Engineering Windows 7

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Measuring the scale of a release

Measuring the scale of a release

Thanks for all the feedback that we have been getting. That much of it is positive is certainly appreciated. I’ve been answering mails as best I can and along with members of the team we’ve been having the discussion in the comments. Everyone has done a great job sharing their views on specifics, wishes, and requests. I love getting these mails and reading the comments. It is fantastic. I just want to make sure folks know I can’t answer each one! What we are going to do is look to the emails and comments as a way of suggesting posts we should write.  The team overall appreciate the warm reception from all those that have joined us--we know we have lots of energetic discussions ahead of us and we're genuinely happy to start.

With this post, I am hoping to continue the dialog on the way we think “inside the Win7 team” so to speak—in a sense this is about expanding the team a bit and bringing you into some more of the discussions we have about planning a release. This conversation about major or minor releases is very much like the one I have with my boss as we start planning :-)

When we started planning the release, the first thing some might think we have to decide is if Windows 7 (client) would be a “major release” or not. I put that in quotes because it turns out this isn’t really something you decide nor is it something with a single answer. The magnitude of a release is as much about your perspective on the features as it is about the features themselves. One could even ask if being declared a major release is a compliment or not. As engineers planning a product we decide up front the percentage of our development team will that work on the release and the extent of our schedule—with the result in hand customers each decide for themselves if the release is “major”, though of course we like to have an opinion. On the server blog we talked about the schedule and we shared our opinion of the scale of the releases of Windows 7 client and server.

Our goal is about building an awesome release of Windows 7.

Across all customers, there is always a view that a major release is one that has features that are really the ones for me. A minor release is one that doesn’t have anything for me. It should then be pretty easy to plan a major release—just make sure it exactly the right features for everyone (and given the focus on performance, it can’t have any extra features, even if other people want them)! As engineers we all know such a design process is really impossible, especially because more often than not any two customers can be found to want exactly opposite features. In fact as I type this I received sequential emails one saying “[N]obody cares about touch screen nonsense” and the other saying “[Win7 needs] more advanced/robust ‘touch’ features”. When you just get unstructured and unsolicited input you see these opposites quite a bit. I’m sure folks are noticing this on the blog comments as well.

Let’s explore the spectrum of release magnitude across a couple of (but not all) different types of customers: end-users, developers, partners, IT professionals, and influentials.

End-users are generally the most straight-forward in terms of deciding how big a release is going to be. For an end-user a release is a big deal if they want to go out and buy an upgrade or buy a new PC. We could call that a major release. Seems simple enough and a major release is good for everyone. On the other hand, one could also imagine that a release is really cool and people want to buy it, but they also want to use their existing PC and the release requires more memory, updated drivers that might not be available, or maybe some specific hardware to be fully realized. Then it seems that a major release goes from a positive to a bit of an under-taking and thus loses some of its luster. Of course we all know that what folks really want is all the things they want that runs on the hardware they want—then that is a great product to get (whether it is major or not).

Developers look at a release through a different lens. Obviously for developers a release is a major one if there are new APIs and capabilities to take advantage of in their software—again straight-forward enough. It could also be the case that a previous release had a lot of new APIs and folks are just getting familiar with using them and so what they really want is to round out the APIs and maybe improve performance. So one might suspect that the first release is a major release and the second type is a minor release. But if you look at the history of software products, it is often these “minor” releases that themselves become the major releases – Windows 3.1, Office 4.2, or even Windows XP SP2. In each of these cases, the target for developers became the “minor” release but in the eyes of the market that was the “major” release. The reason developers want to use new APIs is to differentiate their products or focus their energies on domain expertise they bring to the table, not just call new APIs for the sake of calling them. In that sense, a release might be a major one if it just happens to free up enough time for an ISV that they bet on the new APIs because they can focus on some things that are a major deal to them.

Partners represent the broad set of folks who create PCs, hardware, and the infrastructure we think of as the ecosystem that Windows is part of. Partners tend to think about a major release in terms of the opportunity it creates and thus a major release might be one with a lot of change and thus it affords the opportunity to provide new hardware and infrastructure to customers. On the other hand, incompatibilities with the past might be viewed in a less than positive light if it means a partner needs to stop moving forward and revisit past work to bring it up to the required compatibility with a new release of Windows. If they choose, for any number of reasons, not to do that work then the release might be viewed as a minor one because of the lack of ecosystem support. So again we see that a big change can be viewed through the lens of a major or a minor release.

