Microsoft vows Windows 7 will fix Vista mistakes

It will improve the problematic UAC, offer touch-screen interface

Microsoft Corp. today for the first time publicly demonstrated Windows 7, the next major release of its PC operating system, and the software maker insisted that Windows 7 will reflect lessons learned from the widely panned Windows Vista.

Microsoft also laid out a road map for the release of Windows 7 and handed out a pre-beta version to developers at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC), where it also demonstrated new features.

The first public beta of the operating system will be available early next year; it will be followed by test releases and release candidates that incorporate feedback from users of the public beta, said Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live, in a keynote address.

Windows 7 is still targeted for release three years after Vista, he added. This would put its business release in late 2009 and general availability at the end of January 2010 if the operating system remains on schedule.

In his speech, Sinofsky said Microsoft is learning its lessons from Vista, which was widely criticized by users and the press, and spoofed famously in television advertisements by Apple Inc.

Sinofsky acknowledged that some of the criticism was deserved, particularly around Microsoft's failure to adequately prepare its hardware, software and peripheral partners for Vista's release, even though it was more than five years in the making.

Early Vista users experienced incompatibility with applications and found that devices and peripherals would not work with the operating system because drivers weren't available.

Microsoft won't repeat this mistake with Windows 7, Sinofsky said, and because the operating system kernel is the same as the one in Vista and Windows Server 2008, all of the devices and applications that work with those operating systems should also run on Windows 7.

"All of this device and compatibility work will pay off in Windows 7," Sinofsky said.

Microsoft also will tweak the User Account Control feature (UAC), which was new in Vista, so it will be less of an inconvenience and work more efficiently, Sinofsky said.

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