Long Zheng's I Started Something blog reports a welcome improvement in Windows 7's Complete PC Backup: in addition to backing up to local hard disks and DVDs, you can now back up to a network share. Complete PC Backup is the image (aka "bare metal restore") backup feature originally found in Vista's Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions (see our 2007 article to learn how it compares to other popular image backup/restore programs). This new feature brings Complete PC Backup's backup target options basically in line with those in the file/folder backup portion of the Backup and Restore Center, and makes it possible to use an NAS appliance as well as a folder share on another PC as a backup target.
It's important to realize that Complete PC Backup is a complementary technology to file and folder backup. Use it to back up your entire PC, and then use file and folder backup to backup data files that change after you create an image backup. Note that the NTBackup program (included in Windows XP and earlier versions) is not an image backup program, but a file and folder backup program only; it does not have a true 'bare metal' restore option.
I've used Complete PC Backup on a number of occasions to backup and restore Windows Vista systems, and I'm looking forward to this additional improvement in Windows 7's version (and I hope it will be available in all Windows 7 SKUs, by the way). What do you think? Join us after the jump and tell us.
This year's edition of WinHEC, which has already demonstrated Windows 7's digital goodness with Device Stage, has more good news about Microsoft's next desktop operating system:
Longer battery life
Faster boot times
As Maximum PC.com readers know, better hardware support has been a major goal of Windows 7 right from the start, and it looks as if Windows 7, even in its pre-beta stage, is making impressive strides.
Engadget has posted a video from WinHEC that shows a Windows 7 machine providing energy savings equivalent to an extra hour of DVD playback: you won't have to worry about running out of power before the movie ends, and you'll even have enough juice for a special feature or two.
WinHEC also featured Microsoft exec Jon DeVaan, the Senior Vice President in charge of Core Operating System Division, performing a "boot drag race" pitting identical machines running Windows 7 and Windows Vista: Windows 7 won by several seconds. It's part of DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky's keynote address, which you can see at the WinHEC virtual pressroom.
To find out who else is seeing the improvements in Windows 7, join us after the jump.
Among other things, Vista's successor, Windows 7, will bring with it multi-touch support utilizing technology developed by the Surface team. What impact this will have on touch-based computing as a whole remains to be seen; just be sure not to make the mistake of referring to the Tablet PC as a niche market when discussing touch-based computing.
"I won't go so far as to say it's the next mouse, meaning it will be on everything and you have to use it," Microsoft's Ray Ozzie said during an interview with TechFlash. "But it's not going to be like the Tablet PC, where it was truly niche. I think it will go broader and broader."
Ozzie's comments have sparked a backlash of sorts from some of the Tablet PC faithful who feel that the his comments are a slight against their, well, niche PC. But it's not necessarily the truth of the statement that has users perturbed so much as it is hearing Microsoft make such a comment. For example, Loren Heiny of the Incremental Blogger writes:
"What is the case, is that Tablet PCs have been sold like they are niche. The manufacturers have kept the prices high – keeping the volume down and off of store shelves. Even Microsoft itself has relegated the Tablet features to its premium SKUs rather than making them available in low-cost educational PCs where isn’t it obvious that there’s great value and need for them? And feature-wise, we keep coming back to Tablets and IT. Yeah, I wonder why that might be? Might it be the niche thinking of some large northwestern company? Huh? Ring a bell?"
Do you take issue with Ozzie's statement? Hit the jump and let us know.
While Windows 7's basic "look" is a refined version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 is much more than "Vista, Take 2." One of the most significant new features coming in Windows 7 is Device Stage, and Device Stage is one of the major themes of this week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).
What is Device Stage?
Device Stage, for the first time, looks at a device as a single entity rather than as a collection of different components. As ArsTechnica describes Device Stage:
Attaching a device in current versions of Windows gives sometimes unpredictable results. A multi-function printer/scanner/fax, for instance, might show up as several different things within Windows: a printer, scanner, removable disk, and some vendor supplied management suite...The "Device Stage" feature is designed to alleviate some of these problems by treating devices as distinct "things" with multiple abilities.
To learn more about Device Stage, and to find out what hardware vendors think about this new feature, join us after the jump.
