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Longhorn Beta Build 5048

Longhorn's desktop

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What's more, I'm going to save any serious criticism for the final product. How long it takes to ship matters not one whit to me. And it shouldn't to you either. What matters is that Microsoft delivers a solid, reliable, refined version of desktop Windows at the end of 2006 that's worth upgrading to. The only people who really need a new version of Windows are Microsoft stockholders. It's an operating system, not a cure for cancer.

Let me help set the proper expectations: Microsoft has warned reviewers and developers that Longhorn won't even approach being feature complete until Beta 2. Many of the best features will come later because, of course, they're more difficult to implement. There will probably even be some features added, or visually and functionally revamped, in the first release candidate. And none of it is a surprise for anyone who watches Windows development cycles. Nothing about this is unusual. Microsoft isn't even terribly late with Longhorn. A roughly fire-year spread between major releases is just fine by me.

So while I was a little disappointed, I wasn't surprised that many of the features I wrote about in the last issue are only barely evident in Longhorn build 5048, which is dated April 1, 2005, almost a month before WinHEC. In particular, the desktop-search features are not really there. Some basic UI is exposed, but only about half of the functionality is functional, and none of it is fully functional. It indexes. It looks like it should work, but it doesn't really work fully or properly, and some of it doesn't work at all.

Longhorn's Titlebar 'Glass' Effect

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