just over a week later (Jan 15) with build number 7022 and has only just been leaked onto the web yesterday.
Some of the known changes in this build include :-
- You would find Internet Explorer 8 RC1 in this build
- Their has been lots of changes to the sidebar.The colour has been changed and some minor tweaks too.
- A video and three music tracks has been added.
- A few minor changes has been done to the design of the Windows Media Player
- Control panel gets a new look (Category, large icons and small icons options has been added)
- Instant Search in the start menu
- General stability of the OS has been improved
Further to that is mention of a newer beta (build 7034) having since been released to Microsoft employees with a very recent compile date of February 2nd. And with the first RC (Release Candidate) scheduled to be released in April, it's expected there'll be at least a couple more internal beta updates beforehand.
Thanks goes to the Windows 7 News website for the heads up.
Our Download of the Day today is Ultimate Windows Tweaker 1.1.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware Tweak UI Utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit. It can simply be downloaded and used as a portable application to customize your Windows Vista to meet your requirements.
With judicious tweaking, It can make your system faster, more stable, and more secure with just a few mouse clicks. The tweaker detects whether you have IE 7 or IE 8 installed and accordingly offers you the relevant tweaks only. This Tweaker was released at the Microsoft South Asia MVP Meet 2008.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 1.1
System Information: A new page has been added that shows basic information about your Windows and hardware configuration; like Windows edition, Service Pack level, Processor, RAM etc.
- Show drive letters ENHANCED
- Add custom instant search
- Use small icons
- Store and display a list of recently opened programs and total no of programs
- Button grouping ENHANCED
User Accounts & UAC:
- User Account Control ENHANCED and has user friendly interface.
- Menu speed moved from Personalization page
- Services and performance tweaks re-arranged
- Bandwidth optimization moved from IE page
- Enable suggested sites
- Enable Caret browsing on startup of IE
- Enable clear type on HTML
- Enable smooth scrolling
- Notify when download complete
- Enable to check exe's signature
- Allow to run invalid signature exes
- Add "Pin to Start Menu" and "Add to Quick Launch"
- OEM information has separate place
- Detects default settings in clean installed Windows Vista
- Windows Vista x64 issues fixed
- DPI scaling problem fixed
- Few tweaks re-arranged
- Remove "-shortcut" suffix fixed
- Remove shortcut arrow from shortcuts icon fixed
- Suppress shutdown messages in Vista x86 issue on IE page
Our Download of the Day today is Lavalys EVEREST v5.00.
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings.
CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 5.00
- New alerting feature that triggers on overheating, voltage drop, overvoltage and cooling fan failure.
- Support for Intel Core i7 "Nehalem", Intel Atom "Diamondville" and AMD Phenom II "Deneb" processors.
- Support for OpenGL 3.0 with OpenGL version compliancy test.
- Support for Windows 7 and a new auto-load feature under Windows Vista.
- Extended audio information by adding OpenAL and High Definition Audio pages.
- New information page for installed Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets.
- GPGPU devices information for ATI Stream and nVIDIA CUDA.
Our Download of the Day today is Badaboom 1.1.1.
The Badaboom Media Converter formats video and audio files for a variety of devices using a process called transcoding. In the old days of video, there was broadcast television, VCRs, and that's about it; video came in very standard flavors. With the proliferation of digital media players came a similar proliferation of video formats, making for widespread incompatiability.
Badaboom® takes a fundamentally different approach to video format conversion from other solutions. Instead of performing format conversion on the CPU, it harnesses massively parallel GPUs from NVIDIA. By using the power of the GPU, the time required for video conversion is reduced. As an added bonus, you can still use the CPU for normal everyday tasks such as email and internet browsing. Anyone can now painlessly convert video between formats including AVCHD, leaving more time to enjoy the video and eliminating the frustration of video conversion delays. Not only is the Badaboom® Media Converter fast and easy to use, it provides high quality output (up to 1080p!) to keep your videos looking crisp and clear.
The latest version includes the following changes/features:
Changes & New Features in Version 1.1.1
- FRAPS support: This allows game enthusiasts to transcode their recorded game play
- 960x540 resolution: This is the ideal resolution for 30 fps videos transcoded to play on Apple TV.
- Main profile selection warning: If a selected device does not officially support Main profile, a warning will be provided if the user selects this profile.
- SLI disabling is no longer a requirement, but rather a recommendation.
- The 64-bit video file problem that caused certain transcoded videos to fail on a number of devices has been addressed.
- Audio sync issues have been improved for all file types.
- The Main profile problem causing Badaboom to hang and crash for certain file types (including AVCHD) has been addressed.
- The Apple TV default resolution has been changed and should now accept all Badaboom transcoded videos (with default settings).
- The CPU Decode indicator now resets correctly following each transcode.
- The features of Badaboom's shell extension have been improved.
- Both the video and audio bitrate sliders have been fine-tuned and are more accurate.
- The estimated file size is now more accurate.
- The Advanced menu's issue of resetting incorrectly has been addressed.
- The video stutter issue of baseline-encoded files on the Xbox 360 has been addressed.
- The overall stability of Badaboom has been improved.
Our Download of the Day today is Real Temp 3.00.
Real Temp is a temperature monitoring program designed for all Intel single Core, Dual Core, Quad Core and Core i7 processors. Each core on these processors has a digital thermal sensor (DTS) that reports temperature data relative to TJMax which is the safe maximum operating core temperature for the CPU.
