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Windows 7 Hits Milestone 3; Feels Like Vista

Recently the "in progress" operating system hit Milestone 3 (Build 6780) and has a street date of June 3, 2009. But many web sites that posted videos showcasing cool features discovered in the latest build have up and vanished since early this morning. While there are plenty of screenshots to go around, watching Milestone 3 in action seems out of the question.

“I received an email from a person who claimed to be an Internet Investigator of/for Microsoft and is ‘authorized to act on behalf of Microsoft in this matter,’” claims a blogger over on ThinkNext. “He asked, if not ordered, me to take down those materials (you know what he means). He lists my 2 posts URLs and the images URLs. Duteous man I commit.”

Despite the crackdown by Bill and the Gang, other sources report that Microsoft has implemented the Ribbon user interface - currently found in Office 2007 - into Paint (image) and WordPad (image). Additionally, the feature originally called "Castle" in Windows Codename Longhorn - now renamed as “Home Groups” - makes a return to the Windows platform in Milestone 3, a DNS system of sorts that does not need a dedicated server to distribute identities across the local network. Milestone 3 also sports graphical version of PowerShell Version 2 that allows remote access. For gamers, this screenshot over on Shacknews reveals that Windows 7 will include an automatic game update check, alerting end-users to updates of PC games installed on the system.

Other reports claim that Microsoft has also visually improved the Calculator tool along with adding new features such as date-to-date measurements, unit conversion, Programmer and Statistics modes and even complete history lists. Other hands-on reports claim that the Start Menu button sports more animation than the Vista version while the menu itself is now simplified. "Libraries" has also taken the place of the infamous "My Documents," and Windows Media Player is a lot less bulky as seen in this image here. Additionally, there’s also a program called "Sticky Notes," however that video was removed at the request of Microsoft as well.

With many additions, this latest build also sees the departure of many applications that appeared in early versions of Windows. The ever-useful Calendar, Movie Maker, and Photo Gallery are no longer part of the platform as well as Contacts, Mail and Meeting Space. Apparently, these applications will still be available separately as downloads through Windows Live. But on a positive note, there are reports that Windows 7 will install in ten minutes, a huge leap from the 30 to 60 minute installs of previous versions of Windows.

According to this blog over on ZDNet, Windows 7 does not “look or feel like a major departure from Windows Vista.” Users who initially dreaded the Vista operating system may find this a disappointment, especially for Windows users who refuse to give up the sacred XP. Microsoft plans to release the official Windows 7 beta this December, while shooting to distribute the retail version sometime by the end of 2009 / early 2010.

It’s highly possible that more information surrounding Milestone 3 will re-appear within the next few days. Websites such as ThinkNext hosting material not approved by Microsoft only ask for trouble. Still, readers want to know more about what’s in store for the next Windows platform, and media providers will virtually risk anything to get the news to valued readers. After all, everyone loves a good dose of drama, and there is always some kind of drama surround Windows and its many stages of development. Stay tuned as more slippery Milestone 3 information leaks out!