Reflecting on a few recent threads…

When we kicked off this blog, the premise was a dialog – a two-way conversation about the engineering of Windows 7.  We couldn’t be happier with the way things have been going in this short time.  As we said we intended to do, we’ve started a discussion about how we build the product and have had a chance to have some back and forth in comments and in posts about topics that are clearly important to you.  To put some numbers on things, I’ve personally received about 400 email messages (and answered quite a few) and all total we have had about 900 English language comments from about 500 different readers (with a few of you > 10 comments).  Early numbers show we have about 10x that latter number in readers+page views.

A number of folks on the blog have asked for more details about how we build Windows—what’s the feature selection process, the daily build process, globalization, and so on.  And in keeping with our new tradition of seeing the other “side” of an issue, many folks have also said they feel like they have enough of that information and want to know the features.  So in this post I want to offer a perspective on a couple of features that have been talked about a bunch, and also a perspective on talking about features and feature selection.

We love the response.  We have seen that some topics have created a forum for folks to do a lot of asking for features, and we will do our best to respond in the context of what we set out to do, which is to have a discussion about how Windows 7 is engineered, including how we make choices about what goes in the product.  I admit that it might be tempting (for me) to blog a big long list of features and then say “give us feedback“.  It is tempting because I have seen this in the past and it is a certainly an easy thing to do that might make people feel happier and more involved.  However, there are some challenges with this technique that make these sorts of forums less than satisfying for all of us.  First, it is “reactive” in that it asks you to just react to what you see.  Absent a shared context we won’t be remotely on the same page in terms of motivations, priorities, and so on.  This is especially the case when a feature is early and we aren’t really capable of “marketing” it effectively and telling the story of the feature.  Second, a broad set of anecdotal feedback (that is free text) is not really actionable data and doesn’t capture the dialog and discussion we are having.  Making decisions this way is almost certain to not go well with the “half” of the folks who don’t agree with the decision or prioritization.  And third, there's a tendency to feel that feedback given yields action in that direction.  These are some of the reasons why we have taken the approach of talking about how we are making Windows 7.

Some have suggested that we publish a list of features and then have a ranking/voting process.  In fact some have gone as far as doing that for us on their own web sites.  Thank you--these are interesting sites and we do look at them.  But I think we can all agree that there is also a challenge that many folks are familiar with which is that a self-selected group provides one type of feedback which is likely to be different than a group that is selected intentionally as being representative.  I was recalling an old episode of Saturday Night Live, “Larry the Lobster”, where for a toll call you could vote to save Larry from the stove or not.  We all know that is a non-scientific poll, but we also don’t even know if it is a non-scientific poll of views of animal rights or of food preferences.  I think the value of voting on specific features goes beyond just entertainment, but we also have to spend the energy making sure we are thinking about the issues within the same context.  We also want any sample of customers we do to be representative of either the broad base of customers or the specific target customer “segment”.

Thus a big part of this blog is about creating a forum where we hear from each other about what is important and what our relative contexts are that we bring to the discussion.  That’s why we think about this as a dialog—it is not a question and answer, request and response, point and counter-point, or announcement and comment.  Personally, I am genuinely benefiting from the dynamic nature of what we are going to blog about based on those participating in the blog.  So this is much more like a social where we all come to meet and talk, than a business meeting where we each have specific goals or a training class where one party does all the talking. 

In that spirit, it seems good to continue a conversation about a few points that have come up quite a bit and I think folks have been asking for a point of view on these.  Each is worthy of a post on its own, but I also wanted to offer a point of view about some specific feature requests.  Let’s look at some topics that have come up as we have talked about performance or the overall Windows experience.  Because this is “responding” to comments and input, there is a potential to delve into point/counter-point, I am hoping we can look back at the “context” discussions we have been having before we get too deep in debate.

Profile-based Setup

In terms of feature ideas, a number of you have suggested that we offer a way at setup time to configure Windows for a specific scenario.  Some have suggested scenarios such as gaming, casual use, business productivity, web browsing, email, "lightweight usage", and so on.  There is an implication in there that Windows could perform (speed, space, etc.) better if we tune it for a specific scenario along these lines, but in reality this assumption probably won’t pan out in a consistent or general way.  There are many ways to consider this feature—it could be one where we tweak the contents of the Start Menu (something admins do in corporations all the time), or the performance metrics for some low level components (disk block size, tcp/ip frame sizes, etc.) or the level of user interface polish (aka “eye candy” as some have called it), and so on.  We’ve seen scenario or role-based setup as a very popular feature for Windows Server 2008.  In the server environment, however, each of these roles represents a different piece of hardware (likely with different configurations) or perhaps a specific VM on a very beefy machine, and also represent very clearly understood "workloads" (file server, print server, web server). 

The desktop PC (or laptop) is different because there is only a single PC and the roles are not as well defined.  Only in the rarest cases is that PC dedicated to a single purpose.  And as Mike in product planning blogged, the reality is that we see very few PCs that run only a specific piece of software and in nearly every study we have ever done, just about every PC runs at least one piece of software that other people do not run.  So we should take away from this the difficulty in even labeling a PC as being role specific.  Now there are role-specific times when using a PC, and for that the goal of an OS is to adapt well in the face of changing workloads.  As just one example of this in Windows Vista, consider the work on making the indexer a low priority activity using the new low-priority I/O APIs.  I know some have mentioned that this is “something I always turn off” but the reality is that there is an upfront cost and then the ongoing cost of indexing is indeed very low.  And this is something we have made significant improvements in for Desktop Search 4.0 (released as a download) and in Windows 7.  The reality is that a general purpose OS should adjust to the workloads asked of it.  We know things are not perfect, and we know many of you (particularly gamers) are looking for every single potential ounce of performance.  But we also know that the complexity and fragility introduced by trying to “outsmart” core system services often overshadows the performance improvements we see across the broadest sampling of customers.  There’s a little bit of “mythbusters” we could probably embark on so -- how about sharing the systematic results you have achieved and we can address those in comments?

Another challenge would be in developing this very taxonomy.  This is something I personally tried hard to do for Office 95 and Office 97.  We thought we could have a setup “wizard” ask you how much you used Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, or a taxonomy that asked you a profession (lawyer, accountant, teacher).  From that we were going to pick not just which applications but which features of the applications we would install.  We consistently ran into two problems.  First, just arriving at descriptors or questions to “categorize” people failed consistently in usability tests—the classic problem when given a spectrum of choices people would peg all of them in the middle or would just “freeze up” feeling that none fit them (people don't generally like labels).  Second, we always had the problem of either multiple users of the same PC or people who would change roles or usage patterns.  It turns out our corporate customers learned this same thing for us and it became routine to “install everything” and thus began an era of installing the full suite of products and then training was used to narrow the usage scenarios. 

The final challenge has been just how do you present this to customers and when.  This sequence of steps, the out of box experience, or OOBE, is what you go through when you unbox a PC (the overwhelming majority of Windows customers get it this way) or run setup from a DVD (the retail “packaged product” customer).  This leads to the next item which is looking to the OOBE as a place to do performance optimizations.  Trying to solve performance at this step is definitely a challenge and leads to our “context” for the out of box experience.

Out of Box Experience - “OOBE”

The OOBE is really the place that customers first experience Windows on a new PC.  As many have read in reviews of competitive (to Windows PCs) products the experience goals most people have relate to “how fast can I get from packing knife to the web”.  For Windows 7 we are working closely with our OEM partners to make sure it is possible to deliver the most streamlined experience possible.  Of course OEMs have a ton of flexibility and differentiation opportunties in what they offer as part of setting up a new PC, and what we want to do is make sure that the “core OS” portion of this is the absolute minimum required to get to the fun of using your PC. 

By itself, this goal would run counter to introducing a “profiling” or “wizard” help gauge the intended (at time of purchase) uses/usage of a PC.  That doesn’t mean that an OEM could not offer such a profiled experience that could provide a differentiated OOBE experience, but it isn’t one we would ask all customers to go through as part of the “core OS” installation. 

I recognize many of you as PC enthusiasts have gone through the experience of setting up a Linux PC using one of the varieties of package managers—probably many times just to get one installation working right.  As you’ve seen with these installs (especially as things have recently converged on one particular end-user focused disti), the number of ways you can produce a poorly running system exceeds the number of ways you can produce a fully functional (for your needs) setup  In practice, we know that many components end up depending on many others and ultimately this dependency graph is a challenge to manage and get right, even with a software dependency manager (like Windows Installer).  As a result, we generally see customers benefitting from a broad base of software on the machine so long as that does not have a high cost—developing that install is a part of developing the product, balancing footprint, architectural connections, system reliability, etc.

So our context for the out of box experience would be that we don’t want to introduce complexity there, where customers are least interested in dealing with it as they want to get to the excitement of using their new PC.  I think of it a bit like the car dealers who won’t hand you the keys to your car until you sit and watch a DVD about the car and then get a guided tour of the car—if you’re like me you’re screaming “give me the keys and let me out of here”.  We think PC buyers are pretty much like that and our research confirms that around the world.

We also recognize that there are expert users who might want to adjust the running system for any variety of reasons (performance, footprint, surface area, etc.)  We call this the “Turning Windows Features On or Off” which is the next item we’ve heard from you about.

Windows Features

If we install the typical installation of Windows as one that is basically all the features in the particular SKU a customer purchased, then what about the customer that wants to tweak what is installed and remove things?  Customers might want to remove some features because they just never use them and don’t want to accidently use them or carry with them the “code” that might run.  Customers might be defining a role for the PC (cash register) and so making sure that specific features are never there.  There are many reasons for this.  For many releases Windows has had the ability to install or uninstall various features that are part of Windows.  In Windows Vista this was made more robust as the features are removed from the running system but also remained available for reuse without the original DVD.  We also made the list of features longer in Windows Vista.

For Windows 7, many have asked for us to make this list longer and have more features in it.  This is something we are strongly considering for Windows 7 as we think it is consistent with the design goals of “choice and control” that you have seen us talk about here and quite a bit with Internet Explorer 8.0 beta 2.

Of course we have the same challenge that Linux distributions have which is you can quickly remove things could break other features by being removed, and then you have to have all the complexity of informing the customer of these “dependencies” and ultimately you end up feeling like everything is connected to everything else.  On some OS installations this packaging works reasonably well because there is duplication of features (you pick from several file browsers, several web browsers, several office suites, several GUIs even).  The core Windows OS, while not free from some duplication, does not have this type of configuration.  Rather we ship a platform where customers can add many components as they desire.

For customers that wish to remove, replace, or just prevent access to Windows components we have several available tools:

  • Set Your Default Programs (or Set Program Access and Defaults).  In Vista these features allow you to set the default programs/handlers by file type or protocol.  This was introduced in Windows XP SP1.  In Vista the SYDP was expanded and we expect all Microsoft software to properly register and employ this mechanism.  So if you want to have a default email program, default handler for GIF, or your choice of web browser this is the user interface to use.  Windows itself respects these defaults for all the file types it manages. 

  • Customizing the start menu or group policy.  For quite some time, corporate admins have been creating “role-based” PCs by customizing the start menu (or even going way back to progman) to only show a specific set of programs.  We see this a lot in internet cafes these days as well.  The SPAD functionality takes this a step further and provides an end-user tool for removing access to installed email programs, web browsers, media players, instant messengers, and virtual machine runtimes. 

  • Removing code.  Sometimes customers just want to remove code.  With small footprint disks many folks have looked to remove more and more of Windows just to fit on SSDs.   I’ve certainly seen some of the tiny Windows installations.  The supported tool for removing code from Windows is to use the “Turn Windows Features on and off” (in Vista) user interface.   There are over 80 features in this tool in premium Vista packages today.

Many folks want the list of Windows features that can be turned on / off to be longer and there have been many suggestions on the site for things to make available this way.  This is more complex because of the Windows platform—that is many developers rely on various parts of the Windows platform and just “assume” those parts are there.  Whether it is a media player that uses the windows address book, a personal finance package that uses advanced print spooling, or even a brand new browser that relies on advanced networking features.  These are real-world examples of common uses of system APIs that don’t seem readily apparent from the end-user view of the software. 

Some examples are quite easy to see and you should expect us to do more along these lines, such as the TabletPC components.  I have a PC that is a very small laptop and while it has full tablet functionality it isn’t the best size for doing good ink work for me (I prefer a 12.1” or greater and this PC is a 10” screen).  The tablet code does have a footprint in memory and on the 1GB machine if I go and remove the tablet components the machine does perform better.  This is something I can do today.  Folks have asked about Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Windows Mail, Windows Calendar…this is good feedback and good things for us to consider for Windows 7. 

An important point is that a vast majority of things you remove this way consume little or no resources if you are not using them.  So while you can reduce the surface area of the PC you probably don’t make it perform better.  As one example, Windows Mail doesn’t slow you down at all if you don’t have any mail (or news) accounts configured.  And to be certain you could hide access with SPAD or just change the default protocol handler to your favorite mail program. Another example is you can just change the association and never see photogallery launched for images if that is your preference.  That means no memory is taken by these features.

This was a chance to continue our discussion around how we are learning from our discussion and some specifics that have come up quite a bit.  I hope we are gaining a shared view of how we look at some of the topics folks have brought up. 

So this turned into a record long post.  Please don’t expect this too often 🙂


Comments (126)

  1. domenico says:

    Many many many THX Mr. Steven !!!!!

  2. quillaja says:

    Where is this forum to discuss windows 7 features?

  3. domenico says:


    the post of MR. Steven seems fairly clear.

    expects the PDC to see something .

  4. pavelmaha says:

    Hi, very interesting reading. I think for a readers point of view, generally, it might be more interesting to talk about "specific" or "general" features you guys are working or planning about, like you discussed in this post; rather than how "planning and decisions are made", discussed on some of the previous posts.