IT professionals are often characterized as conservative by nature and thus take a conservative view of change. Due to the business focused nature of the role, the evaluation of any software product is going to take place in the context of a return on investment. So for an IT professional a major release would be one that delivers significant business value. This business value could be defined as a major investment in deployment and management of the software for example. Yet for end-users or developers, these very same features might not even be interesting let alone worthy of being a major or minor release.

Influentials are all the folks who are in the business of providing advice, analysis, and viewpoints on the software we make. These folks often look at releases through the metric of “change”. Big changes equal major release. A big change can be a “re-architecture” as we saw in the transition from Windows 9x to Windows 2000—even though these products looked the same there was tons of change to talk about under the hood. So for reviewers and analysts it was definitely a major release. Big changes can also be big changes in the user-interface because that drives lots of discussion and it is easy to show all the change. Yet for each of these, this definition of major can also be viewed as a less than positive attribute. Re-architecture means potential incompatibilities. New user-interface can mean learning and moving from the familiar.

We’ve seen a lot of comments and I have gotten a lot of email talking about re-architecting Windows as a symbol of a major release. We’ve also gotten a lot of feedback about how a major release is one that breaks with supporting the past. If I could generalize, folks are usually implying that if we do things like that then a number of other major benefits will follow—re-architecting leads to better performance, breaking with the past leads to using less memory. It is always tricky to debate those points because we are comparing a known state to a state where we fix all the things we know to fix, but we don’t yet know what we might introduce, break, or otherwise not fix. So rather than define a major release relative to the implementation, I think it makes sense define the success of the release relative to the benefits of whatever implementation is chosen.  We will definitely continue to pick up on this part of the discussion--there's a lot of dialog to have.

The key is always a balance. We can have big changes for all customers if we prepare all the necessary folks to work through the change. We can have small changes have a big impact if they are the right changes at the right time, and those will get recorded over time as a major release.

We’ve talked about the timing and the way we structure the team, so you have a sense for the “inputs” into the project. If we listened well and focused our efforts correctly, then each type of customers will find things that make the product worthwhile. And if we do our job at effectively communicating the product, then even the things that could be “problems” are seen in the broader context of an ecosystem where everyone collectively benefits when a few people benefit significantly.

From our perspective, we dedicated our full engineering team and a significant schedule to building the Windows 7 client OS. That makes it a major undertaking by any definition. We intend for Windows 7 to be an awesome release.

I hope this helped to see that perspective is everything when it comes to deciding how big a release is for each type of customer.

--Steven

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  • lyesmith -

    Thanks for the comments, some good ideas in there :)

    A couple notes:

    Being able to rename an opened document isn't a matter of the filesystem, it's a matter of how the application opened it.  If the application *locked the file* the OS (no matter what OS it is) cannot do anything about that.

    By locking the file the application is specifically telling the OS *not* to allow other changes to it, because it is in the middle of doing something with it that might change it's content / size / location, or even its name.

    The Windows+[0-9] keys already have a function, and changing that would be very annoying for people that are used to having them launch QuickLaunch items.

    Windows already uses a microkernel architecture.

  • Kudos on making the dev process public, also for taking feedback.  I would make a feedback form where users can collaborate on suggesting new features.

    Here are my suggestions:

    1. Put all system functions in one place:  Control Panel.  Currently, Windows has Control Panel which holds most system functions.  However, there is also the Administrative Tools folder on the Start Menu.  Or, if I want to go to Disk Management, I have to open Windows Explorer and right click Manage on My Computer.  Or, to ping another computer on my network, I have to type “cmd” in my Search window.  Or, to defrag a drive, I must right click the drive and click on Tools.  Put all these functions in one place to make Windows easier, cleaner, and more efficient.

    2. Include antivirus software in Windows.

    3. On the start menu there is a frequently used program list.  How programs are added and subtracted is a mystery.  If I use the program once, it should appear on the list.  As I use others, they appear, with the oldest used program dropping off, as is done with every other program that has this feature.

    4. Get rid of UAC.  If I am the only user and an admin on my machine, why do I need permission to delete a file?  How and why is this permission then denied?

