Thursday, May 14, 2009

Windows 7

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Windows 7
Part of the Microsoft Windows family
Screenshot of Windows 7 (Release Candidate)
Website Official website
Preview version 6.1.7100 (Release Candidate) (2009-5-5; 9 days ago) (info)
Source model Closed source
License Microsoft EULA
Kernel type Hybrid
Update method Windows Update
Platform support x86, x86-64
Further reading

Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) is an upcoming version of Microsoft Windows, an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, netbooks and media center PCs.[1] Microsoft has stated that it plans to release Windows 7, "in time for the holiday season" of 2009,[2] less than three years after the general availability of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Its server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, is slated for release around the same time.

Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7 is intended to be an incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is already compatible.[3] Presentations given by the company in 2008 have focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[4] and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Photo Gallery, will not be included in Windows 7; some will instead be offered separately as part of the freeware Windows Live Essentials suite.[5]



[edit] Development

Originally, a version of Windows codenamed Blackcomb was planned as the successor to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Major features were planned for Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor release, codenamed "Longhorn" was announced for 2003, delaying the development of Blackcomb.[6] By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb. After three major viruses exploited flaws in Windows operating systems within a short time period in 2003, Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was also "reset", or delayed in September 2004. A number of features were cut from Longhorn.[7]

Blackcomb was renamed Vienna in early 2006,[8] and again to Windows 7 in 2007.[9] In 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would also be the official name of the operating system.[10][11] The first external release to select Microsoft partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build 6519.[12] Currently the latest leaked build is 7106[13].

Bill Gates, in an interview with Newsweek, suggested that the next version of Windows would "be more user-centric".[14] Gates later said that Windows 7 will also focus on performance improvements;[15] Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient code paths and to help prevent performance regressions.[16]

Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they encountered migrating from Windows XP.[17] Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Vista and Windows 7.[18] Ballmer also confirmed the relationship between Vista and Windows 7, indicating that Windows 7 will be a refined version of Vista.[18]

At PDC 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its reworked taskbar. Copies of Windows 7 build 6801 were distributed out at the end of the conference, but the demonstrated taskbar was disabled in this build. However, there was an unofficial crack that could unlock it.

On December, 27, 2008, Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent.[19] According to a performance test by ZDNet,[20] Windows 7 Beta has beaten both Windows XP and Vista in several key areas, including boot and shut down time, working with files and loading documents; others, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical office activities and video-editing, remain identical to Vista and slower than XP.[21] On January 7, 2009, the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web, with some torrents being infected with a trojan.[22][23]

At CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format of an ISO image.[24] The Beta was to be publicly released January 9, 2009. Initially, Microsoft planned for the download to be made available to 2.5 million people on January 9. However, access to the downloads were delayed due to high traffic.[25] The download limit was also extended, initially until January 24, then again to February 10. People who did not complete downloading the beta had two extra days to complete the download. After February 12, unfinished downloads became unable to complete. Users can still obtain product keys from Microsoft to activate their copy of Windows 7 Beta. Users can still download Windows 7 via the Microsoft Connect program. The beta expires on August 1, 2009, with bihourly shutdowns starting July 1, 2009.

The release candidate, build 7100, has been available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and Connect Program participants since April 30 and is available to the general public as of May 5, 2009.[26] It has also been leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent.[27] The release candidate is available in five languages and will expire on June 1, 2010, with bihourly shutdowns starting March 1, 2010.[28]

According to Microsoft, the final release is planned for release in time for the 2009 holiday shopping season.[2]

[edit] Features

[edit] New and changed features

The new Action Center which replaces Windows Security Center

Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors,[29][30][31][32] improved boot performance, and kernel improvements.

Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center,[33] a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, the XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion.

Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner, Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display.[34] Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds) which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer.

The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with pinning applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. These buttons also enable the Jump Lists feature to allow easy access to common tasks.[35] The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons.

To the far right of the system clock is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. This button is part of the new feature in Windows 7 called Aero Peek. Hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop.[36] In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet PCs etc, this button is slightly wider to accommodate being pressed with a finger.[37] Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them.

Additionally, when a user drags a window to the edge of the screen, it will snap in place on that half of the screen. This allows users to snap documents or files on either side of the screen to compare them. There will also be a feature where when a user pulls a window to the top of the screen, it will automatically maximize. When a user tries to move windows that are maximized, the system will restore them automatically.

