Notes on comments.
Welcome to our blog dedicated to the engineering of Microsoft Windows 7
Hey folks, just wanted to provide another update (building on the recent post on some changes since Beta) on some of the changes you will see in the Release Candidate. Again, there are many and this is not an exhaustive list. Of course we continue to gather telemetry from the large number of people running the Beta full time. Just a reminder, the Beta is the only official build from Microsoft. Chaitanya compiled this list from a broad set of feature teams focused on visible changes based on feedback that go beyond “bug fixes”, though we included some of the more widely reported bugs on this list as well. –Steven
1. Improved taskbar thumbnail overflow
Our customers are enjoying how windows are grouped and revealed on the enhanced taskbar. Some enthusiasts who have a significant number of open windows for a program encounter our scaling mechanism; the thumbnail view turns into a list view. Although this UI is virtually identical to experience in XP and Vista, customers still want to enjoy new functionality of the thumbnail view. Bentronic wrote, “It's nice that there's a little close button on the thumbnail previews--why not have a similar button for when it's showing as a list? Being able to run down the list clicking the close button instead of right-clicking would be great.” For RC we’ve made the list view architecturally the same as the thumbnail view, just sans thumbnails. Customers will now enjoy close buttons and the menus open on hover (in Beta one had to click to open them).
List View of running windows appears on hover and supports close
2. Control Panel Jump List
Right-clicking on the Control Panel icon on the taskbar in Beta revealed a noticeably sparse Jump List. A few people such as Britney told us “Should most recently used items be displayed in the Jump List of the CPL when pinned to the taskbar? Something should be shown and nothing is there right now”. In RC the Control Panel Jump List offers quick access to recently used items.
The Control Panel Jump List now surfaces recently used items
2. PowerShell Jump List
By default PowerShell in Beta launched a streamlined console. Customers could load optional modules via distinct shortcuts in the Start Menu. We heard from you that this was a confusing experience. Additionally, PowerShell did not surface a way to launch related tasks such as the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) from within their console experience. PowerShell now has a robust Jump List that affords a method to load modules, launch the ISE and open documentation.
3. Remote Desktop Jump List
Rajeev made us smile with his comment, “Being able to add my Remote Desktop shortcut to the taskbar—good. Saving settings and showing them in the Recent items section—awesome. Being able to pin the connections in the Jump List, so they always appear—priceless!” Well, Rajeev and others who shared this request, you will be enjoy this functionality in RC.
4. Applying taskbar settings
Have you ever customized the taskbar, only to find your changes were not saved across sessions? Has the taskbar ever inexplicably moved on you after you log in? For a variety of reasons, previous versions of Windows saved taskbar settings only after Explorer exited at the end of a session. However, if the OS is not shutdown properly these settings did not persist. Based on the bugs we saw from Beta, we decided to change our architecture and write these settings within 30 seconds (providing enough time to batch a group of changes) during the session. This means settings will now be more reliable.
5. Multi-touch zoom
One of the pieces of feedback we heard from the Beta was that customers enjoy the new multi-touch zoom feature, but wish it was supported in Windows Explorer. In response to this feedback we have added support for the zoom gesture in Windows Explorer. Using the zoom gesture you can switch between view modes in Explorer such as zooming from Small Icons to Extra Large icons.
6. Invert Selection
In an effort to make improvements to performance, network bandwidth and memory footprint for various scenarios (e.g. libraries, search and search federation), we rearchitected the implementation of the view code in Windows Explorer. As part of this we did not to port “Invert Selection” since this rarely used feature is pretty complex to implement in the context of virtualized lists. Despite the small percentage of usage we’ve recorded, those who missed it have been pretty vocal :-) On one of the blog posts, GGreig summarized what we heard from several of you—“Invert Selection; that's a useful - sometimes absolutely invaluable - little piece of functionality, and I definitely don't want to see it go…Please reinstate Invert Selection.” Given the feedback from enthusiasts, we added back the functionality for RC.
7. Going up?
We’ve heard feedback, especially from those on this blog, that in Windows 7 moving up in the folder hierarchy often requires multiple clicks since longer folder names in the address bar often bump the parent folder into the overflow dropdown.
