Well, it’s about that time again, boys and girls! The most exciting time for me as a Windows enthusiast and Microsoft journalist is the beginning stages of the next version of Windows. Though I’m certainly interested in other Microsoft products, Windows is the product I’m the most passionate about. As a matter of fact, I just wish Microsoft would do us both a favor and hire me on the Windows team to do what Robert Scoble did, *hint, hint*.
But in all seriousness, our favorite Russian site WZor leaked to the web a number of post-RTM Windows 7 screen shots. The build is 7700 and — from what it looks like to me — could quite possibly mark the official beginning of Windows 8 development. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, Microsoft typically keeps the current version of Windows tagging in the early builds of the next version. The build string usually changes to reflect the next version prior to anything else (wallpapers are infamously changed throughout Milestone progressions during development), but if this is indeed the start of Windows 8 development, even the string has remained unchanged.
I certainly hope WZor decides to leak the build as I would love to begin my longtime tradition of dual-booting the latest leaked build along with my main OS! Should you decide to begin such a tradition yourself — or even more daring, decide to replace your main OS with the latest leaks — be aware that there may be consequences to contend with. Easily, the most detrimental consequence during Windows 7′s development was the bug that corrupted MP3s… and that was in an officially-released beta build, too! But I’m putting the cart just a little bit ahead of the horse as all we have at the moment are these screen shots (which may actually not be the official beginning of Windows 8, but since they’re from the winmain lab and don’t have SP1 in the string, I feel I’m making a fairly safe assumption). Oh, and to add to it, the “beta fish” wallpaper that hasn’t been seen since earlier beta builds of Windows 7 is back in this build (thanks for pointing that out @Gilly2468!). Make of that what you will!
I have divided all of these screen shots into 3 separate sections: Client, Server, and Client w/Office 2010 RTM screen shots (WZor posted all of these in separate posts but for the sake of concision, I’m putting them all in this one post).
Just to delve a bit deeper into the specifics of a build string, I want to shine a light on this really simple concept for those of you who aren’t quite sure what it means when you see one. This example is going to use the following build string: 7700.winmain.100122-1900
7700: This is the build number. It goes up incrementally with every build compiled. Sometimes, to mark a new milestone, Microsoft may skip a certain range of build numbers, i.e. moving from 7700 to 7710 without any builds compiled in-between.
winmain: This is the lab the build was compiled in. There are various labs where individuals, teams and branches can compile builds, but winmain is the main lab where all teams check their code in to have it all compiled into a more widely-distributed build.
100122: This is the date in format yyyy/mm/dd. So, in this string, the compile date is January 22, 2010.
1900: This is the time in military format. 1900 = 7:00 PM.
Altogether, the build string reads like a perfect little sentence: This is build 7700 and it was compiled in the winmain lab on January 22, 2010 at 7:00 PM.
Well, that does it for this extensive write-up. If you have any further questions regarding build strings or just some thoughts in general, please feel free to comment!