    5. Similarly, don’t put folders on my machine that I can’t delete.

    6. Make different versions for different levels of user.  Make a Newbie version with all UAC delete protections in.  Make a Power user with newbie stuff out.  Make an Elite user version with extra system and network utilities installed.

    7. Get rid of hidden files and folders.  It is irritating to have to go to Folder views and turn on hidden files to go into hidden folders to make changes, and then go back and turn it off again.  If you don’t want noobs to mess with them, put all hidden file/folders buried somewhere where they can’t reach them.

    8. Beef up Windows Explorer.  There used to be custom buttons for simple operations, like Cut, Copy and Paste, but those were removed.  Add those back and allow for more file management features in the interface.

  • TaylorVista64 -

    Thanks for the comments as always.  A few responses:

    3.  As you mentioned, the Start Menu includes a "Frequently Used" list.  Using something once does not make it frequently used.  That would be a Recently Used list, which is not what the Start Menu has.  If you want something to always be on the start menu, you can right-click the icon and click "Pin to Start Menu."

    4.  If you are the only user and an admin on your machine, then UAC gives you control over what privileges you allow programs to run with.  It isn't YOU asking the computer for permission, it's the application asking you.

    If an application runs with lower privileges, then it is less of a risk to your system.  I am NOT talking about running a malicious application.  UAC isn't built to stop that.  UAC is built so that Outlook and Firefox and AIM and all the other internet-connected software you use doesn't have permission to do things *they never need to do*.

    That way, when you browse to a web page that exploits Firefox or open an e-mail that exploits a bug in Outlook, the malicious code injected into that process is restricted in the damage it can do.  Some people call this "sandboxing" although that's become a bit of an overloaded term.  But the idea is that you build a security wall around your applications, defined by the application, which it promises not to try and escape.  If it does, it's probably been exploited by an attacker.

    In the case of IE, UAC offers quite possibly the most powerful protection mechanism available, by running IE in "protected mode," which means it has even fewer privileges than your normal non-admin applications.  This is a fantastic security advantage and is likely the #1 reason that Vista machines have far, far fewer malware installations and viable attacks than even XP SP2.

    5. I make the opposite argument - why would you be allowed to delete something that you will never want to delete?  That only opens up the possibility of you accidentally destroying your system, and then complaining to Microsoft that if something can't be deleted it shouldn't be deleteable.

    6.  You probably don't mean "power user," yuou probably mean "you."  Unfortunately it's very difficult to make a "power user" version of Windows.  For example, you mentioned leaving out UAC.  UAC is often most effective and most appreciated by "power users."  The same people who appreciate the least-privilege security model in other OSes and have long requested better access to it in Windows.

    7.  This is just silly.  You say it's too hard to get to hidden files because you have to toggle ONE SETTING just ONCE.  Then you propose a solution that would make them harder to find and get to?

  • bpaddock,

    As far as I know the Vista and WS 2008 uses hybrid kernel essentially a monolithic one.

    For some reason in OSX they manage not to  lock a file when you open it. It is free to rename or edit with other application.

  • I am resigned to the fact that "Windows 7" will probably just be Vista/2008 R2 and may bear a version number of '6.1' .  With that in mind, here are a couple of good ideas that I think should end up in the "true" (v7.0) Windows release:

    *  64-bit only.  Several other people have mentioned this, but I just wanted to add my vote.

    *  A new per-program permissions architecture.  I envision an environment where the install file specifies a mfr/publisher("Adobe"), program name ("Reader"), and version ("10.0").  The OS then creates "C:\programs\Adobe\Reader\10.0" and "HKLM\Software\Adobe\Reader\10.0" and then gives RW permission to this application (hash-based?).  This could be implemented in a number of ways, including local security groups ("MYCOMPUTER\Adobe Applications" gets RW access to HKLM\Software\Adobe).  This has the benefit of limiting damage that one mailcious/exploited application can do to other applications.  There's no good reason for Word to be *writing* to c:\programs\Adobe, anyway, right?

    *  A pluggable codec pool for Compression and Encryption algorithms.  This would allow Explorer (and all other applications) to open archives based on methods or schemes not present when the application was developed. ("Notepad can't open that .PAQ10o file?  Let Explorer query $search_engine to find the appropriate decompression/decryption DLLs!")

