Engineering Windows 7

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

Our Next Engineering Milestone

Our Next Engineering Milestone

  • Comments 98

Back in January we released the Beta and updated you on our overall engineering process that will get us from Beta to the Release Candidate.  Today, downloading of the Release Candidate started and we’re already seeing a lot of installations and a lot of excitement.  On behalf of the team, I want to extend a thank you for all of the millions of people who have been running and testing the Beta who have helped to make the Release Candidate possible.  The feedback we have received, through all the mechanisms we have blogged about, has been an incredibly valuable part of Engineering Windows 7.  We continue to be humbled by the response to Windows 7.  Thank you!

This post is about the path from RC to what we call RTM, release to manufacturing.  RTM is not one point in time but a “process” as from RTM we enable the PC manufacturers to begin their processes of building Windows 7 images for new PCs, readying downloads for existing machines, and preparing the full supply chain to deliver Windows 7 to customers.  Thus RTM is the final stage in our engineering of Windows 7, but the engineering continues from RTM until you can purchase Windows 7 and Windows 7 PCs in stores at General Availability, or GA.

The path to RTM starts with downloads of the RC.  The RC is “done” and what we are doing is validating this against the breadth of the ecosystem and with partners.  It means, from our perspective, we have run many tests many times and are working to understand the quality of the release in a breadth sense.  We’re all familiar with this as we have done this same thing as we went from pre-Beta to Beta and from Beta to RC.  The primary difference with the RC is that we will not be changing the functionality or features of the product at this point—that’s the sort of thing we’ll save for a future release.   We’ve gotten tons of feedback on design and features and shown how we have digested and acted on this feedback throughout many posts on this blog.   We know we did not do everything that was asked, and we have also seen that we’ve been asked to do things that are tricky to reconcile.  We hoped through the dialog on this blog that we’ve shown our commitment to listening and balancing a wide variety of inputs, and how we have thought about the evolution of Windows.  

What sort of feedback are we looking for in the RC?  We are primarily focused on monitoring the behavior of the product through the telemetry, and of course making sure we did not introduce any regressions in any dimension from Beta quality.  One of the things we have done since Beta has continued to beef up telemetry—we’ve put in additional monitoring points in many systems.  We’re particularly interested in seeing what devices are installed, drivers that are required, and overall system performance.  We have telemetry points that monitor the UI responsiveness of the Start Menu, Internet Explorer (recently posted), Boot, Shutdown, Resume, and across all subsystems.  Of course in the final product, this telemetry is optional and opt-in, and it is always private. 

There are a series of specific types of reports that we are keeping an eye out for that would constitute changes we would make to the code between now and RTM.  Some of these might include:

  • Installation – We have significant telemetry in the setup process and also significant logging.  Of course if you can’t set up at all that is something we are interested in and the same holds for upgrades from Windows Vista.  For the “enrolled” beta programs we have a mechanism to enlist a connection to Microsoft for these issues and for the broad community the public support groups are monitored. 
  • Security issues – Obviously any vulnerability is a potential for something we would fix.  We will use the same criteria to address these issues as we would for any in-market product. 
  • Crashes and Hangs – We are monitoring the “crash” reports for issues that arise that impact broad sets of people.  These could be Windows code, drivers, or third party software.  This information streams “real time” to Microsoft and we watch it very carefully.
  • Device installation and compatibility – When you download a driver from Windows Update or install a driver via a manufacturer’s setup program this is a data point we collect.  We’ve had millions of unique PnP IDs through the Beta.  We also receive the IDs for devices that failed to locate drivers.  We are constantly updating this web service with pointers to information about the device (driver availability, instructions, etc.)
  • Software installation – Similar to devices, we are also monitoring the installation process of software and noting programs that do not complete successfully.  Again we have the mechanism to help move that foreword and/or introduce compatibility work in the RTM milestone.
  • Servicing – We will continue to test the servicing of Windows 7 so everyone should expect updates to be made available via Windows Update.  This includes new drivers and will also include patches to Windows 7.  Test Updates will be labeled as such.  We might also fix any significant issue with new code as well.  All of this in an effort to validate the servicing pipeline and to maintain the quality of the RC.
  • New Hardware – Perhaps the most important category is making sure that we work with all the new hardware being made as we all use 7100.  Our PC Manufacturing partners and Hardware partners are engineering new PCs and these are combinations new to the market and new to the OS.  We’re working together to make sure Windows 7 has great support for these PCs and hardware.

