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 or most of the time. And second, in the workplace, there is an increasing demand for desktop machines with a reduced carbon footprint as we look to save energy wherever we can. In all cases, this goes beyond standby/hibernate/resume performance and gets to the heart of this post which is about reducing the overall power consumption of the OS and providing OS support for power-saving capabilities in modern hardware. Pat Stemen, a program manager on our Kernel team, authored this post.

Battery life and power consumption continue to be some of the most important topics in the computing industry. We wanted to give you a look at how we think about power management for Windows 8, and how we measure power consumption on a daily basis. We consider power management a core OS capability that is critical on any chip architecture and any PC form factor.

Our goals

We have 3 goals in mind when engineering Windows 8 power management:

  • Let the hardware shine. We built Windows 8 such that the power efficiency of the hardware platform shines through, regardless of whether the system is a SoC-based Windows tablet or an SLI-equipped gaming PC. We designed our power management interfaces in a consistent, standardized way across all platforms. This allows our hardware partners and application developers to focus on their unique innovations and experiences instead of the differences in platform hardware and power management.
  • Continue to deliver great battery life. Windows 7 delivered a significant reduction in power consumption and increase in energy efficiency, particularly mobile PC battery life. (In fact, you can read how we thought about it in this e7 blog post.) In Windows 8, we want to maintain that same level of efficiency on existing PCs even as we re-imagine the rest of Windows.
  • Enable the smartphone power model. One of the coolest things about the System-on-Chip (SoC) platforms you’ve seen us talk about at CES and //BUILD/ is their capability to quickly enter very low-power idle states. We want to leverage that ultra-low idle power to bring the constant connectivity and instant-on features of the smartphone power model to capable Windows 8 PCs.

Why it matters

Most of us are probably familiar with one impact of good power management—long battery life on our mobile devices. Mobile computing devices are highly scrutinized for their battery runtime with good reason—we are using them on battery more often than ever before. Delivering consistently long battery life requires a lot of well-executed coordination between the underlying hardware, operating system, and application software. (Battery capacity and its quality over time also have a big influence on runtime.)

In addition to mobile battery life, the next most tangible impacts of good PC power management are reduced energy costs and environmental impact. The benefits of power-managing enterprise desktop PCs and servers in the datacenter are typically positioned as reducing the amount of money required to power and cool those systems as well as the resulting reduction in greenhouse gasses required to produce the energy for them. It’s hard to underestimate the impact here—very small changes done well in Windows can result in very large positive environmental impact because of our scale. In many markets around the world, increasing electricity consumption is putting more demand on every aspect of the workplace to reduce power consumption. PCs are a significant source of potential savings.

Power management is also in a fine balancing act with system performance and responsiveness. As an example, we can easily reduce processor performance to save power, but as we do so, we increase the time required to process a given workload. Doing a great job of balancing power and performance is a key requirement across the Windows user experience.

We are also observing a lot of tech blogs reviewing the latest processors and hardware platforms, not just on GHz and benchmark performance, but also on the power consumed to execute the workload. These measurements combine power and performance into energy efficiency—how much power does it cost to execute some fixed workload. “Performance per watt” is the same thing.

However, the thing that excites us the most is how power management is fundamental to all aspects of PC platform design. Power management directly impacts attributes including thickness, weight, acoustics (fans and their speed), skin temperature, cost, screen size, resolution, RAM quantity, etc. Hardware that is thin, light, always connected, and runs all day on battery is cool. We love being a part of enabling that for the Windows ecosystem.

Power as a resource

We think of power as a critical system resource, just like CPU utilization, hard disk activity, or memory consumption. Because it is a core resource, we track how much of it Windows consumes daily in each daily build of Windows 8. This allows us to quickly spot changes in power consumption and work closely with the development team to find the root-cause of the issue, develop, and then test any changes required. As power consumption is reduced, we get a new baseline to measure against future daily builds.

Raw power consumption (e.g. how many milliwatts) on any given Windows PC is the result of a number of platform factors including the CPU and chipset, the type and amount of RAM, the speed, type, and capacity of the storage drive, screen size, etc.

In order to have a consistent baseline, we identify a set of reference platforms and measure their power throughout the Windows 8 development process. Our reference platforms are representative of the type of machines commonly used by our customers. They include platforms from each of our major silicon chip partners. We use power consumption in Windows 7 and Windows 7 SP1 as our baseline, and compare that to measurements taken from Windows 8 builds throughout the development process.

Graph shows idle power for various builds (from 8074 to 8144) of Windows 8 at between 9000 and 10,000 mW, but in build 8114, this spiked to well over 10,500 mW.
Total system idle power measured in our lab for one reference platform.
You can see a change that caused a ~1.25W increase, which was fixed in a subsequent build.
Note that some variance between runs and builds is expected.

We measure the power consumption of many software workloads on each of our reference systems. The workloads we measure are similar to 3rd party battery benchmarks in that they are designed to be representative of core scenarios that we all do with our machines every day. Our core workloads include Idle, Web Browsing, Video Playback, Audio Playback, and Standby.

You might be thinking that spending time on the idle workload isn’t useful—after all, few people boot their machines and just let them sit at the Start page and do nothing else. While that is true, we think of the idle workload as the floor of power consumption for the system— it’s the minimum amount of activity that the system has when active. Reducing power consumption at idle reduces the base power consumption of most other workloads, including video and audio playback. Plus, a lot of workloads have significant idle time in them—from small amounts of time between keystrokes when typing, to the minutes between slide transitions when giving a presentation.

The common way to measure power for a mobile Windows PC is a battery life rundown test, in which the battery is charged to 100% and then the battery is drained to 0% while repeating the workload. This method works, but is prone to error as the battery capacity naturally degrades over multiple charge/discharge cycles. Each rundown test is an extra charge/discharge cycle, and we test every day. Thus our measurements could drift over time due to battery degradation.

We have a power measurement setup in our performance lab that allows us to provide reference platforms with direct DC power and measure the consumption. We mentioned the lab and overall capability in our IE blog post on browser power consumption, but didn’t mention that we have a number of real reference laptops set up to measure power consumption every day. The power supplies and their metering capability are automated with test software so that we can continuously install Windows, measure power across scenarios, and then analyze the results with each new build of Windows 8.

A shelf full of machinery that monitors DC power usage
DC power supplies with built-in measurement capability

A laptop running Windows 8, plugged into a box that measures power consumption
Reference platform instrumented for DC power supply and measurement

How software influences power consumption

Software can influence power consumption by consuming resources—CPU, disk, memory, etc.–as each of those resources has a power cost associated. Software also influences power consumption through the OS and driver software responsible for managing hardware power states.

Windows 8 features 3 key innovations to improve how software influences power consumption—the Metro style app model, idle hygiene, and a new runtime device power management framework. We will give you a brief overview of how these innovations improve power consumption in this blog post.

The Metro style application model

Most of us have experienced the influence of software on power consumption first-hand. It might be that you have an app on your phone that goes through battery quickly or you’ve heard the fan turn on in your laptop when playing a game or computing a spreadsheet. These are all examples of applications directly consuming CPU, GPU, network time, disk and/or memory.

One of the new power management innovations in Windows 8 isn’t a power management infrastructure feature; it is the Metro style application model itself. The Metro style application model is designed from the beginning to be power-friendly. The power management benefit is that the model makes it easy for developers to ensure their application is running only at the right time—applications in the background are suspended such that they do not consume resources and power when not in use.

Of course, we recognize that background activity is a critical component of apps that are always connected and responsive. The Metro style application model and the underlying WinRT support background activity through a new set of capabilities called background tasks. (See this Introduction to Background Tasks for more details.) Background tasks make it easy to perform background activity in a power-friendly fashion. They also enable developers to continue to deliver responsiveness and “freshness” in their applications, but the mechanisms are different than the existing Win32 model because of the desire for a fast-and-fluid interface and the other key attributes of Metro style apps (see 8 traits of great Metro style apps).

We’ve engineered background tasks and the overall Metro style application model to enable a new level of app responsiveness, while at the same time considering overall system attributes including power and memory consumption.

 Processes tab (more details view) shows several Metro style apps in suspended mode, all at 0% CPU, and using between 17 and 85.1 MB of memory.
Task Manager showing suspended Metro style apps

Idle hygiene

Software can have dramatic influence on power consumption even without consuming a lot of resources through intermittent idle activity. We refer to improvements to idle activity as idle hygiene.

Most PC platforms feature processor and chipset idle states that allow the hardware platform to stop the clock or completely turn off power to parts of the silicon when they are unused. These idle states are absolutely critical to enabling long battery life, but they require a minimal residency duration—that is, you have to be idle for long enough to make the transition in and out of the idle state worthwhile in terms of power used. This is because some power is consumed on the way into and out of the idle state. Software most effectively uses these idle states when there are as few exits from the idle state as possible, and the duration of the idle state is as long as possible.

