In Redmond Utero, Microsoft is making headway with the development of Windows 7. But aside from small leaked bits and pieces of information about the next version of Windows, there are almost no official comments on Windows vNext. Designed as the successor of Windows Vista, the Redmond company revealed that Windows 7 had been in development since 2007, and in planning even before Vista had hit the shelves, as early as 2006. Additionally, Microsoft also pointed out that the development process of Windows 7 is scooped three years after the consumer general availability of Windows Vista. This means that the next iteration of the Windows operating system is planned for 2010, after January 30.
At the end of December 2007, Microsoft made available Milestone 1 of Windows 7 to close partners and then went on to put the operating system in its early development stage at the disposal of antitrust regulators for review alongside Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1. But while the next version of Windows is in play, only a selected few managed to get their hands on the actual bits, leaving end users with nothing but crumbs from the Windows 7 feast. And speaking of crumbs, Paul Thurrott, via SuperSite for Windows, has a new screenshot gallery of Windows 7.
What you will be able to see is Windows 7 Milestone 1 Version 6.1 (Build 6519.1.x86fre.winmain.071220-1525) Ultimate. At this point in time, Windows 7 M 1 is not a standalone package. It is in fact designed to be installed on top of Windows Vista SP1 RTM, and this is the explication for the Ultimate edition label. And yes, little to nothing has changed compared to Vista, but this is an inherent scenario as Windows 7 is in the early stages of development. It is in fact tradition over at Microsoft to build the next version of a Windows operating system on top of the old one.
It happened with Windows XP and Longhorn and you can now experience it with Windows Vista and Windows 7. The differences are subtle and provide nuances rather than anything else. Microsoft has not even got to introducing the MinWin, stripped down core of the Windows platform into Windows 7 M1. At the same time, Windows 7 Milestone 2 is getting closer and closer, as it is planned for the April/May 2008 timeframe.