Moving onward with the development of Windows 7 from the pre-Beta Build 6801 Milestone 3 stage, Microsoft has overhauled the boot screen of the operating system. Fact is, that between Milestone 2 and Milestone 3 of the next iteration of the Windows client, the Redmond company has moved away from Windows Vista, as Windows 7 copies resemble less and less their precursor. Along with the under-the-hood evolution, the new graphical user interface of Windows 7 and the new boot screen are illustrative examples of how the early builds of Windows 7 are evolving past Vista.
The new boot screen that will welcome users in Windows 7 has been introduced in the development releases of the operating system past pre-Beta Build 6801. The video embedded at the bottom of this article, courtesy of GeekSmack, features the boot animation associated with builds 695x of Windows 7.
As you can see, the Starting Windows portion of the startup process is no longer a barren, black screen. Instead, four spheres with the traditional colors of the Windows brand come together and form an animated version of the logo. There is no telling, at this point in time, if this will be the effect that will welcome Windows 7 users on every boot, or if Microsoft will continue to tweak the startup screen for the final release of the operating system.
With Windows 7 pre-Beta Build 6801 Milestone 3 released at the Professional Developers Conference 2008 and at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 2008 in Los Angels, the Redmond company produced Build 6936 and then moved to the Builds 695x series. While Build 6801 is now widely available to the public, as the bits have been leaked and made available for download via torrent websites, this is not the case with Windows 7 Build 6951, 6954 and 6956. In this context, the video of the new boot screen menu will deliver a taste of what is to come in the first fully-fledged Beta of Windows 7.
Microsoft has already confirmed that the Windows 7 Beta bits are just around the corner. In fact, as early as January 13, DVDs with Windows 7 Beta will be ready to ship to MSDN Developer Conference (MDC) participants. Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, revealed at PDC 2008 that, following the Beta phase, Windows 7 would move to Release Candidate and then to RTM.
In all honestly, I can't actually see the video since I'm reading this from work. But when I first booted up my copy of Windows 7 build 6801, obtained from torrent but activated using my official (non-leaked) key, I was extremely impressed with the "barren, black screen", for once it seemed like Microsoft were treating it simply like a startup routine rather than an example of their animation skills. Although i do not use a mac often, potentially the only part of the OS I like is the boot process - simply the apple logo on a bland, simple background.
Also, with no hardware accelerated graphics that early in the boot process, would a highly-animated boot screen not detract from the startup performance of the operating system? Sure, on a modern system that'd unlikely; but Microsoft are supposed to be fledging this to be put on netbooks/nettops and other low-powered devices as well.
At the very least I hope that Microsoft finally makes it easier to change the bootscreen of the OS. We shouldn't have to resort to third-party tools just to de-noodle the bootscreen, even if it's just a case of personal perference and it doesn't affect statrtup performance in the slightest. I'm not saying they need to bundle it with the OS, but a download from them would be nice.
I guess that's just my two cents on the matter, and admittedly the bootsctreen is hardly the most important part of the operating system. Regardless, after the initial @cool@ factor of the bootscreen wears off it could indeed get very irritating every time you need to start your computer.