We track the idle efficiency of Windows 8 using built-in ETW Tracing, some additions to the Windows Performance Analyzer, and a basic histogram. Below, you can see the difference in idle durations between Windows 7 and Windows 8. When the screen is on, we’ve already moved the bar significantly from a maximum idle duration of 15.6ms in Windows 7 to 35% of our durations longer than 100ms in Windows 8! With the screen off and during Connected Standby, our idle durations are even longer, currently in the tens of seconds.

Chart comparing Win7 and Win8 idle period duration with screen on. In Win7, about 95% are 10ms - 16 ms. In Windows 8, this is approx. 35%.

Runtime device power management

PCs attain their longest battery life when all devices, including the processor, storage, and peripheral devices enter low-power modes. Almost every device in the modern PC has some kind of power management technology, and runtime device power management determines how we use those technologies seamlessly without impact to the user experience. A really good example of runtime device power management is dimming the automatic display after a timeout in Windows 7.

Just to underscore how important device power management is, we have seen many systems where not enabling a single device’s power management features can easily reduce total battery life by up to 25%! (It’s worth noting here that disabling a device in Device Manager is almost equally bad—most devices are initialized by firmware at their highest power modes and require a device driver to get them to a more nominal power consumption.) You can diagnose some device power management problems using the built-in powercfg.exe utility in Windows 7 with the /ENERGY parameter. The output of /ENERGY is an HTML file that gives you a view of which devices and software are potentially running in a power-consuming state. Of course, using the factory image for your PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied drivers is almost always the best way to ensure the devices in your PC are well-behaved for power management.

Efficient power management of devices is performed by the driver for the device, in conjunction with the Windows kernel power manager and platform firmware. The power manager makes it easy for the drivers of these devices to implement their power management routines and coordinate any power state transitions with other devices on the platform.

For Windows 8, we’ve built a new device power framework that allows all devices to advertise their power management capabilities and integrate them with a special driver called the Power Engine Plug-in or PEP, designed for SoC systems. The PEP is provided by the silicon manufacturer and knows all of the SoC-specific power management requirements. This allows device drivers like our USB host controller or a keyboard driver to be built once, and still deliver optimal power management on all platforms from SoC-based PCs to datacenter servers.

We are hard at work with all of our ecosystem partners to deliver the low-power and long battery life technologies we all want in our Windows 8 PCs.

–Pat Stemen

Comments (154)

  1. While it's great to see a post about reducing power consumption, it was virtually a no-brainer that this would happen, as power usage and resource usage are directly related. The post was an interesting read, though. About your "Metro-style application model" statements: does this mean that regular programs can be expected to consume more power than Metro apps?

  2. One of the things I love about having Windows as my OS…the hardware choices are simply awesome. There is something for everyone, at every budget and niche.

  3. Andrew says:

    I use laptop,

    i change the power management, max 50%

    the result is a lot more cold laptop, longer battery life, the fan need not to running

    but when i watch movie, i return it back to max 100%

    Imagine if you can adjust it dynamically and automatically

  4. AndyCadley says:

    Fantastic article, it's great to see the work that goes into making Windows more power efficient. I'm always happy to know my laptop battery will last longer and trying to improve the power efficiency of large desktop PC rollouts to reduce both costs and environmental impact has become and increaingly common focus too.

  5. Great to see such an emphasis on OS power consumption.  That is only part of the battle though.  What tools will we have for assessing our own apps' power usage?  It would be great to have the OS support instrumentation, either estimated or measured by supported hardware.  I'd also love to see a power graph in Task manager broken down by process.

  6. Windows does a great job of shutting things off, but not such a great job of turning them back on. Resume from hibernate has caused numerous crashes or incompatibilities on my machines, and sleep isn't much better. I assume it is the applications' fault, so I'm sure with the new WinRT that will improve.

    However, there is one issue that I have that I know is Windows' fault. Many wireless keyboards and mice are either Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wireless. When Windows sleeps it often turns these off, which means that my wireless anything can't wake up my computer. This is especially a problem for a media center. There needs to be some way in Windows to force a USB port to remain powered, or force a Bluetooth connection to stay active. Even if the hardware doesn't support that then Windows should warn the user and then never enter a low power state that would shut those devices off. As it is, I just tell my machine not to sleep, which I'm sure is less efficient than a Windows-orchestrated slowing everything down to near-sleep so that the USB port with my 2.4GHz dongle stays active.

  7. webman says:

    So it's correct Windows 7 has bad power maintenance and for that reason my notebook always thermalshutdown because of overheating my CPU ?

  8. @Steven Sinofsky

    Have you thought about saying "Metro-style programs" instead of "Metro-style apps?" The two words create very different images in my mind, and after all the time I've spent dealing with the uselessness and low quality of iPhone apps, I'd rather use a program than an app.

  9. Leigh says:

    Great post, and great work!

    I'm glad to see Microsoft is making it a priority to be able to get battery life increases, even in a full-power, full-featured OS like Windows 8.

    I'm looking forward to being able to run Windows 8, doing real work, side by side with my brethren running less-featured ones, and give them a run for their money, battery-wise.

  10. Leigh says:

    @webman:  If you have a laptop that has such problems with power management, I think you should check for driver problems, and contact the manufacturer for a fix.    Windows 7 does fine on many many systems, from desktops to laptops.  This sounds like a system-specific problem to me.

    I used to have a laptop that overheated all the time, and that was fixed by using some compressed air to blow my cat's fur out of it!

  11. Phylyp says:

    @Steven: You mention power is considered a resource alongside CPU, memory, etc. Would you be providing any way for us end-users to visualize/monitor power usage in either Task Manger or Resource monitor via a 'Power' tab?

    It's hard for me to say what I'd like to visualize, but at a minimum it would be good to see power draw and battery capacity for laptops and connected UPSes, similar to what's Hardware Monitor shows.

    Another area might be capturing information similar to what is already available via "powercfg -energy…"

  12. Let's hope Windows 8 improves on power efficiency.

    But you'd better start with improving this very blog, which systematically ignores new comments when another comment is posted before you can post yours, and without even a warning.

    And the form is made in such a way that it's not possible to use the Back button to retrieve the comment from the edit box and repost it, you lose all you wrote. This is totally insulting to users.

    If you're not able to manage a simple queuing system, this does not bode well for power management.

    The first improvement should be not to have to manage power options manually.

    Computers are best used to automate things, so they should run in the most efficient way at all times.

    I don't want for instance to manually dim the display at night because it is too bright. Why don't monitors or web cams have a light sensor that can talk to Windows?

    I don't want to wake up at 2AM to switch off the computer, or worse, switch off power options and let it run overnight because it's done downloading files or running an antivirus scan.

    On the other hand, I do want to trade some power efficiency for usability, like having the computer or laptop wake up automatically in the morning and sync podcasts, feeds and emails, so I can take it on the go off wi-fi immediately. In case I have to urgently commute to work unshowered, naked and without breakfast. But seriously, I want my netbook to have all my sync'd data without having to open the lid, so I can answer emails or watch or listen to my podcasts at any time.

    Any post about WMP soon?

  13. xpclient says:

    Will Microsoft please return the progress bar for hibernation in Windows 8? (…/35c0b733-878e-4a13-9a26-6e08bb5e6dc6) Systems take longer to hibernate with increasing RAM. Rather than turning off the screen the moment I click "Hibernate", I would rather see it hibernating successfully before I shut the lid or throw the tablet in my bag. Why is the focus on hiding things like progress bars since Vista? Standby/sleep is instantaneous, hibernate is not. I want to feel confident that my system hibernated successfully. With the new hybrid shutdown state, it is even more important show hibernation progress or else users are going to be complaining that it takes longer to "shutdown". It is also important to distinguish between sleep, hibernate and true shutdown. Please put a progress bar for hibernation.

  14. Thats so cool! You do so much work for us to get a great experience.

    I wish i could test these daily builds, testing daily builds is more interesting, than the final product 😀

    I want to point out that you made a mistake in graphic is says Build 9118 instaed of 8118! Or are you working on Windows 9 already 😀

  15. doping says:

    Sorry for not understanding, but is Power Engine Plug-in specifically targeted for ARM SoC or Intel et al could utilize it features too?

  16. ItsMe says:

    I really don't understand why fullscreen metro-style apps should be more energy-efficient than windows on a desktop surface. The latter are at least resizeable. Can someone explain me the logic behind this?

  17. Sergey says:

    >>In Windows 8, we want to maintain that same level of efficiency on existing PCs

    What?? Same level? We need NEW level, to be able to have >8 h of battery life not only in lab and not for $2000

  18. Stephane says:


    I'm building computer for audio mixing and music creation, and the hardware/software used for these purpose (near realtime work) need that some of the Cpu energy-efficient features (like C1e, speedstep) are disabled if the end user want all the power.

    With windows 7, I didn't found a way to do this dynamically so I have to disable these features in the bios. Then, the idle efficiency is horrible when the audio softwares aren't running.

