A few days ago, Bryant from AeroXperience had made a blog post on his thoughts for what Windows 7 Milestone 3 has. Looks like he opened Pandora’s Box as since then, there has been a lot more information out about the build and it’s features, specially the Ribbon UI spreading through out bundled applications such as Paint and Wordpad. He had mentioned the end of Sidebar as we know it, a trend which was obvious from the M1 build screenshots.

Based on the trend we saw in M1, The Sidebar the thing which really shouldn’t be called the sidebar anymore will be embedded into the desktop even further, eventually annihilating the concept of a sidebar in the first place. The gadgets might remain on the side, but for all intents and purposes, the gadgets might just stay on the desktop, ready and willing to be called to the front using a key combination (not different from what you see in Vista now: Win+Space to pull gadgets to the front in Vista).

About the overhaul to Paint and Wordpad, he said

Since adding tools to Paint and Wordpad likely isn’t the Windows team’s largest focus, one could expect to see two or three tabs for the ribbon.

Homegroups, Windows Live integration and Themes are also in the M3 build as told by Bryant.

Bryant’s hypothesis has been proven correct by more information yesterday from Stephen Chapman and Mary Jo Foley. Stephen even managed to grab hold of a screenshot of Paint with the new Ribbon UI.

Where as Bryan didn’t predict any change to the features of Paint, Stephen regards the updated Paint app as ‘imagine a software somewhere between the currently-existing MS Paint and the wonderful Paint.NET freeware application’, which is evident from the screenshot. He has also hinted at a more powerful Wordpad, which would be a  stripped down version of Office 2007 Word and could possibly include support for *.docx format. MJ also got a sneak peak a the M3 build and mentioned the Ribbon UI of Wordpad and Paint, as well as Powershell version 2 being included in the OS. Also, as expected, she says that Windows 7 doesn’t look like a major departure from Vista.

Sadly, we haven’t gotten any more peaks at the build apart from the Paint screenshot. Microsoft will be skipping the M4 build and working on a preview build for PDC or WinHEC. I certainly hope it’s at the PDC. Even if they don’t give out a build at PDC, we’re sure to get a lot more peaks at Win 7 through out the conference. So far, the leaked information only points out at minor upgrades to applications and nothing major to the operation system functionality. But it’s still something to get excited for. I can’t wait for PDC to find out more about Windows 7!

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