Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Could This Be The UI Trick Up Microsoft's Sleeve?

I don't make a habit of posting wild rampant speculation. I could give you some "higher purpose" excuse, but it would just be BS. I don't post it because I don't like being wrong. It's bitten me in the past, so I try to stay away from it. I'm gonna post this one tho, because I need YOUR help in proving or disproving these pictures. hey, bloggers have exposed fakes in politics and entertainment lately, so why not technology?

I came across this Flickr site in the newsgroups, and I've been staring in amazement. There are elements of truth here, but I lack the Photoshop expertise to make a ruling with absolute certainty. So I'm going to post this and issue a challenge: to clean up the pictures enough to read the build information in the bottom left-hand corner.

Reasons why I think they could be legit:

  • If it IS a hoax, it's a pretty elaborate one. IMO, the quality of certain elements seems too professional to be fake.
  • Microsoft has been hinting that there is still more to come in the UI department for quite a while now.
  • The gadgets in the sidebar are in the current builds (save for the Media Player one).
  • Some of the screenshots contain visual elements and styles that I've seen before but can't discuss further.
  • The "Documents" menu shows the real Office 2007 document icons.
  • I can't sharpen the pictures enough to read the text with certainty, but the built text in the corner appears to read: "Windows Vista (TM) ____ <new line> Evaluation Only. 570X_____________________"
  • I want them to be real (hey, that can be a reason, can't it?)

Reasons I think it they could be fake:

  • The person went through all this trouble to get these, and not ONE clear picture of a build number?
  • They COULD be pictures from a monitor, intentionally adjusted to appear to be projected onto a screen (the one on the end of the second row has weird banding)
  • There is absolutely no EXIF information in the file (not sure if flickr wipes this out on upload or not)
  • A lot of the training content for Vista has already been generated (including videos in the new Help section), and I don't know that MS would spring a brand new UI like this at the last minute.
  • UPDATE: Logged in user is Mikey but there is no "Mikey" user on the Login screen.

So break out your Photoshopshop skills, and prove these pictures real or fake... all I ask is that you provide proof of your claim either way, and not opinion. Sleuth on!

UPDATE: What better proof can you have than the author of the original images? Vista testers everywhere shed tears of sadness as a skin designer tells how his art was used in the hoax. That's what I get for sticking my neck out.



  • jdunlap said:
    "A lot of the training content for Vista has already been generated (including videos in the new Help section), and I don't know that MS would spring a brand new UI like this at the last minute."

    Maybe it's an optional UI that can be turned on?
    August 31, 2006 2:09 PM
  • Cryo said:
    It's odd;

    Looks like a mashup betwheen the current Vista style, and many of the concepts seen in the early pre-reset Longhorn builds. An example being the start menu:

    Same applies to the sidebar:

    If you look around the old Winsupersite screenshot galleries of the early Longhorn prototypes, you also see a lot of stuff that look like the wizards/windows open there.

    I'd say fake by a guy with Photoshop skills and too much free time.

    But part of me wants to believe that they got a significant surprise in store for RTM. :-)

    August 31, 2006 2:46 PM
  • Cryo said:
    Another comment! (Forgive the double post)

    Notice how they all seem to be shot at erratic angles? That coupled with the crappy cellphone cam quality/resolution is usually the trademark of leaked screens of "top secret" projects, and it looks like whoever posted those screens wet a bit over the top trying to reproduce that.
    August 31, 2006 2:51 PM
  • Jason Cox said:
    Row 1, pic 3, you can see the light from the screen reflecting off the monitor's case in the top left. Same in row 2, pic 3.

