The Sunday before PDC, I was given the opportunity to join about 200 other journalists for a workshop on Windows 7. Lead by the dynamic (as well as unusually candid and often very self-effacing) duo of Mike Nash and Steven Sinofsky (surprisingly enough, he didn’t try to have me killed… sweet!), we were given a six hour tour of the much anticipated follow-up to Windows Vista. I didn’t know what to expect, and I walked away with the feeling I got after seeing Longhorn for the first time. yes, I believe it was just that good.

Is it Stable?
This is the #1 question I get when I talk about this build. And I’m happy to report, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” if you have not read Larry Osterman’s blog post over on Engineering 7, then you should read it, because it answers the question on how a “pre-beta” can maintain such a high quality bar. It is a *very* informative read.

What about UAC?
That is the second question that people have asked thus far. The answer is, UAC has been tweaked on many fronts. You can now choose, in slider form, how much Windows 7’s UAC will interrupt you. There are now 4 options, which are as follows:

  • Never notify me
  • Only notify me when programs try to make changes
  • Always notify
  • Notify and wait for my approval
I have yet to be presented with a UAC prompt in over 24 hours… which is really nice. (Update: actually, I was prompted and I didn’t even know it, because UAC no longer grays-out the desktop anymore.)

What are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about Windows 7 as a whole, but I’ll run through the features that I’ll be covering more in-depth in my review that will be posted soon:

  • New Taskbar: You’ll hate it at first glance, but you’ll love it in 5 minutes.
  • HomeGroup: Simplified home networking. Allows you to easily discover documents and media on other Windows 7 computers on the network.
  • HomeGroup in Windows Media Center: SoftSled on crack.
  • Windows Media Center: Cleaner UI, DVD Library on by default, UI for adding Recorded TV folders.
  • Play To: Queue media on your library to play on any DLN A-compliant device in your home.
  • New Codec Support: h.264, DivX, XviD, non-FairPlay AAC.
  • Touch: The new touch features are simply amazing. Take that, Apple!
  • DirectConnect: VPN without the VPN
  • Wireless: Simplified WiFi connections, built-in mobile broadband stack, better Bluetooth pairing.
There is a LOT more to be excited about as well. I hope you keep it here as we begin this Windows 7 journey together. Enjoy the keynote!

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