    I use computer a lot. I am a blogger, a web designer/developer (by default, which means I hate IE:)), gamer, programmer (rather amateurish). In my home office, I use MacOS X, Windows Vista SP1, and Ubuntu Hardy and Ibex (nightlies). The meaning of telling you these, is to let you know that I am a heavy computer user, with reasonably good understand about technologies.

    Let me admit it in advance, that I absolutely dislike window vista (or any version for that matter). The main reason I use it is not because I love it, but because of habit and some of the applications I heavily use are not available for other OS; so I really don’t have a choice. However, I do want to see windows 7 as a huge improvement over windows vista (not evolutionary – but revolutionary); this is long overdue. Competition breeds innovations, and it’s the customers who benefits from them, so I am happy to help criticize windows vista, to help you improve windows 7 :).I see myself reading this blog and engaging (sometimes) on discussions.

    Want to bring out 2 points.

    1) Can you work with OEM distributors (like DELL), to give us an option to use "added" application installed by default by the distributors? After I buy a computer, during the first bootup, I want to have the option to choose whether I want third party applications installed or not. I don’t want to have trial versions and crapware shove down my throat by default.

    2) What is your take on file systems for windows 7? Are we going to see a new, improved file system? Something – that doesn’t needs to be fragmented?

    Bonus – fun question. Do you guys use Linux (there is no shame to share, we all love technology here :)), if so which distro did you guys choose to compare/contrast to help developing windows 7?

    ps, slight typo on your article, it’s "distro" not "disti", referring to Linux distributions.

  5. aaronsteers says:

    Thank you for a very nice post.  The ability for users to opt out of undesired features is an important part of just about every OS.  For me, I actually prefer to have all the features installed "just in case", but then to later "turn off" anything with a significant performance or usability hit.  In many cases, however, it is very difficult to tell what performance or disk space costs each feature is incurring, and so there is a general frustration when we can’t turn something off or delete it.

    Assuming that disk space usage for a given feature or application is not significant (and it rarely is anymore in my experience), my only other concern is the respective performance cost.  If there were some way to quantify the run-time performance costs of features and applications, it would be a great tool when OS performance does slow down.  This would help significantly reduce the frustration of trying to troubleshoot performance issues.  In the occasionally desparate attempt to improve performance, it would prevent the unnecessarily exclusion of otherwise benign features/programs.

    Again, thanks for the post.


  6. adondai says:

    I think there is always a bit of a fear that with a voting system users will come up with unreasonable, impossible or just plain stupid ideas. The concept of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ has been debated forever, however I think in the right situation it really can work.

    Take Long Zhengs Aero Taskforce for example, Here are the current top suggestions:

    – Safely Remove Hardware dialog is programmer-oriented, not user-oriented

    – Performance options dialog has available space for list, doesn’t use it, isn’t resizable

    – Unsigned driver security warning doesn’t give you any evidence to make a decision on

    It’s simple constructive feedback. In contrast I’ve seen a number of people submit the usual whacked ideas like, "MS should rewrite Windows!!!", "MS should give up IE and use FF for default" and so on. These get rapidly voted down and removed.

    Anyway, this is interesting stuff.

  7. joemoe says:

    Wow! Did you actually mention Linux and describe features? I use Linux too Steven, it’s a great operating system! Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 here.

  8. Aberforth says:

    hey thnx for the great post.

    In Longhorn there were some features that didn’t make it into the final build (winfs, 3d rotating windows, virtual folder etc), is it still on? Also It would be nice if windows are dockable on desktop…as a developer i’d find it real handy. I’d also like a explorer for developer tools (like game explorer :P) and finally are there any api’s for superfetch?….i’d love to prioritize my apps.

  9. quasar says:

    I uninstall some windows features mainly because of the principle: the less components system has – the more it’s reliable.

  10. RotoSequence says:

    I guess Microsoft’s ultimate challenge for creating an OS is making it as easy as possible for users to control things, while remembering that users are lazy and like things to work the first time.

    The lazy bit is significant. It’s a bit of a chore to dig through help files and documentation (which are often written from a developer’s POV, which is often a little less decipherable for the average user), so an enhanced tool for those of us who wonder "what is this?" would be nice.

    Since everyone likes to know what they can do to improve the performance of their systems, a basic, intermediate, and advanced guide to the improving system performance, included with the OS with a simple GUI, might be fun. But on the other hand, I’ve never written an operating system before, so it might be less fun than I am imagining. Just my two cents. 😉

  11. RotoSequence says:

    On a side note, what I wouldn’t give for an edit button. Writing these posts at close to 3 in the morning is not conducive to good grammar.

    Tell me if I’m wrong here, but shouldn’t the various APIs built into Windows be separate from the applications which depend on them? By my (albeit not necessarily informed) reasoning, troubles shouldn’t arise if someone decides to remove an application which happens to be tied to a core function of the operating system.

  12. says:

    I can imagine the difficulty the Windows team faces when it comes to giving the choice of uninstalling a component because some other dependency just assumes it to be to there. For existing/legacy products that are no longer maintained, this can create even more compatibility issues than Vista created, which users who are requesting this aren’t realizing. To that effect, Vista does a decent job of offering control over the correct components (though MS still could’ve allowed uninstalling/turning off language-related components, Movie Maker/DVD Maker, *some* Administrative Tools and Media Center). Also, every component whose disk and memory footprint is relatively small (good example of Windows Mail) and which doesn’t affect performance need not be added to the "Windows features" list. I’d prefer the profile-based-turn-off-things setup approach at OOBE time or whenever a new user profile is created.

    For disk space footprint, Vista has some serious design flaws IMO with the servicing stack (%Windir%WinSxS) and the driver store (%Windir%system32DriverStore). And the Office team should also learn a lesson or two on performance and disk footprint from the Windows team. For example, making Local Installation Source mandatory for Office 2007 was a very bad decision.

  13. Decryphe says:

    Great post in this blog! I just couldn’t resist to write an answer here.

    I think the Profile-Based setup combined with the Windows Features provide a great possibility to expand upon:

    For me this would mean, that once I’ve chosen where I want to setup Windows to I could make a few choices about what of Windows I want to be installed.

    For example:

    – I chose the drive, then press next…

    – …and am presented with the possibility to choose between ‘Install Windows completely with all features (recommended for the everday user)’ or ‘Make an advanced installation of Windows without every feature’.

    – If I chose the second way, I get to a screen asking me to specify what features I want. I suppose the features should be categorized within quite wide ranges like ‘Multimedia’ or ‘Internet’ or ‘System Components’ with subcategories like ‘Windows Mail’ or ‘Media Centre’ or even ‘Superfetch’.

    The hard part here would be the categorizing I think, but the work put into it would pay off quite soon. And one more thing: write decent descriptions of every component listed, so that you don’t sit there and wonder "wtf? what does this do?"

    I myself have tried Windows Vista but have found it not suitable for my use case. And that’s because of the footprint of the OS and with it interconnected the speed and responsiveness. Right now I’m using Windows XP which I’ve edited with nLite to fit my needs (omitting Internet Explorer, Media Player and different other applications I never need nor use)… and I’m perfectly happy with it.

    I haven’t even encountered any incompatibilities with programs from third parties, so I think that making a partly-installed Windows 7 compatible with programs should be less of a hassle than one might think.

    One more thing though: If Windows 7 doesn’t offer me the possibility to select what I need, I’m definitely going to switch over to Linux for good. I hope you will do a great job, just as it seems until now. This post of yours made me hoping for a really good Windows version again. *thumbs up*

    Greetings Decryphe

  14. Hino Musouka says:

    Firstly, many thanks to all MS-people sharing information with us, mere bread-cumbers .It’s quite informative, yet I suppose many of us still feel kind of underfed. However those tiny pictures Jon DeVaan placed just before are so cutely teasing with us;) But let me get to the point.

    In my opinion the structure of Linux comprising of independent packets is not as hard to maintain as you present it. Hardly anybody expects of Windows to be as granular in its ability to install features but I suppose many of us would like to see “packets” Windows Movie Maker or Internet Explorer to be FULLY removed from installation. The idea of “core OS” for me is a set of APIs that everybody holds on to. So uninstall of e.g. Internet Explorer wouldn’t break anything at all. Also many people don’t like to have “code on disk” even if it’s only 50 MiB. The reason for that is security you subsequently underline you think as one of the main areas of writing an operating system. So the ability for the advanced user placed somewhere in Control Panel to INADVERTENTLY REMOVE  e.g. “iexplore.exe” file, accompanied by a clear and informative warning , should not be as hard, or is it?

    Most of the user want OOBE experience so be it. Give them “eye candies” and everything you want but allow the rest of us, be it 10% or less, to have more control over how our own (or to be precise – genuinely licensed) system works. There are numerous functions of Windows that could be safely removed without harm (or it should be as long as you understand modular construction the way I do – that is everybody, Microsoft included, has a known API and sticks to it without dirty tricks under the hood), be it IE, IIS, WMP, WMM, Solitaire (the most important application in my life), or Media Center. Am I mistaken that this kind of attitude would not lead to any breaks in the system if user is sure of what he/she is doing?

    Personally I do use Visual Studio that requires IE and IIS, and I assume I understand you can’t get rid of integrated help system, or maintenance tools even if user has its own preferences for its kind, but still there are numerous groups of program that I, and many of people here I hope, wish to get out of their disk just because it should be possible since you throw an idea of modular construction.

    I’ve never thought I’d write “IE” so many times in “against-context” since I like the browser and I’m happy with the progress in IE8 Beta 2. But still the need to restart whole system after upgrading IE-relating components, in my humble opinions, stands against modular and probably against fair competition too.

    Lastly, I’d like to post a bit off-topic question – does anybody know why Windows has to place in its winsxs folder a hundreds of MiB in size copies of WMV files instructing user during setup of Media Center and so called Public Videos brought as an example? Do I really have to have 2 (once in core files and winsxs copy in x86_microsoft-windows-ehome-disp-calibration_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6000.16386_none_da29c3cc6a8cb9a6)x 40MiB of my space reserved  to be taught how to setup my screen I’ll never use, unable to get rid of it? Do new WMVs have version 6.0.6001.18000?! – I assume that invasion in winsxs folder is unadvisable. DLLs, EXEs, INFs, SYSs, and so on – OK, but WMV file? I don’t remember DLL-hell with WMV files, and I thought that was one of the main reasons  when introducing that ever-growing folder.

    Keep on with the good work!

  15. Hino Musouka says:

    A million aplogies. I wrote "INADVERTENTLY REMOVE" where it should be "ABSOLUTELY REMOVE". I’ll have to get myself some English lessons, I suppose…

  16. rlboyce says:

    Thank you for sharing the information on the engineering of Windows 7 processes.  I would like you to consider my two requests for that Windows 7 will do.  First, set the requirements for the OS in the way of hardware requirements (CPU, Memory, Video & etc)and then tell the hardware vendors that is what they must build.  Second, let or make Windows 7 use all the memory available in the system before the paging begins.

    And finally, please keep on providing your views and explanations even though many of us will counter with differences. I for one know that you are one of the leaders in this design effort and will follow you vision on the make up and functions of this new OS.

  17. wolferey says:

    Decryphe has an excellent suggestion there. I too believe that categorizing and sorting out all features would benefit both you (the windows 7 team) and us.

    As for the dependencies, you could just show a continue/cancel dialog box where it says:

    The following services depends on this feature:

    – service 1 (read more)

    – service 2 (read more)

    If you disable this, then those features might/will not work.

    [] check to diable this message

    Clicking read more would show information about the service and perhaps even what programs use this service. Checking to disable the message would result in the dialog box not showing up next time you disable something.

    Then all the core services that NEEDS to run is grayed out, so people can still know what the service is and does, but they can’t disable them.. stuff like graphics drivers, keyboard and mouse etc.

    This way, users with little to no technical experience can install windows with all features you (the devs) choose to include, while us techies can customize our system to our needs like not including windows media player, IE, tablet drivers, network drivers if the computer doesn’t have network cards in it, "eye candy" etc. or something as simple as solitare :p.

    And ofc, the possibility to enable a feature again with 3 options. At install, have 3 checkboxes for the advanced install:

    – Leave features on disk

    For people like me who don’t mind a feature being on disk, I have enough diskspace, I just want a light-running computer in terms of CPU-usage and RAM-usage (since I multi-task alot with heavy programs)

    – Able to install features from CD/DVD

    Kinda explains itself :p

    – Download features from Microsoft Online Feature Database

    You create a database online where people can search and find old and new features, even features that might not be on the original disk but created later for people to enjoy ;o)

    You seem kinda stuck in a loop where you think most people don’t know what services does and that people don’t dive into it.. I got 67 people in my class, and I know atleast 60 of them has been diving in and disabled any useless feature (that they think is useless) they could find. The thing is: Give us options, not ultimates 😉

  18. justausr says:

    A few comments:

    – I’d like to have Microsoft take a look at doing some of the features completely by looking at what others have done.  A good example of something done 90% is the way you recognize the network location and then set sharing and other features.  I say this is 90% done because one of the key things a mobile user might change when changing locations (home versus office) is the default printer.  Just about every XP add-on that dealt with changing locations included the ability to automatically set this based on location.  And, sometimes we need a program launched when we change locations.  You did 90%, but it is the last little bit that ruins the experience and infuriates users who’ve seen the capability for YEARS and can’t understand how you could have missed the need for the feature.

    I suspect it was internal politics, split of responsibilities across teams or some silly architectural purity argument.  Get rid of this internal pettiness and focus and get focused on the user, user needs and user experience and LOOK at what others have done.

    – The crapware that PC makers load up is the number one thing that really ruins the OOTB experience.  We all spend hours getting rid of this CRAP.  It takes space, bothers us with annoying prompts and icons and the like.  A growing number of folks actually PAY $30 to have someone remove this crap. Kind of tells you something.