    *  Speed of .Net applications.  This is probably outside the scope of Windows 7 engineering, but I have to bring it up.  One of my biggest complaints with the Exchange 2007 and WSUS 3 management interfaces is simply the time it takes to load up and perform simple(?) tasks.  The admin consoles from previous versions are speed demons by comparison.  I don't know if this is code bloat or something else, but it definitely detracts from the user (IT staff) experience.  

    Hope this helps,

    Whizzmo

  • Aero glass is so dull and boring looking. Black and transparent shades. It's quite frightening and repellant if you think about it a little.

    To have a pleasant experience with Windows 7, the end user need colourful and vivid patterns that bring us joy. Something along the Windows XP skin would be perfect.

    You have to make us feel that the OS is not targeted at rocket scientists.

    Vista with all it's technical glory has lost what I would qualify as happiness and conviviality.

    It's quite hard to describe the feelings given by a User Interface but I hope that you understand my point.

    Wishes you the best with Windows 7

  • I wanted to say two things about Windows 7.  First, I hope the performance is much faster than Windows Vista.  I expected more and was disappointed when I didn't get it.  Second, as a blind computer user, I am asking that you please provide the option for a talking install of your operating system, much the same as the Leopard Operating System has.  It's time for Microsoft to step up to the plate and really get serious about accessibility for blind computer users.  I hope this will be integrated into the new system.  There are experts at the National Federation of the Blind headquarters who are ready and willing to work with you.  Might I also ask that you continue to include the screen reading software developers such as GW Micro, Freedom Scientific, and Serotek corporation as you develop this new system to ensure the greatest accessibility for us.  Thanks much.

  • Like many, I've been using Windows since the beginning (well, no, not Windows 1.0, but close.. 2/386).  I've seen many iterations of Windows and followed it's course from application to subystem to OS and beyond.

    I use Vista every day.  I choose to use Vista.  I could be using XP, but I don't because I believe in many of the advances made in Vista, and the longer we have the world hanging onto old versions of the OS, the longer it will take for applications to begin using new features.

    Having said that, I still find myself annoyed beyond belief quite often with Windows.  I have contemplated switching to Mac and Linux many times, but haven't for a variety of reasons.  However, those reasons are slowly becoming less and less important.

    If you want to keep me as a customer, then a lot of changes will have to happen.  I'm not unreasonable, and I've thought through both sides of most of these issues.  I understand that all this is a balancing act, but that's small consolation when I as a customer end up on the wrong end.

    1) Reduce complexity.  I know that's a vague comment.  However, the one thing i've noticed in Windows over the years is that it gets more and more complex in it's architecture.  It's a good thing to build layers and build on what has come before, but all too often those features appear more bolted on and cosmetic rather than integrated.  Aero is a great example.  All the time I notice quirks and gotchas that seem to stem from it's "bolted on" nature.  It seems like the old Windows USER is there, drawing the old UI, but then it's somehow intercepted and AERO redraws it the way it wants to.  I'm certain that this is threason AERO uses so much memory when similar implementations on Linux and Mac use significantly less.

    2) Speaking of Aero, it needs to be fine tuned.  The monster thick borders are annoying, and it needs to be optmized to use far less resources, particularly memory.  I know memory is cheap, but I prefer to use the memory for my applications, and not the OS (buffers and caches not withstanding, because those can be discarded when applications need the memory).

    3) DWM needs improvement to make it more programmable.  It would be really nice to see API's to allow third parties to easily create new effects (similar to Compiz/Beryl).  The current API is quite limited in this regard.  I want to see spinning cubes or cylinders, warped displays, wobbly windows, new transitions, etc..  And please, don't hard code these API's to specific effects, make them generic enough to allow third parties to use their creativity, rather than locking them into yet another paradigm.

    4) Speaking of resources.  Vista uses way too many of them.  I know that too is generic.  But seriously, the OS is unusable with less than 1GB of memory.  It's barely usable with 2GB, and really requires 4 if your'e a power user.  Even so, with just a dozen applications running and several instances of IE with multiple tabs on each, i'm already constantly using 2.5+GB, usually rolling into 3GB quite often.  There has to be ways to reduce application and memory footprints.

