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.