Windows 7 Build 6801 x64 – A Review with Pictures

Well, now that Windows 7 build 6801 is out, I guess I should review it.

I’m using it now, but posting from IE8 instead of my usual Chrome. Something went wrong with Chrome and it won’t display any pages.

Before I go into my review of the OS, I’d like to mention why I’m so late getting it installed. My ISO had issues and was corrupt, and the installer checks the install.wim for validity. And no matter how many times I download it, it’ll always be corrupt for some reason. So I tried various things, wasting 3 DVD’s, and various VM attempts to try to get it to install. In addition to my first plan, an ISO mount install, that didn’t work.

So here’s how I got it to install.

To do this, I needed a Microsoft Windows 7 Build 6801 ISO, MagicDisc, the Windows AIK, and VistaBootPro.

Please do not follow these steps. Unless your setup is similar to mine where you don’t have anything on your C drive (which is highly unlikely), this will ruin the contents of it. I accept NO repsonsibility if you choose to disregard this warning.

1. I formatted my “C” partition using the Disk Management tool.

2. I mounted the ISO (obtainable from the usual places ) with MagicDisc (the tutorial will assume it’s mounted to drive F)

3. I opened the Windows PE Tools Command Prompt, and entered the following command

imagex /apply F:\sources\install.wim 4 C:\

Also note the 4. It took a couple of failed attempts and finally discovery of the /info switch to find out that 4 is ultimate edition (1 is business edition, 5 is home basic N, and 6 is business N if anyone is wondering)

4. After it’s done, I used VistaBootPRO to add a bootloader entry for it (For OS type it should be Vista and partition C in this case)

5. Then I rebooted, selected the new entry in the menu, and it installed from there.


Now for the review. First for things you won’t see because they’ve been removed. The sidebar (although the gadgets are still there), the InkBall game, and WMP mini-mode (although this has been replaced with something else in build 6933) aren’t there anymore. This build does not have the new taskbar seen in 6933 either.

But the build seems nice and fast, I hope this will continue to improve.

For the sake of loading times, I’m not gonna embed the screenshots in the page. Click the links to see them.

The Windows Version reporter: Click here

The taskbar: Click here

Notice the colored spot at the far right. Click on it and it shows your desktop. In later builds, it has additional functionality.

Internet Explorer 8: Click here

While I usually use Chrome, it doesn’t seem to work in 6801 very well. So I guess I’ll use IE8. It seems quite nice though, so maybe Microsoft has finally put some work into making a decent browser. Although I had to enable compatibility view to write this post; apparently the title field doesn’t like the normal mode.

Windows Media Player 12: Click here

It seems the glass no longer extends to where the controls are.

But the interface has changed a bit, the area with the Play, Burn, and Sync tabs looks a bit like the style of the Office 2007 Ribbon (and I won’t be suprised to find the Ribbon in WMP by the end of this). Also, I’ll say again that mini mode (which while I think it’s an essential feature, the hardware play/pause, skip, and etc… buttons do just fine for now I guess) is gone. Although it will be replaced by something else in later builds.

Start menu: Click here
The small changes to the look of the start menu are nice, at least I think they are. Although it functions exactly the same as the start menu in Vista, so there’s not much to report besides the appearance.

Paint: Click here

You’ll notice that instead of a picture, you’ll get a directory when you click that. This is because since the Ribbon in Paint is a big deal, I think I should include several screenshots and just let you browse through them.

WordPad: Click here

WordPad has similar changes to Paint, although I won’t bother taking more than one screenshot, as I think by now, even if you’ve never used Office 2007, you should get the concept of the Ribbon from my last screenshots.

One-click Network Connections: Click here

Also a really nice feature, one click network connections. Considering I often have to disconnect from my network and reconnect (and “borrow” my neighbors’ connection once in awhile ), that comes in handy.

Device Manager: Click here

Microsoft has finally included a driver for my GMA965!

Although I hate the new Control Panel view options. I’m used to Vista’s big tiles, knowing where exactly everything is. I’m gonna be confused with this for awhile now.

Security tray popup: Click here

Virus protection (Important) is probably gonna get on my nerves since I have no plans to install antivirus. Although the good news is, I think I can disable that notification.

User Account Control: Click here

YES! Finally, it’s less annoying. Normally, one of the first things I do on a new 6.0+ install is disable the crappy idea known as User Account Control. Not anymore. The default setting was so un-annoying, I haven’t bothered.

Overall score (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8

Besides a few minor issues running some of my favorite programs (such as Chrome), it’s really nice. And one of the many things I do that you shouldn’t try, I’m gonna use it as a main OS. You should always be aware there are SEVERE risks involved when doing this, so don’t do it.

As for my life over the past week, this WAS my life for the last week. Waiting for it to leak, downloading it, numerous install attempts, basically dominated my week. Although sadly my week was really dominated by school (and I’m sure several people have had to put up with my rants about it ), because obviously I had much more important stuff that I was really excited about, so that was an eight hours a day I really wished I could spend at home working with this new Windows build.

Anyway, I suggest you get out there and try out this build!

Also, it does in fact activate. I was given a key by someone, and someone else told me Vista release candidate keys should work. So what are your thoughts on the build?

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