Engineering Windows 7

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

Our Next Engineering Milestone

Our Next Engineering Milestone

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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

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  • As you guys removed the Send Feedback button from RC1 I will have to report this here. There's a bug that is driving me nuts:

    The bug is that all titlebar buttons (minimize, maximize and close) are missing in every window, as well as part of the aero border. I can still click them though they are invisible.

    I running 64bit RC1 on my laptop with an external monitor.


    1) I turn on my notebook with my display already connected to it.

    2) Windows 7 is starting up.

    3) The previously adjusted settings makes my external display as the primary display. So I log on typing on the external display.

    4) The Windows logs on to my desktop and every window gets a strange border and the titlebar buttons like minimize, maximize and close are not rendered, but I can still click them (if I guess where they are).

    Hope this helps.

    See ya guys down the road to RTM.

  • @diego.frata

    You should update your video driver -- go to the optional Windows Update and make sure you install the latest video driver.

    Ina had the same challenge..


  • Hi, as one of the posters above mentioned, and has been pointed out on several Windows 7 forums for a very long time now (since the early betas), the aero animation for opening and closing a window are not smooth as they are in Vista.  There is a noticeable stutter or choppiness to them.  It's mainly noticeable when opening a window.. the window fades in and then it 'pops' into place..almost like it's skipping the last 25% of the animation. Maximize and minimize are fine and very smooth.  Should this open/close animation be identically as smooth as it is in Vista? Or has it been changed for Windows 7? I'm ok with it if it's been changed for W7, I just wish I could get an idea of whether it's a bug or a feature.  I much prefer how it animates in Vista.  Thanks.   My system:

    Intel E8400 Core 2 duo at 3.0ghz

    nvidia GTX 260 w/ latest 185.85 drivers

    4GB memory

    ASUS P5K Pro motherboard

    Soundblaster X-Fi extreme gamer

    Windows 7 RC x64

  • Hi again... I just wanted to provide a couple links showing other people encountering the choppiness/hitching with the aero animations when opening/closing a window (see my post directly above). It does not seem to be driver-related.  Thanks.

  • Great job for developing Windows 7,if you ask me make this RC1 the RTM.;)

    Running the RC1 (x64) gives me great pleasure, i noticed no problems at all installing this on my Lenovo T61, said allready goodby to XP, never used Vista....(all my software is running without any problems also)

    One small issue is de blinking bar over the taskbar when using firefox, not all the time btw..

    must be something with the video driver's i'll presume..

    Good luck from Holland with further developments..

  • I agree that the aero animations aren't smooth. I experience that too.

    and also the change from login screen to the windows desktop, or from the windows desktop to the shut down screen is not smooth, it all seems a bit uncontrolled. This is a detail though and I guess a different problem than the aero animations.

  • Please, work on multiple monitors! We can't change the number (id) of the monitors.

    My pc think my monitor (2) is my projector and my LCD TV (1) (projector) is my monitor, they are wrong!

    If we can change the number of the devices will be great!

    I have tried swap the cables, swap the hdmi cables, change conectors, etc, nothing works.

    Great OS!


  • Hello,

    There is a graphical bug I managed to replicate on quite a few different configurations and it seems it got stuck in the RC:

    If you move the bar from the default position(down) to the left and then up, on the left it remains a blurry mark where the bar was as if it wouldn't "clear the cache"

    Thank you for a fast and stable system



  • I do like how W7 handles the Sleep/hibernate cycles... shutting down the PC after a specified time period, then when you turn it back it, it goes into "Resuming Windows". I prefer this setup because it also allows me to boot into the primary OS (Ubuntu) and do what I need to, and even after restarting, W7 still goes into "Resuming Windows".

    The problem I see is 2 fold:

    1) When resuming from sleep/hibernation, any computer with more than 1 video output option (such as a laptop with external monitor port, or desktop with multiple video outputs), many times when it resumes, it resumes to an unused video output, rather than the primary monitor.

    2) When "Resuming Windows", it takes 2 to 3 times longer to resume (3-4 minutes), than it does to just shut the PC down then start it back up when you need to use it again (average 70-72 seconds).

  • I think we should wait for Service Pack 1 of windows 7 ! if include .NET Framework 4 .

  • I like 7 alot so far except for 1 thing: I upgraded from W 98 to W XP (2 versions in between), but with 7 I cannot upgrade from XP to 7, you can only upgrade from Vista, WHY?







    FIX THEM!!!!!





    DO MAKE WINDOWS  7 SIMPLE   INSTALLATION , FROM USB  DEVICES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PLEASE,   WE LIVE IN 2009-2010 !!!!!




    THANK YOU!!!!

  • Hello

    I just wanted to let you know, that Virtual Server 2005 SP1 R2 it's incompatible with Windows 7 RC. I had to uninstall it from my Computer in order to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

    Like me, there are a lot of people that use this application for running a non production network (LAN) to test patches and critical updates and Drivers.

    And everybody knows that most of the Microsoft certification labs run using Virtual Server.

    Hopefully the Windows 7 engineering team will find a solution to this situation.

  • I just wanted to let you know that Windows 7 is wonderful.  I'm a hardcore XP user/developer who had to use Vista for six months at work and nearly tore my hair out.  I finally downgraded back to XP.

    I've been on Windows 7 for nearly five months now and it was everything Vista should have been.  I even got my not-so-tech-saavy parents to try it... they don't want to go back to XP.

    Please RTM ASAP!

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