For RC, we’ve improved the overflow algorithm so that the parent folder’s button will appear in the address bar at all times and therefore going ‘up’ will always be a single click away in a predictable location. When there isn’t enough room to display the parent folder’s full name, it will appear truncated instead of going into the overflow. If space is especially tight, then the current folder’s name may appear truncated too, but in all cases the parent folder’s button will remain as a click target in the address bar.
In addition to making the address bar an even better tool for navigating ‘up’ in Explorer, this change also makes it easier to tell where your are as you navigate around since you can now see at least part of the parent folder’s name. It also avoids introducing any more redundant buttons to the Explorer frame and hence taking away any more screen space from being able to see your address. Also, it goes without saying that if you navigate into a folder, you can still use the back button to go back up. And the keyboard shortcut is also available.
In Beta, a parent folder would collapse into an overflow dropdown
In RC, parent folders always remain within single click access
8. Finding music by artist
We covered several of the improvements to arrangement views in the last post, but one we did not mention is that the “Artist” view in the Music Library now accounts for album artists and compilation albums. ShadowChaser summarized some feedback we heard from a number of customers in a comment: “The only concern I still have is with the ‘Artist’ view… it groups by ‘Contributing Artist’, not ‘Album Artist.’” Grouping only by contributing artist results in too many artists showing up and tracks from the same album getting split up in cases where customers didn’t expect. In RC, the “Artist” view in the Music Library groups together multiple tracks from an album by the common “Album Artist” property when it is available, groups tracks from compilation albums together into a “Various Artists” group and finally resorts to grouping by “Contributing Artist”. This reduces clutter when browsing music collection by artist, in addition to improving consistency with artist views in other applications and devices.
9. New folder is always available
We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback during Beta about adding a top level “New folder” button in Explorer, freeing customers from digging into submenus. A common complaint we received, however, was that the button only appeared when nothing is selected. For RC, we’ve changed this so the “New folder” button will always appear, regardless of selection.
10. Right-click in Windows Explorer
For RC we’ve changed the behavior when right-clicking items in the view to address concerns customers were reporting with the Beta. We heard feedback that it was too hard to find space and get to the view’s background context menu for items such as New and Paste. Previously if one right-clicked over any portion of an item she would get the item’s context menu. We now show the view’s context menu when one clicks on any large white space, including the space between a files name and its properties.
11. Content view for search results
For RC we’ve adjusted the behavior when right-clicking items in the view to address concerns customers were reporting with the Beta. We heard feedback that it was too hard to find space
Content view is the new view mode we’ve added to Windows Explorer for Windows 7. It’s especially useful for search results where it surfaces the most relevant properties for each kind of file (e.g. documents, email, pictures and music) as well as a contextual “snippets” of the file content where the search term match occurred. There are a few changes here in the RC build. One thing we heard feedback on is that customers want to know exactly which properties were being shown for each item, so all properties now appear with labels. The text layout and colors have been updated in response to feedback to make each item even easier to parse and to avoid confusion with the colors used for encrypted or compressed files. We heard loud and clear that many found snippets very useful and wanted to see more of them, so in the RC we’ve allowed longer snippets and we’re using them in more places. In response to feedback we heard from customers when resizing their Explorer window or toggling the preview pane, we’ve made the transitions smoother as additional columns of information about each item are revealed when you make the view larger.
12. Intelligent re-indexing after application installation
In RC the Windows Search service now keeps the index up-to-date whenever support for new file types are introduced to the system. We know that in the past customers have sometimes had difficulties searching for files on their computer after new file handlers are installed. (File handlers govern how content and metadata is made searchable and are typically installed with applications such as Microsoft Office or updates such as the Microsoft Filter Pack).
In Win7 Beta (and previous versions of Windows), customers were required to rebuild their index whenever a new file handler was installed to ensure that any existing files were indexed with the newest functionality. Few customers knew to do this and it was an unnecessarily time consuming operation. Windows Search is more efficient in RC by automatically re-indexing the specific files affected by new file handlers. Rest assured that when one installs support for a certain kind of file, she can search for those files without doing any additional work.