All of the feedback will be evaluated and whether the issue is with Windows itself or with hardware, software, or OEM partner code we will work closely across the entire ecosystem to do what is necessary to deliver excellent fully integrated PCs.  This goal is more important than anything else at this point.  The depth of this work is new for the team in terms of spending engineer to engineer time across a broad range of partners to make sure everyone is ready together to deliver a great PC experience.

Overall, while many have said that the quality of the Beta was on par with past RCs (remember how some even suggested we release it as final!), we are working to do an even better job with Windows 7.  We think we have the tools in place to do that. 

While the RC itself was compiled about 2 weeks ago, it takes a bit of time to go through the mechanics of validating all the ISOs and images that are released.  In the meantime we continue doing daily builds of the product.  The daily builds are incorporating code changes to address the above types of issues that impact enough customers that on balance the code change is more valuable than the potential of a regression.  Throughout this process, every change to the code is looked at by many people across development and test, and across many different teams.  We have a lot of engineers changing a very little bit of code.  We often say that shipping a major product means “slowing everything down”.  Right now we’re being very deliberate with every change we make.

The RTM milestone is not a date, but a process.  As that process concludes, we are done changing the code and are officially “servicing” Windows 7.  That means any subsequent changes are delivered as fixes (KB articles) or banked for the first service pack.  Obviously our ability to deliver fixes via Windows Update has substantially changed the way we RTM and so it is not unreasonable to expect updates soon after the product is complete as we have done for both Windows XP and Windows Vista. 

Between now and the RTM milestone we will make changes to the code in response the above inputs.  We are decelerating and will do so “gracefully” and not abruptly.  We do not have a “deadline” we are aiming to meet and the quality (in all dimensions) of the product and a smooth finish are the most important criteria for Windows 7.  In addition, we have a lot of work going on behind the scenes to build Windows 7 in nearly 100 languages around the world and to make sure all the supporting materials such as our Windows web site, SDK, resource kits, and so on are ready and available in a timely manner.

Once we have entered the RTM phase, our partners will begin to make their final images and manufacture PCs, and hardware and software vendors will ready their Windows 7 support and new products.  We will also begin to manufacture retail boxes for shipment around the world.  We will continue to work with our enterprise customers as well and based on the RTM process the volume license products will be available as well.

Delivering the highest quality Windows 7 is the most important criteria for us at this point—quality in every dimension.  The RTM process is designed to be deliberate and maintain the overall engineering integrity of the system.  Many are pushing us to release the product sooner rather than later, but our focus remains on a high quality release.

Ultimately our partners will determine when their PCs are available in market.  If the feedback and telemetry on Windows 7 match our expectations then we will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 3 months.  If we are successful in that, then we tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 7 available this Holiday season. 

--Steven and Jon

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 5 and 6 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • Sorry for writing here, but I didn't find suggestions topic.

    Please, give some attention to different proxy configurations for different nets. It's a big problem for mobile users! Win Vista learned to differentiate nets somehow, but proxy settings are still the same for all nets.

    Examlpe: a laptop user has a home wifi, sometimes uses wifi hotspots and has cable connection at work, that needs proxy. In this situation it's wery annoying to switch proxy settings every time. The settings are deep in Control Panel, and some applications doesn't seem to listen to global settings (This is another question, I think. Does global proxy settings should be unavoidable, or just recommendations. With XP's recommendation-style global settings, a lot of services, that don't listen to them, don't work. I-will-never-do-manual-proxy-switch-to-ten-different-programs!).

    The solution I see:

    -global settings for proxy

    --personal proxy settings for each net

    ---personal proxy settings for each program

    and first two should have option to stack or to override (as an abstraction of unavoidable and recommended). In this situation if net requires a proxy as gateway to internet and browser has proxy setting for anonymity, they will make a chain and all be ok.

  • The explorer is still much behind of the xp version. Read http://www.windows7taskforce.com about it.

    Whats the deal here? I'm a power user and do a lot via the explorer. I won't migrate if the explorer does not beef up qua (at least) the same features.

  • Steven, Jon, and everyone else:

    You've done a great job. I'm already used to working with Windows 7. As soon as it reaches GA, I'll get it.

    It's unlikely to be fixed, but one small annoyance I should note is that when you click the power icon, only 2 (instead of 3) power plans are shown. It so happens to be that I use only Power Saver (at night / while on battery) and High Performance (during the day). It's annoying that I cannot switch from Power Saver to High Performance without having to open the Power Options screen. In Vista this was a lot easier.

    The native 3G (UMTS) support is great: my 3G modem (Telit MX20 USB modem) now works right away after boot-up without having to first load it's utility (which takes 2 or 3 minutes). In XP and Vista, it won't work without loading the utility first. Quite annoying if you're on the road and don't have a very large battery.