    5) Improve 32 bit compatibility on 64 bit.  That includes device drivers.  I wouldn't mind a 32 bit WOW layer for this.  There still a lot of very functional hardware out there that doesn't have 64 bit drivers.  And yes, I realize this may conflict with #4 above, but I consider backwards compatibility to be something for a VM layer, which means that if you have all 64 bit hardware and software, you can jettison the VM layer and recover the memory.

    6) Rethink UAC.  I love what UAC does, just not the way it does it.  Both Mac and Linux have a timer associated with their SUDO implementations so that it doesn't keep asking for permission for a small period of time.  Also, reconsider combining UAC with file permissions.  This is particularly a big problem on things like removable hard drives where there might be permissions from another OS.  It simply prompts too often for basic tasks.

    I know there are a lot of people who complain about UAC being there at all.  They want to be able to do whatever they want without annoyance.  But there has to be a middle ground.  Perhaps you can create a "level" of protection, where some actions do not require or automatically raised.  Perhaps even make this a selection of items in a check-listbox.  "Do not prompt for non-system file permission elevation" or some such.  Also, it's fine to make this a group policy item, but there needs to be a normal UI for this as well, as group policy is hard for many to figure out.

    7) Reduce the waits... or at least give the option to reduce the waits.   As an example, when I go to delete or copy a folder with a lot of subdirectories, it takes forever for the copy to begin as it has to scan the whole subtree just so it can generate a semi-accurate time estimate (and other things, like determining if there's enough room on the destination drive).  I really don't care about the time estimate.  I'd rather have the option to turn that off, and have it just start the copy immediately.  If there's not enough space on the target drive, then that's my own fault because i turned that feature off.

    There are similar time sucks all over the OS.  Scanning subfolders for other folders so that the + can be shown in explorer, for instance.  This is particularly bad over network drives where it can take minutes for the UI to become responsive.

    8) Above all.  Make the OS more responsive.  Make it "FEEL" fast.  it doesn't matter if it is or isn't, if it feels fast users will complain far less.

    I like to give a good example.  When Windows 98 came out, it introduce a transition in the start menu and right click menus.  This transition made it take longer for the menus to appear (even though if you moved your mouse pointer right away, it would cancel the transition and make the menu draw right away).  People complained that the new OS was "too slow" because of this.  It wasn't, it just felt like it.  And, when people think something is slow, they assume it's because it's buggy or bloated.

  • It's great to read your post but it worries me somehow as it seems you guys are thinking more about small details like major/minor than the product itself.

    I think it would be best to simply try to create an awesome OS and let the users decide if it is major or minor. Considering the disaster called Vista any release would be major when you do things the right way.

    Regarding this I second most of the comments above and in the other posts:

    - make W7 rock solid

    - make it fast and efficient. Honestly, when an OS sucks most of your hardware power something is terribly wrong. I don't buy a computer to run an OS. I buy a computer to run applications.

    - make W7 customizable in every way - at least give us the chance the be in charge when it comes to our computers. This way you can comfort any customer with any taste. Offer those options during install and anytime later.

    By the way: would that last wish possible for you to realize? For example: are you able to rather easily design the Windows system in a way that I can remove IE or any other "tool"? Or is that not possible because those apps are so tightly integrated into the system that it would take years?

  • I'm glad to see that Windows 7 is coming along really nicely.

    From what I've been reading at ShippingSeven and Engineering7, the future of Microsoft looks bright and the *refreshed* attitude is in the right direction. (Like IE8 and standards; glad to see that MS was gone the *correct* way.)

    I just have one really big request:

    --Please make Windows 7 (32-bit) friendly with single core processors (like P4's).

    **Reason: many people's main reason for not upgrading to Vista (or mine at least) is the demand of the hardware. Sure, I have 2 GB RAM, a nice video card (GeForce 7800), and others.

    But in order to run Vista well out-of-the-box (tweaking aside), people should at least be running Dual-Core processors. I, unfortunately (and like many other veteran power users who do not like upgrading right off the bat) still use a P4 for my system.

    I truly hope that Windows 7 will be more resourceful with the other hardware too (the new driver model and RAM management works well). The jump from Windows XP 32-bit to Vista (any) was unlike any other for most people.