13. Trimming sound schemes to help performance
We know our customers care about performance. We discovered that by just trimming the shutdown and logoff WAV files, we could save up to 400 ms. Every little bit counts.
14. Baseline Device Stage experience
Device Stage continues to enjoy positive reviews. For example, we saw this post on on a blog: “I have to be honest this works very well, it worked with my MP3 player in showing how much charge it had and other details as well is able to display the manual and offer me everything I needed to do with it effortlessly, including having the correct icon and image of the product.” However, we occasionally hear “too bad , my N70 aint supported either :-( …hopefully they are gonna support a ton more device by the time windows 7 get released”.
We took feedback like this to the devices makers and they too would like more integration given the interest from our customers. Several manufacturers are implementing custom experiences, but a large number have also opted to support their older devices in what we call the “baseline” Device Stage experience.
This UX works exactly like full Device Stage; the device image appears on the taskbar whenever it is connected and tasks are exposed in the Jump List. On first connect, the shell Window containing all of the built-in tasks appears automatically and is always just one click away from the desktop icon or device image in the Devices and Printers folder. When the device maker implements a custom Device Stage experience for a device, it gets posted on the Web and the baseline experience gets upgraded when the device is later reconnected. The core functionality is the same, but all of the branding, imaging and vendor-specific tasks are now available automatically in the same convenient UI.
Baseline Device Stage experience for a mobile phone
15. Devices and Printers enhancement
PC and laptop makers such as Lenovo, were very interested in doing more than just showing the machine’s icon in Devices and Printers. They told us they wanted to leverage Device Stage to help them better customize the experience for our mutual customers. In RC double-clicking on the PC icon now offers a Device Stage UX. Like the other Device Stage devices, Device Stage for PC will be enabled when the PC maker has chosen to participate with their system.
Device Stage experience for a PC
16. Unified experience for removing devices
One of the tasks customers perform in Devices & Printers is removing devices that are no longer in use. We received feedback that the remove action varied across different device classes. For example, removing a printer only removed the print queue and for Bluetooth devices it only removed the pairing of the device to the PC. We have changed this action to always completely uninstall the device across all device classes – which is the action that most customers expect.
17. Hardware properties
We know enthusiasts use the Device Manager’s property page to check the status of a device. We heard feedback that this wasn’t convenient and so we now also surface the property page directly from the Devices and Printers experience. Simply right-click on the device and one has one less reason to visit Device Manager.
18. Improved eject experience
The Safely Remove hardware functionality enables customers to make sure that their device is ready for removal. During the Windows 7 Beta, customers still had the Safely Remove Hardware functionality available on the taskbar as well as an Eject option on the context menus of applicable devices in Devices and Printers. Based on feedback, we have integrated these two separate pieces of functionality in RC and have changed its name from “Safely Remove” to “Eject”. The tool Notification Area icon still appears, but its context menu now has the option to open Devices and Printers. Also, we have simplified the options by eliminating the drop-down submenu and made the semantics for eject functionality more consistent across the different kinds of media. For example, ejecting an optical drive now ejects the media instead of the drive and ejecting a USB flash drive ejects the entire device instead of an individual volume.
19. USB device reliability on resume
We got feedback from a number of customers that their USB devices (e.g. keyboards, mice and drives) stopped working after a suspend/resume cycle. We worked with a number of customers to get traces and isolated the causes to address them post-beta builds. The work around in Beta was to unplug and replug the device to get it functional again—easy for external devices but not possible for internal devices. This workaround will not be needed on RC builds.
20. FireWire camera support
Some customers informed us they were unable to connected their 1394 HDV camera and stream its contents to their Beta machine. With the help of customers, we were able to identify a fault with our core 1394 stack and we’ve validated the scenario works in RC. This is another good example of the combination of telemetry and more “manual” follow up on the part of our test team.
21. Add Legacy Hardware functionality restored
The Add Legacy Hardware action was provided in Device Manager on past Windows releases to install non-Plug and Play devices. We removed this functionality for Windows 7 with the belief that this was rarely used. Aaron blogged, “You might have noticed that the old 'Add Legacy Hardware' option seems to be missing. I tend to use this quite a bit whenever I need to add in a Loopback adapter or some piece of hardware that is not quite installing correctly.” As a result, this functionality has been restored to Device Manager for RC to help add non-Plug and Play devices.