    So, Will Windows 8 help me with this case ?

  19. doping says:


    Metro-style applications (seriously, screw this "app" bullshit) are paused when you move to another one or to the Start screen, so they only consume RAM, but not CPU cycles, while regular Desktop applications continue running in the background.

  20. ItsMe says:


    So what about a cpu/gpu-heat monitoring application. Do you mean the monitoring is stopped if I choose to be in another application? No CPU-Usage? What about background copy jobs. If I put explorer application to background to look write a word document, do you mean the copy-job is paused until I "fullscreen" the copy-job again? Seriously?

  21. Simon Jones says:


    A "monitoring" "metro style app" would have two parts, a continuously or periodically running data collection part and a display part. The display part would be suspended if it wasn't visible on screen as there is no point updating a table or chart if there is no-one there to see it. The data collection part would run, probably as a service, in the background. If it collected its measurements every n milliseconds it would probably find its timer coalesced to other timers to save even more power.

    Windows Explorer is not a "metro style app" so does not get suspended when it is not on screen so your copy jobs will not be paused.

  22. Mark says:


    This is off topic, but could you do a post about the licensing requirements for Win 8 please.

    For example, at the moment, if i want to use Win 7 at home, i have to choose between 4 (or 5?) different versions, and each version has it's own licensing conditions, the most unpleasant of which is the number of machines i can install it on.

    If i have three PC's at home, and want to install Home and Business on all of them, then i'm looking at almost $500.  This is ridiculous.  Add in a copy of office for each machine and it's up around the $1500 mark.

    I'd like to know if you plan a similar system for win 8, or will you take a leaf out of Apples book and make one version, with a lower price, that i can install on all the machines i own?  If Apple can do it so can you guys.



  23. Mark says:

    On topic this time….

    Have you guys thought about sensors in relation to power savings?  For example…..

    1. Proximity sensors – detect if someone is near the device.  If no one is there put the device into power saving mode automatically.

    2. ALS (Ambient Light Sensing) – Detect the background light level automatically and adjust the devices backlight automatically.  Could also be used to enable / disable keyboard lighting.

    Both of these things could be linked to many systems in the PC giving you automatic power savings.


  24. ItsMe says:

    @Simon Jones

    Thanks for your explanation.

    From the blog-text above we have learned that:

    "The power management benefit is that  the model makes it easy for developers to ensure their application is running only at the right time—applications in the background are suspended such that

    they do not consume resources and power when not in use."

    Why only uses this on full screen metro style applications? Why could we not suspend an application if we minimize it to the taskbar. We even could suspend some processes for windows, which are not minimized, but  did't have the actual focus of the user, even if clearly visible on the desktop.

    Why we must use fullscreen applications in order to suspend another application?

  25. emre akcin says:

    masaüstü windows 8 de fareyle yukarıdan güncel haberler , saat, açık uygulamalar sayfası olması gerek.

  26. emre akcin says:

    bana göre ara ekran yüzü artması gerek. Hep taplet türü için windows geliştiriliyor birazda masaüstü için geliştirilmeli

  27. Matthew says:

    Great job, keep up the amazing work guys!

    A quick question about the desktop. When Win8 starts, I can hear all my desktop apps (Skype, etc) being loaded and started even when I haven't started my "Desktop apps". Is there any plan to also suspend all desktop Win32 apps, especially when I'm on battery and not using desktop? I understand this may cause many compatibility issues, but it'd be great if there's a setting available to force that. Last thing I want is some desktop app draining my battery.

    And how about the ARM tablet? I really hope you are not considering to exclude desktop from the ARM port. I see the desktop as kind of a "backstage of a theatre". On tablet, like in a real theatre, most people would probably not need to go to this "backstage"; but power users would love to have backstage access to do real productivity work. I'm not saying it's not possible to do real work with Metro-style apps; but so far I still think desktop (with mouse/keyboard) is still more productive. However I don't want the existence of desktop to drain my battery, so that's why I think it'd be awesome to have some mechanism to freeze / lock the desktop (just like you don't allow anyone to easily access a theatre's backstage).

  28. Thinker says:


    The fact of the matter is that the metro style application platform (known as winRT), that is, the system of which all metro style applications run, is fundamentally different and separate to the platform traditional desktop applications operate on (known as win32). The old win32 model is very old (15 years) and out-dated.

    winRT was designed with this system of suspended applications built in. The paper linked in the blog post (…/details.aspx) describes this great detail but essentially it boils down to this:

    When you navigate away from a metro style application, it is suspended in memory. Before this happens, though, it is given a 5 second warning. The app can then use this time to set up one of several different services. These include an audio player service that can play audio for the application; a file transfer service than can upload, download, copy or move files; as well as several others. All these have been optimised to use minimal amounts of power. An application can also provide its own background task that can be triggered under specified conditions. This application model is very efficient as it means that the CPU is allocating most of its resources to only one application at a time.

    The traditional desktop applications aren’t designed to work this way. Trying to force this model onto the existing application would potentially break many if not most of them. Microsoft is biting the bullet and doing what people have been telling them to do for years now: create a new model separate to the old one which has become ineffective beyond repair over the years.

  29. ItsMe says:


    Thank you for your detailed explanation. I have learned much about the way metro-style applications work. But my doubts remain, that the power savings from this architecture is it worth to force full screen applications on the user.

    For your statement: "create a new model separate to the old one which has become ineffective beyond repair over the years", I'd like to ask you, if you mean that Windows 7 is "ineffective beyond repair? I doubt this.

  30. "Windows Photo viewer" in Windows7 doesn't play animated GIF files. Why?  it is very bad. Please for Windows8 build a Photo Viewer that play animated GIF files. OK?

  31. Stefan says:

    I have discussed Windows 8 with some other company owners. We all agree on one thing, Windows 8 will not be installed as long as this MetroUI is included. Give us a choice; Either MetroUI or normal desktop – not both !

    TabletUI on tablets, phoneUI on phones and desktopUI on desktops !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don't mix them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We also want the classic UI being included as a theme; with normal startmenu, with normal menus in Windows (not worthless ribbons !!!!!). We can't understand why we always have to tweak Windows with third party software and registry tweaks to get what we want. Why not ship Your own tweak software for Windows ?

    Another demand: Stop hide settings and stuff important to the users !!!!!

    Continue with force people have that ugly MetroUI c-r-a-p will make You fail with Windows 8.

  32. chabuya says:

    sounds great, hope we can see some improvements in battery life.


    and now people are insulting them for that decision. i think it will take some years for the desktop environment to adapt.

  33. Stefan says:

    @Saad.Shamsaee 9 Nov 2011 7:03 AM#

    "Windows Photo viewer" in Windows7 doesn't play animated GIF files."

    Install the only real Windows: WINDOWS XP !!!! 🙂

  34. Billy says:

    All of this is great but Metro style UI is still unattractive. Why do you think WP7 is not selling well, it's because of the metro UI, mostly because of the start screen. I love that idea of the live tiles, I really do but the way the start screen was design is not very appealing. Don't get me wrong, some parts of the Metro UI are beautiful but some are very ugly, like those switches (on and off), buttons and input boxes. The problem with Microsoft is, they are not very artistic nor creative at all, just take a look at their website,, it is horrible, it looks like it was designed by a 7-year old. Win7 can't even render the fonts properly and you need a third party app to view .pdf files, I mean come on, your are software company and your OS can't even view .pdf files natively.

    Or take a look at this blog. They are pushing this Metro UI design but the Post button on this blog has rounded corners, what's up with that? Just like the search button( magnifying glass icon) on Microsoft is not well organized at all.

  35. Damn, I tried the "Power saver" plan yesterday, and when I came back this morning, for sure, 2 downloads were interrupted and needed to restart from scratch.

    I hope Windows 8 will be able to recognize Internet activities as well as keyboard and mouse, because Windows 7 still hasn't the faintest idea what the Internet is.

    Do NOT put my computer to sleep if it's running tasks like watching videos or downloading files!

    Back on "Never put the computer to sleep" because of Windows 7.

    It would also be great if Windows could recognize my work hours and patterns, as I still would like my computer to be updated on emails, feeds and podcasts during sleep mode. Like wake up to sync 15 minutes after sleep mode, then double that time to wake up 30 minutes later next time, an hour, etc.

    Even my netbook, if it's connected to power.

  36. Philip Lind says:

    Very interesting!

    I'm looking forward for the beta!

  37. AndyCadley says:

    @ItsMe The new model is currently only available for full screen Metro applications, but their is nothing to prevent a possible future version of Windows from extending this into a more traditional desktop type environment too with multiple overlapped windows. It's a much, much more complex problem to tackle though, which might explain why it'll take multiple releases of Windows before we see it.

    The alternative would be to try and shoehorn new behaviours into Win32, but it's just really not well suited to it and would only serve to cause problems with the myriad of existing applications and their basic assumptions.