As your CPU heats up, your Distance to TJMax will decrease. If it reaches zero, your processor will start to thermal throttle or slow down so maximizing your distance away from TJMax will help your computer run at full speed and more reliably too.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 3.00
- Core i7 temperature and frequency support including Turbo mode.
- NVIDIA temperature reporting with highest GPU temperature displayed in SLI mode.
- Ability to run a file or shutdown based on user defined alarm temperature.
- Updated interface with modern XP / Vista style and border in Mini Mode.
- Start Minimized Vista issues finally fixed.
- New RivaTuner plug-in support.
- Extra information on the main screen and the retirement of the toggle button.
- Switch to UNICODE for better international support.
- Adjustable GUI colors and bold System Tray font option.
- TJMax updated based on new Intel documentation and further testing.
- Calibration formula simplified.
- All new CPU Cool Down Test for a more thorough look at your sensors.
- Clock Modulation & Minimize on Close options.
- New CPU Load meter, log file headings and Distance to TJMax in the System Tray.
- 101 other improvements including initial Windows 7 Beta support.
Brandon LeBlanc from the Windows Blog has posted up a new blog post today that takes a closer look at the upcoming Windows 7 SKUs.
He explains at launch, Microsoft will put the most emphasis on Windows 7 Home Premium (Recommended Choice for Consumers) and Windows 7 Professional (Recommended Choice for Enthusiasts and Small Business Customers).
These will be the box copies that you will be able to choose from on store shelves. They will also be the W7 versions that Microsoft puts its marketing efforts into the most.
Additionally Microsoft will also have four other SKUs, but they are for OEM customers and they will decide which operating system is best suited for their computers.
Not every customer has the same needs. In general, we discovered that most think we should have about 2 or 3 SKUs but there isn't much agreement what "the right" SKUs should be. So we are accommodating specialized needs for customers in specific markets. You could also think of these as niche offerings. A small percentage "niche" (like 2%) of the overall customer base is still many millions. That feels pretty big to me and we wanted to make sure we had the right solutions for them. We think it is important to respond to the needs, so we have:
Windows 7 Starter: Something that our OEM partners asked for is to have an offering for folks that will do very limited things with their PCs and for PCs with limited hardware capabilities. Windows 7 Starter only allows up to 3 applications to run at once. This is something that will be offered only through OEM partners.
Windows 7 Home Basic: Another offering that our OEMs asked for was a basic offering on Value PCs in emerging markets. This is something that will also only be available through OEM partners.
Windows 7 Enterprise: An offering asked for by our best and largest enterprise customers which has all the advanced security and manageability capabilities which also includes BitLocker data protection. This is something available only through Volume License agreements.
And, for those who want everything we have Windows 7 Ultimate.
Read the blog post here for all the details.
Details have come out today in regards to Microsoft's SKU strategy for its next main Operating System; Windows 7. Microsoft PressPass has spoken with Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra in which he talks about how Microsoft plans to deliver to the needs of different users with varying builds of the OS.
To summerize, the full product lineup will look like this:
- Windows 7 Ultimate
- Windows 7 Enterprise
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows 7 Home Premium
- Windows 7 Home Basic
- Windows 7 Starter Edition
You can view the full Q&A betweeen MS PressPass and Mike Ybarra here.
The gang over at Gizmodo had the chance to try out Windows 7 on an HP TouchSmart PC to see if the new touch features are any good.
Gizmodo ran a good number of tests and filmed each one to show the actual performance. They even played a quick game of touch air-hockey. In all they found the performance of Windows 7's touch functions to work well on the TouchSmart.
I am wondering what will happen now that Apple has a patent on Multi-Touch. Will this mean the death of Multi-Touch in Windows 7? Or will we just see a rise on the cost of Windows 7 to pay Apple for the "right" to use it.
With the first Beta of Windows 7 having just been released to the public, in usual fashion many expected the next milestone for W7's development would be Beta 2, but Microsoft's Engineering Windows 7 blog page says that's not the case this time around. The next big step will be the move to a near-final version, otherwise referred to as a Release Candidate (RC).
To summerize the full development path:
- Pre-Beta - This release at the PDC introduced the developer community to Windows 7 and represents the platform complete release and disclosure of the features.
- Beta - This release provided a couple of million folks the opportunity to use feature complete Windows 7 while also providing the telemetry and feedback necessary for us to validate the quality, reliability, compatibility, and experience of Windows 7. As we said, we are working with our partners across the ecosystem to make sure that testing and validation and development of Windows 7-based products begins to enter final phases as we move through the Beta.
- Release Candidate (RC) - This release will be Windows 7 as we intend to ship it. We will continue to listen to feedback and telemetry with the focus on addressing only the most critical issues that arise. We will be very clear in communicating any changes that have a visible impact on the product. This release allows the whole ecosystem to reach a known state together and make sure that we are all ready together for the Release to Manufacturing. Once we get to RC, the whole ecosystem is in "dress rehearsal" mode for the next steps.
- Release to Manufacturing (RTM) - This release is the final Windows 7 as we intend to make available to PC makers and for retail and volume license products.
- General Availability (GA) - This is a business milestone and represents when you can buy Windows 7 pre-installed on PCs or as full packaged product.
A whole lot more information about Microsoft's researching and development methods for W7 can be found at the MSDN blog page here.