    I believe this was because the jumps from Windows 2000 and Windows XP wasn't that great. And given the time in between Vista and XP, people weren't expecting that (Longhorn builds were near XP specs).

    Sure, 5 years and hardware evolves (hence Microsoft's expectations for Vista and dual-core and 64-bit and graphics). But ... You guys forgot one thing:: You ARE the computing industries STANDARD. Windows XP IS the standard and perhaps will be for the next year at the very least.

    People got by those 5-developing Vista years with enough to run XP (enough, well, or superseding). Those people who ran XP with Dual-Cores and 64-bit and 2GB of RAM (and almost, by default, a great video card; it wouldn't make sense for people to have these types of systems without a great video card to do with it) were prepared for Vista.

    Those unlucky to discover that their old hardware (perhaps legacy compatible with the XP standards) ran undesirably or even were incompatible. That makes people to stop wanting to move ... That makes eveolution (or understanding) a little harder for some.

    So, my only request: make 32-but Windows 7 more resourceful with single core processors. I ask for only 32-bit because 64-bit is the future (hench, high clock or multicore) and ready almost out of the box (like 64-bit P4's with hyperthreading to Pentium D's to Core 2 Duo's). Please make 32-bit Windows 7 efficient and resourceful with single cores. Please allow it to run and process at surprising and desirable speeds. Please ... Make it efficient and yet, powerful. Please, optimize the code and make it flexible. Please don't just give us another Vista and expect it to run due to time. XP is still the standard, and hardware will continue to supply it as a minimum.

    --I wish to note that since Vista, manufacturers have been adding into the hardware to compensate for it. That's good ... For people who can take advantage of it (purchase or upgrade to fairly new components). Those who have come from the 98/ ME/ 2K/ early XP ages aren't as lucky ... Everything's going out of reach for those users now. And one of those users is me.

    I want to experience the visuals ... I want to take advantage of the services Windows has to offer ... But I do not want to give up on my PC.

    This will make single-core users happier for the given time (before technology evolves to beyond their reach, again forcing another upgrade or PC purchase).

    --MS must realize the people who choose UPGRADE instead of PURCHASE are the people who are running older hardware, but still want to keep to date. These people are resourceful users (power users maybe) and sometimes choose that they rather not give up their systems.

    **Yes ... My PC has sentimental value to me (2001 to today, XP, best computing experience for me by far, and the only computer in my lifetime I can call my own). I'm in my teens, if you wish to gauge how long I've been using computers.**

    The processor, unlike RAM and Video, is a difficult part to upgrade. There's only so much that a motherboard of the XP SP1-SP2 ages can take (2002-2005). My motherboard is maxed out with a 2.8 GHz processor, and no choice to upgrade to dual-core (trust me, I would if I could).

    It's impractical for people, who got by with  XP (2001-today) in addition upgrading their system overtime, to actually purchase another system. I love my computer ... And I ABSOLUTELY do NOT want to give it up simply because the operating system is not resourceful with its given hardware.

  • Here are some more comments I've been thinking about.

    1) Paged Back Executables and Page Backed VM has become a bottleneck with todays multi-core processors.  I find my processes are often disk I/O bound even when there is plenty of free/available memory.  In addition, with the trend of moving to non-volatile flash based hard disks, the old VM is proving to be more of an impediment.  I think the VM needs to be rethought to make disk I/O less of a bottleneck for virtual memory performance.

    2) NTFS is also showing it's age.  It's aged well, mind you, but I think it's time for a radical change.  The filesystem has to become more flexible.  Reparse Points and what not have greatly expanded it's functionality, but it's time for a change.

    A big change would be to effectively drop the concept of disk drives, ala Mac or Unix filesystems.  Yes, there's a lot of software that depends on drive letters, but i'm sure you could come up with a compatiblity layer where drive letters could be mapped to folders in a more advanced way than subst or drive mappings.  All the parts are there to accomplish this, just pull the trigger.

    Also, the abiity to replace in-use files without rebooting (similar to Unix fileysystems) and a fragmentation resistent filesystem would top things off.