    WMP has been greatly increased from the Beta version. In the Beta, WMP was quite unstable - I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed this.

    Networking features have been improved significantly. Yesterday I transferred 4 GB of files to my mother-in-law's new PC (Vista); setting this up took seconds.

  • DEAR  WINDOWS 7  TEAM , I  POST MY PERSONAL REPORT ON WINDOWS 7 RC.

    WELL,  SINCERELY ,  I HAD GREAT HOPES FOR WINDOWS   7 RC 64 BIT MILESTONE!!!

    BUT WITH GREAT SORROW I MUST ADMIT , THAT PERFORMANCE  AND COMPATIBILITY  OF THIS  RC MILESTONE  IS EQUAL  TO OLD BETA MILESTONE OF WINDOWS 7 !!!.

    THIS  AT LEAST ON MY PC.

    I DO NOT WANT TO BE TO CRITICIZE, BUT TO GIVE SUGGESTIONS OF IMPROVEMENTS TO MAKE THAT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN MADE OR THEY ARE NOT VISIBLE TO EYE OF USER!!!

    1) THERE  IS EVER THE SAME BUG IN RC :  CIRCULAR HOURGLASS REMAINS  SECONDS TIME ALWAYS TOO MUCH, WHEN ALWAYS WINDOWS  IT OPENED , FOR EXAMPLE  A WORD DOCUMENT!!!

    THIS IS TRULY BORING , AND THIS BUG IS ALSO PRESENT IN RC MILESTONE , SAME BETA MILETONE OF WINDOWS 7!!!!!

    2) BOOT-TIME , SHUTDOWN-TIME  AND LOD TIME OF APPLICATIONS , ARE SAME OF TIME OF OLD BETA MILESTONE , INDEED IN SOME CASES THE TIMES ARE GET WORSE , RESPECT OLD BETA MILESTONE.

    3) SOME APPLICATIONS , ( IN PARTICULAR , 3D APPLICATIONS) ,   OF IT I CITE SOME OF THEY THAT I USE:   “ LUXOLOGY  MODO , MAXON CINEMA 4D XL ,  PHOTOSHOP CS4  ARE SLOWER IN LOADING, WITH SAME ISSUE OF CIRCULAR HOURGLASS PRESENT FOR MUCH SECONS ( 8-10 SECONDS) , UNTILE  I CAN BE WORK ON  WINDOW OF PROGRAMS.

    IN SOME CASE , THESE 3D APPLICATIONS  , NOT RESPONDING :  RETURN ME ERROR “APP. IS WORKING STOPPED”……

    WINDOWS  7  IT IS UNKNOWN WHAT MAKE, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO MAKE IN THESE MINUTES,  AND I DON’T  KNOW  IF I  MUST KILL  APPLICATIONS  OR   TO WAIT FOR INFINITES SECONDS !!!!!!!

    WELL, YOU HELP ME , WHAT I MUST MAKE IN THESE SITUATIONS !!!

    WITH THESE BUGS  I CANNOT WORK, IS INDEED BORING!!!!!!! IT’S TIME

    FOR ME IS  LOST TIME!!!!

    4) IN THE END , I HOPE ALSO IN ANOTHER IMPORTANT IMPROVE OF WINDOWS 7!!!!

     the real point weak person is the fragmentation of the registry of windows 7 !!!!

    Same other old windows systems!!!

    Improve if possible the reduction of fragmentation of windows 7 registry ,

    using at beast   or certified at least two applications of third parts, for the defragmentation of the registry of windows 7 64 bit , in automatic and in background  and without to demand the reboot  of windows  7  system !!!

    for example: good are : tuneup utilities 2009 , but certified them , and  say you to productor of software,  of improve program in registry defragmentation , make it an algoritm with not require reboot of windows 7 64 bit, after defragmentation!!!!!!!!

    Well, for now is all , I hope that  all these four points , will be fix in windows 7 64 bit RTM!!!!!!

    I hope but not us more to us creed, since you are nearly at the end of the development, fairies all the possible one, please, the system has still many uncertainties and after l' intensive use stretches to slow down!!!!!

    Fix all please!!!!

    Thank you!!!!!

  • Yeah I agree with Daniel Breslauer that power plans UI is a step backwards as those who alternate between High Performance and Power saver plans are constantly forced to go to Control Panel to switch their plan. This was more intuitive in Vista, MS can add an option in Power options or Group Policy which allows users to specify which 2 plans to show or always show all 3 plans or even more, that would be really great.

