The "Ecosystem"


In the emails and comments, there are many topics that are raised and more often than not we see the several facets or positions of the issue. One theme that comes through is a desire expressed by folks to choose what is best for them. I wanted to pick up on the theme of choice since that is such an incredibly important part of how we approach building Windows—choice in all of its forms. This choice is really because Windows is part of an ecosystem, where many people are involved in making many choices about what types of computers, configuration of operating system, and applications/services they create, offer, or use. Windows is about being a great component of the ecosystem and what we are endeavoring to do with Windows 7 is to make sure we do a great job on the ecosystem aspects of building Windows 7.


Ecosystem and choice go hand in hand. When we build Windows we think of a number of key representatives within the ecosystem beyond Windows:



  • PC makers

  • Hardware components

  • Developers

  • Enthusiasts

Each of these parties has a key role to play in delivering on the PC experience and also in providing an environment where many people can take a PC and provide a tailored and differentiated experience, and where companies can profit by providing unique and differentiated products and services (and choice to consumers). For Windows 7 our goals have been to be clearer in our plans and stronger in our execution such that each can make the most of these opportunities building on Windows.


PC Makers (OEMs) are a key integration point for many aspects of the ecosystem. They buy and integrate hardware components and pre-install software applications. They work with retailers on delivering PCs and so on. The choices they provide in form factors for PCs and industrial design are something we all value tremendously as individuals. We have recently seen an explosion in the arrival of lower cost laptops and laptops that are ultra thin. Each has unique combinations of features and benefits. The choice to consumers, while sometimes almost overwhelming, allows for an unrivaled richness. For Windows 7 we have been working with OEMs very closely since the earliest days of the project to develop a much more shared view of how to deliver a great experience to customers. Together we have been sharing views on ways to provide differentiated PC experiences, customer feedback on pre-loaded software, and partnering on the end-to-end measurement of the performance of new PCs on key metrics such as boot and shutdown.


Hardware components include everything from the CPU through the “core” peripherals of i/o to add-on components. The array of hardware devices supported by Windows through the great work of independent hardware vendors (IHVs) is unmatched. Since Windows 95 and the introduction of plug-and-play we have continued to work to improve the experience of obtaining a new device and having it work by just plugging it in—something that also makes it possible to experience OS enhancements independent of releases of Windows. This is an area where some express that we should just support fewer devices that are guaranteed to work. Yet the very presence of choice and ever-improving hardware depends on the ability of IHVs to provide what they consider differentiated experiences on Windows, often independent of a specific release of Windows. The device driver model is the core technology that Microsoft delivers in Windows to enable this work. For Windows 7 we have committed to further stabilization of the driver model and to pull forward the work done for Windows Vista so it seamlessly applies to Windows 7. Drivers are a place where IHVs express their differentiated experience so the breadth of choice and opportunity is super important. I think it is fair to say that most of us desire the experience where a “clean install” of Windows 7 will “just work” and seamlessly obtain drivers from Windows Update when needed. Today with most modern PCs this is something that does “just work” and it is a far cry from even a few years ago. As with OEMs we have also been working with our IHV partners for quite some time. At WinHEC we have a chance to show the advances in Windows 7 around devices and the hardware ecosystem.


Developers write the software for Windows. Just as with the hardware ecosystem, the software ecosystem supports a vast array of folks building for the Windows platform. Developers have always occupied a special place in the collective heart of Microsoft given our company roots in providing programming languages. Each release of Windows offers new APIs and system services for developers to use to build the software they want to build. There are two key challenges we face in building Windows 7. First, we want to make sure that programs that run on Windows Vista continue to run on Windows 7. That’s a commitment we have made from the start of the project. As we all know this is perhaps the most critical aspect of delivering a new operating system in terms of compatibility. Sometimes we don’t do everything we can do and each release we look at how we can test and verify a broader set of software before we release. Beta tests help for sure but lack the systematic rigor we require. The telemetry we have improved in each release of Windows is a key aspect. But sometimes we aren’t compatible and then this telemetry allows us to diagnose and address post-release the issue. If you’ve seen an application failure and were connected to the internet there’s a good chance you got a message suggesting that an update is available. We know we need to close the loop more here. We also have to get better at the tools and practices Windows developers have available to them to avoid getting into these situations—at the other end of all this is one customer and bouncing between the ISV and Microsoft is not the best solution.