    3) As someone else mentioned, we need built-in virtual desktops.  There are two ways to accomplish this, and I think both need to be implemented at the OS level.  The first level is Virtual desktops, however most third party tools are just window hiding hacks.  This is not acceptable since it's too easy to confuse these solutions.  A better solution is to create Virtual Displays, that act like extra monitors, with complete OS level window management.  These can then be swapped into the "real" displays as needed.  The second solution is more like Fast User Switching, and allows multiple users to be logged into the console, however this should work with computers joined to domains as well.  Further, it should be easier to switch between virtual consoles than FUS is.  There should also be API's to make for third party display managers.

  • Looks like I can be categorized as IT Professional.

    Some features I'd like to see at W7:

    >>>>Since in most Corporations the machines are branded ones, it is interesting to have more hardware administration features via AD. -I am using today 3rd-party software to administer machines boot-up configs, SMART and temperature monitoring; Wake-on-LAN and hardware inventory would be an interesting addition.

    >>>>Same with software.

    -Installed software and configuration parameters report would be an interesting addition.

    >>>>Non-Microsoft software configuration via AD.

    -Common software like Adobe Reader and JRE are a pain to configure. You need to make logon scripts to mass-configure them.

    Custom Software configuration would be nice too (without the need to make it in logon scripts).

    Actual case: I needed to configure Jinitiator, and make memory cache to go from 128 to 256. I spent almost an hour to write a script to overwrite the files, change registry keys, reboot the machine and change all the logon scripts (i have more than 80 different scripts, with non-matching patterns in the names to do a bulk editing). Also, some machines with the same logon script were not supposed to run this script.

    It would be awesome if I could filter from some OU with the Find command the machines I wanted to do this, not from the logon script field.

    I think that's it for this time.

    But please... think of the IT pros not only in Server OSes..

    Remember, Servers are to Serve Clients. So, Clients need to have support for remote administration just as they were being operated locally.

  • There are good suggestions in this blog but Windows is now a very mature operating system and there are very few need-to-have, although many nice-to-have, new mainstream features that can be added to the operating system.

    Actually, in the v6 release, I can only think of virtualization as a break-through new technology integrated into the OS.

    The Vista "mission statement" about a better GUI and improved security has proved more confusing in its implementation than useful to most users. The GUI is certainly nicer although often inconsistent and the learning curve has proved too steep in most organisations. The UAC is resented more as a productivity drainer than a useful and efficient enhancement to the operating system especially since it asks repeatedly "Do you really want to allow this?" without learning from the user experience or considering the level of risk that an application presents. In other words, UAC is good in principle but it could be much cleverer in its implementation.

    Also Vista has been released with far too many bugs and although SP1 has improved on this, Vista is still too unstable in my opinion. Most businesses that I know are very happy with Windows XP SP3 and are still reluctant to upgrade to Vista just to run Office and web-based applications. Adding cluttering applications like sidebar gadgets into the operating system certainly defocuses from what a good operating system should be: robust, secure, fast, modular, and as far as client operating systems are concerned, user-friendly.

    My point is Vista is unfinished and before considering adding any new feature to the operating system (especially features like gadgets), please simply finish Vista and make it the robust, secure, fast, modular and user-friendly operating system that it should have been.

  • Steven, can you talk at all about the release intended release rhythm for Windows moving forward?  Windows was humming along at a release every couple years before it got off-track.  Mac OS X was moving at a yearly pace but it has slowed down to every couple years.  What's the goal with Windows?

    Additionally, this post was a good opportunity to help frame Vista as a major release.  I'm guessing you chose not to do that to keep the Win7 message clear?  I'm anxious to see Vista finally presented in it's proper frame (as a major architectural release:  whole new audio, graphic and networking stacks, security, .NET and WPF by default, componentization, etc.)

    Lastly, I may suggest that when we do finally see the release of Win7 features that you do a post which maps actual blog comments/community requests to implemented features.  It's one thing to give the appearance of listening, but showing a tight coupling between real user feedback and feature implementation would build massive goodwill (at least among those whose comments you choose!)

  • Gentlemen: I am user of Windows from their beginnings and I can say the same of Unix; In some of the comments that I have read I believe that one of the main keys is so that new SO completes that that of the it is expected...

    To listen the end user that is not needed to change the computer to run new SO, in summary that it doesn't seem that the final desire is to SHINE before the users teaching the complex and sophisticated that aser can arrive.

    The Client that pays at the end is the modest user that requests potent solutions but that he finds reliable, simple and quick of use although they are not so spectacular.  Greetings.

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