    I now that this isn’t something MS can control, particularly after the antitrust settlement, but try hard to find a way to get the PC makers to stop with the crapware.

    – Your user base is SO large that whenever you make a decision on how something "ought" to operate, it will be wrong for 50% of the people.  Take IE8.  When I type and address into the address bar and hit enter, should it open a new tab or use the existing one?  A user should have a choice but that choice isn’t there.  This relates to my first comment.  One of the most popular add-ons for Firefox is TabMix Plus which allows the user to customize this.  If this is so popular the reason is it is an area where users want choice.  You could say "Well, IE7Pro gives you that choice".  True, but over time lots of things that were external programs and add-ons (like the browser!) have moved to the base system because they belonged there.

    – Work with the internal groups at Microsoft to get them educated in advance and get them to use the features of the OS.  A great example of the failure to do this is that Vista has tags but Outlook doesn’t use them and doesn’t include them.  Hence, which  Desktop Search could find things based on tag, a key application where tagging would be very useful doesn’t use the OS feature.  Sigh.  You own applications would be the showcases for the new features of the OS.  What ever happened to "EATING YOUR OWN DOG FOOD"?

  19. mikefarinha1 says:

    I’d be curious to hear what you would have to say about a profile based bootup, as opposed to profile based install. Personally I don’t see the stigma of having a large default Windows install lasting too much longer with 500GB HDDs currently going for under $100. Plus I like the ability to enable/disable features without having to dig out the WinCD.

    However, I’ve heard some people ask about having a Boot Profile, like Safe Mode, but to do specific tasks (eg play games). I don’t really subscribe to their line of thinking, but the argument is that one would be able to get better performance out of an application if the system was able to boot using limited Windows services.

  20. domenico says:


    Ubuntu is currently installed by 1 or 2% of User

    you know the reason why 99% of this 1 or 2% use Ubuntu (99% in dual boot with XP or Vista)?

    the reason is called Compiz and cubedesktop!!!


    EYE CANDY!!!!

    you have see start up of Ubuntu??

    and shoutdown??

    an enormous waste of time

    not to mention simple to install any software

    Apt get apt get apt get

  21. jipper says:

    What comes to mind regarding features is that what’s importand is probably not to be able to remove every single piece of functionality, but to be able to remove the parts that might bother the user.

    I guess features "getting in the way" could mean not only performance wise but also unnssescary information on the screen that might confuse a non-experienced user or services running that might pose an unessescary security risk.

  22. BasP says:

    Here’s the thing: I don’t care that Windows Mail and Windows Photogallery are installed on my drive and cannot possibly be removed (although I doubt any Windows components or third party applications use them or assume that they are there). I installed Live Mail and Live Photo Gallery, which are supposed to be replacements for these applications. So why am I forced to still see the shortcuts in the start menu when I search for "mail" or "photo"? Can’t you at least sort of -hide- these features when they’re not being used?

  23. hitman721 says:


    Once again, thanks for this blog. I’m telling a lot of these so called "pseudo" tech journalists and bloggers to get on here. I think instead of whining about Vista, XP, or Microsoft in general, state their case here. Let them make Seven better or just quit complaining. I’ve been very satisifed by the articles and commentary that I’m pushing it to anyone.

    On the feedback here: Its real simple, Windows really needs to be more malleable to its users. One of the things I’ve not seen on here is dealing with notebook batteries. While XP and Vista has made some improvements in power management, one of the biggest gripes with Vista was the battery drain. I have to admit that batterly life is a weakness in Vista. I’m not sure if its just drivers, technology limits, or other things. Also, in terms of being able to completely discharge and fully recharge in XP or Vista is pretty weak. This is something where both OEM’s and Microsoft need to work together. If there was some sort of comprehensive approach and solution that would be much appreciated.

    I would also have to agree with many on here that the crapware added by OEM’s really do break the OS presentation to users. I know some guys like Sony have started a program that lets you just get a clean OS install. I would hope you’d work with OEM’s to have every one of them offer a "Clean Slate" version of Seven. Now if they want to put the crap and trial ware versions on a DVD, I and many would be open to that. If they wanted to plug in the trial/crap disk in the registration process to the OEM, that would be acceptable too. However, lets start with the pristine version of Windows.

    Another suggestion would be if you couldn’t give all the options within Windows, how about creation of a master tweaking program? That way you can really hammer Windows for the more technical user? I remember in the past Microsoft used to do this, I think it should make a return. I know you guys have got your work cut out, but it would be helpful. Just a random thought.

    As I’ve said many times, all the Windows apps need to be removeable via the Control Panel. That includes I.E., W.M.P., etc.

    I’d also like to see an updated Windows Security Center that checks all software for updates. That way you can constantly have the most current software. I know its done with the antivirus but many of the most vulnerable apps are Quicktime, Java, iTunes, etc. Most people don’t bother to download the latest version for three reasons. Ignorance about software vulnerabilites, lazyness, or lack of experience. It would be nice if Windows took the added step of creating a security software update menu to the Security Center.

    On an added sidenote to the Security Center, it would be nice if companies did a better job of creating update packages. Taking Sun’s Java for example. They leave previous versions on the machine and then load the next version on. It still leaves you vulnerable unless you delete the previous version. Perhaps you guys could work with Sun and other software makers about this. It doesn’t help to leave previous versions on your machine that still could be compromised. Either patch up the hole or completely delete and reinstall a new version. Something that was raised also from Supersite for Windows several months back.

    Once again, thanks for this blog and listen to the customers need. Its just one of the many reasons I’ve been a long time Microsoft customer. I hope something I have or will blog about impacts Windows Seven. Thanks Steven and thank your whole crew for me.

  24. Steve, I don’t know you guys keep sane reading all these comments.  Personally, I have to get up and clear my head after reading the Nth post about "removing IE" or something else just as ill-informed.  

    I really appreciated you saying this:  "An important point is that a vast majority of things you remove this way consume little or no resources if you are not using them.  So while you can reduce the surface area of the PC you probably don’t make it perform better.  As one example, Windows Mail doesn’t slow you down at all if you don’t have any mail (or news) accounts configured. "  BRAVO!!  YES!!  I really think that people believe that their hard disk gets heavier the more it is filled up.  They believe that it actually spins slower if there is more data on there, even if that data never gets read!!

    So Steven and the rest of the Windows 7 team, keep up the good work on this blog.  The more we learn about the decisions behind the design of Windows, the better.  There is so much dis-information out there.

  25. gkeramidas says:

    doesn’t bother me that some apps i never used are installed, such as Photo Gallery or Movie Maker. what bothers me is everything vista tries to do for me when IT thinks it should.

    what i want to see is an option to let me decide if i want all of these things to run when vista wants, or run when i want them to.

    defrag, offline files, indexing, windows mail compact folders, for example. i turn all of this stuff off. like i’ve mentioned before, it’s MY pc and i’ll decide when i want to run these things.

    you left powers users behind and geared everything to novices. that’s why every version of vista is "vista home edition".

    i’ll bet most users in the ceip are novices because all of the power users clicked "no" so you got some incorrect metrics to design the interface.

    Just my opinion.

  26. AndiG says:

    Interesting blog, although it seems like I’m not getting rhe point what the intention of this blog really is.

    Is it possible that the intention of this blog – to discuss the upcoming features of windows 7 – stays in contradiction to microsofts intention not to reveal any of the upcoming features of windows 7 ? (Just to avoid the vista disaster where many features have been announced just to be withdrawn)

    Satisfying the needs of all different kinds of customers is really a hard job, I have to agree. This problem has many different sides and is really complex, maybe too complex.

    These kind of problems always show up, when you design large systems. More and more dependencies arise while the system evolves. I think the key lies within modularization and the introduction of layers.

    If the system is designed this way, it should be no problem to install it without the gui module or without the printing module (both depending on the graphics layer) for example. This implies, that you will make your system configurable without gui (Otherwise there would be dependencies to the gui module).

    The basic installation could result in a minmal system where nothing has to be removed.

    Dependencies between installed Applications do not need to exist. Consider the following, the Visual Studio needs the IE to be installed (for its help system or other tasks). It is also possible that the core os provides a html(web) library with a clear defined interface and both, Visual Studio and the IE depend on this library (The direct dependency from VS to IE has gone).

    If anyone wants no IE installed, this will never happen (of course the html os libraries will be there) VE will work as well or even better than with IE installed. And if there are versioning problems, VE can bring its own html library with it.

    I know this can be a tough job, but it is possible to reduce the complexity and dependencies with the technologies of modern software architecture.

  27. stalepie says:

    Any possibility of an online installation? The user would need an installer program, probably on CD, and it would connect to the internet and you’d enter your credit card #.

  28. AndiG brings up a good point: I think most of the readers here are getting the wrong idea about what this blog is about.

    This blog, like the title says, is about ENGINEERING windows.  That means they are going to talk about the decisions that are made in constructing Windows.  To me, means we are going to talk about the "why" behind the features.   It’s not talking about the features themselves, but the decisions that went behind them.  This is what the "shared context" is that Steve talks about in this entry.  

    So I feel this blog is not just to talk about the upcoming features of Windows 7, but to give us, the users, some insight as to the decision process that resulted in these features.  As a user, that helps me use those features better.  As I said before, there is an incredible lack of understanding about the purpose of a lot of the features of Windows and why things are the way they are.  So I gladly welcome a chance to hear about the other side of the story.

    Of course, I could be misinterpreting the purpose of this blog too!  🙂

  29. says:

    Could you explain to me why the Vista Memory footprint is 3 times as large as XP?  Even in XP, the memory footprint was getting excessive, but in Vista, the memory usage is nearing insane levels!  Is there going to be any attempt to reverse this trend in Windows 7?

  30. meraxis says:

    "The OOBE is really the place that customers first experience Windows on a new PC."

    Yes, it would make sense that you would want to have people get on with whatever they want to do, rather than annoy them by asking them to tweak the OS.

    But how about if the people who buy the "Retail Packaged Installer" got a choice about whether they wanted to do any tweaking before install, or do a standard install (or even choose from profiles your provide).

    You might even take this further, by publishing a tool that does what nLite and vLite do now, allowing customers to make their custom install disks with only the features and services they want. These tools are also great for having custom, patch-updated, ready to install disks anyway, and who better to provide such a tool, than the people who developed the OS themselves.

    I think it would be reasonable to expect that people booting the DVD shouldn’t be too put off by that if they just want a standard install, and the people inclined to tweak would get what they wanted.

    It’s a good compromise, i think. You get the Microsoft standard OOBE for everyone else, while anyone who chooses to can tweak to their heart’s content.

    I like to tinker, and I would love it if tools are provided by the people who know Seven best…the Seven devs themselves. Im sure other people feel the same. 🙂


    ps. keep up the good work, love this blog. 🙂

  31. magicalclick says:

    OOBE is also the cause of law suits THAT you guys consistently lost. I am fully aware a big company like your always busy with law suits. But the bundling of software (IE, WMP, even Calculator) will lead you to law suits that you guarantee to lose.

    I am fully aware of ongoing Windows Live Development. But by the time you bundle Windows Live for OOBE reason, you will lose the case again.

    So here is my suggestion.

    Introduce Windows Lite, an OS without IE, WMP, and other applications. When people sue you, you can bring it up and say everyone has the choice to buy Windows Lite.

    When buying other version of Windows Edition that include IE and WMP, the customer specifically asked for it, thus, you have a protection from law suits.

    Note that the attack surface is the same, only there are less holes for successful attack.

  32. joemoe says:


    What’s wrong with eyecandy? Doesn’t Windows Vista add eyecandy?

    Ubuntu boots and performs petty good, arguably better then Windows. I got it on a 5 year old PC that Vista won’t even install on, so I won’t argue with you about this.

    I think Ubuntu is a great operating system. I use Windows & Linux, and they both have strengths and weaknesses. You need to get over you biases because it just makes you look like a zealot.

  33. domenico says:


    I use Vista Ultimate in 3 PC  

    1) Enthusiast

    2) Notebook

    3) OLD PC build in 2003 with:

    Asus p4p 800

    Intel P IV 2,4 ghz

    Nvidia 7600 GS (update 2nd time)

    1,5 gb ddr 400

    VISTA Ultimate x86 work superb with this hardware+ hotifix .

    Ubuntu crash crash and crash

    and is SLOW.

    this is my experience.

  34. ttoastt says:

    I may be completely off base here, but if there’s a fresh installation of Windows without IE (which is the only browser that would be included with Windows), how exactly is it that people would get online to download the alternatives?  

    If WMP and other Microsoft applications weren’t bundled with Windows by default, it seems like OEMs would have even more of an excuse to bundle extra trial applications with their PCs.  

  35. says:

    Your average PC user (me included) will buy your product based on what they can see.  The controls that are visible to them.  It looks terrific when switched on.  What you want to do and how you get there is easy to follow.  You can customize the look of it easily.  There are lots of new things (programs) to play with – that are useful.  (I wouldn’t push ‘touch’ as the main selling point if I where you.)

    The other thing is your OEM partners will always sell with an all-in-one motherboard as this is the cheapest way to get the cost down.  So, making sure the on board graphics can cope with Win 7 would be important.

    I know that everyone else is an expert here – plus they install top-of-the-range graphics cards, and strip the guts out of Windows, but I only represent average Joe PC user.

    Even if I do know ‘shift’ right click opens an additional menu in Explorer. What % of Windows users know that?

  36. ciprian says:

    Windows Vista for Beginners has ran a survey exactly about this topic and just published an article called "How to make Windows 7 the best Microsoft OS ever":

  37. LCARS says:

    I would like to say a thanks to Steven and the rest of the Windows team for providing us with the opportunity to have these discussions.