  38. xpclient says:

    @Chimel, it is the duty of the app that is downloading to call the SetThreadExecutionState function to prevent the PC from going to sleep. Windows cannot obviously track every and every download manager app on the market. Currently AFAIK, only Internet Explorer correctly prevents the PC from sleeping while it is downloading something. Other browsers – Firefox, Chrome all allow the computer to sleep stopping the download. Or you can use a standalone Download Manager that correctly does this.

  39. JessEsGirl says:

    When hibernating a Win8 computer that uses BitLocker, will the hiberfil.sys file still include data which can be easily extracted and used to crack the BitLocker encryption?

  40. Greg says:

    @Stefan – if your still using XP then I wouldn’t listen to a thing that you are saying – Metro UI is probably a bit too much for you.

    I am beginning to realise a lot of the negativity is form XP users or sheep who just cling on to the bad feedback because there train of thought is negative, desktop and Metro UI is the same thing, it’s a Start menu.

  41. Matt S says:

    Will there be a mechanism to allow us to create Metro-style applications that do extensive background processing?  In particular, I'm thinking of an application that performs a simulation where you might want to setup the simulation then switch to some other application while it's chewing on data.  The user would want the simulation to consume as many resources as the device could throw at it, despite it being in the background.

  42. AndyCadley says:

    @Matt S: That sort of thing is better suited to a desktop (or even cloud) app. It would, of course, be possible to then use a Metro app for data visualization of the results.

  43. DumbTerminalUsers says:


    re: "@Matt S: That sort of thing is better suited to a desktop (or even cloud) app. It would, of course, be possible to then use a Metro app for data visualization of the results."

    So does that mean Microsoft is looking to transition the PC into more of a dumb terminal with a pretty UI? Is this an effort to sell more Azure? Being able to run powerful apps has always been one of the PC's strong suits. It seems like Microsoft is trying to turn the PC into a phone or tablet and reducing its capabilities accordingly. Instead of trying to cram Windows into devices why not use Windows Phone or some derivative instead on devices? It already has much of what Microsoft is trying to re-invent with WinRT.

  44. Marc says:

    Does the classic desktop get suspended when it goes into the background? That would be really cool.

  45. AndyCadley says:

    @DumbTerminalUsers: No, Desktop applications are just as powerful as always and run on Windows as they always have done. And Metro apps fulfil the role of applications that allow a user to focus the full power of their PC on the task at hand while ensuring it doesn't impact on them when they switch to doing something else.

    You don't have to choose one or the other, you can use both. No compromise.

  46. Tink5150 says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    What is being done to address the desktop vs. tablet/slate (Metro) interface concerns Microsoft customers have spoken about in these blogs?

  47. Mitchell says:

    If only they had a launch date for Windows 8.

  48. vinayak suley says:

    Thanks for the great post! Not sure I understood the "Idle Hygiene" section though – specifically what the graph is trying to show.

  49. @WindowsVista567 says:

    Word "app" is not Apple's patent. There is an App division at Microsoft for application development since early 1980's.

  50. ith says:

    i think a new topic will be discussed may be filesystem or media streamers

  51. LD says:

    @AndyCadley & MS

    What concerns me is if programs become metro only and desktop versions aren't available.  Will the next version of Office be able to run in a window on the desktop for those of use that actually multitasking? Is MS planning on dropping desktop support?

    Why can't metro apps just run in a window?  We want control and metro is removing it.

  52. McZ says:


    "Why can't metro apps just run in a window?"

    Because Metro has no Message Queue?

  53. vote_for_taskbar_in_metro says:

    @LD and McZ

    Continuing the offtopic, but still: for me it shouldn't necessarily be windows (I keep most of my windows maximized in Win7), but at it would be cool if there was a metro-style taskbar (to be consistent with the theme) at the bottom, and all other space is taken by metro-style applications. This way you can preserve the "suspending" model and still have a better way of multitasking! I mean I would be totally okay with metro if switching between the open applications wasn't such a chore – you have to go one by one from one to another. I don't use Alt+Tab when I have 10+ windows open. I click on a taskbar icon to switch to the relevant applications.

    Of course, Microsoft wouldn't do it, but I wonder if such a "tweak"/hack (taskbar in Metro) would be possible to be done by a 3rd party.

  54. PLEASE update Notepad to support opening large files, i use notepad for a lot of stuff, such as opening unknown files to read the magic and it chokes with a 2 mb file. you're re-imaging Windows, might as well fix all these old bugs.

  55. Exilant says:

    How often has Microsoft promised that the next version of its "Operating System" will be great for mobile users and notebook computers, less power hungry and battery efficient? Every single version over the past 20 years and it never was true (remember Vista?). Win 7 is back to XP with a different look, so no improvement here either.

    I stopped believing anything MIcrosoft says about OS more than a year ago and turned to Google, Apple and Linux, where I got not only true mobile Operating Systems but I also increased my own efficiency by using a computer/tablet that just works, so I would not have even needed a more battery efficient OS (and I still got it).

    @Microsoft: Why not trying to create an OS which just works without tuning and tweaking and engineering, then I will have finished my job before the battery is empty.

    I am afraid you guys are tackling the wrong problem (again), that's why companies like Apple and Google do not worry about you any longer.

  56. Bob says:

    @McZ: "Because Metro has no message queue?"

    That doesn't stop me from running console applications in a window. Most of them don't have message pumps.

  57. LD says:


    That's a coding decision. MS could allow it for windowed apps.  It's like live tiles, they could have done that on desktop icons and enlarged them for active icons.


    With metro apps running full screen you'd still have to drop to the start screen.  On the desktop my frequently used apps are right there.  I don't NEED to take those extra steps.   Metro takes more steps to do the launch apps and it takes more steps to switch apps.  It's a horrible UI.

  58. You rock Microsoft!! Windows 8 is the future!! And I sincerely hope Windows 9 does away with the Desktop and full Metro. Just that the Metro needs a few chinks to be ironed out! Like, how about a tile for All Programs? That'll be world class!!

  59. AndyCadley says:

    @LD: If Microsoft didn't want and see the value in Desktop applications it would've been super-easy for them to just adapt Windows Phone 7 for the tablet market, as many suggest they do. It's precisely because they can see the value of different styles of computing, regardless of the device you're using at the time, that Windows 8 exists in the way it does.

    @Bob: Metro apps are for the kind of things where you want to be entirely immersed in a single task and you want every available ounce of the power of the PC to allow you to do that. Running in a window doesn't really work in that world view. The desktop is far better suited to other types of task, flitting betwen a multitude of things, long running jobs that "run in the background" and so forth.

  60. chriswin says:

    i now see where you guys are going, including metro, we like!, we hope you get it right and empower the wrold economy back on its feet.

  61. NP says:

    Please talk about the improvements if any made to the Windows accessories like the Calculator, Wordpad and Notepad. I hope that Notepad has changed at least. it's 20 years now. Task Manager has, why not Notepad. I am a developer and I want one or two extra feature in Notepad. And then I will stop using the buggy Notepad+ application.

  62. For what i've seen until now the title should be "Building a power-smart tablet-purpose Windows"

  63. Dupe says:

    @Exilant – get lost from this blog and kiss thier a-s-s then, we know your type.

  64. Drew says:

    It’s really funny how this happens – is there a syndrome or something like the burning building syndrome where people don’t panic and stay in the building – this negativity towards Metro is like that – it’s like people are not seeing the positive side of having touch, apps and desktop together with all of the features and are just going straight for the ‘we don’t understand’ so we will keep blabbering out the same c-r-a-p, like a twitch.

  65. alvatrus (off-topic) says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Can you do a post on how to convert a desktop application to metro-style? One that has the ribbon interface, for example? I'm still struggling with some of the concepts.

    It doesn't have to be a full-fledged office application <grin>, but how does Microsoft envisage the MDI interface, the ribbon interface and dialogue boxes to carry over to the metro user interface paradigm?

    It would be enlightening for developers (for me, at least) to get some guidance in this.

  66. Bob says:

    @AndyCadley: Really? Stock tickers, email, and Facebook require "every available ounce of the power of the PC?" Pretty much every Metro app I've seen has been, well, something suitable for a smartphone.

  67. AndyCadley says:

    @Bob: Did you really expect that a handful of sample applications knocked by interns to get the point across would really demonstrate the full power of a new application framework?

  68. @AndyCadley: Which productivity oriented application you have in mind that would be suitable for a touch interface? If there are applications that require a touch interface, like for example a mixing console, there already have a huge variety of external devices that connect with the computer and you can do all your editing through that. Of course you could replace some of these external interfaces with a touch screen, but let’s ask a musician, does he/she really want to touch a screen or a keyboard.

    Bob is right, at the end of the day most of apps we have seen are either toy apps or games. Fine when it comes to phones or tablets, but not very interesting when it comes to the desktop. If you want to treat your desktop as a huge tablet, of course the Metro is the answer.