22. Increased responsiveness of Add Printer Wizard
There are some situations with legacy network printers in which Plug and Play cannot automatically identify the appropriate driver even when it’s available on Windows Update. For these situations, the Add Printer wizard allows customers to download a list of all the printer drivers available on Windows Update so they can manually select the driver for the specific printer being installed. The process of retrieving the list can take a few minutes and we received beta feedback that many people felt their machine was hung since there was nothing in the UI to let them know that it could take a few minutes. We have made some UI changes to indicate that process of retrieval can take some time. Additionally, we have also improved the overall performance of retrieving the list from Windows Update.
23. Partition size reduction
In Windows Vista, configuring features such as Windows Recovery Environment and Bit Locker required significant customer interaction. Also, a significant amount of drive space was reserved. The Windows 7 System partition enables features to be configured to work “out of the box” so very little customer interaction is needed to configure and utilize them. Based on feedback and telemetry data received through the beta, it became clear that we could cut the drive size in half (from 200M to 100M).
24. Reserved System Partition naming
The system partition is created automatically by Setup when installing on a machine with no existing partitions. During the Beta the existence of this partition on default installs confused many people and feedback indicated that a label telling them that this is space reserved for the system would be helpful when browsing disk configurations, and further help prevent it’s accidental deletion by enthusiasts. We will now label is “System Reserved”.
25. Dual Boot partition drive letter assignment
For a dual boot configuration for the Beta, the other Windows OS wouldn’t get a drive letter and therefore wouldn’t show up in explorer. We heard overwhelmingly from Beta customers that the lack of a drive letter was confusing and even caused some to believe that their secondary OS was lost. Assigning the drive letter makes it visible in explorer and aids in navigation across OS installations.
26. Pagefile reduction
Through extensive use of Beta telemetry data, we have determined we can slim down the Windows disk footprint further by reducing the default page file size to be 100% of the available main memory. It used to be “Memory + 300MB” so on a 1GB RAM system there was an extra third allocated that is no longer required. The pagefile on some occasions will increase in size if required, but we just pre-allocate less.
27. Improved driver support
Based on telemetry data received from the beta, we identified networking drivers that were not available inbox. We worked with ecosystem partners to achieve increased inbox driver coverage across wireless and wired with significant coverage for some of the new ATOM-based laptops.
We hope you enjoyed yet another sneak peek into what’s coming in RC.
I usually have a folder of shared greenware (programs that do not need to be installed and can be run from dual boot OSes on all my computers) in a folder on C:\). Win7 behaved weirdly when I tried to install on what I thought was D:\ (drive 1 or partition D). It changed it to C:\ and my original C:\ disappeared. I do not like the new way.
DFS locations will work with libraries, as I'm currently doing so, and is configurable through folder redirection group policies.
Your links are malware-ridden; find another image provider with better advertisement screening. (Trojan:JS/Agent.FA)
I read this on the Windows 7 forum and really want to see this change be made.
Currently when deleting several files (1000s at once lets say) and the 385th file is "currently in used", the entire delete process halts and in fact stops. This is a really big issue when you go away from the computer and come back only to find out that the delete process stopped and the task is not completed.
Can you make it so that it does not halt the process, but just "skip" that file and give an error (in a text-box or something). If not by default, at least as a "check-box" option.
As well, I agree with Velo Steve.
I have had my screen resolution randomly drop to 800x600 out of no where on Windows 7 - and I have yet to get any feedback as to what has been causing this issue. If its the driver, I get no error of it crashing (isn't there suppose to be a tool-tip pop-up?)
"One big element of concern to me, that I haven't heard discussed:
The details columns were always visible, no matter what view you were in--this is INCREDIBLY useful for me when I'm browsing photos, say, in medium icons view, because now I'm two clicks away from sorting by date modified ascending and descending, back and forth again.
Now, as soon as I click out of Details view, it's a six click process to alternate between the two, as I have to right click, choose sort by, and then date modified. This is *incredibly* annoying."
I miss it too, I really want it back. Thanks!