    I have been reading the comments for this post and have picked my favorites that I would like to hear more about:

    1. In this post, you touched on the concept of "Profile Based Setup". I would also like to hear your thoughts on creating a "Profile Based Bootup" similar to the Safe Mode.

    2. I would like to echo what many are saying about Crapware ruining the OOBE as well as the general runtime experiences that users have with Windows. You could fine tune Windows and have it streamlined and fast.. but once the OEM’s get their hands on it and install trialware and poorly written bloat, any hope of a good user experience disappears. Please make investments in finding ways to solve the "Crapware" problem as it hurts the public perception of Windows and PCs in general.

    3. I have always thought that it would be neat if Microsoft created a set of universal software update APIs that developers could use to provide software updating functionality for their apps. I would love to see those APIs integrated into Windows Update so that it could serve as an all in one hub for any/all updates for the computer. This would improve the user experience of updating their computer because they wouldn’t have to worry about a dozen different unique update systems running on their computer.

    4. Lastly, I believe that there are a lot of misconceptions about Windows Vista and memory. I think it would be a good idea to do a post on how Windows Vista handles memory and how you will be applying any lessons learned on this subject to Windows 7.

  38. PimpUigi says:


    So this means that the XP start menu will be making a comeback right?????

    It was the perfect start menu.

    I also hope the picture viewer being able to play animated gif’s like Windows Picture and Fax Viewer in XP will also make a return.

    Windows 7 FTW

  39. gibsonbaud says:

    Im not sure if this has been answered yet, I couldn’t find it anywhere, so hopefully not..

    But is one of the main ideas behind Windows 7 going to be Image installation… Meaning there is one image that is put on all machines that is setup with basic hardware drivers, and then from there the computer changes settings based on the detected hardware?

    I belive this is close to how vista was setup, but I havn’t heard much about the method in 7.

  40. guillep2k says:

    Personally, I think removing things with ‘little or no impact at all in performance’ is about removing desktop *noise*; letting the user feel he or she has control.

    In addition, the less icons I need to sort out, the more increases my productivity. The "customized menus" feature is supposed to take care of this, by hiding the least used programs or menus. However, I think it in fact adds more noise.

    Many times, removing a feature could be done by simply removing the entry in the start menu and file associations, although the required libraries could still be there for a third party application to take profit of.

  41. Kosher says:

    Why is it that I always feel the sense of insecurity when I use windows?  I have this feeling that something is watching me, a virus is lurking, or I am on the brink of losing my work and confidential information to a wittingly unknown security issue.

    Why is it that when a person sends me an email with the extension ".exe" or an artist sends me their work from flash that’s an ".exe" file, that I am somehow going to contract a virus that will send my information to some unknown source in China or Russia?

    Will we ever get the sense that we’re safe?  Is there some way to constantly monitor the traffic that’s coming to our machines or leaving our system?  Is it possible that with the tools today, someone knows a way to mask their presence so even if we were looking for such attack, it would go unnoticed?

    This is the world we live in today.  It’s not good enough to ask me if "I am sure I want to run something".  It’s not good enough to know that "windows defender" is watching every move of the file system.  I have seen viruses get by windows defender without a trace.  It’s time to rethink the security strategy and the way applications or windows allow code to execute.

    Please let us know if there’s any way to recover from these security concerns.

  42. Knipoog says:

    Hai Steven,

    I think you have a technical background 🙂

    You wrote "…An important point is that a vast majority of things you remove this way consume little or no resources if you are not using them.  So while you can reduce the surface area of the PC you probably don’t make it perform better.  As one example, Windows Mail doesn’t slow you down at all if you don’t have any mail (or news) accounts configured….


    More implicid then explicid you are saying to us "Dont bother about the things we install with W7, if you are not using it it doesn’t slow down the PC"

    That is ecxactly the WRONG thought, more often it is the FEELING that I dont want to have windows mail on my PC, than that I actually think its slowing the PC or whatever.

    Feelings that customers have are not always rational, but they are always important 😀

    In the issue "…that is many developers rely on various parts of the Windows platform and just “assume” those parts are there…."

    you have an architectural chalenge I think.

    Maybe a way of working like an Enterprise service bus is something to consider?

    Don’t put to much effort in a Profile-based setup, it wil not work.

    If you give customers the three options

    – Clean (only things that are necesary, notbing else)

    – Custom

    – Everting (speaks for itself)

    It will do.

    The first might for you be the most important, the users that will want that and don’t get it are the ones to complain the most :p



  43. says:

    I am a developer so my view is not of a general user.

    I agree you can’t profile people so successfully, but i think you can "profile" applications easier (similar to Default Programs).

    I use my home PC for a lot of different stuff and I think it would be better to be able to "switch" my current "profile" or "OS state" at runtime than at setup. It’s something like Power plans for batteries, yet for applications. I guess having applications profiled can help choose what tweaks to be done to running processes.

    I guess it may not turn out be so straight forward for general users, or even user friendly.

  44. jason13524 says:

    I would like to see a discussion on the subject of legacy as in what Microsoft are doing to remove as much as possible etc

  45. scalo says:

    In Vista, when you use the “Turn Windows Features on and off” to disable the TabletPC functionality, it results the TabletInputService service to be remained set as Automatic startup. Why is it not disabled?

    Will you fix this bug in the next Vista’s SP2?

  46. d_e says:

    That was a great post. I hope you don’t invest time in those features – because (just as you wrote) aren’t that important.

    But you should visit regularly.

  47. marcinw says:


    I think, that you should think about something like that:

    1. main core (Windows directory) will have kernel, some drivers, setup and win32 subsystem

    2. all other things (ms-dos subsystem, control panel, explorer, IE, wordpad, performance logs and alerts, etc. etc.) will be put in Program Files and will be optional – you will have 3 options for each (active, inactive, uninstalled). Inactive will mean – no ability of using it, no components loaded on startup. Uninstalled – removed from HDD, available on installaction CD only.

    It will be very important to have ability of separating applications from each other (separate Registry, etc. etc.) and one central place for setting, what is run (processes, services, etc.) during startup in new system. It would be good to have one system, which will allow for check for upgrades/fixes for each component.

    3. it will be possible to make file with info, what and how is installed and use during next system installation.

  48. Andre says:

    "It will be very important to have ability of separating applications from each other (separate Registry, etc. etc.) "

    And what about apps using other apps settings, like Google Chrome importing Firefox settings? Or apps looking in the registry to figure out if an other app is installed?

  49. steven_sinofsky says:

    One thing to consider in posting suggested features is to start with the problem you want to solve.  I think that helps in the discussion quite a bit.  Often times there are current or potential solutions that might be on a different trajectory than the proposed solution.


  50. Hi Steven,

    Interesting post (although a lot to take in… shorter posts might help a lot in future!)

    Something I would like to see is a desktop equivalent of server core – you make the point that desktop OSs don’t lend themselves to roles and features in the way that Windows Server 2008 does, but Office has had the concept of "install on first use" for a while now.  If I knew that my dafeult WIndows installation was minimal (hence smaller attack surface) but then if I wanted to use some new functionality it was cached locally (patched by Windows update) and could be enabled on the fly, then that would be A Good Thing.


  51. marcinw says:

    >> "It will be very important to have ability

    >> of separating applications from each

    >> other (separate Registry, etc. etc.) "

    > And what about apps using other apps settings,

    > like Google Chrome importing Firefox settings?

    > Or apps looking in the registry to figure out

    > if an other app is installed?

    the best would be to have well defined interfaces for making such things (and nothing more). currently (to have compatibility) Microsoft could think about such solution: when there is run new application, system creates new physical Registry file for it – all new keys put there by this application are put in this file. We will have not big performance improvement with current applications (we will have still one big logical Registry), but uninstalling application will be much easier… When application X will try to change keys from application Y, system will ask user for agreement.

    something like that is possible (see Sandboxie).

  52. Andre says:

    I would like to know which technologies are used to implement new Windows features. How much is added as C APIs, how many new COM interfaces (only shell or also other parts of the OS?), will we see managed code in Windows?

    Can we expect a native UI framework on top of milcore? Maybe one that can be shipped like gdiplus with our apps so that it will also run on Vista? (Just a DLL please, no 30 MB installer)

    So far we only looked at Win7 from a user perspective, but what can developers expect from it? Can we expect VC10 to ship in sync with Win7 so that we have access to new features?

    There was a lot of hype about "Vista apps" in the past, now 2 years later a Yahoo! Messenger Beta is all that we got.

  53. marcinw says:


    > One thing to consider in posting suggested

    > features is to start with the problem you

    > want to solve.  I think that helps in

    > the discussion quite a bit.  Often times

    > there are current or potential solutions

    > that might be on a different trajectory

    > than the proposed solution.

    1. I don’t want to see too much DRM in my system. It doesn’t work, will never work as expected and makes problems only. The same I don’t want to have things hidden by system in my filesystem (alternative streams)…

    2. I want to have ability of running some applications, but I don’t want to see worse performance after longer time after installation and with more applications installed.

    3. if system will separate more applications, I will need probably less "protection" applications, which cost and need my resources.

    4. I will want to remove all not required by me components. less components = less security issues.

    5. I don’t want to hunt for applications, which are run on the startup.

    6. I want to send some informations from my computer, when and how I want. It means – I want to use my favourite browser for Windows update, I want to control network routing/access for all programs.

  54. marcinw says:


    > One thing to consider in posting suggested

    > features is to start with the problem you

    > want to solve.  I think that helps in

    > the discussion quite a bit.  Often times

    > there are current or potential solutions

    > that might be on a different trajectory

    > than the proposed solution.

    1. I don’t want to see too much DRM in my system. It doesn’t work, will never work as expected and makes problems only. The same I don’t want to have things hidden by system in my filesystem (alternative streams)…

    2. I want to have ability of running some applications, but I don’t want to see worse performance after longer time after installation and with more applications installed.

    3. if system will separate more applications, I will need probably less "protection" applications, which cost and need my resources.

    4. I will want to remove all not required by me components. less components = less security issues.

    5. I don’t want to hunt for applications, which are run on the startup.

    6. I want to send some informations from my computer, when and how I want. It means – I want to use my favourite browser for Windows update, I want to control network routing/access for all programs.

    In other words: I want to control my computer, not my computer will control me.

  55. marcinw says:

    7. when I will uninstall something, I don’t want to see its’ part in my system.

  56. marcinw says:

    additional note for point 5: When I install some driver, I don’t want to see, that something is run on the notification area or there are some strange processes run (in Task Manager). When I will disable device, everything related to it should be disabled too (for example services).

    8. I don’t want to see many processes with the same name run in default installation – for example many svchost. It doesn’t say anything.

    9. when I will buy PC with WIndows, I want to have control over creating partitions, disk and directories, where system will be put, etc. etc. No more deciding for me.

  57. marcinw says:

    10. it would be good to have one central place for updating installed apps (for ability of deciding, which one and when will be updated and what updates will be installed)

  58. Andre says:

    @marcinw: I agree. Actually Chrome shouldn’t even be able to read Firefox stored passwords. Chrome could also be malware.

    As a developer I also don’t use the registry anymore, I use XML files to store my settings. That also makes the app portable on USB drives etc.

    For me is the registry and all the DLLs in system32 and where not else a showstopper when it comes to upgrading Windows/moving to a new PC.  The start menu doesn’t even fit on the screen at 1280×1024 anymore and there is no unnecessary app. And I can’t justify several days setting up a new PC just to get everything up and running again. I have a unused new dual-core at work and a new quad processor (4 Opterons) at home because I find no motivation to set them up. I also noticed that my colleagues also keep their old PCs and use a switch. Some even have 3 under their desks. No one really moves to the new one. Microsoft really needs to fix this situation, otherwise they will find themself in a "good enough" situation where no one wants a new PC anymore.

    But Microsoft isn’t the only one with such problems, just saw an ad from Gilette where they want to get people to use the Gilette Fusion rather than the Mach3. The point is that people are happy with their Mach3 and don’t want to spend more for the Fusion. Why should they, the Mach3 is "good enough". Even today no one really buys Vista, they get it with their new PC. I’ve purposely choosen Linux for my Eee, I’m not going to pay the Windows tax because there is no compelling reason.

    Actually I think with all the unused processing power today I’ll degrade Windows to a VM and use Linux as the host. Currently I use XP as the host OS and run Linux, Win2000 and Vista in a VM to compile/test my apps, but I really don’t see a compelling reason anymore why Windows needs to be the host. That would solve the problem with moving to new hardware.

    I’d say virtualization will change the IT landscape.

  59. marcinw says:


    my PC is tool for me and is used for various tasks. I was replacing it, when I had seen profits only. Currently I’m programming and testing apps. I’m using various Linuxes, Microsoft tools and many other solutions.

    I agree, that Microsoft has got big challenge now. But the truth is, that having win32 compatibility is very important here (and that’s why we will have probably still Registry).

    I will definitely not buy computer(s) for new OS/new OS version in situation, when it removes more control from me (DRM !!!!), needs more resources and doesn’t make any revolution in security/stability features (like Vista). New system should be not too visible and should not annoy me with many questions (like XP). if Windows 7 will be not so good (like products from other manufacturers), there is big possibility, that I will use it much less or will not use it at all.

  60. Mr. Dee says:

    It would be nice if you could do a post on why Windows is so big. I never really understood it fully, although my basic knowledge is that Vista is a compressed image, that is expanded when copied to your hard disk and expands. But what in Vista itself makes it use up so much disk space 10 to 11 GBs. I know that disk space in this day and age of large 500 GB to 1 TB disk is not an issue for some, but it still is a big interest of mine, to know why Windows went from 1.5 GB (XP) to its current size. Is it the drivers, applications, services?

