Engineering Windows 7

Welcome to our blog dedicated to the engineering of Microsoft Windows 7

Welcome to Engineering Windows 7

Welcome to Engineering Windows 7

Welcome to our first post on a new blog from Microsoft—the Engineering Windows 7 blog, or E7 for short. E7 is hosted by the two senior engineering managers for the Windows 7 product, Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky. Jon and Steven, along with members of the engineering team will post, comment, and participate in this blog.

Beginning with this post together we are going to start looking forward towards the “Windows 7” project. We know there are tons of questions about the specifics of the project and strong desire to know what’s in store for the next major release of Windows. Believe us, we are just as excited to start talking about the release. Over the past 18 months since Windows Vista’s broad availability, the team has been hard at work creating the next Windows product.

The audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows represent the folks we are dedicating this blog to. With this blog we’re opening up a two-way discussion about how we are making Windows 7. Windows has all the challenges of every large scale software project—picking features, designing them, developing them, and delivering them with high quality. Windows has an added challenge of doing so for an extraordinarily diverse set of customers. As a team and as individuals on the team we continue to be humbled by this responsibility.

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.

Planning a product like Windows involves systematic learning from customers of all types. In terms of planning the release we’ve been working with a wide variety of customers and partners (PC makers, hardware developers, enterprise customers, developers, and more) since the start of the project. We also continue our broad consumer learning through telemetry (Customer Experience Improvement Program), usability studies, and more. One area this blog will soon explore is all the different ways we learn from customers and the marketplace that inform the release.

We have two significant events for developers and the overall ecosystem around Windows this fall. The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) on October 27 and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) the following week both represent the first venues where we will provide in-depth technical information about Windows 7. This blog will provide context over the next 2+ months with regular posts about the behind the scenes development of the release and continue through the release of the product.

In leading up to this blog we have seen a lot of discussion in blogs about what Microsoft might be trying to accomplish by maintaining a little bit more control over the communication around Windows 7 (some might say that this is a significant understatement). We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about “disclosure” and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Our intent with Windows 7 and the pre-release communication is to make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk. Again, top of mind for us is the responsibility we feel to make sure we are not stressing priorities, churning resource allocations, or causing strategic confusion among the tens of thousands of partners and customers who care deeply and have much invested in the evolution of Windows.

Related to disclosure is the idea of how we make sure not to set expectations around the release that end up disappointing you—features that don’t make it, claims that don’t stick, or support we don’t provide. 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.

We’re excited about this blog. As active bloggers on Microsoft’s intranet we are both looking forward to turning our attention and blogging energies towards the community outside Microsoft. We know the ins and outs of blogging and expect to have fun, provide great information, and also make a few mistakes. We know we’ll misspeak or what we say will be heard differently than we intended. We’re not worried. All we ask is that we have a dialog based on mutual respect and the shared goal of making a great release of Windows 7.

Our intent is to post “regularly”. We’ll watch the comments and we will definitely participate both in comments and potentially in follow-up posts as required. We will make sure that members of the Windows 7 development team represent themselves as such as well. While we want to keep the dialog out in the open, please feel free to use email to should you wish to. In particular, email is a good way to suggest topics we might have a chance to discuss on the blog.

With that, we conclude our welcome post and ask you to stay tuned and join us in this dialog about the engineering of Windows 7.

Steven and Jon

Please note the availability of this blog in several other languages via the links on the nav pane. These posts are also created by members of our development team and we welcome dialog on these sites as well. We will continue to expand the list in other languages based on feedback.


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  • Vista really is a dog compared to XP performance-wise and compatibility-wise. Yes, it is prettier and it has the search facility. But its UAC, networking and compatibility just sux. I always turn UAC off it is so annoying. For overall compatibility and speed XP is still the gold standard for me. I truly hope Microsoft listens to its customers and makes Windows 7 everything Vista should have been - faster, as compatible (hardware and software) and easier to use than XP. (Hey, and dump the DRM bloat too - your customers don't need it!).

  • It's good to see some information around Windows 7 here, but guys, you should really, really do something with this blog's design and overall UX. Looooong lines of text, boring and dull design... c'mon guys it can be way better!