This functionality is also accomplished with keyboard shortcuts. Holding down the Windows key and pressing the up arrow maximizes; pressing down the down arrow minimizes; pressing the left or right arrows snap the windows to the sides of the screen. Repeating the keyboard shortcuts generally restores the window's previous size.

Unlike in Windows Vista, window borders and the taskbar do not turn opaque when a window is maximized with Windows Aero applied. Instead they remain transparent.

For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking API with support for building SOAP based web services in native code (as opposed to .NET based WCF web services),[38] new features to shorten application install times, reduced UAC prompts, simplified development of installation packages,[39] and improved globalization support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API.[40]

At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.[41][42] Microsoft is also implementing better support for Solid State Drives [43] and Windows 7 will be able to identify a Solid State Drive uniquely.

Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7.

Windows 7 will include Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12. The latest beta of Windows 7 blocks the usage of third party video decoders from Windows Media Player. Microsoft says this restriction will not take place in the final version of Windows 7.[44]

Users will also be able to disable many more Windows components than was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and the Windows Gadget Platform.[45]

Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, entitled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata.[46]

A new version of Virtual PC, Windows Virtual PC Beta is available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.[47] It allows multiple Windows environments, including Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine, requiring the use of Intel VT-x or AMD-V. Windows XP Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine and redirects displayed applications running in Windows XP to the Windows 7 desktop.[48]

[edit] Removed features

A number of capabilities and certain programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or have changed, resulting in the removal of certain functionality.

Some notable Windows Vista features and components have been replaced or removed in Windows 7, including the classic Start Menu user interface, Windows Ultimate Extras, InkBall, and Windows Calendar. Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Mail have been removed from Windows itself, but they are available in a separate package called Windows Live Essentials.

[edit] Antitrust regulatory attention

As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 is being studied by United States federal regulators who oversee the company's operations following the 2001 United States v. Microsoft settlement. According to status reports filed, the three-member panel began assessing prototypes of the new operating system in February 2008. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research said that, "[Microsoft's] challenge for Windows 7 will be how can they continue to add features that consumers will want that also don't run afoul of regulators."[49]

In Europe, Windows 7 may be required to ship with rival browsers including possibly Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. The reason for this suspicion is on the inclusion of Internet Explorer which is seen as harming competition, as in the European Union Microsoft competition case.[50] However, Microsoft announced on the Engineering Windows 7 blog that users will be able to turn off more features than in Windows Vista including Internet Explorer.[45]

[edit] Editions

Windows 7 will be available in six different editions, but only Home Premium and Professional will be widely available at retail.[51] The other editions are focused at other markets, such as the developing world or enterprise use.[51] Each edition of Windows 7 will include all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it.[52][53][51][54][55] With the exception of Windows 7 Starter, all editions will support both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86-64) processor architectures.[56]

According to Microsoft, the features for all editions of Windows 7 will be stored on the machine, regardless of what edition is in use.[57] Users who wish to upgrade to an edition of Windows 7 with more features can then use Windows Anytime Upgrade to purchase the upgrade, and unlock the features of those editions.[58][52][57] Microsoft has not yet announced pricing information or volume licensing details for Windows 7.[58]

[edit] Hardware requirements

Microsoft has published their recommended specifications for a system running Windows 7 Release Candidate, which are much the same as those for premium editions of Vista.

Windows 7 recommended hardware specifications[59]
Processor speed 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
Memory (RAM) 1 GB of RAM (32-bit); 2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
Graphics card Support for DirectX 9 graphics device with 128MB of memory (for Aero)
HDD free space 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit); 20 GB of available disk space (64-bit)
Optical drive DVD-R/W