    But here is the main point: Nobody who does any serious work on their desktop will want to touch their screen. Now if there was a screen flat on my desk in the place of the mouse pad as a fourth screen in my setup, I could use it instead of a mouse…of course the question still remains “why?” should I do that when I am perfectly happy with the keyboard & mouse combination.

    A person using Visual Studio, Photoshop, 3DS Max, Autocad etc applications, has no use for a touch interface. Microsoft is trying to catch another train they’ve missed already and in the process they are messing up with their existing established interfaces. Good luck with this experiment…

  69. @@WindowsVista567

    Believe me, I knew that already. Even though I knew of the term "app" before anyone had heard of the iPhone, the term "app" has become synonymous with Android and iPhone apps in the minds of many consumers. I was once told be someone I know that "app" is an Apple term, and I said that this wasn't true. Despite this, many people associate the word "app" with smartphones now, and not with full-fledged programs. That's part of the reason why I feel the way I do about "Metro-style apps."

  70. And by the way (or BTW as app users would say) while you're fixing the term "app" would you also get rid of the "________" (fill in your favorite slur) who promoted "charm"?  Really, words mean something.  They're important.  Those are menus at the bottom of the Metro screen and should be called as such.

  71. AndyCadley says:

    @mil_: Touch has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of productivity tools out there today for things like 3D modelling and data processing that could benefit enormously from everything else getting out of the way and letting the user focus on the task at hand. Whether they're doing it with mouse, keyboard, touch, pen, kinect or some other method of control.

  72. @AndyCadley: Metro is about touch, huge rectangles are meant for fingers.

    But anyway, what you are saying is that full screen apps is the model we need and that will improve applications like 3DS Max. So instead of just running it in a maximized window (if I choose to do so) having the application running only in full screen mode will increase productivity because people will be able to focus on one application at a time.

    So all of us who buy 2 or 3 or even 4 monitors we got it wrong, we should be using one application at time because that is better and save some money in the process by not buying all these monitors. I cannot really argue with this point, you obviously have found some special way of working that I don’t understand.

  73. This is good to know

    "For Windows 8, we’ve built a new device power framework that allows all devices to advertise their power management capabilities and integrate them with a special driver called the Power Engine Plug-in or PEP, designed for SoC systems. The PEP is provided by the silicon manufacturer and knows all of the SoC-specific power management requirements. This allows device drivers like our USB host controller or a keyboard driver to be built once, and still deliver optimal power management on all platforms from SoC-based PCs to datacenter servers."

  74. "Of course, using the factory image for your PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied drivers is almost always the best way to ensure the devices in your PC are well-behaved for power management."

    Either this is a section of the blog that was paid for by laptop OEM's, or this blog has finally jumped the shark. Please tell me you are not serious with this comment.

    The Windows Laptop user's main gripe for over a decade has been the immense amount of useless, poorly supported, badly designed, barely validated, resource hogging, hideous bloatware that is installed by the average OEM. Endless amounts of "virus scanners" that are a worse blight on your machine than the average rootkit, shiny but incredibly unstable Vendor-branded dashboards and widgets that duplicate (buggily) existing Windows functionality, drivers (particularly for GPU's) that are 6 months out of date at the time of product launch and are never updated during the product's support lifecycle.

    Like every other "family nerd" out there, my first job 3 months after a relative gets a new laptop (when they suspect it "has a virus"), is to run CC cleaner, delete all the vendor bloatware, replace the antivirus, manually update all the drivers, and hand it back to them cleaner, more responsive, and with better battery life than the day they bought it.

  75. kalpit agarwal says:

    when microsoft is launching windows 8 ?? m dying to use complete windows 8

  76. @Pat Stemen and @Steven Sinofsky

    I didn't think of it before, but I agree that "Of course, using the factory image for your PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied drivers is almost always the best way to ensure the devices in your PC are well-behaved for power management," is not true. If you're buying a PC, especially a $400 one, it will be configured for whatever configuration will provide the most money for the OEM. Usually, this involves ads, trialware, extra programs you don't need, and Google software that no one wants to use, and many of these programs only duplicate functionality that Windows has while not working as well. Windows Media Player is miles ahead of Musicmatch Jukebox (though WMP 12 isn't as good as WMP 11). All of these programs use battery life (especially when they involve a constantly-running service) and are a waste of disk space, which will become harder to find with current hard drive shortages. It is much better to install and customize a clean version of Windows, with PC components that have good power management already (such as an energy-efficient power supply and EIST).

  77. @WIndowsVista567

    Indeed.  I'ld say that THE KEY for microsoft to clean up the windows reputation is most definatly by restricting OEM's to install crap ware.  Non-tech friends of mine bought an HP laptop a few weeks back.  I was literally horrified.  I double click a stupid jpeg en suddenly there came this full screen, taskbar covering, hp application to…cycle through pics.  Seriously.  And that's just one of many annoyances.

    After a few weeks (when trials started to expire), booting the laptop triggered one disgusting pop-up after the other (half of which were followed by an error message when canceled).

    I seem to remember in the old days that when you bought a windows 95 OEM PC…  you received a clean windows 95 machine with a cd that had an collection of applications and trials.

    I miss the old days.

    Such bloat and crapware is the reason why I don't buy OEM pc's.  I buy the parts and build it myself or order an empty laptop and install a clean windows.

    It costs me a little more, but these machines never failed me.  The OEM's ALWAYS failed me (at the very least 'eventually').

    In microsoft's place, and now ESPECIALLY with windows 8, which will open the door for entirely new generation of machines, I'ld thighten the screws for OEM installs.

    A clean windows install is an absolute must.  Have them put their bloat/crapware on a dvd or at most in a "OEM installer" package, where the setups are accessible through some OEM menu/application/whatever.   But do NOT pre-install them.  Just … don't.

  78. @Aroush

    Luckily for me, I built my current computer myself, and I know how to uninstall or turn off all the extra software that comes with a pre-built PC.

    Was the PC you were using a TouchSmart all-in-one? That might explain the full-screen app (and your story sounds strangely similar to the Metro UI).

  79. Nitz Walsh says:

    Sure DIY's solve this – but with laptops and AIO's grabbing a big chunk of the market, DIY's are pretty niche.  

    The fact is the "Windows Experience" for the majority of users when purchasing an OEM system is downright awful, just as Aroush claims.  The Windows Stores help this somewhat (hence why they were created, while they are a copy of Apple's stores, MS *needs* them, just as Apple needed to create heir own channels as their brand was being hurt by poor presence and support in retail before that) but certainly none are near my area, as they aren't near most people.

    The agreement with the Justice department prevents MS from telling OEM's what they can and can't install – I *believe* though that is set to expire soon.  It's time for MS to bring the hammer down, or have an option in any release of Win8 that allows for a "clean sweep" that basically reverts it to just the OS and clears out unecessary apps – now what's necessary to a particular model though would vary, so even that's not a foolproof solution.

  80. Nitz Walsh says:


    Yes, some apps could benefit from getting things out the way.

    So you hit the friggin' MAXIMIZE BUTTON.  

  81. doping says:

    @Hairs_, @WindowsVista567, @Aroush

    Seriously guys, are we reading the same article?

    "…PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied _DRIVERS_"

    They are talking about drivers that OEMs are obligated to test for compatibility with their hardware, NOT about the bloatware they also install. You should have a really low opinion on MS if you think they started defending the bloatware that makes their OS look bad.

    And if you are so cool, build your own desktops and by Laptops with Linux or FreeDOS and install the Windows yourself.

  82. AndyCadley says:

    @Nitz Walsh: The Maximize button doesn't suspend any other task you might have had open, preventing it from consuming resources. Nor could it without breaking all existing applications and use case scenarios.

  83. I think the Windows Home Server will aslo benifit from that new energy saving technologies.

  84. @doping — You are correct in that we were talking about drivers.  The text is clear as to why this is important.  I've actually had this very problem and Pat even tracked it down for me.  I had a machine that was getting worse battery life on Windows 8 builds than on WIndows 7 SP1.  I was pretty bummed.  It turns out I did the amateur thing which was to do a clean install of Windows 8 and not install every driver.  Rather than go fetch the WWAN driver I just disabled it in device manager.  But it turns out that does not power it down but just leaves the device in the firmware initialized state–and sure enough that state is a high power state.

    This type of thing can play out many ways.  For example, many folks like to go find the newest drivers for a peripheral but don't realize that many drivers are modified by PC makers for the specific implementation (and settings) of the chipset so the generic driver you get from a download site could have very different power profiles.  On Windows Update drivers are matched so this can't happen.  That's why you sometimes think the WU driver is "old" when a generic driver is available elsewhere but not on your PC maker site.  There's a reason for that from the PC maker's perspective.

  85. @doping

    Yes, we realise the text itself talks about drivers and not trials or other bloatware.  We are not idiots.

  86. qrli says:



    11-09-2011 9:51 AM


    Metro-style applications (seriously, screw this "app" bullshit) are paused when you move to another one or to the Start screen, so they only consume RAM, but not CPU cycles, while regular Desktop applications continue running in the background.