  • Thats why I vote for a system much like

  • I’m not sure if this is really the place or not but here goes. As an artist working in advertising and rich media content creation, I’d like to see the following added to Windows 7. I’ve found some workarounds and third party apps for the past year while using Vista Ultimate but would much rather see Windows 7 offer these natively. Here are my top ten in no order. I have plenty more. 1. Integrated font management tool. 2. Ability to color code files and folders even when you transfer those to others windows 7 computers. 3. Force file explorer to always remember the last folder it was in – even when in other apps saving or loading files for example. 4. Force file explorer to display my files the same way throughout – don’t let the OS decide – ever! 5. Thumbnails for known graphic file types –.tga is a good example, while an old format it’s still used as a preferred format when rendering 3d animation frames. 6. Tabs for remote desktop windows. 7. Ability to copy/move a file or group of files to multiple locations easily and in a single action. Currently I have a dozen shortcuts to local and networked drives that I have to copy and paste in one by one - blah 8. A file and folder icon manager/editor that is easy to use 9. Organize control panel into groups and allow the user to move them around 10.  Recent items are nice but folders and network locations should be added to it.

  • Kosher... I'm not entirely sure you know what you're talking about - as VistaLover said. Windows Vista DOES have WPF and WCF built in and uses it extensively - it's part of .NET 3.0. As for WinFS - it wasn't going to be a filesystem per se - it was going to be more like an SQL database sitting on top of NTFS - I imagine the reason it got killed off is because of performance/complexity issues. Once again, just let it die.

    As for the rest of you asking for more eye-candy or more stream-lining and less bloat: you can't have both. Either you have the eye-candy in Windows Vista or you have stream-lining. I find that the Windows team struck a very good balance of the two.

    Finally, TimOR - get a new computer, for the love of god. If you're running a Northwood Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM, it's going to feel like a dog compared to XP, if you're running anything sold for 500$ or more in the last 2.5 years (might I remind you that Vista's only been on the market for 1.5) then it's going to seem faster/more responsive due to Windows Aero and Superfetch. Or if you do indeed have a relatively recent computer, please, actually install Vista instead of referring to common knowledge. For further reference I recommend the Mojave Experiment.

  • MrDiSante - hey, I'm giving you MY experience with Vista - no need to get snippy. Actually I was running an HP dv6204 laptop (bought about a year ago) with Vista Home Premium. I got so frustrated with Vista (for the reasons stated) that I wiped it in April and installed XP Pro (against HP's advice). Haven't looked back, but AM looking forward to Windows 7 and really, really hope it will be better than Vista and XP. For me, Windows 7 is Microsoft's last chance.

  • Good stuff guys, am really looking forward to hearing what's coming and being a part of this community.

    Vista was a great platform to build on, and I look forward to what comes of that

  • Can you please make sure application contention at startup is finally addressed? A bug chunk of boot time is wasted as Windows Vista (and every version back to Win95) tries to launch every application that has weasled its way into starting up on Windows launch without monitoring which apps have hung or are taking inordinate time to launch.


  • Thats a nice way of keeping people posted about the development and its progress.  


  • MrDiSante, what exactly uses WPF in Vista?  When I speak of fully utilizing WPF or WCF in Windows, I mean libraries I can call from native C++.   Have you ever tried to interop WPF UI elements with Vista's Windows UI elements?  They’re two different worlds.

    How many times have you seen a "contact" used in one place but you couldn't quite get it over to the other place without some import?  To have a set of schemas that define the base types (like WinFS did), would provide the interoperability between the custom applications and Microsoft core products, which does not exist today.  We're left with old technology like AD and services built on these older technologies.

    I run Vista myself and I think it's just fine.  It’s solid as far as I’m concerned but when it comes to development and really being able to work with the number of SDKs available from Microsoft, there's just no unification in the architecture and it gets very tedious.

    If you think I am here to hype up some alternative, you’re wrong.  The alternative doesn’t exist.  I could ask for something like Mac OS but Apple lacks some of the simple features that Windows has had since the beginning.  Apple's UI is pretty  but I am positive that OS X is years behind Microsoft in terms of core architecture and SDKs.  The reliability and security are pretty good on OS X too.  I would say the same thing about Linux but it’s not an alternative in terms of development.

    I agree that it needs to be slimmed down and reworked from the ground up and modularized (that's why I said I like server core).  It's very close but they have to ditch explorer and the existing ACL model, along with the registry.  WinFS was that solution.  It was much more than a Database.  It was a set of Schemas that could be shared across organizations and businesses.  I don't care if it's not written in .NET, which is why it suffered from performance issues.  Much of WinFS and even WPF could easily be ported to C++ if performance is the problem.

    Another gripe I have is with HTML.  I am so sick of the fact that I have to develop multiple UIs for web and Windows.  Why can’t we just define some UI in XAML and fire-up IE, Windows, or a mobile device and Bob’s your uncle?  The whole idea behind XAML was to create a unified UI framework for Windows and the Web.  Somehow we ended up with two entirely separate platforms.  The same goes for Direct X.  Why doesn’t WPF/XAML speak Direct X?  This is what I am talking about…  If it seems like I have gone off on 40 different tangents, maybe it’s because the mirror is reflecting back at Microsoft now.

