This evening, Beta Testers for Windows Vista were given a new interim build - Build 5365 - to test. Microsoft is atleast a month away from releasing Windows Vista Beta 2 and this interim build showcases several enhancements we can expect to see coming in Beta 2. There seems to be alot more UI refinement in this build as well as some great performance enhancements. Setup has also be refined to let you see what stage the setup is at during the process. I can say that setup was a little bit faster this time around but there's still alot of work in this area to be done to get the setup time down even more. Let's take a quick look at a few things we'll see in this build:
Windows Internet Explorer 7:
The UI has been updated a bit from previous builds. The browser seems to perform faster and take up less memory usage. I've not had a great deal of time to play with the major features of this build of IE 7 just yet but I'm impressed by how quick it responds. I only wished IE 7 on XP performed as great. IE 7 in this build also sports a new start page for being ran for the first time after install.
Screenshot: Windows Internet Explorer 7
The UI for Windows Contacts has been updated quite a bit, and works even better in my opinion. Windows Contacts, and the new underlying store for Windows Contacts, is a new feature in Vista I'm very excited about.
Screenshot: Windows Contacts
The logo UI has been updated. It now has the new "swoosh" logo that we've seen hints of at Microsoft.com. The "swoosh" logo is also showcased in the Welcome Center and Explorer windows. I'm not sure exactly what to call the logo really other than "swoosh" because its animated and goes - well, swoosh. I'm interested in hearing what the folks at Microsoft are calling it. They even trademarked it.
Explorer UI Changes:
The dark green color at the bottom of the Explorer windows seen when browsing your computer is no longer that dark green but rather a nice brighter gradient of white/green which I think is a major improvement. There is also a line seperating the folder list with the contents of the folder.
Windows Sidebar Gadgets:
New Gadgets are available in this build. Refinements to older Gadgets have also been made. The new Feed-Watcher Gadget is supposed to allow you to monitor multiple feeds instead of the previous RSS Gadget that monitors only 1 feed. I'm not a fan of the dot-matrix printer theme they are using for this Gadget. I wish they went with something more professional looking. I don't want my desktop filled with cheesy looking Gadgets that look like printers. For the most part, I've noticed Sidebar is more stable. Unfortunately Sidebar doesn't start-up as graceful. When it started up for me for the first time, all the Gadgets were all layered upon each other in the top right hand corner of the Sidebar. I had to restart to restore it to its nice looking layout.
Screenshot: Windows Sidebar Gadgets
Windows Calendar has updated UI featuring a more refined toolbar. Subscribing to Calendars is also alot more usable. Another feature I'm really excited about.
Screenshot: Windows Calendar
User Access Control:
User Access Control responds differently than previous builds. I am hoping we will see a decrease in the amount of clicking a user must do just to access a simple application. UAC has become a pain in my side, at the same time its a well needed feature. Microsoft's spending alot of time refining this feature.
Screenshot: User Access Control
These are just a few of some of the changes to features and noticable refinements to Vista users will experience with this build. I'm going to take a look at individual features later throughout the weekend and into next week. There are new backgrounds, performance changes to Windows Media Player 11 (including hints of URGE), impressive Desktop Search capabilities that seem more refined.
At first glance, Build 5365 is a nice improvement and change for me from Build 5342. I look forward to putting this build to the test and seeing what its fully capable of doing.