    I don't get it either. It is true desktop applications are not suspended when inactive. But plenty of desktop applications show 0% CPU usage when you are not using them. For those necessary background processing, it has to be done no matter it is Metro style or desktop style. The optimization for Metro style background activity can be applied to desktop applications too.

    The only difference I see is that Metro style forces applications to not waste power, while for desktop applications it is up to the programmer.

  87. Johannes says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    How will Windows 8 and Microsoft improve on the fact that PC makers don't update their drivers as often as peripheral makers? It is very confusing to have WU show an older version of ATI-driver (or some other manufacturer) than what is available from the peripheral maker. Now I understand why but you really need to solve this problem together with the PC makers.

  88. vote_for_taskbar_in_metro says:


    <Continuing off-topic>

    That's the sort of tweak/hack I would like — so that metro-style "apps" wouldn't run fullscreen, but instead leave a strip of ~60 pixels at the bottom for metro-style taskbar.

    This way metro "app" is the only thing that is on the screen aside from taskbar. This way I don't need to fall back to Start screen or switch "apps" one-to-another till I get to the needed one. I just want a quicker way to switch between "apps" in Metro instead of alt-tabing the long list.

  89. Matt says:

    I have to suggest accessibility as a future post topic.  For many it is of profound importance and it could certainly use some re-imagining.

    Windows 8 is looking great and I've got a lot of anticipation for it, but Metro, the Start screen, and all the performance improvements are secondary if I can't work with the device.  Disregarding subpar performance and extraordinary price, third party solutions for screen reading, magnification, or the like are useless when a friend asks for computer help, or a colleague calls you over to give an opinion on a design, or your father-in-law gets his new tablet.  Accessibility has to be native to be effective and it's time Windows had full-fledged, never-out-of-reach tools for this. Apple has done it wonderfully in desktop and mobile and a community sprung up around it. I'll be part of it until someone offers an alternative.  Metro and WinRT are the perfect time to do it and it's so very doable. If you haven't already, please consider the impact it could have for so many Windows users.

    Finally, my commendations to the Windows 8 team for taking on many long-standing and hard problems and addressing them boldly but with great care.  There's so much more than I'd have ever imagined.  Thanks for the discussion. I love it.

  90. Matthew P says:

    I have to say this, I hate to but…  with this article I've totally lost interest in Windows 8.  Power consumption, blah blah blah…  So let me see, you were going to release a version of the next big windows OS that consumed more power?  No?  Oh, so it's in the best interest of the company to put out a product that improves upon power consumption performance?  Yes?  And it would make customers happy to have their batteries last longer?  Yes?

    And this blog worthy…  why?  Especially since the interface is what we want to see addressed?  That crappy Green goo bloated windows phone 7 interface with gargantuan squares sticking in my face?  Yeah, that mess.  When are you going to simply say, "yeah, for desktops that interface is no go"…  That would interest me.

    I'm so over this.

  91. Matthew P goodbye . i really find it strange that people who have only seen windows 8 developer preview ,can make all these comments as to what the final product will look like.i for one i am glad microsoft choose this path .i am ready for the brave new world.i think the naysayers are scared that MS might really get this right, by combing the best of both worlds.that is to my mum a casual user happy and a power user like super happy.    mr  Steven  Sinofsky i hope stick to vision.                                                                                                    

  92. Nitz Walsh says:


    Ah yes, the "It's only a developer preview" argument.  While I do share some reservation (hope) that MS will change things quite a bit for the beta, this argument falls on its face for several reasons:

    1) It was released to the public.  If MS's really wanted to only focus on developers, they would keep it MSDN only.

    2) Sinofsky/MS have stated small changes to the Start Screen they've made already were a "result of feedback they've received".

    3) These blogs are produced with anonymous feedback allowed.

    4) By the time the beta ships, the actual RTM will likely be ~6 months away.  It will be too late to recommend significant changes.

    Everything indicates MS is at least somewhat "testing the waters" to see the reaction of users to Metro.  None of the preceding steps would make any sense if they're planning a radical overhaul of the implementation by release or beta, if that was the case then they wouldn't have released the dev preview to the public.

    As well, at least on an aesthetic level, looking at the website redsigns going on and the new Xbox interface, Metro's design is going to likely change very little from now until release.  Sure you'll get some rudimentary themeing ability, but the general concept of Metro, that being large text, lots of white space, square design, and lots of green, will no doubt remain. Otherwise it will be a complete clash to the entire approach they've been doing over the past year to unify their interfaces around their phone GUI (you know, the one that's setting the world on fire with booming sales and endless praise – oh wait, that's the "other" phone).

    Really, how do you think your approach is significantly better?  There are many empty critiques here, but empty praise is equally useless.  "Hey guys don't comment unless it's positive, if it's negative wait for the beta".  Boy that really sets the stage for useful discussion doesn't it?

  93. Paul from Italy says:

    This has nothing to do with this topic, but I was thinking… why do most people keep putting all their stuff on the desktop and can't organize their projects/life aspects/whatever in folders?

    A Windows folder doesn't allow you to set a background image nor drag an icon wherever you want (like the desktop allows to). I usually recognize what area of my large desktop interests me with a quick eye-watch driven by colors and position of icon groups. I arranged them to drive me as quickly as possible (without searching for the right title/icon) to the area I need to work on.

    Why not adding background / free position to Windows' folders? That would be a huge advantage for a quick access to what we need

  94. @(name I will not repeat) and @Steven Sinofsky

    I agree that a PC from a larger vendor like Dell or HP should use the proper drivers from the OEM, but the same is not always true of preinstalled applications. The blog post makes it sounds like you think it is better to use the complete, out-of-the-box setup, complete with ads, WildTangent games, and trial versions of Norton Internet Security. It looks like you were only talking about pre-installed drivers, not trialware, and I'm glad to see that.

  95. Design says:

    Is there a dedicated design team that only consider and scrutinise that way that Windows looks? At the moment I cannot see any evidence of it – because the thing looks cheap, you barely scraped by in Windows 7 – please consider employing a professional design team.

  96. @steven_sinofsky

    Yes the drivers you get from a Laptop vendor should be validated for the hardware. I'm not unaware of that, but there is a difference between "The vendor analysed the drivers and optimised them for the hardware" and "The vendor validated a driver 6 months before shipping, and never ever looked at another update for the lifetime of the product", which is what actually happens. If you have a choice between an out of date driver with a slightly more tweaked power profile, or an updated driver from the manufacturer which removes a massive security/stability hole, which do you choose?

  97. mmosier88 says:

    This is all great. I'm loving the fast boot, optimized memory, new task manager and new power saving features… Unfortunately these features will not matter in the end

    I've done several school presentations on Metro UI and "change" and I get the same response every time.  Blank stares…

    At the end of these presentations I ask, Would you use Windows 8 if it shipped with Metro enabled and always the same thing, zero people raise their hand. When asked why, The arguments are the same as on this blog

    – there is no way to easily close an app

    – the start screen and metro apps take up the entire screen

    – there is no way to efficiently switch between apps without being kicked back into the start screen

    – the UI is the same across all platforms and there is no way to use the desktop interface on normal PCs

    – It is very difficult to shut down the computer

    – there is no way to do a generalized search without sorting by categories, and default results are "apps"   not documents, places, settings etc.

    I know it has been said many times here, but Microsoft, please listen to your users.  The students being presented to are your "day to day" users that your telemetry data suggest would use metro. If they think metro is no good, then listen, give us an option to shut it off or choose the default interface based on input device (touch vs. keyboard and mouse).

    If this is not done, Windows 8 will be in real trouble, and all of the benefits I mentioned above will be completely ignored…. Vista all over again. Many benefits but it got a horrible reputation

  98. SG says:

    @mmosier88: Windows 8 won't be in trouble – we will no choice but to upgrade, sooner or later.

  99. @SG

    That's not true. If Windows 8 is rejected by enough people, developers will not suddenly stop developing for Windows 7 and start developing for Windows 8. Look at Windows XP as an example of an OS that is still supported by third parties. It's ten years old, and that's how old Windows 98 was when people had almost completely stopped supporting it.

  100. SG says:


    Very good point! At work (multi-national company), the 1000's of non-developers use XP and IT have no current plans to upgrade: It works.

    Although XP is also still popular due to there being a long wait until vista, also during the boom in new computer users.

    But as time moves on, we will all be forced to upgrade to whatever OS Microsoft thrusts upon us – for interop with the rest of the world, slick marketing, and lock-in.

    This industry is no longer driven by geeks.

  101. Irfanfare says:

    What amazes me is the ease with which you can install and run more efficiently than the original OS they came installed with, the latest versions of Windows one after the other without changing anything other than the RAM. I am successfully running WDP on 6-7 year old desktops which originally came with XP and 256 megabyte of memory. Installed Vista, 7 and now 8, each working better than the previous ones. Marvelous job done by the guys at Microsoft.

