In his January 7, 2009, keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the availability of a beta version of Windows 7. We downloaded the beta and took a bunch of screenshots to see what the new operating system looks like.

At first glance, I think the Windows 7 GUI is cleaner than Vista, which I like. The taskbar is populated with text-less icons, which would allow quick access to more applications. There some other features that make navigation slightly more efficient.

However, so far, Windows 7 seems extraordinarily like Windows Vista with a new coat of paint. We will have to put the new OS through some thorough testing to really get to the meat of any real differences. In the meantime, check out the TechRepublic Windows 7 Beta Photo Gallery.