Don’t fall for those rumors of a new Windows 7 UI

Paul Thurrott is right more often than he’s wrong (although he’s wrong more often than he’ll admit, like when he predicted just a few months ago that Windows 7 would “be finalized by April 2009 at the latest” – oops). But I’m willing to bet that this report is complete, unadulterated  nonsense:

There are rumors, too, that a new UI is coming and it may make sense for Microsoft to hold on to that UI for the RTM builds, so that it has one last surprise to offer up to its eager fans.

No one at Microsoft will confirm or deny this, obviously, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and trust my BS detector, which is pinning at 11 right now. At this point individual development groups at Windows can’t even get a typo in a dialog box fixed without papal dispensation. The idea that a “new UI” is rolling out soon is inconsistent with everything that the Windows 7 team has done so far, which is conservative, thoughtful, and geared toward shipping a stable, high-quality OS.

When the Windows 7 RC does appear, I predict that it will look exactly like the builds that have been floating around for the last two weeks. New desktop backgrounds, sure. Major (or even minor) changes to the UI? No way.

30 thoughts on “Don’t fall for those rumors of a new Windows 7 UI

  1. I’m in your camp, Ed. I don’t think Paul is keen to what “RC Escrow” actually means, or he’s chosen to ignore it to farm page visits.

    The new features goose is cooked. Onwards with bug fixes.

  2. On the same page, Paul also seems to be deliberately obtuse, or just vague, about forking. What’s this deal about “the Windows client team has gone back to the old way of doing things”? You always fork when a build goes into escrow, even if everybody has thus far been working directly against trunk. The irony is that Paul then gives the right explanation, “and yes, it’s just a guess.”

    By the way, Robert, the RC branch is not what’s turning into RTM. It’s a dead-end branch, like the betas. To be super-accurate, it’s really just a very polished Beta 3. Historically, the Taiwanese ODMs ignore all the “betas” of Windows, then scream bloody murder when “RC” comes out and their products don’t work. So Microsoft calls the last beta an “RC” instead, to scare them into testing their products against it.

    From the Microsoft employee’s email that’s linked off Paul’s page: “The build number jump now is actually identical to the process followed for the Beta… the bar gets really high for RC bugs, and anything that will be fixed for RTM, but might be too risky to fix yet for RC, goes into the 7105+ builds.” In other words, same as the betas.

  3. I meant that the RC is really just a super-polished Beta 2. I keep forgetting that there’s only been one “Beta” of Windows 7.

  4. I’m gonna have to say a new UI is out of the question. What they have now isn’t remotely new, just highly evolved. This is good.

  5. “be finalized by April 2009 at the latest” – oops).

    FYI..there is still 2 weeks left in April.

    1. Well, given that Microsoft has announced publicly that it plans to have a release candidate out and make it available publicly before it finalizes Windows 7, I’d say the odds that Win7 will be “finalized” in April are in the zero range.

  6. Paul is a nice guy, I don’t think he speaks BS. But yes, I do think there won’t any major changes to the UI.

  7. I hope and guess they make some small visual ui changes to the glass and taskbar.

    I’m not saying glass goes away or will look completely different, but just the effects within the glass like they did during the vista/longhorn beta. Some small changes in here can do amazing things I think, because it would feel like new, but still have that amazing way that it shows glass like it does now.

    Personally I think the taskbar could use some ui changes too. Right now it’s just a bit faded with a 1 pixel line on top. It’s clean yes, but it just doesn’t feel like a design or so. Looking at those design previews they showed during MIX (that they made before 7 beta) some of those taskbars looks alot better then this one.

    Personally I love to see the go-to-black taskbar like with Vista. I liked the black in it.

    So I just hope Paul is right, and we see some changes soon. It’s not that the RC is released any time now, and RTM is still a long way ahead

  8. Kind of reassuring to me 🙂 I’ve only started using Vista this year on two machines (one still has XP Pro), and I’ve reached that “comfortable” stage with it.

    In fact, I do think it’s an improvement over XP.

  9. I’m very skeptical about this as well. Maybe the Windows logo will be changed, maybe a new task bar, but a new UI altogether would be highly risky at this stage.

    I agree with you Paul, I also think that Vista is an improvement UI-wise over XP.

  10. You know, if Microsoft is serious about “Release Canidate” then it could be finalized in April, if it is indeed a canidate for release….

  11. Brandon, you must have missed the headline on Paul’s story (follow the link): “When will Windows 7 ship? My prediction: April 2009 ”

    “Finalized” means “all done, ready to ship” not “final test release, feature complete,” which is what an RC is.

  12. Hey, a guess is a guess, sometimes they’re right, sometime they’re wrong, sometimes they’re close and sometimes they’re in left field.. One thing for sure, Paul, knows what he’s talking about.. more than I can say about some blog “authors”


  13. Ed, you are obviously a man of many talents. But I think you bring on criticism by writing ad hominem attacks, no matter how mild or how gentle. I enjoy everything you write about, save the personal criticism. You have a keen sense of what’s going on in the tech world, and you write about it with great enthusiasm and panache. Stick to your subject and you’ll win over all of us. You’ve won my loyalty, that’s for sure. I look forward to your next post.

