Microsoft Details Some Windows 7 Changes Based on Beta Feedback

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Microsoft launched a public beta of Windows 7 in early January—and then extended the window of availability so more people could get in on the testing process. Now, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky has detailed some of the results of the Windows 7 beta feedback in the Windows 7 Engineering blog, noting that the beta was downloaded more than 10 million times at that during the peak feedback week in January the company was receiving a feedback report every 15 seconds, with more than half a million reports received so far.

Sinofsky says fixes for more than 2,000 bugs that caused crashes or hangs in Windows 7 are on track to be fixed for the final release. And while those fixes obviously don’t include patches for third-party drivers and applications, Microsoft says that more than 75 percent of Windows 7 users were able to get by with drivers "out of the box," and most of the rest were able to obtain drivers through WIndows Update or from manufacturer Web sites. According to Microsoft, more than 2.8 million unique plug-and-play devices have been used with the Windows 7 beta.

In a separate posting, Microsoft’s Chaitanya Sareen has also detailed a list of fixes and changes users can expect to see in the Windows 7 release candidate, based on feedback received from the Windows 7 beta, including changes for sounds and Windows Media Player, as well as changes to the taskbar, how wireless networks are identified, how notifications and windows can get users’ attention, and adding Aero Peek to the Alt+Tab application switcher.

The task of culling through feedback, chasing down issues, and prioritizing problems, and speccing fixes is not simple. "The challenge of how to incorporate all the feedback at this stage in the cycle is significant. It is emotional for us at Microsoft and the source of both considerable pride and also some consternation. We often say ‘no matter what happens, someone always said it would,’" Sinofsky wrote. "Ultimately on the Windows development team we have to make a call as we’re seeing a lot of people are looking forward to us finishing Windows 7, which means we need to stop changing the product and ship it. We might not always make the right call and we’ll admit if we don’t make the right call, even if we find changing the behavior is not possible."

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