Limit use of Windows 7 beta version to controlled environments

Limit use of Windows 7 beta version to controlled environments Hanover  - Microsoft has released a beta version of Windows 7 for consumers, but computer experts recommend trying it out only in controlled environments.

"Checking it out is fun," says Axel Vahldiek of c', a German computer magazine. But since it still has security gaps, use of the beta version should be limited to controlled environments. That means users should not store any vital data on computers using the test version of Windows 7.

Windows 7 makes a good, first impression. "It feels faster," says Vahldiek. After booting up, the system is ready faster than older versions.

One criticism of Vista, the most recent Microsoft operating system, is the way it attempts to manage user accounts, routinely asking users if they are certain whether they want to use one function or another.

"Windows 7 does not ask that as often," says Vahldiek. "That reduces the risk of the user getting frustrated and deactivating this very useful security mechanism."

The difference between Windows 7 and Vista lies in the details, says Vahldiek. The new version requires fewer mouse clicks for certain functions. The menu bar has also seen some changes. Users can now place permanent icons for preferred functions there.

"In exchange, the quick start menu is gone," says Vahldiek.

A preview function is another interesting addition. If a user runs the arrow over an icon, a preview window of the document's contents opens in actual size.

Vista also frustrated many users because so many functions would not work using that operating system. It is too early to tell whether that has changed based on the Beta version of Windows 7. But, aside from virus scanners and other programs that try to integrate too tightly with the operating system, most programs should run smoothly, says Vahldiek.

However, he does expect some problems to occur when it comes to preventing games from being copied. (dpa)

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