    I also would like to know how are you balancing this in Windows 7, especially with core consumer features in the OS becoming Windows Live services like Photo Gallery, Live Mail, MovieMaker. How will you make the transition from Vista which has out of the box unique consumer features now free services for XP, Vista and 7. What will be key differentiators?

  61. Tihiy says:

    Ton of words and no real response!

    Sorry, but if you keep insisting on that computers must be loaded with crap and you can’t remove Windows parts "because it’s too hard" you won’t achieve anything. Ever.

  62. marcinw says:

    @Tihiy and @Andre,

    I agree. Market is full of new solutions. When something "can’t be done" by company X, people will use products from other company…

    More advanced people will not buy new OS only because is new or contains new wizards (and additionally it has got redesigned interface and DRM). New users can. Microsoft should decide, who should adress Windows 7 for…

  63. Fredledingue says:

    Wow, you guys wrote a lot lately and we appreciate that.

    I can see that you are careful of being "understood" as a "developer team" and I think you did it right.

    Ok, now, straight to the points:

    Profile-based Setup

    IMO, you, at Microsoft, are  thinking way too complicatedly -and it’s visible in your products-. No, I don’t think things are as complex as you put it. Because we talk "Profile" you already think about huge differences. Different profiles doesn’t mean that some crucial things should not be installed. It only means that the initial set-up components shouldn’t blatantly hinder the main role of the PC.

    For exapmle, if the profile "Gamer" is selected, some services which you know in advance will alter gaming experience, won’t be installed or activated.

    As a counter example, I’m a guy who uses his computer for just about anything except Games. In my case what is specificaly installed for gamers won’t be installed.

    If I change suddenly into a Game fan, I’ll just have to insert the DVD (which brings us to the question of OEM’s rescue discs vs real ones but I hope we will discuss this later).

    The changes across profiles are more things on the surface, than engineer level. For exapmle loging in straight as a predefined user, instead of having everytime the log-on screen (which is passably boring for lone and less lonely home PC users), is not, I think, a core-level change.

    Oobe and not Oops

    It’s also important that the user doesn’t feel that choosing the right profile is that important (as I said, it shouldn’t make so much differnces in functionality and never irreversably) and that there is the always reassuring "Custom" word in the drop-down list.

    Secondly, I would like to stress, one more time, on the easiness of changing options afterward. Of a one, unified and undivisible control console where users could make sure to find all the settings they need. ALL the settings in one place. Improving this will de-facto reduce the risk of wrong profiling.

    It will also help less advanced users of all the possibilities of configuring windows. If we don’t know them, it’s too often because we never opened the interface where they were. If they are all in only one interface, we have more chance to find them and say "Ah! I’m gonna definetly turn this off!".

    I don’t think it will go into the way of the OOBE to have a quick (thought how quick it is could also be a choice from the user) wizard to set his preferences (or set no preference). It will make him or her reaching the web one minute later, but at least the first web use won’t be searching for "How to Tweak Vista 2.0" (aka The "worse case scenario Windows 7" -LOL-).

  64. M.Hassaan says:

    First of all, many thnx to you guys at MS for this care to make us really understand what’s going on, and what are we doing on this blog…

    Second of all, I have to agree with many people (if not all) who supports a "Profile based setup", it would be but what i want to add is not all users want a menu to choose from, some  just want to insert the DVD, leave for a few minutes, when they are back they want their PC to be ready to use.

    So what I’m saying here is maybe you need to put 2 options, a simple "Normal Installation", with all the features installed, and an "Advanced", just like any program you install.

    In that advanced installation you might put those "Profiles" and by this way I think you will satisfy everyone!

    P.S.: We know its not quit easy to build an OS, But we expect it to be nothing less than REVELOTIONARY 😉

  65. SLR2008 says:

    Hi, Thank you for posting such a wonderful blog, it really helps me understand the process and everything that must come together in order to build a great operating system.  I’m posting suggestions of what I’d like to see in Windows 7:

    –  Resolution Independence, Vista is an improvement over XP but it’s not perfect. Not everthing in Vista Scales perfectly. Gadgets should have an option to be resizeable (similar to Yahoo Widgets) or a better option would be to automatically scale to your display. The operating system should automatically scale to the resolution of your monitor. the operating system on a 19" lcd should be the same size as on a 24" lcd

    – WinFS. I’ve got many photos and wallpaper on my computer. I’ve got them all organized into folders. Windows Photo gallery becomes sluggish in the beginning. Windows 7 should be able to handle thousands of photos smoothly similar to what Phodeo was supposed to be.

    – UI. I would love Windows 7 to have a beautiful user interface that’s completely scalable. Windows Vista was a good start, Windows 7 needs to improve on that.

    – Installation, when you buy a new computer it should come with all Windows 7 versions already on it. So if you wanted to upgrade to a different version, you can do so easily without having to go to a store to buy a disk.

    – Gadgets need to be greatly improved. The gadets in Windows Vista are basically for looks. The gadgets in Windows 7 need to interact with you and your everyday tasks. They should popup on your desktop and give you information that you need to know. One example would be a calendar that displays reminders and a weather gadget displaying a weather alert. Gadgets need to be resizeable (see my post on resolution independence)

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I hope that my ideas have been beneficial to you.  I know that Windows 7 will be an awesome operating system.

  66. TopTwoPercent says:

    good blog…i am glad i found it…i am highly hopeful that windows 7 will knock all of our geek socks off…

    why my/our opinion counts:

    1. anyone that found this site is not your normal user..we are the top 2% that really know how to use our computer..—just talk to your church friends about your latest trek into windows component services(deer in headlights is usually the look i get)

    2.  sorry microsoft, but you probably have not received the anonymous feedback from our systems…the things that urk us is anything that interferes with our resources at any given moment (especially network bandwidth) …so we turn off automatic updates along with phoning home to the mother ship …. the result…you have no idea what the top 2% think is a fine tuned running system (but atleast you get feedback from the poorly performing ones)…so thanks for this blog..letting us tell you directly…

    3. i built my own computer (and overclocked it) all to avoid THE FAMOUS CRAPWARE from major computer retailers….heck before i built mine…i called one major manufacture and they actually said i could not get a clean vista install disk… the CRAPWARE is required/desired for increased computer experience….(yea..water is cheap but you dont put that in your gas tank either)..

    room for improvement

    1.  OOBE — after the final click of my computer actually took less time to install xp pro (and the motherboard cd, the graphics card cd, the printer cd, and finally zonealarm pro) than it did to open the box and register vista and then UNLOAD ALL THE CRAPWARE from a system my father in law just bought…

    he THOUGHT ALL THE CRAPWARE WAS FROM MICROSOFT…he was confused why his new $1700 laptop would boot 3 times slower than his 11 year old computer running windows 95

    why my soapbox story relates to designing windows 7..

    design windows 7 in such a way that if the OEM thinks its important to have google desktop search but we dont want it or any of the other skype/vonage/movie service/aol service/ etc that we can get online to microsoft and create a recovery disk that we can keep that uninstalls all this unwanted stuff (including cleaning the registry) from the oem OS install disk…

    either that or just tell them (OEM’s) to QUIT IT!!!..i personally think this will solve a lot of problems..and yes given the chance we might actually be willing to pay the OEM an extra $40 on a system build if it came the way you designed it…clean and fast


  67. TimOR says:

    "And this is something we have made significant improvements in for Desktop Search 4.0 (released as a download)"

    Hi Steven –

    No amount of under-the-hood optimizing and engineering will help if the finished product looks unfinished.

    Search 4 is a prime example of a problem that plagues Microsoft’s visual integration QA. Just install and use WS 4 in XP using XP’s built-in classic style with color scheme set to something other than Standard (Plum, for example) and you’ll see how out of place it looks in XP, even though it works great. Search 4 is specified as designed for XP, but looking at it in XP one is left with the impression that it may be less than desirable to have it running in XP because it’s unsatisfactorily bolted to the UI.

    To see what I mean have a look at

    Sites like and

    exist because of sloppy visual consistency in XP and Vista. It’s a real shame that these are not official MS sites, because they are 110% pro Windows.

    I encourage the Windows 7 Team to ensure that your engineering work is not undermined by the weak visual UI consistency that has characterized Windows since Windows 2000.



  68. TopTwoPercent says:

    modular windows….

    have you seen the PortableApps that work extremely well on thumbdrives…. reminds me of the days of dos…put the exe there and it works ..remove it and it is gone completely…

    now this is not a plug for them ..but if they have figured it out….they do it for a pittance in monetary reward…what could microsoft do with all of its resources…

    in my naive oppinion if they can have email/thunderbird – browswer/firefox – office suite/openoffice etc all from a thumbdrive… why cant windows itself have the same thing…

    the benefits…sandbox treatments of all files on the computer…i should be able to drop IE 8 beta 2 into the folder marked browser (or you create a script to do it)…it should replace the exe and keep the favorites folder and user settings folder….just that simple… and then do that for everything the user uses….obviously the core is hidden…

    but then again i am not a developer so if this an ignorant suggestion…my apologies

  69. TimOR says:

    Oh, and am I the only one who thinks the Vista UI looks cluttered, messy and confusing compared to XP? A simple thing like the Vista "Computer" icon is off-putting because it faces away from the desktop in the top LH corner, unlike the XP "My Computer" icon, which faces the desktop (and the user).


  70. Wolfgang Biber-Thomsen says:


    see it yet so: right is conservative – the left is progressive.  😉

  71. magicalclick says:

    Looking back, Windows98 is the Home Premium version, and Windows NT is the Business version. They are released on different time. And you could tell 98 and NT covers entirely different market and two versions’ bugs are treated separately.

    This is called progressive product development. Modular software development process (not architecture, but development process).

    Yes, XP was a great success launching both Home and Pro (business) version. But it too progressed to Media Center edition.

    The scale of Vista is getting too large to deploy all versions at the same time.

    I propose you to release Home first(includes Media Center, no more standard version). And then later on you release Business version and a Ultimate version for all-in-one. This is even better when you sorted out many bugs from Home version and able to release a much more stable Business OS.

    If you try to do everything all at once, you will fail everything. You have to know your limit. Divide and conqure.

  72. anttikarhu says:

    I got a feeling from this entry, that you are just  explaining this so that you do not have to change anything, no offence. Example the installation and the OOBE (I know I have made posts about this). Does the change to make advanged installation have to create ANY complexity to the installation? You just need a ONE mouse click to select between complexity and straight-forwardness. Using profiles to install different components should be thought of like one profile binds the computer to certain task. The _example_ profiles must be created smar – many users do not need tablet stuff, nor media center. Some do need network working stuff and some don’t. If the profiles are dropped out, at least consider the "admin" setup option. They know what to do, the home user can always click the "INSTALL THE STUFF NOW AND DONT ASK THINGS".

  73. anttikarhu says:

    "Using profiles to install different components should be thought of like one profile binds the computer to certain task."

    We need an edit option here 😀 Read the previous line as:

    "Using profiles to install different components should NOT be thought of like one profile binds the computer to certain task."

    And sorry my bad english.

  74. Digi says:

    Windows should be resistant for software leftovers. I hope that some day I can install 200 random apps + bunch of devices and when the day comes when I want to get rid of them that Windows provides nice UI for remove programs / program settings / device drivers. And when I click remove, I can trust that Windows takes care that no single leftover file or registry entry remains in my system.

    There have been some good suggestions here that would help to achieve this goal. I think Windows folder should be like firmware image and forbidden area for third-party applications and drivers. For example instead of splitting drivers into several windows subfolders, it would be much cleaner to have something like C:driversdevice#1 etc.

    Its not only third party developers who causes registry bloat. Microsoft principle seems to be to add things to registry but never clean anything. Just look how many obsolete ControlSets your machine have or all kind of caches without clearing policy for ecample HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionApp ManagementARPCache is list of every program that ever have been installed on a system.

  75. eagthyrl says:

    You said this:

    "Whether it is a media player that uses the windows address book,"

    and I say "WTF?  That’s a feature?"  A media player that uses something it doesn’t need to, to do what it’s supposed to?

    SQL Slammer succeeded to the extent it did, apparently because Microsoft had the neat idea of using SQL Server everywhere, no matter the justification.  Eric S. Raymond wrote a piece really laying into Microsoft for that.  (Sadly I can’t find it at the moment. 😉

    That WTF I’ve mentioned breaks one of the most fundamental rules of security – the "need to know" ranking of security levels.

  76. mariosalice says:

    About windows features.

    Buying an operating system is not like buying shoes. I don’t want to find out if I am a nine ot ten and I don’t want to think this way. I prefer a basic operating system, capable to adapt to my needs. I want all features to be there, ready to be installed in case I needed them or for learning purposes. I can understand the need to have special versions for servers or for small devices like PDAs, nettops, cellphones etc. I cannot understand why you have many versions for desktop PCs. Why should I buy another operating system to serve my three or four home PCs? You forced me to think about my needs with Windows XP Home and pro editions, then you did the same thing with Vista. Then I thought I might also search for alternatives among other operating systems.

    The big difference between windows and other operating systems, for end users, is gaming. How about full D3D10.1 WDDM support? I believe WDDM 1.0 fully supports Direct3D 9.0Ex only.

    The next big concern I have about features, is the DRM support. UAC, restricted my ability to install and trust some programs. I understand trusted computing means that we, the end users, are not trusted. I do not like this and I hope Seven may implement any DRM features, as long as I (the end desktop user) am trusted and I can install any programs I trust.

    Thank you for your kindness to listen.

  77. stalepie says:

    10 reasons to stick with Vista and forget Linux

  78. Aetyr says:

    Thanks for another informative post. It seems that every time I read a new one from you guys it changes my perception of how Windows gets made (usually for the better, which I guess is an achievement for you guys!) Sometimes you even manage to change my opinion as well, which is definitely impressive since I can be pretty conservative (my friends would laugh and make me change that to “stubborn”).

