Windows 7 Details Leaked Online

Dennis Faas's picture

Although Microsoft is trying to keep Windows 7 under wraps, around three-dozen screenshots have leaked on to the Internet. It appears the operating system has had some usability tweaks but doesn't have any fundamental changes.

The shots appeared on the ThinkNext blog and almost certainly come from one of the people testing the software. Windows 7 is currently in its third (and likely) final 'in-progress' edition. The first beta edition (a complete version of the system ready for testing) is expected out before the end of the year.

The biggest functional changes appear to be to the User Account Control system, the security measure introduced in Vista which many criticized for being over-active and irritating. The ThinkNext writer says they only encountered the system once, and the relevant screenshot suggests it works in a more restrained way.

Another change is that the 'UI ribbon', a more user-friendly menu system introduced in Office 2007, now appears in many Windows programs, including even Wordpad. Among the more cosmetic changes is a new look for the calculator, while My Documents is renamed as Libraries. (Source:

Microsoft bosses are reportedly extremely unhappy with the leaks. The firm took a deliberate decision to keep the details of Windows 7 much more secretive than previous editions. Officially that's to avoid hyping features which don't make it into the final edition and thus disappointing people, though there's some suspicion Microsoft doesn't want to get people so excited about Windows 7 that they decide to skip Vista altogether. (Source:

In theory Microsoft could take legal action to ban the publication of the shots as the person behind the leaking will likely have breached copyright rules. If they were indeed a beta tester, they've also probably broken the agreement under which they got the software.

However, given how quickly the pictures have spread across the Internet, it's practically impossible to eliminate them, so Microsoft will probably save its lawyer fees. Instead the firm may tighten up security among those who get early copies, particularly if it does release beta copies to delegates at two conferences in late October as rumored.

Windows 7 Screenshots

Click to enlarge; these screenshots were taken from another web site and cannot be validated.

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