While Windows 7 is shaping up to be something fresh and new, this pre-beta isn’t anything to worry about. To spend the time, bandwidth (especially for Comcast and AT&T users) and electricity downloading this pirated version of the fledgling OS would be cheating yourself, because this pre-beta comes up low on the impressive meter. And plus, we can’t in all good consciousness condone pirating software.
While the accidental release of the build of Windows 7 came through the Pirate Bay and Mininova (in convenient 32-bit and 64-bit formats!), it was originally intended for an unnamed group of developers. The downloads of Microsoft’s OS of tomorrow have been off the charts as well, with one particular copy providing more than 1,000 uploaders, and roughly 7,000 downloaders.
The build that’s being sought so desperately is a notably incomplete version. It’s missing taskbar updates, as well as other large features. According to comment threads on the torrent sites, most users are unimpressed with what they’ve found. But with a pre-beta, what did they expect?
Ever since Windows Vista arrived, MacOS fans have delighted in discussing how Microsoft's newest operating system was "inspired" by Apple's OS. According to TGDaily, though, the tables have turned in Windows 7. TGDaily's Christian Zibreg identifies five Windows 7 features that should be on the "add to MacOS" list, including:
Multi-touch (on-screen keyboard, mouse gestures)
The Windows 7 taskbar (live thumbnails that even show opened tabs in IE8)
Libraries (group as many locations for music, photos, or other media together as you need and access them with a single logical location)
Play to and Windows Media Center (better media playback wherever you want it)
Device Stage (all your device information and configuration tools in one place)
Whether you're a MacOS fanboy (or fangirl) or are just looking for a better x86/x64 platform than Windows Vista, these features are pretty exciting. Until the public beta hits late this year, you can check out some of these features here. Be sure to join us after the jump for the chance to sound off about what you like, or want to see, in Windows 7.
TGDaily delivers a slideshow of Windows 7's new and improved features, including improvements to the desktop, media playback, file management, hardware support, networking, security, applets, and tops off the tour with a look at IE8 and Windows Live applets. To go straight to the features you're most curious about, join us after the jump.
For most of the last decade, improving 3D performance has been the primary goal of operating system, application (read gaming) developers, and hardware developers. However, when you're at work, trying hard to make the money you need to buy a new HDTV and über-gaming PC, you're probably working in a 2D world that's being managed by the creaky GDI/GDI+ APIs which were first developed back to the 1990s.
This week, Microsoft introduced a replacement for GDI/GDI+ called Direct2D. Microsoft's Thomas Olsen, a Dev Lead in the Windows Desktop Graphics organization, uses his new blog to bring us up to speed on why we need the new Direct2D API and how it will make PCs work better.
To learn more about Direct2D, join us after the jump.
Leaked screenshots of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS are nothing new, and we expect even more frequent peeks with beta releases floating around the web. That's the case with GottaBeMobile.com, who is currently participating in the Windows 7 beta and is showing off several screenies of the new OS running on a Tablet PC.
As would be expected, much of the focus remains on the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and how the TIP tab operates. This includes how-to animations that display when clicked and show how to correct a word, how to delete, split a word, how to join, and an option to hide the videos. And in a departure from Vista, handwriting to the TIP is auto recognized inline instead of displaying the recognition results in a bubble below the word.
GottaBeMobile promises that there are more screenshots to come, so if this is your bag of tea, consider adding the site to your favorites.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley once again lives up to her blog's "All About Microsoft" title, delivering the news that attendees at this week's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) will also take home a pre-beta of Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2. Here's what's new in what's being characterized as a "minor" update:
Windows Server 2008 R2 represents the end of 32-bit support in the Windows Server family; it's 64-bit only
Windows Server 2008 R2 features version 2 of Hyper-V "bare metal" virtualization, which will include a new Live Migration feature for fault-tolerant failover
PowerShell Version 2.0, which includes a more graphical interface than its predecessor
Is Windows Server 2008 R2 in your company's future? Microsoft hopes so. According to Foley, Microsoft is calling the pairing of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 "Better Together," with features such as BitLocker support for removable drives, BranchCache (hosted server caching) and others working better when both operating systems are in use.
Join us after the jump for your thoughts on "Windows 7 Server."