Last week, I published a screenshot gallery and a few short notes about Windows 7 build 7048, one of the more recent builds of Microsoft's next OS that have leaked to the web in recent days. Since that time, I've installed the build on a few more machines and have had time to actually use it regularly. I've noticed a few more changes in using the build, and have uninstalled virtually all un-installable end user features to see what a "bare" Windows 7 experience is like. (It's not pretty.)
Build 7048 (like a few previous builds I've seen) includes a number of new desktop wallpapers. It also includes a new set of Sample Pictures, including some Corbis imagery.
New sounds schemes
Build 7048 includes a number of new sound schemes. They now include: Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, delta (no, it is not capitalized for some reason), Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata. You can still choose No Sounds and Windows Default as well.
I noted previously that there were a few new icons in this build. They include the icons for Calculator, Paint, Windows DVD Maker, and others. (The Control Panel icon was also changed in a previous build.)
Windows Photo Viewer
In build 7048, the Windows Photo Viewer is now styled like Windows 7 and not Windows Vista. That is, it has a pale blue toolbar and not a black toolbar. (It also has a new icon.)
New Start Orb
The Windows 7 Start button, sometimes called the Start Orb, has been redesigned with a lighter, clearer look.
This debuted in a previous build I can't discuss yet, but build 7048 does not include the Send Feedback link on windows. It still includes desktop watermark text, however.
Profile not Libraries
When you click your user name in the Start Menu, the Explorer window that opens displays your profile folder structure instead of your Libraries. (Clicking the Explorer toolbar button still opens Libraries.) Microsoft announced previously that they would be making this change.
Windows Flip/Peek integration
As you tab through running applications and other open windows with Windows Flip (ALT + TAB), build 7048 employs Aero Peek so that other windows are temporarily hidden with outlines and only the selected window is shown.
Thanks to Microsoft's decision to allow end users to uninstall Internet Explorer 8 and a variety of other end user applications and features--including Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Search, Handwriting Recognition, Windows Gadget Platform, Fax and Scan, and XPS Viewer--you can now create an extremely bare-bones version of Windows. The resulting OS cannot browse the Web, so make sure you install an IE replacement first. (And removing Windows Search kills Start Menu Search, which is painful.) There are still a curious number of programs in the Accessories folder, even on a bare install, including things like Remote Desktop Connection, Sync Center, Windows Mobility Center, and Windows PowerShell.
Have you noticed anything else new and interesting in build 7048? Drop me a note! --Paul