Microsoft has released a beta version of an upgrade advisor that scans a computer to see if it is compatible with Windows 7.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Ricciuti, Mike (July 20, 2007 1:05 PM PDT). "Next version of Windows: Call it 7". CNET News.
  2. ^ a b Bott, Ed (May 11, 2009). "Windows 7 to be ready for holiday shopping season". ZDNet. Retrieved on 2009-05-11.
  3. ^ Nash, Mike (28 October 2008). "Windows 7 Unveiled Today at PDC 2008". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11.
  4. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (28 October 2008). "How Libraries & HomeGroup Work Together in Windows 7". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11.
  5. ^ LeBlance, Brandon (28 October 2008). "The Complete Windows Experience – Windows 7 + Windows Live". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11.
  6. ^ Lettice, John (2001-10-24). "Gates confirms Windows Longhorn for 2003". The Register. Retrieved on 2008-03-05.
  7. ^ "Microsoft cuts key Longhorn feature". Todd Bishop. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. August 28, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-03-25.
  8. ^ Thurrott, Paul (14 February 2007). "Windows "7" FAQ". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved on 2008-01-05.
  9. ^ Foley, Mary J (2007-07-20). "Windows Seven: Think 2010". ZDNet. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  10. ^ Fried, Ina (2008-10-13). "Microsoft makes Windows 7 name final". CNET. Retrieved on 2008-10-13.
  11. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (October 2008). "For Microsoft's Windows, 7th time's a charm". Retrieved on 2008-10-27.
  12. ^ Ian Cunningham (3 December 2008). "Windows 7 Build Numbers".
  13. ^ First Screenshots Of Alleged Windows 7 Build 7106 Leak Appear - Martin Brinkmann(April 12th, 2009) Windows 7 News
  14. ^ Steven Levy (3 February 2007). "Bill Gates on Vista and Apple's 'Lying' Ads".
  15. ^ Bill Gates (12 May 2007). "Bill Gates: Japan—Windows Digital Lifestyle Consortium".
  16. ^ Sinofsky, Steven (15 December, 2008). "Continuing our discussion on performance". Engineering Windows 7. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-12-18.
  17. ^ Marius Oiaga (24 June 2008). "Windows 7 Will Not Inherit the Incompatibility Issues of Vista".
  18. ^ a b Dignan, Larry (October 2008). "Ballmer: It’s ok to wait until Windows 7; Yahoo still ‘makes sense’; Google Apps ‘primitive’". Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
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  21. ^ Graham-Smith, Daniel (January 2009). "Follow-up: Benchmarking Windows 7". Retrieved on 2009-01-29.
  22. ^ Leaked Windows 7 RC torrents infected with trojan
  23. ^ Pennington, Kenneth (January 2009). "Windows 7 64-Bit Beta Hits the Web". Retrieved on 2009-01-07.
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  34. ^ Screenshots from a blogger with Windows 7 M1
  35. ^ Softpedia (November 2008). "Windows 7 User Interface – The Superbar (Enhanced Taskbar)". Retrieved on 2008-11-12.
  36. ^ Windows 7: Some Minor Improvements, No Game Changer
  37. ^ Touching Windows 7 (Engineering Windows 7 Blog)
  38. ^ "Windows 7: Web Services in Native Code". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26.
  39. ^ "Windows 7: Deploying Your Application with Windows Installer (MSI) and ClickOnce". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26.
  40. ^ "Windows 7: Writing World-Ready Applications". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26.
  41. ^ "WinHEC 2008 GRA-583: Display Technologies". Microsoft. 2008-11-06. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
  42. ^ "Windows 7 High Color Support". Softpedia. 2008-11-26. Retrieved on 2008-12-05.
  43. ^ "Support and Q&A for Solid-State Drives". Engineering Windows 7. Microsoft. 2009-05-05. Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
  44. ^ "Windows 7 to support third-party codecs... like all other Windows versions".
  45. ^ a b "Beta to RC Changes — Turning Windows Features On or Off".
  46. ^ Paul Thurrot (2009-03-08). "Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows 7 Build 7048 Notes". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved on 2009-04-24.
  47. ^ "Windows Virtual PC". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
  48. ^ "Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 brochure". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
  49. ^ Keizer, Gregg F. (March 2008). "Windows 7 eyed by antitrust regulators". Retrieved on 2008-03-19.
  50. ^ Humphries, Matthew (February 2009). "Windows 7 may ship with rival browsers because of antitrust regulators". Retrieved on 2009-01-27.
  51. ^ a b c "All Windows 7 Versions--What You Need to Know". ExtremeTech. 2009-02-05.,2845,2340431,00.asp. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  52. ^ a b Thurrott, Paul (2009-02-03). "Windows 7 Product Editions". Retrieved on 2009-02-03.
  53. ^ "Windows 7 will come in many flavors". CNET News. 2009-02-03. Retrieved on 2009-02-03.
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  55. ^ "Windows 7: Which Edition is Right For You?". PCWorld. 2009-02-03. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  56. ^ "All Windows 7 Versions--What You Need to Know - Windows 7 Starter". ExtremeTech. 2009-02-05.,2845,2340433,00.asp. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  57. ^ a b LeBlanc, Brandon (February 9, 2009). "A closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2009-02-09.
  58. ^ a b "All Windows 7 Versions--What You Need to Know - Release Date, Cost, and Upgrades". ExtremeTech. 2009-02-05.,2845,2340432,00.asp. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  59. ^

[edit] External links

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