    I'd love to see a new UI in addition to all the ones we're currently getting, they've debunked Aero Diamond on the beta NG's thoughs but sometimes hint that there is more to come.
    August 31, 2006 3:29 PM
  • Moe Lassus said:
    What new UI elements are we talking about here? I don't see anything but old UI elements here. The sidebar gadgets are old and the logon screen is old.
    August 31, 2006 4:27 PM
  • sebif said:
    I'm sure that this is a fake - i've saw on last monday an 571x Built, that don't look like this...
    August 31, 2006 5:24 PM
  • I sharpened it enough to tell that it IS a screenshot of a monitor. However, that doesn't mean the screenshots are fake. I'll try to figure it out.
    August 31, 2006 5:59 PM
  • more reasons why it can be fake:

    * the feeds gadget looks closer to the older design (what's the second gadget in the shots anyway--the sidebar looks more like the original sidebar panel design)
    * the windows logo on startup isn't in an orb
    * the music folder is named 'media library', 'libraries' as a name has been dropped, and the window resembles the library explorer window designs in earlier prototypes

    more reasons why it could be real:

    * the control panel screenshots use icons that weren't put in the current builds until lately
    August 31, 2006 6:06 PM
  • Tubusy said:
    Just can't believe for a moment this is genuine. It's a mix of very old elements with some newer ones. Most of the graphics are steps backwards to older builds or concepts... which may have been nice ideas but were not implemented for one reason or another. This weeks build also has a lot of fit and finish work in it that just doesn't show up in these screenshots (Vista logos, depth to the aurora, fine tuning of the transparencies).

    Sorry guys, but 5536 is essentially the look we're getting... fit and finish is clearly in the final stages. MS are holding back on certain things like the bootscreen and maybe a few other elements like the aurora, but nothing as radical as these screenshots. And mostly I'm happy about that, 5536 looks superior in my opinion... Even if I do with the sidebar was sleeker and better integrated, the windows were crisper, the start menu was more radical and so forth.

    <i>IMO, the quality of certain elements seems too professional to be fake.</i>

    Have you not seen the moon landings? ;) lol

    August 31, 2006 6:26 PM
  • MS keeps hinting to me that something more is coming soon... post RC
    August 31, 2006 7:22 PM
  • alijahg said:
    "We were recently able to catch up with Sven Hallauer, Director of Release Management for Windows Vista, to ask him a few questions regarding the build process of Windows Vista. Sven is the master of all Windows builds.

    On top of the awesome interview Sven did for us, he also helped us understand the process of incrementing build numbers. In particular, why are we hearing about builds numbers in the 5500's and at the same time builds in the 5700's? That's an awfully big jump in build numbers, so we needed an explanation.

    As a preview of the podcast, here's how the road to Release Candidate 1 works: Sven’s team has set aside a specific range of build numbers to incrementally build toward Windows Vista's Release Candidate 1 (RC1) milestone; in this case, build numbers ranging from 5400 through 5699. Likewise, numbers beginning with 57XX have been set aside for the RTM (Release-to-Manufacturing) release.

    So does this mean that MS is working on builds for RC1 and RTM in parallel? You bet!

    Download our interview with Sven in MP3 or WMA formats."

    here is a link to the article hopes this helps in the confusion
    September 1, 2006 9:16 AM
  • dEiluss said:
    September 1, 2006 9:17 AM
  • Um, alijahg & dEliuss, how do those references answer the question? I'm not talking about why build numbers are at 5700... I want to know where the build in this screenshot came from. The build lab it came from (if it is not a fake) would be in the screenshot..
    September 2, 2006 2:02 AM
  • hornetfig said:
    having a bit of a fiddle with the Photoshop Smart Sharpen settings on the picture shown in this entry at [3,3] - the build appears to be x724 (can't make out the first number at all).

    But yeah I wouldn't confirm it's a real build 5724 or anything like that...
    September 2, 2006 2:27 AM
  • vnangia said:
    Go back to the original Flickr set. Look at Picture 026. That implies that picture taker was above the screen, and to the right. That makes it very unlikely it was from a slideshow. Of course, that doesn't mean that it wasn't taken from a monitor, but it makes it unlikely to be from a presentation.
    September 2, 2006 3:57 AM