Windows 7 has introduced many new and improved features not only on the user experience side but also at the kernel level. If you are curious of what changes have been made at the Windows kernel level, you can find great insights from Mark Russinovich’s PDC09 session on “Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Kernel Changes”.
One of the changes I’d like to highlight here is the introduction of MinWin in Windows 7, which is a result of tremendous engineering work aimed at removing dependencies among Windows components. As Mark explains, MinWin, with 25 MB in size, is a set of bottom parts of Windows components or APIs and can be built, booted and tested independently. With this change or re-architecture, changes made within MinWin will not affect any Windows components, which means no rebuild of the entire Windows OS is required in order to test these changes. To find more detail on MinWin, check out this Channel9 interview with Mark.