  102. @Paul from Italy says:

    It is Windows 7 that does not allow you to set a background image or drag an icon wherever you want in folders (like the desktop allows to). This capability was present in Windows 95 with IE4 to Windows Vista. There is little chance that Microsoft will add it back because they do not care enough about Explorer. All they care about now is Metro UI.

  103. Drew says:

    They don't care about users anymore! Why do you think we have to boot into an app launcher – so that they can increase market of apps and tablets = revenue. Desktop professionals will most likely be looking for something else to achieve workflows and powerful multitasking unless they start talking pretty enthusiastically about it very soon, there is absolutely no enthusiasm about desktop whatsoever – disappointed! the worst thing is I am now referring to desktop as more like an app – something is going wrong here guys.

  104. Mattm says:

    Great stuff…

    I was hoping for more intergration with the hardware in windows 8. Example a laptop with two graphics card a dedicated one and an intergrated one, could the os handle the switching rather than a thirdparty app?

  105. holidin says:

    "Safe search result in a new window"

  106. article says:

    release windows with latest vesion of MS Visual studio.

    this is one very good schematization 🙂

  107. When are you guys gonna use a Unix like system for the base of Windows? EVERYONE else in the world uses unix, and i'm not even gonna bother with Windows until it does as well. it's called standards, and interop. learn it.

  108. lol says:

    I find it funny that most, if not all, of the commenters assume Sinofsky wrote this article… He might have posted it, but at closer inspection at the end of the article you can read who actually wrote it and probably its best to direct related questions and concerns to that person and not Sinofsky

  109. @lol — the author of the post is also listed in the intro parapgraph along with their role and responsibility.  We just use one account to do all the posts and use my name so it doesn't look like committee or something.

  110. Cedric KOCH says:


    I would say that I agree with mmosier88 with his remarks.

    While this is likely to change.

    @ Microsoft: As a developer, I have more build available. Shorter in time to see the changes almost live.

    The preview was a great idea. Go on. Preview2, preview3, beta1, beta2 … until the release of the product with a better channel to express our comments and problems as a developer.

  111. DevPlus31 says:

    Any information about Windows 8 for NVIDIA Project Denver ARM Processor for PC ?

    Thank You !

  112. @Steven Sinofsky

    Is there any possibilities that Windows 8 will go though multiple betas, like Office 2007? The new operating system is such a major design change that I am afraid that locking features at the "Beta" release will cause major oversights to never be fixed. Windows 7 is a good example of the problem with this approach – it is a good operating system, but it has glaring problems that Windows Vista didn't have and that have never been fixed. Here is what I mean:…/78ca6ba5-efe0-486c-b7d6-dc16782dbac2.

    Windows 7 is not as good as Windows Vista in my opinion , but if you had done a few things differently, it could have been better. I'm not trying to insult you or Windows 7, and Windows Vista remains my favorite version of Windows.

  113. @Steven Sinofsky

    There is a major factual discrepancy with this blog post, and your response to my point.

    @doping commented:

    "@Hairs_, @WindowsVista567, @Aroush

    Seriously guys, are we reading the same article?

    "…PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied _DRIVERS_"

    They are talking about drivers that OEMs are obligated to test for compatibility with their hardware, NOT about the bloatware they also install. You should have a really low opinion on MS if you think they started defending the bloatware that makes their OS look bad."

    You commented:

    "@doping — You are correct in that we were talking about drivers.  The text is clear as to why this is important.  "

    Let's go back. This is important, as you say. Your blog post author wrote:

    "Of course, using the factory image for your PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied drivers is almost always the best way to ensure the devices in your PC are well-behaved for power management."

    FACTORY IMAGE. Not *just* drivers. You were not "talking about drivers". Once again, this blog is failing to address a valid, direct, constructive piece of criticism, and has jumped upon another commenter's misunderstanding, in order to drag a completely unrelated argument in the way, thus dodging the question. The FACTORY IMAGE for the average laptop is utter garbage. Total and utter garbage. Technical support for laptop drivers (even if you want to download the complete set of original, vendor approved drivers from their website) is often a dead end because OEM's will not bother to support a product whose sales lifecycle is 9 months.

    The blog post author's statement that the FACTORY IMAGE of the laptop install is "almost always the best" way to keep your laptop in good working order is patently false. Your post about how you installed a *developer preview* of an unreleased OS on an existing laptop and found that *gasp* driver support wasn't fantastic is totally unrelated to the point I brought up, and I can't see any other purpose behind it other than to avoid any meaningful dialogue on the subject. It smacks of a political piece of manipulation, or PR massage. At best, it is not an honest *dialogue* about engineering an OS or battery life – it is a monologue, coming from Windows Team at us.

    Let's give you the benefit of the doubt, however, and assume that the post never mentioned "factory images" at all, and talk solely about drivers. What is your response to my point that OEM's often ship laptops with drivers that are months out of date, are never updated, and force users to choose between learning enough about their machines to keep track of and patch insecure or broken drivers, or leaving the laptop in its stock broken/insecure condition? Recommending that Windows users trust their OEM to do the right thing is bad. Very very bad. The alternative, of course, is for Microsoft to pressure OEMs into actually keeping track of when they *have* to update drivers for their products and implementing updates as necessary. Sadly, I can't see that happening.

  114. My final point on this blog post:

    It is depressing that the Windows Team's goal for Win 8 is only to maintain Win 7's idle power consumption. Given that Anandtech have proved that Mac OS will give significantly better battery life than Windows on the same hardware, and you freely admit that battery life is a significant factor in the future, I think the goal needed to be a lot more aggressive.

  115. Stefan says:

    My experience when it comes to install Vista and Windows 7 is that either You get a well working Windows or a Windows that collapse more and more over time. Often is it that way that Windows Module Installer stops working during updates, or task scheduler stops working, or event viewer, or just some other important services shuts down and make the rest of the os following it down the sewer. That must fixed in Windows 9 (i didn't write Windows 8 because that will be a big failure).  This problem never existed in Windows 2000 or XP. When installed it always worked properly. A bit off topic, but this issue is very common in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Have to add that system restore seldom help You revert it back, most often it doesn't work…..also a big failure i think. So to the ones that will put Windows 9 together, please, fix these problems !

    2nd try to add this comment ! Commenting suck on this site !!!!!!!!!!

  116. Windows8er says:

    Please add the ability to place your own wallpaper behind that drab green background behind the times

  117. Windows8er says:

    Please add the ability to place your own wallpaper behind that drab green background behind the tiles on start screen

  118. Windows8er says:

    Better yet, why not make the tiles pop up when you hit the start button and just overlay your current desktop with a background…so you can still see your desktop.

  119. why can't we have a system where the users gets detected (with some kind of camera or laser!) when they are sitting in front of a computer and put the system to full power and rest of the time make it on low power or ideal since it won't be doing much when user's aren't around. but users need to be provided with an option to override this setting so when they are not around also they do the process that were kept in running when user was there.  

    i have seen this kind of technology in one of the advertisement. will it be possible to implement it in windows 8 so we could save more power! 🙂  

  120. Lewis Robinson says:

    As a desktop user… I don't care about any Metro-related stuffs. What I want, as a casual user wants, is to see:

    • Improvements to Windows Kernel, Desktop Windows Manager, Audio Servies,… and many more.

    • Improvements to Windows Media Player — to be able to play more video/audio formats, renders video with the best quality as possible — which is currently "poor", compared to Media Player Classic-Home Cinema, VLC or jetAudio.

    Windows Media Player 12 seemed like a step backward, compared to Windows Media Player 11.

    • Improvements to Windows Picture Viewer — to be able to view more image formats like .TGA, animated .GIF, .PSD, and even RAW images.

    • Improvements to DirectX 11.1.

    And please do something to overhaul the outdated DxDiag Tool, too.

    • Improvements to font rendering — to make all fonts anti-alised

    Can achieve this by using DirectWrite rendering across Windows environment, like in Start Screen, IE9, IE10.

    • Auto resize column width in Detail view in Explorer

    • Always use lowercase for file and folder naming (and Cap. when needed)

    • Move "en-US", "ko-KR",… and many folders that contain .MUI files into one folder — to make System32 folder looks less cluttered.

    • Update all legacy icons — notably Registry Editor, CHM Viewer, WinLogon, Twain16/32

    • Update all legacy dialogs — no 95/98/2000/XP menus, styles, wizards and references.

    I can give you more feedback; if you want, if you listen to your customers.

    Take a look at Windows 7/Aero/Windows Live Taskforce, created by Long Zheng, fix these most popular submissions…

    And everyone will sure be happy!!

    Please listen.

  121. Stefan says:

    Installed my Vista today. Downloading updates – ok. Upgraded to Microsoft Update – almost all updates fail. Installed IE9 and downloaded updates – all ok except KB 972145 that IE9 remove every time i download it…. But what a crappy browser IE9 is…… That will be uninstalled right after writing this. How the H will i be able to update failed updates if that BS (IE9) removes them when downloaded ????????????

