Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates noted during the Japan-Windows Digital Lifestyle Consortium, held in Tokyo on May 7, 2008, that the Redmond company was "hard at work" by his own measure on the next iteration of the Windows client referred to as Windows 7.

The product number practice coming to replace the traditional codename policy is the work of Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, and so is the deadening silence surrounding the operating system.

However, bits and pieces of Windows 7 slipping through the tight grip around the platform and its development process do exist. Case in point: a new video demonstration of a leaked copy of Windows 7 embedded below.

The author claims that the Windows 7 video highlights "some of the new features [including] redesigned Windows Explorer with 2-panel option, FTP/SFTP locations, a common folder with keyboard shortcuts, screen and animation capture, and best of all: an automated Website and blog designer," revealed Janek Dabrowski via Windows and Web Technology.

However, it is advisable to take the video with a grain of salt. The skepticism must be inherent, as there is no official or unofficial confirmation at this point in time that the operating system featured in the video is indeed Windows 7. Additionally, this release certainly does not resemble Windows 7 Milestone 1 shipped by Microsoft at the end of 2007 to a select pool of partners.

Details about Windows 7 M1, also leaked, reveal an operating system closely resembling Windows Vista, but without the added features presented in the video. Microsoft was expected to move onward with the development of Windows 7, towards the Milestone 2 release in the April-May timetable, and the video could be M2. On the other hand, it could simply be a fake.

Then again, if it turns out to be real, Windows Explorer in Windows 7 could sport tabs and panels for advanced navigation; a new screen capture utility complete with the options of the Snipping tool, but also with added functionality for email and printing; a disk usage analyzer; an overhauled task manager and a Windows Virtual Drive; and a new tool for rapidly creating portals and blogs from templates via a Fluent/Ribbon graphical user interface.

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