    As I’ve commented on a previous post, I’m one of those folks who wants to be able to minimise what gets installed on my system to start with, so I’m really glad to see you feedback on suggestions for a profile-based installation. I will always dream of the day when such an installation is possible on a Win machine, but your points are certainly valid, and if W7 lets us uninstall a few more Windows services/apps than previous versions (even if it’s only the ‘non-essential’ ones) that’s certainly a better compromise than I initially hoped for!

    In response to your point that stuff doesn’t affect performance unless it’s actually running, I think that ties in nicely with something else that people mention a lot in these comments, and is the real root of why I like to be able to know that something is completely uninstalled. What exactly IS my PC running on startup?

    Would you be able to dedicate some typing time to whether/how you’re looking into making it easy and not too overwhelming for me to see everything Windows is running on startup, or at the very least everything that’s not part of the core OS (i.e. third-party media players that think I want to know all the latest celebrity news on my taskbar, or a program which thinks I want it running on startup “just in case I want it to open really fast later”, or worst case – something more malicious) and in the same interface, actually turn any or all of those things OFF!

    I currently use msconfig, but this misses off a few third-party programs that I know are starting up, because of their presence in my Task Manager’s Processes tab. Unfortunately it seems easy enough for some of these programs to decide not to give me an option within their own menus to turn off whatever this permanent process is. Bad practise on their part, I know, and you’ll never stop annoying companies trying to make their software more invasive and in-your-face.

    Still, as the core OS, I think Windows should know exactly what programs are trying to run every time I press the power button, and also have the power to stop them from ever doing so. And as the person using the machine, I really want to be able to tell Windows what and what not to exercise that power on, and have confidence that absolutely no third-party program can overrule that or choose not to be visible in the list Windows shows me. Regardless of what ‘beneficial’ software that may undermine, I think it’s far more important – for both performace and security, both key issues – to be able to turn off less honest or just plain forceful software before it gets a chance to start itself up.

    If necessary, proper beneficial software that requires a certain process to run from startup before it can work could return an error telling me that, so I can choose between changing my settings to allow it to run on startup, or not viewing whatever content or function that software would normally provide me – my loss, and as I would have to have manually turned it off in the first place, it wouldn’t affect the average user who wouldn’t have known how to turn it off in the first place.

  79. moflaherty says:

    I do respectfully disagree…

    I can’t tell you how many times I want to load the PC to play a game only to have Outlook or Messenger load. Though you infer there is no direct performance hit, the interference caused by the "new mail" notification or the constant IMs from individuals can wreck a good game. Sure, I can turn all that off, but being able to "log off" and choose a new profile would make that much simpler instead of me clicking around the PC everytime. In a dual monitor environment, it would help to turn off the second display as well, and in a "profile" approach, that could also be accomplished.

    As far as services and such, loading up SQL Server 2008 developer with reporting services and full text does impact my boot time, and frankly I would prefer to only use it when I am developing and not doing other things. I am sure there are other processes that I don’t need all the time, and being able to "understand" what they are and "when I need them" would empower me to "dial in" the most optimized performance. Vista takes a long time to boot in comparison to XP on the exact same computer–I know–I have two physical drives I can switch between.

    Again, I respectfully disagree that you should assume that everything installed on the PC should be available at all time in some effort to "save the power user" from themselves. If we get into the weeds, then that is our problem. I don’t believe most non-techie end users would be messing with this stuff anyway…



  80. Antoine Dubuc says:


    As I posted earlier, people here actually think that this blog is intended to discuss specific features, rather than something else -say, what the first post and title of the blog says.

    This blog is not to discuss features. These guys are not the feature request hotline.

    People, please wake up, eh?


  81. WindowsFanboy says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m in a hurry to get on my computer, I find it extremely annoying to wait an extra ten seconds for that ‘pearl’ animation before I type in my password. It serves no real purpose, and you get tired of it after awhile anyway. Wouldn’t it speed boot up time to get rid of it?

    Just my two cents…

  82. phschmidt says:

    Sorry for being blunt but while reading it I almost laughed aloud more than one, I mean, "installing everything" in particular just made my day, no wonder safety worldwide is in cripples, I bet they don’t even know what services they have enabled and thus are hosting. Seriously, this just proves that it is past time for you to do something, can’t see anyone else in a position to do so. My suggestion is, build up an as modular as possible OS and then put a price tag at each component, that way users may still opt for the whole deal but since they will feel the difference in price (specially those volume consumers) then they will be kind of forced to know what they are doing. The consequences would be far fetching, noticeably on the security and efficiency standpoints. Ps.: Due to a similar reasoning, programs should list what components from the OS they will need together to the hardware they already list so one could buy the correct components, also in order to keep closer control of what is happening.

    By the way it is not because this is a multi purpose platform that all the purposes need to be available at once. Notoriously that interoperability you are concerned with, this is a security nightmare, being able to export your data from one program to another is something but allowing such database to be accessible directly from outside is … (exercising self control)  at least implement some sort of pipe with which access can be managed in order to allow for such interoperability. That would also enhance third party awareness of what they are allowed instead of todays current "do as you please" policy (an example: forcing the installer to sick only to the destiny folder instead of all over the place and in case of shared components ask for both, express consent for where and if, and a pipe to mange what is shared and with whom).

    As for the "OOBE", well, unless you choose do develop a livecd/dvd version then this is not so important, specially for an OEM, where they could have some sort of "customize your OS" portal like they have for hardware in which you can choose the amount of memory, disk capacity and others. Either that or purchasing the OS separately (with the additional advantages of distributing support duties through the correct parties and keeping clear of antitrust worries).

  83. Mantvydas says:

    About OOBE

    Currently, there’s a problem with an ability to see and feel Windows Vista on the shelf of the shop.

    Shoppers avoid turning the computers on, and just keep them off on the shelf, because they’re afraid of spoiling a computer for customer – taking away the pleasure of launching the computer to get the settings their way and enter product key for the very first time.

    Can there be some kind of special retailer product key, which can get the computer up and running, fully functional for a customer to see on a shelf, and after it’s shutdown with an option "Next boot is a customer boot", then it wipes everything, and starts as if nobody has touched it yet.

    In that case this customer boot can be very fast, because all main components were identified already and set-up, so a customer can get hands-on internet browsing very soon.

  84. jrronimo says:

    I totally understand what you’re saying about using the "On and Off" dialogue in Vista, but the dialogue seems very limited. Why *can’t* a user Uninstall Vista’s Calendar as a "feature" to turn on or off?

    I chose Calendar specifically because I was so hopeful for it and then Microsoft dropped the ball. It’s a great piece of software that does exactly what I want — has a calendar. However, Microsoft seems to have forgotten that people might want to use this Calendar.

    First off, I have a Smartphone running Windows Mobile. Why do I have to use Outlook when there’s already a Calendar built into Vista? The same for Contacts? Why can’t Windows Mobile Device Manager talk to the built-in features? The last time I brought this up, someone said: "Well smartphones come with Outlook", which they used to. Now-a-days, though, they only come with a trial version of Outlook. Why can’t I use the software that’s already built into my OS?

    Further, on my Samsung Q1, a UMPC, recently I installed Origami Experience 2. Again, it’s a great piece of software and it’s somewhat improved over the previous version (and somewhat degraded…. but that’s another blog topic, haha), but in the Calendaring functionality, only Outlook is supported, not Calendar. (Although at least Windows Mail is supported as well as Outlook).

    At least in my circumstance it’s not necessarily that I want to remove these programs, but that they feel useless by virtue of the parent company of the programs not integrating them where they really should be integrated.

    …but if they were, then who would buy Outlook?

  85. marcinw says:

    @Antoine Dubuc,

    this is good place for starting some kind of discussion. we (at least some of use) can stop writing everything, but for now we believe, that we can show some other point of view more real than provided in expensive advertisements…or official reports and it will change something. Please note, that we try to write our notes as polite as possible…maybe somebody will use it…

  86. marcwickens says:

    Why do you have Windows Mail and Windows Photo Gallery, and then a live version of each?

    When uninstalling Visual Studio I got rid of SQL Server Compact edition, and later found Windows Live Photo Gallery required it.

    So much for a dependency manager.

  87. dotnetcyborg says:

    I am certain that much of the negativity that surrounded Vista stemmed from peoples "OOBE". If Microsoft uses its weight and manages to curtail vendors from loading third party software onto new machines it would go a long way towards the publics first impressions of Win 7. I think all third party apps on seperate media would be an excellent alternative, even worth a reasonable premium in the pricepoint.

  88. Fredledingue says:


    "some  just want to insert the DVD, leave for a few minutes, when they are back they want their PC to be ready to use."

    or anttikarhu

    "install the stuff now and dont ask things".

    I respectfully disagree with these two posters: This would be a bad idea. Home users have to educate themselves a minimum when they turn on their computer for the first time. They should be aware that a computer is something with installed programs on it and that these programs eat resources to various degrees.

    For us, "the top 2%" it’s obvious, not for the remaining 98%.

    I think it’s important that absolute n00bs are brought to know a very few things, albeit essential, about their computer. I don’t think it’s good to offer a PC which works out-of-the-box. It doesn’t work like that with computers.

    Because not only will they know that crapwares should be removed immediately from their EOM install, but they will be careful in the future for not installing even more of them.

    It’s important for home users to look at computers as something they are responsible for, just like they have to check oil in their car or the pressure of the tires once in a while. Having a three-minutes wizrad guiding them into the installation process, but also the abc of computer use will make them aware of many things they ignored before and have them more involved in the OS life.


    "Windows folder should be like firmware image and forbidden area for third-party applications and drivers."

    I absolutely agree.

    On top of that, I’v always had the bad sensation that junkware, spywares, viruses and even internet websites can do what they please in my file system, take all liberties in the registry while, me, the owner of the computer have a royal pain accessing and modifying these. Herr! It’s sort of like this upside-down situation has to be inversed.

    Ok, it’s good to limit accidental manual deletion of system files but preventing malware to intentionaly delete or modify these files would be better.

    That’s the role of UAC and Window Defender, you will say but, hell, no! A safe system shouldn’t need these things in the first place. Vista is not safer. Vista ships with a build-in antivirus and a user input blocker. That’s different.

    Thanks for listening.

  89. surilamin says:

    Thanks for the great post Mr. Sinofsky.  I really enjoy your long posts, please do not cut yourself short.

    I think users orginally wanted to remove features for two main reasons, hard drive space and performance impacts.  Hard drive space is now negligable, the only concerns users have is removing features that they never use AND that are having a hit in performance.  

    I also think most users have a mis-conception in thinking high ram usage is bad, when really, Vista is taking advantage of the hardware.

    Hope to see some great stuff at the PDC!  Keep up the great work.

  90. domenico says:

    Small Off topic in Topic

    Mr Steven

    will be possible for us consumer to assist the PDC (Windows 7 😀 ) in streaming?

    Video or other?

  91. anttikarhu says:


    It can be really an "experience" to install the OS, and then use whole a lot of time to clean it up. Removing stuff takes ALOT more time than not installing them at the first place.

    "In response to your point that stuff doesn’t affect performance unless it’s actually running…"

    Like in any other previous versions of Windows? If I turn off all unneeded processes in a 2 year old windows installation, it gains it’s speed back? Not likely.

  92. mariosalice says:

    The real question is not about which features you are about to incorporate to windows Seven, but how you are going to do it.

    In terms of the basic operating system functionality, is Internet Explorer basic?

    How about the desktop environment?

    I suspect you are building Seven to become a solid, featured and modular operating system, that doesn’t break in case we want to change some of the basic functionality.

    For example, you might have a Windows Seven approved program for third parties’ features like a browser or a 3D desktop environment.

    Then you might also charge for your own extra features in case we enable them.

    Is this what you do with Seven?

    A request (I know no requests here, sorry).

    Double clicking a window frame (pointer is a double arrow) maximizes it accordingly (horizontally or vertically). Right clicking the right frame maximizes it right etc.

  93. Prixsel says:

    So is it going to be WinMin 25mb without graphics? So like 50mb for the colorful version?

    If programs you install are allowed to make junk files into install directories or create their own folders with copy of install files then the disk space will get bloated again. We need everything simple,clean and lean!!!

    Home edition for daily users who play games, watch movies and surf web.

    Professional edition for people who like do have more rights and options in settings.

    Why we need business or ultimate?

    Would ultimate give server rights for daily gamer ? Or would Media edition give more movie players what already should been on Home Edition?

    Home , Pro and Server is all what people need!

    Or make Business what has office programs inside so everything is simple.

    Animation of windows isn’t necessary and can make delays on slower computers and if everything can be prefetch then windows what you recently watched or folders sizes and more things should be and should stay in memory until there is new data that needs the ram!

    Separating processes will give more stableness like IE8 and Google Chrome are trying do make so no bad stuff wont bring down the entire Core. I hope Win7 has same feature for backup windows session restore to keep data separated.

    Calender , photo view , msn contacts integrated with outlook,webpages and with calender and pictures with no hassle do find pictures with friends and auto info on the calender is something what people wish for.

    Componentizeing is good and if CD has many choices how do install the entire Windows then everything would be enjoyable for everyone.

    Making UI changeable and separated so no harm data can come in then that’s step forward in personalization.

    Hope these things turn into real and we won’t need do wait for Win8 or Midori what will be stable and lean.

  94. emmanuelbuah says:

    First, let me say, Great job. I don’t how this blog is really going to help but we all hope that your team will be able to extract the important information out of this. I have to first say, its sad that windows has been pressured with bad rep. I try to understand what goes into developing a product that "must" satisfy everyone’s need. Let me give you a picture of a perfect PC and see where windows is now.

    Feature No.1 – Installation Experience

    Give options for all types of install. Clean , Clean with Everyday solutions, Clean with Custom Solution.