Device Stage for PC seems cool -- I wonder how if you've considered combining it with My Computer? (Well, Computer, formerly My Computer...)
keep theme style consistency for Windows 7!
keep theme style consistency for Menu bar, Tool bar. like Windows XP theme style's consistency.
The most annoying Vista issue is still not fixed. What issue? Let me try to explain Microsoft.
a) click a file inside a folder
b) now click on the name of that folder (the originally selected file name will now have a gray background)
c) now move the cursor over the file but don't click; selected file name will now have a light blue background
I want to delete to file, I see the blue background, so I think the file is selected, press delete and quickly quick on "yes" and voila, the whole folder is gone!
Now imagine doing this with shift+delete...
In previous Windows versions the file name background would just keep its color, even if you would move your cursor over it.
I've been using Windows for 22 years now since Windows 2.03 and deleting a file has never been an issue, but has cost me in Vista files on 3 occasions. Coincident? I don't think so.
I tried solutions like check boxes in front of file names or a registry change that makes only the background color of the filename turn gray and not the whole row, but I still had one situation in which I again lost some files.
If you think I'm the only one, do some research, I've seen more people mentioning this issue. Many who have lost files this way often don't even know that this caused it!
*IMPORTANT* *IMPORTANT* *IMPORTANT* *IMPORTANT*
There features are still missing:
1. Week numbers
2. Windows is using words kilobyte, megabyte, etc. incorrectly
3. Seconds and Swatch Internet Time are missing
4. Custom install is missing
5. 16-bit applications do not work in 64-bit Windows 7
First i agree with the comments above about the last modified column in details view (of any view type video,music doesnt matter). If you dont want to add that as default thats ok, but if i change the columns of a particular view (lets say music) then i mean to do it for all folders of that view automatically, I know that you can save this state by going through the menu Tools->folder options and then in the view tab click on apply to folders. But this is not really user friendly and most people dont know about this.
(for example there is no menubar by default anymore so you will not find it)
about "1. Improved taskbar thumbnail overflow"
is that configurable per item in the taskbar? Because i have 10 windows open for example for msn or skype. And that is now quite annoying to scroll to. Because i have a large screen and msn is the 3th (so really to the left) item in my task bar if i then click on it because i get a new message from somebody that is the last in the list i have to go to that item with my mouse or cycle but that requires then 10 keystrokes. This is not ease of use. But if i can say for those, show it as a list instead of thumbnails that would be nice.
I already thought also about something else and that was that you should stack the thumbnails, 1 or 2 open items are the same as now But the 3th isnt appended to the right, but is appended above the first and the second so you get:
1 2 3
and so on.
then the mouse travel is very short.
1 other thing with this travel or usage of the taskbar would be something like:
windowskey-3 and then 9
Problems is that currenty if you release the windows key it will go to the selected item, and if you keep the windows key pressed and i press 9 it sees it like i wanted item 9 of the taskbar. So i dont know what the best ui/usability solution would be but something quick like that would be nice. And if you could do it by number like win-3,9 then if i press win-3 and i shows me the options do show also the number that i need to press so that i dont have to count myself..
1 other thing that bugs me from vista on and still not fixed for windows 7 is WebDav support. I use 64 bit vista or 7 and that is quite a problem. under vista i even just used virtual pc with a Windows XP install to be able to use my company's webdav. this is because the standard webdav component in vista/7 does an options request to the parent folder, but i dont have access to that parent folder.. And in XP and i also believe in Vista32 you can install WebFolders but that doesnt work for 64bit. Now i am testing under 7 WebDrive but that one isnt really stable yet. It crashes a lot in my current setup.
So please fix the webdav issue, just reintroduce webfolders also for 64 bit or fix the current webdav implementation that it just works for all webdav folders.
What i really mis in the notification area bluetooth and wifi items, is being able to quickly disable or enable radio for both. this was always a nice feature in XP but from vista on this isnt that easy anymore. For Wifi it is 3 clicks away so it is not that bad but for bluetooth it is more of a hassle.
1 feature that i really dont get why windows, as i think is the only operating system on this planet that cant do by itself, cant mount iso's why is that?
