The man behind the world’s largest software company, Microsoft, took everyone by surprise yet again. Two weeks ago, Bill Gates announced that Windows Seven, the successor of the XP and Vista operating systems, might come out next year, ahead of the official three-year-deadline set by the company.
The future Windows 7 is an enormous bet for Microsoft, after the poor results of Vista, and will affect all those who now run any kind of Windows on their personal computers. The new OS changed three codenames so far and was developed in very small teams; sometimes, Microsoft employees did not know themselves what they were working on.
Recently, the secret got out: Seven is supposed to be a better OS by providing stronger programming and an even friendlier interface.
Two Microsoft employees from Cluj, Adrian Boca and Ariel Mates, revealed for CLUJEANUL the secrets of Windows Seven.
What’s behind door number 7?
Its creators call the next Windows one of the most powerful and well-designed operating systems so far. It’s also supposed to be more user-friendly than Vista. “It’s got Vista’s fundamental structure, but all the programming behind it was improved, so that it uses even less resources”, said Ariel Mates, who works as a technical editor in Redmond, the USA company’s headquarters.
One of the biggest changes in the future Windows Seven is the so-called “Recovery Center” that will appear in Control Panel. Users will finally be able to repair Windows itself or other files that have been compromised (e.g. by a virus) without going through a complete reinstall. Another “plus” is that such repairs won’t affect the rest of the files present on that system.
“So far we only know we’ll have both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of Windows, but there’s talk about subscription-based services”, Adrian Boca, one of the programmers working on Seven, explained.
The future OS will let users further personalize their status bar and Start menu. Also, Windows will be very home-network-friendly, allowing for the easy exchange of files – including pictures, movies and documents – by those who have more than one computer at home.
“However, one of the big surprises in Seven will be the Touch Screen options. The users will be able to open some programs, such as My Computer, or zoom in and out of pictures by using their fingers. If you know how Apple’s iPhone works, where you drag a photo with your fingers – that’s what will happen here”, Adrian Boca said.
How about a face-lift?
Windows 7 will have a new Windows Explorer. “It will be designed by the same man who created Office 2007 and will certainly include a virtualisation machine that will allow simultaneously running more than one operating system on a single computer”, Boca explained.
Windows “veterans” such as Notepad or Calculator will be redesigned and enriched with new functions, and the new Internet Explorer will have a memory of closed tabs. “A good idea in the next Windows is the ability of saving the desktop icons’ layout. If you like how they are arranged at a certain point, you can save that layout and restore it later”, said Ariel Mates.
Secrets find their way out
Even if it’s closely guarded, the new OS can’t hide forever. “The secret was well kept until we found out what we were working on. Now, with each new team member, more confidential data gets on the internet. For each new thing, we have to explain a thousand times that it did not come from us and, if we know “who did it”, we have to report that. A bit like the times of Ceausescu (former communist dictator of Romania – ed.)”, said Boca.
However, hundreds of pictures and even two films with the new Windows 7 are already out on the internet.
The design remains unknown
At this point, Windows Seven is being tested with Vista’s interface. “We only know it will look a lot like Vista, but we have no exact design. Work is ongoing on creating new functions and maybe the design will change as well”, Mates said.
Whatever the launch date and the changes we’ll see coming until then, the huge number of sites competing to get behind-the-scenes information and sneak-peeks at the future OS all seem to point out that Windows Se7en is already eagerly awaited.
„The sources”: Microsoft veterans
The two employees that talked to CLUJEANUL about the future Windows Seven have been working at Microsoft for 3 and 8 years respectively. Ariel Mates left Cluj after graduating from the Technical University and worked for a number of companies before joining Microsoft. For his part, Adrian Boca went from Cluj and Bucharest directly to working for Microsoft; the two are now colleagues in Redmond, USA.
The name Windows 7 was chosen because it the seventh innovating OS created by Microsoft. The count doesn’t include all Oses, only those that brought major changes: Windows NT 3.1, NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and now Seven. Before having the name Seven (sometimes spelled as Se7en or simply 7), the operating system was called Blackcomb or Vienna.