Although having been leaked and available for weeks, Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was made officially available today for download via MSDN, TechNet, and Connect.
An updated SDK, the only package I wanted, was not, however. (1/8: Now available)
Regardless, I downloaded and installed the x64 build of Windows 7 Beta and did some poking around. I was shocked to find that there are still a number of references to locked/hidden features such as gestures and panning that can only be turned on with some magic registry keys.
Scrambling through my notes, I confirmed on October 27th, during PDC ‘08, that Steven Sinofsky very clearly said:
The beta is going to be feature complete. It's going to be pretty good. It's not going to be final. It's going to be a beta. So we're still not ready for performance benchmarking.
Why are these features still hidden in a feature complete build? Is their inclusion into the operating system still being evaluated?
I’m worried because previous features such as RSS-fed wallpapers and Accelerators for Windows were also in a similar hidden state before having been ripped out of the OS in later builds. Rumor is they were incinerated like these poor Companion Cubes.
My guess is we’ll see these remaining features become license-driven for premium Windows 7 SKUs (e.g. Ultimate) or be made available for use only when in the presence of specific hardware (e.g. Surface table).