It's not a sports score, but it might be even more important to tech fans: Windows 7, Milestone 3 is the current progress "score" for Windows 7, the next generation of Windows (milestones are internal test builds used to develop and debug features before beta testing begins).
So, what's inside W7M3 (also known as Build 6780)?
Castles, a simplified version of domain control designed for home networks but pulled from Windows Vista before it went out the door, is in Windows 7 but is now called Home Groups.
PowerShell v2, aka Graphical Console, is also in the mix for scripting fans (a preview for XP and Vista users is available now).
WordPad and Paint no longer look like leftovers from Windows 3.1 - they're getting a cleaned-up version of the ribbon UI introduced in Office 2007. Here's more about what's new and different. What's the big deal? According to Softpedia, the so-called Fluent/Ribbon interface is the future of Windows and Windows apps.
It looks as if the first formal beta of Windows 7 will be launched before the end of the year, with some observers speculating that Windows 7 might be available sometime between June and September 2009. So, what do you think?
Do you like the foretaste of W7's user interface? Are you looking forward to Windows 7, or do you suspect, as InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy opines, that "it's doomed to failure?" Hit the jump for your chance to comment.
The report that cites unnamed sources – no surprises – further claims that Microsoft has supplied some of its most intimate customers and partners with alpha builds of the OS designated M1 and M2 (M stands for milestone); M3 is in the works per the sources. A beta release by the end of this year will almost ensure the release of Windows 7 in late 2009 or early 2010; therefore, this delay won’t have a huge impact on Windows 7 release plans.
Face it, activation is a failure. For power users who frequently upgrade their PCs, dialing in to reactivate the OS is beyond irritating. Instead, Microsoft must come up with a novel way to punish pirates without annoying its paying customers. (May we suggest displaying massive popup ads in pirate copies of Windows?) For legitimate customers, a realistic home-licensing program—buy one copy at full price, get four more upgrades for $50 to $100 each—would go a long way toward creating goodwill.
As the system [running Windows Vista SP1] arrived to us, the off-the-shelf configuration had a ~45 second boot time. Performing a clean install of Vista SP1 on the same system produced a consistent ~23 second boot time. Of course, being a clean install, there were many fewer processes, services and a slightly different set of drivers (mostly the versions were different). However, we were able to take the off-the-shelf configuration and optimize it to produce a consistent boot time of ~21 seconds, ~2 seconds faster than the clean install because some driver/BIOS changes could be made in the optimized configuration.
Fortin identifies a number of design goals for Windows 7 to help it achieve a high percentage of "very good" boot times (under 15 seconds), including:
Reducing the number of system services
Reducing the demand that system services make on CPU, disk, and memory resources
Device and driver optimization
Improving parallelism of driver initialization (enabling multiple drivers to be installed at the same time)
Faster prefeching optimized for both traditional and SSD hard disks
Fortin's comments suggest that Microsoft is working very closely with system vendors to help assure that Windows 7 works well in typical preconfigured systems. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned a lot from the vast difference in performance between clean installs of Windows Vista and systems cluttered with OEM products not optimized for Vista.
Don't want to wait for Windows 7 to get faster boot times? Fortin also discusses analyzing systems with the Windows Performance Toolkit for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, available here.
How do you define fast boot time? When is a system "ready to go?" Give us your thoughts after the jump.
The Engineering Windows 7 (aka "e7") blog at MSDN is providing us with a useful look at how the performance of Windows 7 is being analyzed in this week's blog post. So, what are the major subsystems being analyzed? Some of them include:
Memory usage: trying to balance time versus space (disk, memory)
CPU utilization: keep it as low as possible to improve multi-user scenarios and reduce power consumption
Disk I/O: reading, writing, paging performance for both traditional and solid-state drives
Boot, Shutdown, Standby/Resume: working with system vendors to make these operations as fast as possible
Base system: balancing "on-demand" loading of resources with the need to keep performance at as high a level as possible
Disk footprint: working with the space demands of device drivers, help system, optional components, diagnostics, and logging information
To learn more about how Microsoft is performance-testing Windows 7, and how your comments can help shape Windows 7, join us after the jump.
Wondering what's going on inside the mystery that we call "Windows 7?" You could do worse than dropping in from time to time on the brand-new Engineering Windows 7 blog hosted at MSDN.
E7, as its co-authors, Windows 7 product senior engineering managers, Jon DeVann and Steven Sinofsky, call it, is aimed at the "...audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows..."
We strongly believe that success for Windows 7 includes an open and honest, and two-way, discussion about how we balance all of these interests and deliver software on the scale of Windows. We promise and will deliver such a dialog with this blog.
Starting from the first days of developing Windows 7, we have committed as a team to “promise and deliver”. That’s our goal—share with you what we’re going to get done, why we’re doing it, and deliver it with high quality and on time.
Can they deliver - not just on the expectations we have for Windows 7, but on the promise to keep us in the loop during the run-up to RTM? Find out what others have to say about that, and get your chance to speak up after the jump.
It’s hard to imagine Windows, or some other rich operating system not being at the center of my digital word. But then again, 10 years ago it was hard to imagine having a digital world at all. Intense speculation over the future cloud computing and the explosion of platform agnostic web applications has lead Microsoft to officially kick off the new R&D project, code named Midori. Midori would be a cut back operating system that would be capable of keeping up with the pace of rapid innovation in a post Windows world.The biggest shift for Midori would be the move away from operating systems tied to a single PC. By contrast, the Windows platform is traditionally locked down to a particular set of hardware and trying to keep consistency across multiple PC’s or electronic devices is already proving to be a burden. Midori would free users from these shackles and recognizes that users of the future will be increasingly mobile. Midori is widely seen as an ambitious attempt by Microsoft to catch up in the field of virtualization, an emerging trend in the computer industry. Users of the future will want a small, lightweight operating system they can take with them and use as a virtual client. The biggest challenge for Microsoft will be how it would cope financially without Windows. Michael A. Silver, a distinguished analyst at Gartner is quoted as saying “If Windows ends up being less important over time as applications become more OS agnostic where will Microsoft make its money?". Though it has yet to be officially confirmed, rumor has it that Midori will be the successor to Singularity, which is the OS following Windows 7. Though, with predictions this far into the future, I would recommend a consultation with your magic 8 ball before you place any bets.
CNet reports that the development of Windows 7 is going well. According to Windows unit head Bill Veghte:
The product is tracking very, very well. We are committed and looking good, relative to our commitment--[shipping Windows 7] three years from general availability of Windows Vista.
That wasn't the only good news for Windows fans in Veghte's talk, though. The Mojave Project, which provides Windows XP users a chance to "taste-test" Vista under the code name Mojave, is making inroads (read our take here). Veghte also cited recent internal figures showint that 89% of users are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with Windows Vista, and 83% would recommend Vista to friends or family.
Veghte also states that Internet Explorer 8, which we told you about earlier this year, will be available in final form later this year.
What are your plans for Windows Vista or Windows 7? See us after the jump for a chance to talk back!
I’ve written about Apple’s OS X many times before, and it’s no secret that I’ve long been impressed with Apple’s operating systems. This month, I reviewed the MacBook Air, which gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with Apple’s latest OS, Leopard, and I had an epiphany: Windows users are in the same exact position that Mac users were in 1999.
Bill Veghte, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President has laid out the official roadmap going forward for the Windows Product Line. In his address to the public he makes it pretty clear that Vista isn’t going away and neither is XP. Additionally he reveals some interesting facts about Windows 7, and what people should expect.