Windows 7 Build 7000 review: The Beta Experience


In April 2006, testers of Windows Vista, back than still known at
large as Longhorn, received the beta 1 build of that OS, 5384. The build was released to the public as well, allowing anyone to download and test it for their own.

I did review build 5384 of Longhorn with much disappointment. Performance was horrible. We lacked a good display driver system. Audio drivers were missing. Screen readers crashed. Bugs crawled all over the keyboard. Windows kept smashing as the Aero glitched around. Need I say more?

So, this is 2009, the promising year. Windows 7 has finished milestone 3 status. Development of 7 began a while back, I would say around the start of 2008. That gives Microsoft roughly a year to have worked on 7, whilst they worked on Longhorn (after the great reset that is) from May 2005. So in comparason, we have a year’s work and effort in both situations. For the adventure, I would recommend that you read that Beta 1 review of longhorn, from my website at
Though my writing was more childlike and less detailed ack then, it is nevertheless entertaining to read back to those days and see how the Operating System was.

Windows 7 beta 1 receives the magical build number of 7000 (could you have guessed?) with the magical internal release date of December 12, 2008. Yes, 7 Beta left Microsoft compalation decks around a month ago. Microsoft tested the build for 10 days and 10 nights, against beta standards to ensure quality. So did they meet the quality this time around? You be the judge!

Installation changes: Shrinkink the Orange.

Windows 7 leeked to online torrent and piracy sites fast. I recall painfully downloading the build from time to time ever since the last 2 weeks. As I write, build 7000 is in deed up and running on my system. Today, (that is, January 09), the build is being released to the entire public, which anyone (and I stress that last word) can download by visiting the Windows 7 website at
This link

The installation DVD is much smaller than the media of it’s predecessor, Windows Vista. Whilst the Vista installation disk weighed around 2.6 GB, the beta 1 DVD weighs 2.44. The .wim image, which contains installation files, is 2.15 GB, at least 400 MB less than the image of Vista. That’s pretty good and implies that Microsoft is again, cleaning up their clutter.

I don’t think I have mentioned one small and minor change in the installation process during any previous reviews. The setup resembles largely the installation of Windows Vista, accept for one small aspect: The Product key entry is done during the second stage of installation (during which the visually impaired can bring up utility manager and proceed with setup with their desired Windows accessibility feature). You still can leave the field blank to use a 30 day trial of Windows 7.

Rundown of new features:

Since I have reviewed 7 largely in the past, I am not going to do a rundown of new features, though since this build is released to the entire public I know more will be reading this review. I would recommend one to go back and read my build 6801 review (found on, which has a pretty neat list of changes in detail. I will briefly mention a list here of changes mpore so to spark curiosity in those who have not yet read upon 7.

  • New taskbar, which now allows the sighted to “preview” windows by mousing over icons. It also lets a user to pin programs, much like pinning programs was possible in the start menu before.
  • The quick launch and taskbar are now combined.
  • Classic views of the start menu and Control panel are removed.
  • Windows Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, and Windows mail are removed and offered as separate downloads through Windows Live Essentials.
  • Windows Media player 12, a minor update it seems to the popular media playing software.
  • Internet explore 8 (reviewed), featuring suggested sites, web slices, and more.
  • Control panel includes new options for managing biometric devices, controling notifications, setting up homegroups, using GPS interfaces, and other personalization features.
  • New and more manageable recovery/backup options (allowing a person to create an image of their entire hdd)
  • Windows Sidebar is now removed to be replaced with Desktop Gadgets which can be viewed on the desktop or any explorer window.
  • A devices and printers control panel option brings more plug-and-play to your world by automatically detecting new devices (bluetooth as well)
  • Action Center (known as Health Center previously) features a combination of Problem Reports and Solutions and the well known Security center, allowing you to instantly send feedback and receive solutions to problems and errors.
  • homegroups allow anyone to share files at home across many computers with ease. With Windows Media Player 12, streaming media to other computers is also possible.
  • Ribbon interfaces are included in wordpad, paint, and the new XPS viewer application.
  • New calculator, featuring a more 3D look and one which uses Aero effects.
  • DirectX 11.
  • new multitouch capability integrated in many applications on touch- screen laptops and displays.
  • Speech recognition is now more accurate with recognizing speech.
  • Sticky notes application and gadget, allowing you to write notes on the fly and quickly save/retreave them.
  • Battery life improvements on laptops.
  • Disk defragmenter now defrags solid-state hard-drives more efficiently.
  • bit locker can now encrypt removable media and storage devices.
  • better Bluetooth support, including support for audio/entertainment devices out of the box.
  • Less services are run at startup, allowing for quicker boot times and performance speeds.

Of course, this is just a few dozen of the new features — there is more in there under the hood. Remember that the Kernel of 7 is still the Vista kernel, but with many thousand tweeks and enhancements.

Beta 1 Changes:

Performance and startup:

Beta 1 starts up a bit slower than expected. I recall build 6956 starting up pretty quickly (under 30 seconds). Beta 1 takes at least 30 seconds to start.
System performance is pretty much equal with that of previous builds.

Changes and bug fixes

Surprise surprise. There do not seem to be many changes between build 6956 and this build 7000. The explorer bug, whereby explorer would crash when mousing or arrowing around list views, is now gone — thank god! Less system error reports pop up as well.

Application compatibility:

I recall mentioning in a previous review an issue with Windows 7 crashing with certain screen reading software. This included JAWS (Job access with speech) after activation was completed. I am happy (and in joy) to report that JAWS 10 activated fine on this build without any error reports. The performance of JFW with key presses is also better and snappier. This actually makes JAWS a quite usable program for reading your screen with, were it not for the remaining “Failed to obtain the list of task tray icons” message which forces you to use the system tray by tabbing on to it and then navigating with your arrow keys.

Other screen readers did not really have any bugs or problems. Only things which the manufacturer can correct. These include issues with the ribbon interface found within wordpad, or the calculator (seems that only really JAWS has that issue) not functioning well.


Well. Not much to report here really, besides that the beta build of 7 is quite stable and finally one which I can use for at least my activation period expires. In my opinion, it is a lot better when it comes to comparing this beta to the one 2 years ago, and we see the efforts of Microsoft reflected in the new functionality and fixes of this build. Although, credit must be given here that Vista was a major Windows release with an (almost) entirely rebuilt kernel. Still, the features and functionality which Microsoft has been able to compact into this build are quite impressive.

I wrote this review, to let the public know of what they can expect from this beta build. Although I received it through illegal means, it is suffice to say that the build I have installed is the same as the one you will be downloading through fast Microsoft servers. For those who wish to test 7, it is now time. You will be able to use the new OS almost as well as Windows XP, with very little glitches and issues. I will be updating this review if I notice anything majorly new, but I feel that I have exhausted Windows 7 pretty much to it’s core depths. The builds from this point on which I will test should not contain many new features ; Release candidate is planned to come this March, with the manufacturing date set for April or May. I feel that with current progress, that goal is well achievable.
There will only be 1 beta build of 7, unlike with Longhorn/Vista which had 2 (one internal and the other more broad). This makes sense, as the feature list of 7 is near-complete (if not all the way finished).

So, test 7 if you are ready for the experience. Enjoy the new features! If you are using Vista now, you will be better off with 7’s performance and tweeks, though the taskbar in mind is an artifact of dark and confusing creation.

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