  122. Karl says:

    Lewis Robinson : you did not mention windows explorer: it's still a mess with much 'rouge'

  123. God help ups with these people trying to toss Metro down our throats lol

  124. "• Update all legacy icons — notably Registry Editor, CHM Viewer, WinLogon, Twain16/32

    • Update all legacy dialogs — no 95/98/2000/XP menus, styles, wizards and references."

    I'VE ONLY BEN SAYING THIS FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS. do it , or everyone else will soon see how pretty those 512×512 icns icons are 😉

  125. Not to mention, y'all NEED to declutter and combine your multiple *.dlls and *.exes together. why does Shell32, ExplorerFrame, DWM, and a bunch of other componets that i can't even think of, have to be seperate? all it does it clutter up your OS…

  126. @Stefan says:

    Solution – don't install Vista – install Windows 7, doh.

  127. @@Stefan

    not everyone pirates Windows 😉

  128. @BumbleBritches57: About combining multiple DLLs and EXEs:  Actually the Windows team has been engaged in a multi-year effort to do exactly the opposite.  We've been working hard to split monolithic DLLs like shlwapi, winmm and setupapi into multiple smaller DLLs grouped by functionality.  The problem with monolithic DLLs is that they contain functionality that is used by both high level components (like UI elements) and low level components (like system services).  If you're a system service and you want to enumerate the devices on your machine, you call APIs in setupapi.dll.  But since setupapi.dll also has functions which use UI elements, your service all of a sudden has dependencies on the UI elements of the system.

    Needless to say, this is a bad thing (bringing all that UI goo just makes the footprint of the service bigger).  To fix this, we've refactored many of the big monolithic DLLs into smaller pieces, that allows us to shrink the overall OS footprint.  It also adds what we call SKU agility – we can build versions of windows like the core server SKU that contain fewer high level components.

  129. @Larry Osterman

    i get what your saying there, and i totally agree with it, but Shell32, DWM, and ExplorerFrame, and arguably Explorer should be in one file, possibly with explorer seperate for seperate sandboxed explorer processes. there all apart of the Shell, so what does splitting them do?

    And I'm not a developer, or coder, but why do you have to call the specific DLL in question? why can't you just yell out to the entire system the API name? that would fix the whole, copy needed dll to "app folder of non functioning app" problem too.

  130. I get that, and everytime i've ventured into your dlls or exes trying to make a cutsom theme, i've pulled my hair out asking why resources are included in random files 😉

    so, basically Shell32 should include ExplorerFrame, no? and ALL icons and resources used by the OS should be in here as well. kinda like how good ole' imageres.dll holds the login screens for no apparent reason 😉

  131. which reminds me, y'all should lift that 245kb loginscreen limit, it's a pain in the ass to have to resource edit imageres.dll with the new screens, AND keep the latest version available from Windows Update, personally i'd LOVE if you guys did an Apple, and put all the resources in a folder floating freely, then i'd be able to replace icons and resources, WITHOUT affecting the code. hence one of the many Unix advantages i'm always rambling about

  132. BTW, i LOVE the Chrome 15 and IE9 style icons, if y'all are updating your icons, please do it in this style (i could help :D)

    be nice if y'all upgraded to 512 or 1024 pngs too. why have 14 copies of the same icon? especially when it makes it consume more HDD and RAM?

    not to mention GPUs and DWM can easily rescale high res icons down if necessary?

  133. Sorry for rambling, but you guys should also update the aero busy animation, to the same color scheme as the IE9 logo, and y'all should use A(nimated)PNG instead of . CUR Animation.

  134. @BumbleBritches57 says:

    I meant install a genuine copy of Windows – if you can't buy a latest copy of Windows then your not really serious about your setup anyway.

  135. @BumbleBritches57: Windows Runtime APIs are in fact identified by name and the system uses a registration system to map between the class name and the implementation of that class.  A similar mechanism exists for COM APIs, but the classes are identified with a 128 bit number (CLSID).

    Also, to your last point: Resources in Windows ARE separate from the binary with which they are associated – they typically live in a .mui file in the "<language>" directory (like en-US) located under the directory containing the binary.  This is done to ease localization and has been the standard since Windows Vista.

  136. Ok. Here i am, trying to stream from my PC to my Xbox, why dosen't windows tell my Xbox where my media is AUTOMATICALLY? why do i have to use a seperate app? i SHOULD be able to go to My xbox, Vides MOVIENAME this is ridiclous.

  137. Maybe Test resources, I've NEVER come across a mui that actually held the ico, png, bmp, cur, or wav, outside of a dll or exe.

    in fact, imageres is ONLY contains a .rsrc folder, whcih contains the required files, there is no CODe in the ENTIRE file.

    here, see for yourself.

  138. Oh, while i'm giving away ideas for free, y'all should also only use ONE copy of a resource, for example: in the ImageRES.dll there are 26 wallpapers… each at a different resolution, now there are two seperate wallpapers, one for clent and one for server, but why don't you juse use one 2560×1600 (y'all should use higher res wallpapers too) ans scale it down for the proper resolution? please answer, i'd be interested in why wasting HDD space, is more important that wasting like, 3 cpu cycles…

  139. Since were sticking with the Registry, why don't we have a giant table with all the APIs and their locations on disk, and have each app call out to Windows, the API it's wants, and Windows will quietly unnoticed to the app, redirect it to the correct file. then you'd be free to combine and split apps and resources as you wish.

    if your going to redo the entire Window, why not set in an architecture with some intelligence, that way in a few years, after everyone has calmed down, and everyones ready to use the latest version of Windows, it will have a bunch of new features, that will support you for 20+ years. instead of having to redo the OS in another 5 because you ONCE AGAIN failed to make the necessary changes. either you use my ideas, or i go and make my own OS company, implement the ideas, and put your lumbering ass out of business.

  140. RT5600 says:

    The vocal minority is strong here………

  141. Klimax says:

    @Hairs_ 12 Nov 2011 4:58 PM:

    I don't think they proved anything.(I think they missed some options in W7) I also don't think Apple spent much time optimising drivers for Windows. Also MacOS needs to support very lmited set of HW…  (maybe backward compatibility as well)

    Read Windows Internals (5th edittinon).

    Note:Anyway any improvements on battery life are welcomed, but no comparing of apples vs windows… 🙂

  142. Nitz Walsh says:

    "either you use my ideas, or i go and make my own OS company, implement the ideas, and put your lumbering ass out of business."

    How does someone actually write something this stupid and retain basic motor skills?

  143. The vocal minority is strong here and barmy……

  144. I know it sounds immature and petty, but basically i'm tired of big ass companies not doing what they should be doing for no apperant reason.

    My ideas are good, they WILL make it into a product, if nothing else than for my own enjoyment, and if i have to make my own company, sobeit.

  145. win8wow says:

    Shut up, bumblebutt! The operating system is a lot more productive than embarrassing XP…

  146. Rogera says:

    May be you can convince 3rd party and MICROSOSFT from logging non error information to the system and application even logs every second. That alone will conserve power and (disk) cycles. why is this not a mode of default operation – to ignore all non error event log events. I can see beta sofwtare allowing this but not production software. Why do I need to see my nic going on and off as Info event log entries. the whole abuser of the event log needs to stop.

  147. mayko says:

    must users use windows for commerce or trade.

    we needs Speed and Performance .graphic and seeming is in the end.

  148. @c_barth

    You can vizit your PC's task manager and disallow windows to shut down the USB hubs to save power. So there is an option you are asking already. If I understood you correctly.

  149. Wolf says:


    It seems not only is metro UI going to get a lot of backlash OSX Launchpad is failling, Gnome 3.x IS getting massive Flack, And Unity form Ubuntu is getting pick at. The more of the store here is something I must QUOTE

    "I was clicking where I wasn't used to clicking, and finding myself using the search functionality over shortcuts, which added steps and interrupted the flow of working. To me an operating system should be invisible; something that gets out of your way so you can do what you're supposed to be doing." Like many others, the author has realised that "Unity" is designed for touchscreens rather than the traditional computer monitors: "Suddenly it all clicked: Unity was the beta of a touch interface. In that form factor, it will probably work wonderfully. But I can't help but feel like Canonical misled its users. Unity isn't a user-willed push; it's a way for Ubuntu to branch into what's hot — the mobile market. Business-wise, it's a secure move. As a user, though, I feel cheated, fooled. Disappointed.""

    – ExtremeTech's Jason Kennedy

    Same Argument can Apply to Gnome, Metro, And LaunchPad

  150. Wolf says:

    "The desktop seems crowded, and yet on a large monitor there’s so much real estate to get to that left menu that it’s a chore; multi-monitor just never felt right either."

  151. @Wolf.

    Wow! Good quotes, really relevant. I hope this will be taken into account.

  152. jaime says:

    I think that its very good but how its cost becose I think that its important to minimize the price much