    Clean = bear OS, nothing

    Clean + Everyday solution = bear OS + core framework(.NET)[virtual mode] + windows media player, IE, mail client,… [very basic needed software solution]

    Clean + Custom = beaer OS + categories with options in categories eg.



        check     Solitaire

        check     Dooms day

        uncheck   x

     Net Browsing

        check    IE (virtual mode)

        uncheck  Firefox (virtual mode)

        check    Opera

     Office and Eduction

        check    Office Word  (virtual mode)

        check    Office Excel  (virtual mode)

        uncheck  Office OneNote (virtual mode)

     Windows Developer

        check    Visual Studio (virtual mode)

        check    SQL Server 2005 (virtual mode)

    ….and so on

    (why is this ?)

    Mac users are happy because Apple took the other route. They make decision for their clients. With Apple, you get what you get. Windows has so many configuration which confuses the hell out of my dad yet people like me (developer etc) want our configuration so provide both with a clean, user friendly interface.

    In my example above, software’s not developed by MS like Firefox can be download on the fly during installation and installed.

    I also think we need to be realistic here. For those of you asking to do away with windows mail client, IE etc. Well, MS needs to promote their products just like apple does. You get these basic software’s in OS X as well so whats the cry.

    Feature No.2 – Application/Software decoupling

    In feature No.1, I have virtual mode next to the software’s. Why?

    My most wanted feature is visualization of some sort of software’s that are not part of the OS like how VMware thinApp works. Why? because it sandboxes every application/software in its own environment. I can have another clean windows install and want my "exact" application/settings in my new PC.Well, if all application are visualized "in a way". I can just connect to my new PC and "forward" my existing virtual application to my new PC [of cause, security issues should be taken into account]. This decouple applications from the OS making it more modular and easy to manage. Installing Office word when every I want it on a PC is a pain.

    Feature No.3  – Multiple desktop [This is long overdue]

    I know this exist in other OS like Ubuntu and others but it would be nice to have multiple desktop to help organize.  I can have my development desktop with launch icons like visual studio, eclipse, sql server, etc and have another desktop with media stuff like launch for media player etc. I dont care how people use it because most people will use it in a way that best helps them organize. This will be a big gain.

    Request No. 4 – User Experience first, platform Second

    I am very pleased with the face lift of the current windows website. They are starting to apple to me and more. I think MS has done will providing a platform and having others build on it but that can only go so far. Why? If HP sells a machine that’s not fit to run vista, guess who gets the bad rep. Not HP, but Vista or XP or …They same with windows mobile.  I think MS needs to visualize finished products and what it will do before development than trying to create a platform. Platforms are great and sparks innovation but can also degrade quality since there is no control. The iPhone is successful not because Apple created a platform, but also created uniform visual feel that "every application" must conform to in order to give the same feeling. I hope MS looks at the user first before platform.

  95. SRV says:

    I quite like the Photo Gallary and the live version is better and so is Live mail desktop. They are fairly lightweight and really modern looking. Better than Picassa or other tools available.

    But I do think that windows disk footprint should not exceed above 2 GB at max. And in the time when internet is connection is common (Windows update relies on it!) when we want to turn on an extra component of windows it should be downloaded from the web.

    It should be possible atleast on x64 windows to throw away old code (for compatability) and support for older protocols etc.

    MS should also we working at reducing size of executable or dlls by optimizing the compiler etc. Apple has aparently managed to reduce size of its binary files by 50% by dropping support for G5 processors in upcoming Snow Leopard. Mind you it’s easy for arogent company such as Apple to do this, Sorry couldn’t resist this, Thre is no safer place that this for a windows fan to bash Apple 😉

    Jokes a part surely initiative such as utilizing the GPU for general number crunching and better utilization of multiple processors and SSDs is vital.

    One request, can we have a post describing How a new feature is built into windows starting with design to delivery.

  96. ramakandra says:

    …they also voted not to save andy kaufman on SNL…

    …and thats just crazy!…

  97. ricardog says:

    Two comments:

    1) We should have an option to enable/disable Windows Features during setup, so we can decrease the disk space needed for installation. Not everyone is doing clean install on formatted hard disks.

    2) A "Gaming Mode Switch" for Windows would be very welcome. The "General" mode would be the default one. The "Gaming" mode would try to make your PC as efficient as a gaming console, freeing as much RAM as possible by doing some cleanup and stopping non-essential services, then changing the priority of all non-critical processes to Low, and it could even notify the drivers about the mode change, so they can optimize their own stuff (for instance, my audio card has a similar switch to improve gaming performance, some video cards could also self-overclock and maybe the networking would optimize for low latency, etc).

  98. thecolonel says:

    when installing windows i want to at least be given the chance of pressing an ‘Advanced…’ button an unclicking half the junk that comes with the OS. what i definitely DON’T want is for this code to be sitting around on my hard drive taking up precious room (extremely precious on my netbook). if i later decide to install a component that’s missing for whatever reason, i’m happy to go find my windows disc and install it from there. why? because i selected ‘Advanced…’ in the first place

    bottom line: i want windows to have the smallest memory and hard drive footprint possible

  99. jipper says:

    I would like it to be easier to manage wich functions are enabled (like you can in the group policy editor). For instance, my mother never uses many of the features in windows xp, so I am thinking that it would be nice to have some profiles that I could choose instead of disabling menu entries and functions one by one. So that I could select profile "basic computing" wich disables services, menu entries and functions rarely used by such users.

  100. davesfx says:

    I wrote an article which is part of a three piece series on features I would like to see implemented on Windows 7. The article is about a filesystem feature I would call Windows Custom Sort.

    I would post it here buy it is a bit long and I dont want to crows the comments more. So instead, hre’s an excerpt:


    As it is now, right clicking on the area of the Pictures folder opens up a context menu with ‘Sort By’ as one of its options. Hovering over this options opens up a sub-menu that contains some default sorting fields like name and size, options for sorting in ascending or descending order, and an option that lets you add more sorting fields like ISO speed and exposure. But something is missing from this menu, a feature I would like to call Custom Sort.

    Custom Sort would automatically sort my files and directories based on their filenames or on any token(s) of metadata or on any combination of the two. However, it would sort them based on an explicit order which the user previously defined using a list. For example, in my months’ directories, I would feed a list of months ordered from low to high – Jan, Feb, Mar, … , Dec – to the Windows file system manager. Based on this information, the software would compare the relevant files and present the user with a custom sorted list of files (which is displayed in any of the available view options) ….


    If you want to read the complete article, please visit my blog at

    Please let me know what you think about this feature.

  101. Fredledingue says:

    "Mode Switch" proposed by Ricardog is an excellent idea IMO.

    I’m thinking of an "Internet/Network Switch" which would turn on a secure mode (like freezing the system folder and registry) and a preselected set of applications/services such as anti-virus and/or firewall, unnecessary off line.

    And automaticaly disable these processes when turning off the internet.

  102. marcinw says:

    I’m looking into last posts and I have one comment: Vista was example of system designed to have many high level features. Many of us are not happy with it (ready system).

    Because of it I will say once again: we should write here and ask for low level architecture changes like decentralized Registry or separating applications from each other. When they will be done correctly, building high level functionalities (like search engines and other) will be much easier.

  103. jetblueISAM says:


    I have been using MS and PC products for a long time. I believe Microsoft made considerable efforts to build security into Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and integration with numerous third-party products, etc. However, recently I’ve yet to see anything innovative from Microsoft that brings the WOW factor back and introducing a desire to purchase a new Operating System from Microsoft. Windows Vista had some decent visual improvements, annoying UAC popups, and other small features but NOTHING SUPER. More importantly the decent visual improvements were inconsistent. Why does Aero take up so many more resources than the Apple UI and look half as good? One big problem I believe you have is making someone WANT to buy a new OS. I personally believe that Windows XP does everything the normal user wants to do better than Windows Vista. Despite boot performance statistics in previous posts, Vista is SLOW. I think the delayed start services are nothing more than a workaround for a system that has become out of control and hard to manage. Linux gives us great flexibility, Apple gives us great visuals and performance, UNIX variants offers strong security, flexibility, and good visuals and MS gives us lower security, inconsistent visuals but the most third party product support. If this post makes it to the board, here is what I think you need to do with Windows 7 before you can even think about being innovative.

    1.) A solid interdependency matrix for all aspects of your code. It seems that you do not have a handle on your code with the statements above. I believe it is a best practice never to ASSUME anything in computer programming.  Just like bounds checks in buffer overflow protection, we should have checks for code dependencies. The goal should be to be able to strip everything off of the OS down to the kernal and GUI.  What if I want NOTHING running in memory other than the bare necessities? In Windows Setup, you could have an advanced tab for advanced users to remove whatever they wanted. If they dont choose to modify the OS at setup, then they get the standard MS oobe.

    2.) A GUI that is inspiring, CONSISTENT, customizable and has a low performance impact. Aero is NOT that nice to have it require a 256MB video card and take loads of memory.

    3.) Go back to the drawing board with security. Almost all PC users do not know the difference between Administrator and User accounts on a system. UAC is just a small step in the right direction. However, it seems that MS does not apply basic security best practices in the coding of the OS. 50% less vulnerabilities than Windows XP is good but it is still not a passing grade given that Windows XP had a failing grade in security of a 0 when it was first built.

    4.) Performance – Please please please make Windows 7 the fastest OS on the market. I would like to have a workable desktop within seconds after bootup. I should not have to wait up to five-ten minutes for all the OS services to finish startup.

    5.) The registry – Please put this beast out of its misery.  For backwards compatibility could you virtualize the registry? It is a storage ground for useless leftover junk from both the OS and bad thirty party programmers.

    If you create a fast, very secure OS with incredible visuals, you can convince users to move away from Windows XP. They get to play games faster with better graphics and a cleaner feel to the OS. If MS keeps down the path of just minor revisions to the Windows Vista codebase, you are bound to fail with Windows 7 in my opinion.  Why cant MS take what the competitors are doing and DO IT BETTER? I know that approach is not that innovative but its a start down the path.  

    This blog is a great and thanks to your team for trying to work with the customers!

  104. Fredledingue says:

    Excellent post from JetblueISAM.

    Just want to add that Aero as-we-know-it  should be completely removed and replaced by a totaly new code written by qualified programmers.

    (I say that because I had a program which ran insanely slow until I turned Aero off)

  105. Hino Musouka says:


    Actually I disagree with a few of the points you presented in your post.

    Firstly, the boot performance is quite nice when we consider starting from hibernation or sleep state (not cold boot of course), plus Vista behaves incomparably better when running for a long time without restarting – thus, I believe it as an area for improvement but not as crucial as most of people do. However seeing a WindowsOS starting in a few seconds would be appreciated.

    Secondly, when you write about enhancing performance but resigning from assumptions in the code, I’d like to notice, that in comparison to e.g. Apple, Windows on the load has a much great range of devices to deal with, so some of the time it spends, is to make sure everything will load. Furthermore Macs are Apple constructed systems, provided with Apple drivers, while Windows has to load third party drivers and hope it will behave ‘in a fashionly manner’ . Of course it should make any arrangements for being able to get rid of incorrectly behaving driver, but then what? Loading generics and hoping everything’s fine? Well, surely it behaves some like that. Whereas MacOS might be ready for 100 graphic cards, Windows has to be ready for almost everything (I remember trying one of Longhorn betas on Celeron 566MHz, 128 MiB PC – and it run!). So I believe Windows is ready for even most silly attempts of must dumbest users, like myself, providing the best experience it is able to provide on such a wide range of devices it has to run.

    And meanwhile I’d like to say that from my experience customer versions of Linux, like Fedora, Ubuntu, or OpenSuse, that are somehow designed as alternatives for Windows, behave at time as bad as Windows can. Crashing XWindows, hanging programs, long startup times (on my hardware Open Suse 10.3 ALWAYS loaded longer than Vista does now!), just out of the box, as Windows ever has. Therefore Linux for me is just another OS. And on Windows I feel a bit more confident than on Linux, whereas on Linux I don’t feel more secure than on Windows.

    This brings me to the issue of compatibility. If we got rid of registry then what? Thousands of programs relying on it would be redirected to virtual one, that probably wouldn’t do better either on speed or security. Moreover, I can imagine many Active Directory supported networks, whose administrators used not Microsoft tools for managing it, and they are relying on registry, that might not be upgraded to the new version for incompatibility reason. The whole idea of interoperability, COM, OLE, and more are tied with the idea of registry. Virtualization, as far I imagine it, would bring even more CPU and RAM cycles mark-up. Maybe not a disaster but also not a panacea.


    I doubt that implying Aero was written by unqualified programmers is the right thing to do on this blog. I really believe that Microsoft steals as many talented programmers form its competition whenever possible. And I also have a few programs that seem to crash randomly with Aero on, but I blame their writers. I trust guys from Microsoft more than them in case who is guilty. Have you ever read Raymond Chen’s oldnewthing blog? I advise you to.

  106. says:


    Please keep the posts coming, I think you are getting great food for thought from the posters here.

    I really believe that giving the user separate boot profiles is a really useful idea.

    I would prefer it if it worked without needing to re-boot.  I would love to have a game profile that I could select from some applet in control panel that when you click "Switch Windows to Game Mode".

    This Would turn off all unnecessary services, clear the memory of anything that doesn’t need to be there and via tuning options in the applet will switch off things like the Windows Key so that you can’t accidentally switch screen modes when in a fullscreen DirectX game.

    As well as Game mode there could be other profiles that you could set up such as Multimedia Mode where network performance might be throttled in favour of playback.

    Another mode might be "Graphics Lean and Mean" so that you had the max memory available for graphics processing and rendering.