  • So far mostly everything is great! Thank you for the work that has been put in to this OS.Amazing things are possible with it.

    Sometimes it can be the little changes that are frustrating - In the Beta Mediacenter Movies Library we had the option to "watch" or "restart" a movie... In the videos, only "Play".

    Now in the RC you added a "restart" to videos, and took it out of Movies which means I can't restart a movie from the beginning any longer without rebooting my whole network!

    This is an incredibly frustrating setback from the Beta for my Home Theater system and I hope there is a patch on the way to restore this important function. While you're at it, please throw me an "eject" option when my DVD tray is empty.

    Rock on guys!

  • The RC has been a bit of a cold shower for me.

    Windows Explorer once again hangs when accessing network drives over slow connections. It confusingly displays the old folder while navigating to the new. To top it of, if you create a new folder, and then navigate to it by clicking "Enter", it gives the error "Folder 'New folder' does not exist."

    Windows Libraries no longer work with network drives on Linux or Vista machines, giving an error about indexing. This makes libraries useless for me (and anyone that has at least one non-Windows7 machine? which must be everyone?) But... Windows Media Player seems to use *different* libraries, which do seem to work with network drives? I don't get it.

    Windows7 is still a big step forward from Vista. It's just that the great beta had made me expect better. :)

  • Win7 RC has worked wonderfully, except in the one instance of running a backup. Each time I try to do it (at night) I return to the office to see the screen frozen from the night before, no mouse moving etc. Do you (how do you?) get this data?

  • - The window thumbnails are still too slow. They should appear immediately, not after a second.  

    - Why is it still not possible to put the recycle bin, folders and removable devices like usb sticks or cds directly on the superbar? It is all combined in the Explorer icon. This is a missed opportunity and I don't know why this isn't fixed yet. Perhaps I'm ignorant but it doesn't sound too complex to me.

    - Me personally I think the superbar looks fat and ugly. Though it is a great concept and I have also heard positive reviews about the looks of Windows 7.

    - I think it is still hard to distinguish things like a running program from an inactive shortcut for example.

  • I'm a mac user and a PC user and generally I like PCs better, especially with Windows 7 I think you did (or will do) a great job and introduced some interesting new things.

    But there are things that the Mac OS does better compared to Vista and interestingly these are areas that haven't changed much or not at all in Seven.

    1. The Gadget experience.

    2. The Preview functionality in explorer.

    3. The WMP that has an interface that doesn't fit with the rest of Windows 7 at all.

  • WARNING:

    Microsoft are in SERIOUS danger of creating another version of the internet fuelled VISTA back-lash, if they do not address the UAC Whitelist issue, and either resolve it fully in the RTM or explain to everyone, in Clear and Unambiguous terms, why it is not a problem.

    http://www.pretentiousname.com/misc/win7_uac_whitelist2.html

    This site is now becoming the poster boy for anti-Win7 sentiment, and "win7 uac whitelist" now returns a long list of articles on Google.

  • Is there a venue wherein a feature may be requested of the Windows 7 team?  The feature request entails an operating-system-inherent capability to assign the left and right mouse button keys to keys on the keyboard.  This feature is especially helpful to handicapped individuals who do not have the dexterity needed to press the mouse keys in the normal fashion.  Presently, programs like AutoHotKey are required to achieve the needed functionality with Window XP.

  • A recent article I read on OSNews states that UAC is flawed in protecting you on the default setting because it allows Notepad and Calculator not to be protected by UAC. It's a proof of concept code that would allow UAC to be turned off because of these two applications would bypass UAC. All I ask is that MS Developers to please look into this.

  • I'm very much hoping that Win 7 will put in a type of Work Spaces into it's OS where it can be turned on or off at will. Have it as a separate download if needed. Sure there are similar one's out there for windows, but none of them I either trust or enjoy.

  • I have used different versions of Linux, Mac OS, and Windows OSs, and Windows 7 is one of the best OS I've experienced; however, there are some issues need to be fixed or features need to added.

    Internet explorer needs built-in download manager which has STOP and PAUSE ability for downloads along with download location, size, remaining time, file type, and virus checker.

    Virtual desktops experience like Linux (doesn’t have to be so eye candy)

    Improved memory management

    Built-in antivirus and antispyware integrated with Windows defender and Windows firewall (easy to configure firewall with software rules like zonealarm)

    Detail pane, explorer's top toolbar and control panel side bar color should be changeable or at least stay consistence with theme color.

Page 3 of 7 (98 items) 12345»