The Pre-Beta Windows 7 build distributed by Microsoft at the PDC’08 (build 6801 – the one readily available on torrent websites) doesn’t contain many of the eagerly anticipated features of Windows 7 like the super taskbar. However as Rafael Rivera discovered many of the features are actually present but locked down. Till now we had to resort to elaborate command line based tweaks to get around the protection, something not everyone was willing to do. But, things just got a lot easier. Rafael has come up with a handy utility called Blue Badge to enable all known locked features. Some of the unlocked features are –
Superbar – One of the biggest gui chances involves the taskbar. In windows 7 the quick launch bar has been merged with the taskbar. All the text has been done away with and each application assigned a 32×32 icon.
Aero Shake – This hidden feature was discovered by Rafael earlier this month. With Aero Shake enabled if you vigorously shake (move) your application window, all windows other than the active one gets minimised.
Desktop Slideshow – This is basically an wallpaper changer allowing you to change wallpapers at a specified interval (10s to 1 day). Additionally it allows you to download wallpapers from RSS Feeds.
Gestures (touch) – As mentioned in my previous article on Windows 7, the new OS is supposed to feature many of the capabilities of Microsoft Surface including multi-touch. However, in the PDC build all the touch related gestures are locked.
Blue Badge works by patching a number of system files. The only way to revert back to original condition is to manually replace the patched files. Hence, before applying the patch don’t forget to patch the following files :
Warning : Install this patch only if you know what you are doing. Microsoft locked these features simply because they weren’t yet ready. Unlocking these components may degrade your system performance or even render it unusable.