I "third", "four" or "x" the demand for the size/status bar/details pane problem and making auto arrange optional. If anyone else agrees with these suggestions, tell Microsoft to do these changes otherwise they're done with RC/RTM. These are critical Windows Explorer issues ever since the release of Longhorn.
Let me give some further tips:
1. Week numbers are missing from the Windows Calendar - the Calendar which shows up when you click the Taskbar's clock. We use week numbers here in Europe very much. Please, it only takes a couple of hours to code that feature. It's really simple.
2. Windows is using words kilobyte, megabyte, etc. incorrectly. Yes, it is. A 500 GB hard disk drive is not a 500 GB drive according to Windows. Why is this? Because Windows is speaking about gibibytes (GiB), not gigabytes (GB), although Windows lies that it is speaking about gigabytes (GB). This is very very frustrating and misleading. Please, fix this immediately! See my blog for further info...well, you won't publish my links anyway, so here is the info:
"Windows Explorer should speak about kibibytes, mebibytes, gibibytes, and tebibytes instead of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes or it still could speak about kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes, if it shows the numbers correctly. Make this a user-changeable setting. There could be four different modes:
A. legacy mode: This mode uses the words kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte INCORRECTLY like today.
B. binary mode: This mode uses the words kibibyte, mebibyte, gibibyte, and tebibyte CORRECTLY.
C. decimal mode: This mode uses the words kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte CORRECTLY.
D. binary&decimal mode: This mode shows (CORRECTLY) both presentations at once. For example: "3 objects selected, size: 2.23 kibibytes, 2.28352 kilobytes".
The default mode should be B, C or D, not A."
3. Seconds and Swatch Internet Time are missing from the taskbar's clock. Why cannot a user customize taskbar so that one can see seconds and maybe also Swatch Internet Time (@-time) from it? It only takes a hour or two to code and implement this simple feature.
4. Custom install is missing. Why do I have to install all those printer drivers (800 MB) and games (100 MB), if I do not want to use them?
5. 16-bit applications do not work in 64-bit Windows 7. Why not to include virtualization for 16-bit software? Why must a user bother to find a 32-bit/64-bit alternative of the program or install VMware or Virtual PC. It's annoying. Why not to just double-click the 16-bit binary and use it like in the good-old days? There are MANY 16-bit games and software that have never been converted to 32-bit/64-bit.
"the Beta is the only official build from Microsoft" - does this mean that feedback wont be accepted on higher versions of windows 7 i.e. 7048
1. i would like to see more vista x64 apps / software compatible with windows 7 e.g. iomega rev software when trying to install on windows 7 x64, it fails with the message saying that windows 7 is an invalid operating system
2. Bring back support for musicmatch 10 to be compatible with windows 7
3 change the way services interact with desktop - mdaemon email server when started as a service its message icon does not appear in the system tray this also happens in vista
4. bring back the option for the classic start menu and let each user decide whether they want to use it or not
5. shortcut on the start menu like windows xp for a list of network connections instad of control panel>network and sharing center>change adaptor settings on windows 7 also a network monitor icon like xp for the system tray
6. on the final release the option to upgrade the beta to the final version without having to lose all your settings and tweaks
7. longer time for beta before it expires in august - as each new build is released the expiry deadline should increase as well
these are my issues at present and apart from that i absolutely love windows 7 and cant wait until the final release
i recently encounter this in beta build:
1 UAC is ON, logon is administator
2 a folder f1 in d: and more subdir and files inclued in
3 want to and some permission to f1, in "advaced security settins" (button has uac icon) , check off "Include inheritable permissions from this object's parent" and click remove, then check on to re-establish
4 some of child files under this fold return "Access denied" Message.
5 "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object" checkbox has same "Access denied" message .
6 i can seperate change those objects permission but cant do that in f1's security settins.
7 At last turn UAC off, reboot, and redo step 3 or 4, everything is work as expected
please make uac mode better and more useful
If Windows 7 will contain (finally) a keyboard shortcut for creating a new folder after all these Windows years I can say I'm totally satisfied with the engineering's team efforts. Finally. Great job, but at least if you don't add this shortcut please explain why. Does anyone have copyright for this and you don't get a deal ? or what ?