Microsoft Applying Vista Lessons To Windows 7


Microsoft is focusing on improving the user experience in Windows 7, and plans to achieve that through better device support, improved system performance and the addition of user interface features such as multitouch, Microsoft executives said in a Wednesday morning keynote speech at the opening of Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).

The Vista experience taught Microsoft that device driver support from the partner ecosystem takes time to materialize, but the good news is that 95 percent of Vista PC users now have all the drivers they need, said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft.

Device compatibility will carry over because Windows 7 is primarily based on Vista code, and the telemetry data Microsoft gathered from Vista will also ensure a smoother experience, DeVaan added.

"We have the tenet that if it works on Vista it will work on Windows 7," DeVaan said. "We've improved reliability in Vista a huge amount, which translates to reliability in Windows 7 on day one."

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Microsoft is tackling the problem of slow boot and shutdown times by having device drivers load in parallel instead of serially, said Mike Angiulo, head of the Windows PC Ecosystem and Planning team.

Windows 7 will also include a mechanism for loading services in on-demand fashion, thus minimizing performance overhead. "It's really awesome to see Windows 7 booting so much faster than Vista at this point in the development cycle," Angiulo said.

Battery life, another area of frustration for Vista notebook users, is part of a major power-management makeover Microsoft is giving to Windows 7. In tests of DVD playback -- regarded at the most rigorous method for testing notebook battery life -- Windows 7 lasted an hour longer than Vista on similarly configured PCs, according to DeVaan.

"In Windows 7, we really wanted to help the system get to idle and stay at idle, and use minimum power for longer periods of time. We believe we can get idle CPU utilization of between 1 and 2 percent in Windows 7," DeVaan said.

Windows 7 will support multiple PC form factors, and Microsoft is expending considerable effort on getting devices to work seamlessly with the OS, according to Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.

"It's so important for us to deliver a unique customer-focused experience, and Windows 7 will help us do that," Sinofsky said.