    BTW, WPF and WCF are NOT used in any of Vista’s native components.  They almost didn't include it in the release.  I know, you don't want to hear what I think.  But when Windows 7 comes out and it's the same thing we've been seeing...  I'll say I told you so.

  • DOS has nothing to do with it. This is bad because thats where the mnain problems are

    many people are sacred of a total rewrite and use childish comments like "if microsoft copies apple, I wont ever use microsoft products again!"  Please. give me a break stop being childish and get with the times...

    so another tip for Microsoft. Work together on this, not in separate rooms or buildings. Think AND work on the important things and the fun things may be added in the end

  • I cried with joy when I came across this blog. I have an emotional connection with Windows and have grown up along with it as it evolved during the 90s. I didn't get to test Vista but I would like to beta test Windows 7. I believe I can give good feedback from the perspective of a developer and an advanced user. Btw, as a start, you can *at least* inform the world whether Windows 7 will be NT 6.1 or NT 6.5 or NT 7.0, I'm sure that would be decided by now and disclosing that won't affect any other secret.

  • This is great news.  Me personally though call me old fashioned (Im only 30) but Ive always just wanted an OS that loaded quickly and held all of my files in an easy to get to manner and thats it.  I dont need animations or flashy graphics or see through windows.  I just need an OS that runs my games and gets out of my way.  

    Security is another concern.  Can we please spend more time on fixing bugs prior to release and a little less time on adding cool graphics?  

    My third suggestion would be making the installation more automated.  Several times in every windows install you get to a point where the only option is to hit next or theres a count down screen for a restart.  About the only things the user should have to hit keys for should be the accepting the EULA, selecting the drive, deciding how to format it if at all, the network or domain (if it can find and install a driver for a nic) and the product key.  That should be the default installation so I guess you should be able to select a default or advanced install too.  

    You can name the pc after windows is loaded or have it load a temp name during installation and prompt the user to change the name on next boot.  the timezone should be the same thing.

    Maybe I should just apply to be a beta tester lol!

  • You are going a very good way by using more the touch screen ability as a more common way to interact with the GUI. The method is good, but I feel it's in the wrong place.

    people like to interact with their fingers with objects, but what if that object is far away? they need to walk to that place to activate the desired operation. The way we have to interact with windows elements is thru a keyboard and a mouse. those things are right below our hands and fingers, at our reach.

    Imagine this, connect two screens into a computer that has 2 video cards. one of the screens make it a touch screen, one of those Smart Screens Microsoft may have around there.

    in the touchscreen monitor, run the On-Screen Keyboard. and make the applications run on the non touch sensitive screen. the touch screen must be one of the smallest ones you have, flat and wide screen.

    there, you have a keyboard that can change layout to any language, or change interface like when you are playing a game. imagine a laptop, that has a touch screen keyboard. it will be flat both sides. and if you open it 180 degrees, and rotate it 90 degrees, and make it extend the application to both screens, and configuring it to display the image 90 degrees left or right, it becomes a bigger screen, like for watching a movie.

    what we have right now with Windows is the form of interaction with the program overlapping the programs themselves, like the start menu overlapping the programs that are open. how about if the start menu would be displayed in the touch screen keyboard, when the key with the windows icon is pressed? right now we have all the menus, icons, options of interacting with the elements embedded in the programs themselves, if the touch screen keyboard would be possible, (which it is, I already explained how it can be possible), the menus, icons, and other interface elements to interact with the programs could be displayed in the touch screen keyboard, the keyboard could change skins, I don't know, each developer of each application will decide how it would modify the keyboard to fit the program needs for greater interoperability. you can even emulate a mouse there, or turn it into a keyboard. or drums. change skins, i don't know, i don't know where people creativity would go, nobody knows.

    I have to say that I appreciate this move from Microsoft, using the masses wisdom to develop Windows 7. a Windows we built ourselves.

  • Steven, thanks for starting this blog. I have a feeling each post will kick off a heated discussion. I hope Microsoft does keep an open mind when reading responses.

    I hope with Win7, Microsoft starts to address why Vista won't run well on netbooks. Today, I saw an Acer Aspire netbook running Linux. It boots in 20 seconds. It comes out of standby instantly. It does everything that most people need from a PC. And it does it well.

    Steven, these things are going to kill Windows unless something is done about the footprint.

    Bigger is no longer better.

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