Despite the success of the Windows 7 beta, which got leaked before it was officially released and had several deadline extensions, Microsoft isn’t exactly sitting still. The beta build, with build number 7000, was built on December 12th, 2008, so that leaves enough room between then and now for several newer builds. One such build got leaked this weekend, and it contains some minor changes compared to the beta build.
Several newer builds have been confirmed, namely 7003, 7004, 7012, 7015, 7016, and the leaked 7025, with the last one obviously being the newest; it was built on January 20th (at 18:50, if you’re that interested). According to Ars Technica, it contains several bug fixes, as well as a number of visual changes in applications like Paint and Windows Media Player. It also comes with an updated build of Internet Explorer 8, and the screenshots over at PCBETA show quicklaunch – but don’t be fooled, quicklaunch can be enabled on Windows 7 beta as well through a registry hack. For legacy reasons, Windows 7 still contains the quicklaunch folder (I’m guessing some installation programs complained about the lack of the folder).
The 7025 build can be obtained by the way of the pirate, but you might as well keep on using the stable and well-tested beta until Microsoft releases the Windows 7 release candidate somewhere between now and release-to-manufacturing, scheduled for late 2009 or early 2010.