"The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case,” EU revealed in a statement.
Microsoft had been hoping EU would allow it to ship Windows without a browser. EU had agreed to this solution when bundling of Windows Media Player was at issue, but the results proved that it was just a ruse. Had EU lent its seal of approval to Microsoft’s favorite solution, the company would have found it very easy to influence OEMs.
Writing an operating system is no easy task, particularly for Microsoft. Having to design a piece of software that will maintain compatibility across a nearly infinite number of hardware configurations can be a daunting mission. It becomes even more difficult when hardware manufacturers implement new technologies, but the software lags behind.
Determined to not let that happen to Windows 7, Microsoft engineers have reportedly worked side by side with Intel to optimize support for its processors. In a posting made on the new Windows 7 partner blog, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc highlights the results of the collaboration. “Working with Intel, Microsoft implemented a new feature called SMT parking, which provided additional support for the Windows 7 scheduler for Intel Hyper-threading Technology, enabling better performance on hyper-threaded, multi-core Intel processors.”Intel and Microsoft have also been working on optimizing boot/ shutdown/ sleep/ and resume times, which could end up giving the chipmaker a substantial edge in performance for the foreseeable future.
Intel’s rival Nvidia also posted a follow up on the partner blog outlining GPGPU functions in Windows 7, and encouraged upgraders to spring for dedicated graphics cards. Ultimately the Intel announcement is more interesting since the DX Compute found in DirectX 11 will favor both ATI and Nvidia equally and it certainly makes me worry about the growing performance gap between Intel and AMD.
Will this announcement influence your upgrade decision?
It’s official, Windows 7 is in the bag and the first boxed copies have gone out the door. OEM’s arrived in droves on Friday to pickup large bundles containing all the code and supporting documentation they will need to begin integrating Windows 7 into their upcoming hardware designs. OEM’s are typically the first Microsoft customers to receive RTM code as it often takes months to properly tweak their drivers and software to ensure maximum compatibility.
The Official Windows Blog posted pictures of the event for those who are interested. Pictures included representatives from HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, Sony, and Siemens all posing with their debut copies. Officially the focus of the OEM’s at this point is to ensure hardware / software compatibility, but we all know a certain amount of trialware will inevitably be tested and slipped into new machines as well. Microsoft kicked off a new initiative last year in the hopes of educating OEM’s on the danger of over bundling trialware with a new PC, lets just hope they listen.Just in case they don’t, check out our Clean Start Guide on How to decrapify any new machine.
Have you purchased a new OEM build machine recently? Have things gotten any better? Let us know what you think.
Windows 7 still isn’t officially released to the general public yet, but I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be a universal hit. Users making the jump from Windows XP have a lot of advances to look forward to, and for the most part we can thank Vista. The similarities between the two OS’s are shocking, so much so that many have simply dubbed Windows 7 as “Vista done right”.
Nobody will argue that Windows 7 isn’t a huge leap forward in terms of performance, but even a $600 PC purchased today has more than enough muscle to deliver an excellent experience in Vista. The simple fact that Windows 7 will be born into a mature world full of drivers written for it’s predecessor will almost singlehandedly ensure a successful rollout. Lack of drivers if you recall, was the single largest complaint against Vista’s at launch and Microsoft even alleges that it was a huge factor in reports of it’s early instability.
"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there" said Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft, in a ChannelWeb story. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."
So with the Windows 7 launch day less than three months away, are you ready to forgive Vista?
If you're like us, you've been patiently awaiting official word on when Microsoft will make available Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing). We're not the only ones pressuring Microsoft for an answer, and thanks to a blog post by Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, we now have some concrete dates to play with.
According to LeBlanc, ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN starting on August 6th. Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members can snag the RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal a little later beginning August 16th (all remaining languages will be available on October 1st). If you're a Microsoft Action Pack Subscriber, you can grab your copy in English starting August 23rd, and again October 1st for all remaining languages. OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning about 2 days after Microsoft makes the RTM official.
Other availability dates include:
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license: August 7th
IT Professionals with a TechNet Subscription: August 6th
Developers with a MSDN Subscription: August 6th
LeBlanc also went on to confirm the availability of a "Family Pack" for Windows 7, which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs, but did not say how much the package will cost.
Thanks to a recent posting on the Windows 7 Team Blog, we finally have a confirmation on a family pack, and plenty of detailed information on just how everyone will get their copy of the new OS.
Those of us that are run of the mill consumers will be able to get our hands on Windows 7 starting October 22nd, for both retail and pre-order. And, if you beta tested it, let it be known that you “will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7. Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM happens for free as part of your subscription.”
And, giving in to the swirling rumors, solid information on the family pack is finally available. “I’m happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc on the blog.
If you’re looking for any additional information, be sure to check it out here.
Less than a month after the release of Firefox 3.5, Mozilla has published a few design mockups for Firefox 3.7 on Mozilla Wiki. Mozilla made it amply clear that the designs “are only for brainstorming/exploration”. Mozilla is making a conscious effort to come up with a design that will let Firefox 3.7 melt seamlessly into the Windows7/Windows Vista environment. On the face of it, Firefox 3.7 is very likely to feature a toolbar that mimics glass in its appearance, with the buttons being translucent and having added gloss.
Windows 7's display configuration settings have gone through some of the biggest transformations from previous editions, including Windows Vista. And, the changes are more than skin-deep. With improved support for portrait displays, better ways to detect and manage multiple monitors, easy projector connections, and better theme controls, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever before to make the visual components of Windows work the way you want them to. Join us after the jump for all the details.
This episode of the No BS Podcast features special guest Gary Whitta (former editor-in-chief of PC Gamer), who made minor ripples in the gaming community this past week by declaring that he was giving up on PC gaming. After we trot this traitor out for a verbal lashing, the gang talks about Microsoft's retail store announcement, their newest Laptop Hunters ads, and more Windows 7 upgrade controversy. News is analyzed, listener questions get answered, and a good time is had by all. Except for the console-loving scum. Enjoy!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.