    The best option though would be to be able to have a "Custom" profile setup where more advanced users could pull together the lego blocks of the different aspects of making profiles and build and create their own. As you are always going to have someone who wants a bit of the lean and mean profile and a bit of the multimedia one. I imagine the system would have to know what things are mutually exclusive and warn you if you try and put two things in a profile that are at odds with each other.

    I can see experts putting together specifically tuned profiles for niche computer areas and having a web site like the one for sidebar gadgets where you can download a profile that improves performance when running PhotoShop or CAD packages etc etc.

    I would love to have a tool like that so I could tweak the OS through a friendly UI that saves me hacking the registry and getting myself into blue screens or whatever.

    Keep up the good work, bring in Windows 7 with better performance (Load times, memory footprint, seems faster than XP) and then we can all start shouting about Windows again. Stop trying to emulate MacOS it’s not for us!

  107. marcinw says:

    > This brings me to the issue of compatibility. If we got rid of

    > registry then what? Thousands of

    > programs relying on it would be redirected

    > to virtual one, that probably wouldn’t do

    > better either on speed or security.

    > Moreover, I can imagine many Active

    > Directory supported networks, whose

    > administrators used not Microsoft tools for

    > managing it, and they are relying on

    > registry, that might not be upgraded to the

    > new version for incompatibility reason. The

    > whole idea of interoperability, COM, OLE,

    > and more are tied with the idea of registry.

    > Virtualization, as far I imagine it, would

    > bring even more CPU and RAM cycles mark-up.

    > Maybe not a disaster but also not a panacea.

    when we had Windows 3.11 and switched to 95, we required rewriting some apps. but the reason was very good: 32 bits. when we had Windows 9x and switched to NT/2000/XP, we required it too. the reason was very good: stability.

    many wrong apps are doing some actions after reading Registry data, not after using well defined functions. when system will force for their rewriting (because they will be not able to read Registry), it will be good for us:

    1. when some internal Registry formats for example for technology will be changed, API for it can stay the same (bigger compatibility in the future).

    2. when keys from different apps will be separated, it will help with clean uninstalling + it will give more security.

    etc. etc.

    Compatibility is good, but we speak something different – how to make Windows less vulnerable for problems.

  108. ikexx says:

    I still think the "profile based windows" is a Good idea —I believe eventually windows team will do this, if not in Win7 or 8. In the OS internal course, we saw the demo to shutdown all unecessary services using process explorer and make only the csrss.exe and cmd.exe running, and you can start quite a few program by only these two processes, and the windows vista is only around 50MB in memory!! So we can apply this to "Game mode" that disables all the unecssary services. Sure I can do this by myself in control panel, but why not offer it as an option in startup — we already have "safe mode" there anyway, it doesn’t hurt to add "game mode" or "browser mode".

  109. redunion says:

    Just quickly wandering, haven’t had much time to read everything else, but will WINFS be coming to Seven or will that be in a later release. Also I find it interesting, why can’t there be a top console on Windows that is game mode, something that makes Windows just use the essential resources to let it run but sit in the back ground and have this console sitting on top with all the games with there pictures shown, kinda like Windows media player 11. I’ve always thought of trying to figure out how to do this, I was always thinking of calling it Pluto, but never got around to it. This would make the gamer crowd really happy, all we really want is for our games to run smoothly, and remember this there are over 50 million PC gamers, the Sims proves that. Well that is all I have for now, post back later.

    Red Union

  110. Evil Overlord says:

    While we’re at it…

    1. I’d like to organize my drive the way I want it.  The current Windows set up where apps (effectively) have to go in Program Files, etc is a mess.  Maybe it’s a throwback to the days of DOS, but I’d be happier with one Windows folder for system files, and the rest to be created at my discretion – in my case, one Apps folder and one Files folder.

    Having to go through the user folders, find the right sub-folder, then figure out whether I need to change "default", "x user", or "all users" is incredibly irritating.  I recognize the desire to cater to people who share PCs, but this is not an effective answer.

    2. As clearly has been recognized by many, what lots of people want from their OS is just the OS – no gadgets and gewgaws, just the basics.  Apparently this small kernel approach won’t be in Windows 7, but it should be.  I’m expecting to switch from Vista to Linux soon, after many years with MS OSs, and despite the hassle of switching and the weaknesses of Linux.  I could be tempted back by an effective Windows 7, but it doesn’t sound like that will be forthcoming.

  111. Evil Overlord says:

    Sorry, one more thing (brought to mind a lot recently):

    Back in the old days, we used a DEC PDP 11/70.  I don’t remember what the OS was, but I assume it was a UNIX variant.  Anyway, one feature was that by pressing Ctrl+T, it showed you what the system was doing.  I’d give a lot for that option in Windows.  Using the task manager (or Performance Manager or Process Explorer for that matter) gives a wealth of information, but it drives me crazy how often those tools say that nothing much is using the CPU, or the memory, or the drive, and yet the system is slow almost to the point of freezing.  What the ^&*& is the thing doing?  Just KNOWING would be a tremendous boon.

  112. PeanutGallary says:

    Steven, how about a superfetch tweaker to exclude files like so I dont have to see my harddrive grinding 10gigabytes~ of vm’s during startup and after using them.. takes forever and moving the head back and forth does hurt performance and seek times…

  113. HexiumVII says:

    Size of Windows installation is very important. I’ve found that the 10GB for Vista is a bit big as i like to make full backups of the system. Another thing is the arranging of where personal data is. It’s usually scattered all over. While it is nice that generally it will be found in the user profile, it’s always a couple of layers deep and in hidden folders. I’ve found my Vista installation to grow almost double in a month because of all the system restore, volume shadow copy ect. All these volatile heaps of data should be all in one place and configured in one window. This way it will be much easier to keep track of what’s eating all the space. I’ve always run the main system in it’s own tiny drive, and everything else on separate drives. This makes backing up the main system easier and have smaller footprints.

    Windows "reformat" has always been the key to fixing everything. It should be much easier to do a complete system restore while having almost everything in tact. All configurations should be easily restorable, like a files and settings transfer wizard, but one that actually works with everything, esp Office. Apps should also adhere to this idea, there is the chicken and egg issue, but we have to start somewhere.

  114. Eghost says:

    Steven, right now I’m just focusing in on only one aspect, the UI, I despise the UI in Vista,and IE 7.  Brandon over at the Vista blogs had stated wait till beta 2 comes out, well it has and to me it’s a joke. Dean Hachamovitch from the IE team stated they did not want to shock users with a new UI, well IE 7 and Vista shocked users.  IE 8 still shocks users, they gave us back 1/3 of the ability we had in previous versions (IE 4,5,6) to customize the UI and their touting it as look at these new features! There not new, there not even close what they use to be. A lot of users are like I am,I don’t want the Ribbon effect, I don’t want you to choose for me. I just want basic familiar functionality and the ability to adjust the UI to suit my needs.  I hope IE 8 and word 2007 is not the only coarse Microsoft is choosing for Windows 7, if I could have a wish list as far as the UI is concerned, XP compatibility mode. Feels just like XP,2000 ME,98se,98,95. There’s are going to be comments like give it up, learn the new way, I would prefer not to. Sorry for being stuck in my ways but after over twenty years of doing something it has become second nature.  I’m not saying that you can’t innovate, or change, all I am asking is allow users a choice, With Vista it could be such an easy fix for Microsoft, and it was a major complaint in the Beta’s of Vista, yet Microsoft still ignores the issue,  just look at IE 8 beta 2 it’s a slight placation that tells me that Microsoft knows there is a want or desire to be able to adjust the UI, you are just unwilling to allow it. Keep the UI separate keep the UI opened for change and customizations. That’s my two cents…    

  115. cquirke says:

    So far the discussion about "profiles" has been about install-time choices of components, services and settings.

    I’d like to see the "theme" concept expanded beyond eye-candy, to methods of use profiles.  One should be able to switch between these on the fly, either explicitly, or as a controllable Property of application launches.

    For example, let’s say I know that running Game X will be a slug on my PC, unless I shut down some stuff, close other apps, etc. (on my other faster PC, it may be fine).  I’d set the runtime profile as Gamer in the shortcut’s Properties, and that would automatically do all the things I currently have to do by hand, before running the program.

    These profiles aren’t only about machine performance.  

    As a legacy human, I may need to optimize the GUI to fit my low-res vision, so I’d choose a runtime profile that drops resolution, maybe punches up the font size, and informs "aware" applications that I want more dialog space used for unbounded content rather than frame text.

    As a user who is trying to chase malware of otherwise troubleshoot the PC, I’d use a runtime profile that slams down underfootware, 3rd-party integration points, and safens up the UI (show all files and extensions, do not pull icons or other internal data from files when listing them, kill Autorun.inf and Desktop.ini processing, etc.).  

    You could consider Safe Mode as an example of a usage theme or runtime profile, that has to be selected at boot.  You may have to do that for some other themes at first, then as you refine the system, slowly migrate these to on-the-fly switching (much as you currently strive to reduce reboots required for patching, etc.)

  116. MHowell says:

    There seems to be an assumption in this post which I find uncomfortable at best and a bit scary at worst. It seems like, in order to decide to provide a level of customization to the user, you must first be able to come up with a sufficiently good reason why someone would want it. What if I want to turn features off just because I don’t want them there? For example, I know things like Windows Calendar and the sidebar aren’t taking up any of my system resources when they aren’t running, but I never use either of them and I don’t want them cluttering up my system. It doesn’t seem that you’ve considered this to be a "good enough" reason to enable those things to be removed, but, and this my main point, who are you to decide for me what constitutes a "good enough" reason?

    I agree that a system of installation profiles probably doesn’t work on the desktop, but why not allow me to select from a list of features to install, not just to enable, at install time, as was done in past Windows versions? For example, the Help and Support Center (and whatever it’s called in Vista, I honestly don’t even know) is of no use whatsoever to me, but the only way to remove it outright is to resort to hacks which might very well violate the EULA. Why is there no "official" method of doing this sort of thing? The only reason that I can see is that you don’t think anyone would need this capability, which is, frankly, a bogus justification. I consider this inflexibility to be a major shortcoming of the Windows platform as a whole, and I would love to see it addressed.

  117. stodge says:

    What I would like to see from Windows 7:

    – remove the registry

    – move legacy support into some kind of virtualisation or other layer

    – remove the registry

    – or remove legacy support completely

    – strip the OS down to its bare essentials – Vista is way too fat

    – fire ALL design managers and hire new staff, or send them all back to school. Vista is UGLY!

    – remove the registry

    – replace the desktop, rethink the desktop, do something original without buying another company

    – keep the NT kernel or start with a Unix base like Apple

    – remove the registry

    – completely rethink the task bar, it’s so, like, 90s

    – applications should NEVER be able to write to anywhere but their own directory

    – implement REAL security

    – remove the registry

    – maintain user data in ONE location

    – remove the registry

    – remove DLL hell (it still exists with SxS), oh and get rid of SxS

    – use one standard widget set, and please make it visually appealing

    Windows 7 is Microsoft’s last chance – blow it and they will be irrelevant.

    P.S. I’m sticking with XP until I can afford a Mac. Thanks

  118. sadyc says:

    There is another aspect to have applications only disabled but installed: security.

    Every windows component that I don’t use it’s a potential security risk for the system. Maybe I don’t use these components, but malicious code could use it to exploit some vulnerability.

    Also, keeping everything means more (security) updates to be installed that address these components. So more things to download and install.

    And ultimately let’s not forget the simple fact that more files on the disk that are being updated increase the fragmentation, even if you don’t use that files.

    And lastly, there is also the problem of the registry entries for all the unused components.

    I hope you do see why some people do want the unneeded components not just disabled, but completely uninstalled.


  119. luca.rosellini says:


    In my option the registry is not a bad idea at all, but MS should do a bit more to protect it against bloat.

    For example, MS should let third party developers provide an installer for their application but NOT an unistaller.

    Windows should track every single change made to the system by the installer and automatically provide an unistaller for that application.

    In addition, we could have an automatic mechanism tha informs the user about those applications that have not been used since a long time and offer the user an option to uninstall them (and, in addition, an option not to notify the user again about that particular app).

  120. says:

    Must be a deadline approaching, it’s gone ‘kin quiet here all of a sudden!


  121. cirurgia plastica says:

    It would be nice if you could do a post on why Windows is so big. I never really understood it fully, although my basic knowledge is that Vista is a compressed image, that is expanded when copied to your hard disk and expands. But what in Vista itself makes it use up so much disk space 10 to 11 GBs. I know that disk space in this day and age of large 500 GB to 1 TB disk is not an issue for some, but it still is a big interest of mine, to know why Windows went from 1.5 GB (XP) to its current size. Is it the drivers, applications, services?

  122. Pennsylvania Driver education says:

    I really don’t have a choice. However, I do want to see windows 7 as a huge improvement over windows vista (not evolutionary – but revolutionary); this is long overdue. Competition breeds innovations, and it’s the customers who benefits from them, so I am happy to help criticize windows vista, to help you improve windows 7

  123. I also think most users have a mis-conception in thinking high ram usage is bad, when really, Vista is taking advantage of the hardware.

    Hope to see some great stuff at the PDC!  Keep up the great work.

  124. What comes to mind regarding features is that what’s importand is probably not to be able to remove every single piece of functionality, but to be able to remove the parts that might bother the user.

    I guess features "getting in the way" could mean not only performance wise but also unnssescary information on the screen that might confuse a non-experienced user or services running that might pose an unessescary security risk.

  125. bob ditt says:

    In my view windows 7 has only one worker for much improvement. there are just small details such as Dual Screen, desktop customization, remote controle to make new windows 7. for the normal user but offers nothing earth shattering in the expansion. Here again a link for more news from windows:…/1

  126. laxman says:

    i got this error pls help  2 me in ssas2008

    Errors related to feature availability and configuration: The 'Measure expressions' feature is not included in the 'Standard Edition' SKU. 0 0

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