Well I guess it was only a matter of time. Microsoft has already shipped the first testing builds of Windows 7, the successor of Windows Vista, to key partners. The Redmond company will not of course, under any conditions confirm this detail, or breathe a single word about the early testing development milestone of Windows 7, but various third parties were not as shy as Microsoft when it came down to sharing details about the next iteration of Windows. But despite the deafening silence from Microsoft around the next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 7 Milestone 1 Build 6.1.6519.1 indeed shipped outside of Redmond.
Included in this article are the first leaked screenshots of Windows 7, courtesy of ThinkNext. As you can see from the image at the top of this article Microsoft has dropped Windows 7 ULTIMATE into the laps of its selected pool of partner testers. Windows 7 Ultimate is version 6.1 (Build 6519.1.x86fre.winmain.071220-1525).
Windows 7 features support for multiple video cards from different manufacturers running simultaneously and comes with a new Windows Media Center. With Windows 7 M1 already available, Microsoft is now planning to drop M2 in April/May 2008 as well as M3 in the third quarter. At the same time the Beta, Release Candidates and RTM dates are yet to be set. However, Microsoft did indicate to its partners that it is looking to the second half of 2009 for the release to manufacturing of Windows 7.
Windows 7 M1 ISO is 6519.1.071220-1525, and was served in both 32-bit and 64-bits flavors. The installation experience of the operating system is very similar to that of Windows Vista, offering various versions including Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. Windows 7 delivers support for Extended Firmware Interface (EFI). And as you can see from the start menu, the XPS Viewer is right there.
Update: There is now even a video of Windows 7 available. Watch it HERE!