    1. You’re more than welcome to go through my posts, highlight my “misses” and bring them to my attention. Of course, I usually do that myself. When I make a mistake, I correct it. When facts change, I update it.

      And Bill, you might want to look up the definition of an “ad hominem” attack. I’m criticizing Paul’s recent work, not his personality. Big difference.

      I post about one-tenth as often as other bloggers in this space. The mani reason is because I like to get my facts right, not pass along silly rumors. Paul and I have a lot of credibility in this industry, and when we write something, it gets attention. This was a crazy rumor to pass along, and I felt it deserved an immediate correction.

  14. Ed,

    Should we be going through your long list of misses as well? Or would you prefer we just focused on the close hits?

  15. Brandon, see my historical note (#2) on why an “RC” in Windows-land is not the same as an “RC” for some other software package.

    There’s a lot of terminology in Windows-land that, for historical reasons, is different from other software (including most other Microsoft software). For example, “checked” and “free” builds instead of “debug” and “release.” When the Windows kernel bluescreens, it “bugchecks” rather than “panics.” etc.

    Windows 7 is attracting a lot of attention from people relatively new to watching Windows releases. (Paul is a seasoned hand, which makes his errors all the more surprising.) This is why Ed is writing all these blog posts debunking various myths: downgrade rights, brand new UI put in after the RC, etc. This is also why I follow Ed’s blogs.

  16. Ed, I looked it up ad hominem in Webster’s, as you suggested, and I used the word correctly. But I am rescinding my last post, anyway. I just read Thurrott’s last few posts, and it seems that you guys all do your thang! I’m almost 70, so I suppose things have changed without me noticing. I admit that I was wrong. I am sorry.

  17. I have no issue with pointing out misses I just don’t see the relevance in pointing out a incorrect prediction which related to another matter in this post, it just seemed like a cheap shot. Paul’s April date was quite clearly identified as a guess at the time and not presented as a definite date. If that is the best example of a miss you can come up with in an attempt to deride Paul then it is pretty feeble and your comments would carry more weight without them and the BS references.

  18. Paul’s comment “There are rumors, too, that a new UI is coming” was obviously speculative and rumour. That’s how I took it, and I suspect most people understood it in that vein. Even if he was going out on a prognosticating limb, where’s the crime?

    Who made you in charge of Paul being 100% when you don’t hold yourself to the same standard?

  19. Just tool Bill W’s lead and checked out Paul’s blog … it does look as if you are as bad as each other on the sniping front :s

  20. Clearly he said it is a rumor, which should always be taken with a grain of salt. He even made commentary on why the rumor could be true. (keywords here: could be true…as there is a chance it is possible and a chance that it is not). It’s not like Paul created the rumor on his own, he was just saying that there are rumors that suggest that Microsoft may have one more card up it’s sleeve. I am not sure why you are ripping Paul on this one Ed. Perhaps you just wanted to generate some web traffic.

    1. X, I hear rumors all the time. Most are BS. I don’t pass them along unless I think there’s a reasonable chance they’re. The trouble with this one is that a lot of people believe it. So I’m providing a counterweight.

      I don’t take offense when Paul calls me “misguided,” and I hope he won’t take offense when I call him wrong on this one.

  21. I understand skepticism for major UI changes, but are minor ones really that outlandish? I could see them allowing some minor user directed tweaks in the RC version that weren’t in the Beta; they’ve already done some very minor changes in later builds according to the E7 blog. I’ve been begging them to allow the transparency to be toggled for when windows are maximized; I much prefer the Vista way. Can’t a guy keep some hope alive?

  22. Dont think will notice if they change a glow or move the shaddows 1px down.
    I dont think there will be any more changes to the UI before win8 – and then there should be only minor changes.. or atlast I hope.

    (pardon my bad English)

  23. Ed, you seem like a smart guy that has a fair group of fans. I don’t know about the “Paul and I have a lot of credibility in this industry”. I am not doubting your knowledge but I do not think you have that much credibility yet to put yourself at the level of Paul. Honestly, the only reason I stumble upon this blog is because I was searching for info on the Win7 UI coment from Paul. May be next time just share your point of view without criticizing so much on other peoples mistakes; and arguing about the definition of “ad hominem “, it’s just childish (may be there is a need to be looking up for the word credibility). There is just no need to do that to talk about good advances in the tech world. I hope you’re right otherwise this posting will probably say a lot about your own credibility.

    1. Fred, if you think this is about whose “group of fans” is bigger, then we have nothing to talk about. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’ll keep doing what I do, and those who think it’s beneficial can come by and visit.

  24. dont expect a different GUI…some small changes are always possible…but a different UI? no way! Microsoft has already confirmed that the windows 7 UI is complete since the Early BETA RELEASE, In addition to that, The Big surprise microsoft was planning for the upcoming builds has been revield as Windows XP Mode -_-….that’s all!

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