A dig around in some of Microsoft's technical forums has uncovered some interesting facts about additional Windows 7 features and tweaks that will make user's lives easier.
All the big details for Windows 7 are pretty much resolved. The next Microsoft operating system will be called Windows 7 (not anything interesting then), it'll be out in September (or at least by January 2010) and come in many versions (but you'll only ever see the main ones - Starter, Home Premium or Business).
We know from the betas currently in circulation, that you can remove unwanted applications and utilities from the desktop and that the OS is faster and more stable than Vista. But lurking under the hood is still a massive amount of complicated code, endless legacy issues and much development still to be done.
To get a feel of what is being done to get Windows 7 ready for launch, take a peek at this Springboard Series video (requires Silverlight or downloadable) or read the text transcript of an hour long round-table discussion hosted by Microsoft TechNet's Mark Russinovich with several Microsoft and guest technical staff.
Among the details are revealing snippets like:
Q: Why is Windows 7 quicker to start up compared to Windows Vista?
A: In working to improve performance for startup we have focused on making improvements in the following areas:
- The efficiency of core Windows code
- Only starting certain services when they are needed (demand-start services)
- The way device drivers are initialized
- Allowing multiple device drivers to start at the same time (parallelization)
- An overall reduction in the memory and CPU required to start and run the graphics system"
Q: Has ReadyBoost changed from Windows Vista?
A: ReadyBoost in Windows 7 adds support for concurrently using multiple flash devices (such as USB keys, Secure Digital cards, and internal flash devices) and for caches larger than 4 GB. ReadyBoost supports exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems."
APC: However, an interesting story at ExtremeTech suggests that the much hyped hybrid flash/hard drives are dead and beyond resuscitation, with Microsoft uninterested in supporting the technology, leaving hard drive manufacturers no incentive to keep making them.
From the article: "In concept, it's not a bad idea: while the
performance gains have been on the order of 10 percent or more, the
real bonus was supposed to be in the battery life, which would reduce
the need to spin the disk, and "squirt" the data to the disk in one big
spurt once the flash cache was full. In reality, however, the first hybrid hard drives required even more power than a conventional drive, to power both the flash memory as well as rotate the disk."
Q: Will there be an Application Compatibility Toolkit available for Windows 7 like there was for Windows Vista? When might that be available?
A: Yes. We plan on releasing an update to the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) in April to support Windows 7 pre-releases. There will also be a version corresponding with Windows 7 release to manufacturing (RTM)."
If you have an interest in the dark insides of Windows troubleshooting, then Mark Russinovich's blog makes for an interesting read as he fights his way through ghost files, VoIP problems and other issues that could all upset the userbase.