Enabling large disks and large sectors in Windows 8

One of the most basic services provided by an OS is the file system, and Windows has one of the most advanced file systems of any operating system used broadly. In Windows 7 we improved things substantially in terms of reliability, management, and robustness (for example, automating completely the antiquated notion of "defrag"). In Windows…


Improving the setup experience

Installing Windows is a complex operation that provides an incredibly unique capability—the ability to run a new version of Windows on a vast array of hardware configurations and combinations that were designed with no knowledge of a future Windows, even a version with substantial re-architecture of the Kernel. While most people do not experience the…


Minimizing restarts after automatic updating in Windows Update

Before the Internet, updates such as service packs and "patches" were impossibly hard to come by. You ordered upgrade "media" or maybe bought a magazine with a CD in it. Of course, the Internet changed all that. In fact, when ftp.microsoft.com was first set up, among the first services was the ability to get updates…


Building a power-smart general-purpose Windows

In this post, we look at the broad topic of developing an OS to reduce power consumption. We’ve seen an ever-increasing emphasis on power management in the OS from two perspectives. First, as Windows 8 comes to market, it is easy to see two-thirds of all PCs shipping as portable devices operating on batteries some…


Updating live tiles without draining your battery

One thing that is becoming far more commonplace across all of our “screens” is the idea of lightweight notifications. Originally, Windows Gadgets were to offer this type of functionality—the idea is a quick heads up display for some critical information (news, weather, sports scores, or line of business events are a few examples). However, the…