Our second challenge is in providing new APIs for developers that help them to deliver new functionality for their applications while at the same time provide enough value that there is a desire to spend schedule time using these APIs. Internally we often talk about “big” advances in the GUI overall (such as the clipboard or ability to easily print without developing an application specific driver model). Today functionality such as networking and graphics play vital roles in application development. We’ve talked about a new capability which is the delivery of touch capabilities in Windows 7. We’ve been very clear about our view that 64-bit is a place for developers to spend their energy as that is a transition well underway and a place where we are clearly focused.


Enthusiasts represent a key enabler of the ecosystem, and almost always the one that works for the joy of contributing. As a reader of this blog there’s a good chance you represent this part of the ecosystem—even if we work in the industry we also are “fans” of the industry. There are many aspects to a Windows release that need to appeal the enthusiasts. For example, many of us are the first line of configuration and integration for our family, friends, and neighbors. I know I spent part of Saturday setting up a new wireless network for a school teacher/friend of mine and I’m sure many of you do the same. Enthusiasts are also the most hardcore about wanting choice and control of their PCs. It is enthusiasts sites/magazines that have started to review new PCs based on the pre-installed software load and how “clean” that load is. It is enthusiasts that push the limits on new hardware such as gaming graphics. It is enthusiasts who are embracing 64-bit Windows and pushing Microsoft to make sure the ecosystem is 64-bit ready for Windows 7 (we’re pushing of course). I think of enthusiasts as the common thread running through the entire ecosystem, participating at each phase and with each segment. This blog is a chance to share with enthusiasts the ins and outs of all the choices we have to make to build Windows 7.


There are several other participants in the ecosystem that are equally important as integration points. The system builders and VARs provide PCs, software, and service for small and medium businesses around the world. Many of the readers of this blog, based on the email I have received, represent this part of the ecosystem. In many countries the retailers serve as this integration point for the individual consumer. For large enterprise customers the IT professionals require the most customization and management of a large number of PCs. Their needs are very demanding and unique across organizations.


Some have said that the an ecosystem is not the best approach that we could do a much better job for customers if we reduce the “surface area” of Windows and support fewer devices, fewer PCs, fewer applications, and less of Windows’ past or legacy. Judging by the variety of views we’ve seen I think folks desire a lot of choice (just in terms of DPI and monitor size).  Some might say that from an engineering view less surface area is an easier engineering problem (it is by definition), but in reality such a view would result in a radical and ever-shrinking reduction in the choices available for consumers. The reality is engineering is about putting constraints in place and those constraints can also be viewed as assets, which is how we view the breadth of devices, applications, and “history” of Windows. The ecosystem for PCs depends on opportunities for many people to try out many ideas and to explore ideas that might seem a bit crazy early on and then become mainstream down the road. With Windows 7 we are renewing our efforts at readying the ecosystem while also building upon the work done by everyone for Windows Vista.


The ecosystem is a pretty significant in both the depth and breadth of the parties involved. I thought for the purposes of our dialog on this blog it is worth highlighting this up front. There are always engineering impacts to balancing the needs each of the aspects of the ecosystem. Optimizing entirely along one dimension sometimes seems right in the short term, but over any period of time is a risky practice as the benefits of a stable platform that allows for differentiation is something that seems to benefit many.


With Windows 7 we committed up front to doing a better job as part of the PC ecosystem.


Does this post reflect your view of the ecosystem? How could we better describe all those involved in helping to make the PC experience amazing for everyone?


–Steven

Comments (86)

  1. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    What about the choice that the OS UI and OS features provide in terms of customizability? In that sense, Vista seems to narrow down everything available to power users and oversimplify stuff. Apps such as the Disk Defragmenter are a classic example. What about the choice which MS is giving less and less to Do-It-Yourselfers compared to what it does for OEMs (such as making MS software available exclusively through OEMs)?

    Vista still has some serious bugs by design in its driver UI/"experience". The other day I was installing a new device which failed initially because the drivers were on disc and I hadn’t inserted the disc. Fair enough, but now when I go to install the driver automatically or using Have Disk, either way it fails and gives an error saying "Windows found software for your device but encountered an error while attempting to install it.". I have gone mad searching the knowledge base and the internet for a solution and while the same error comes up for another issue (a corrupt INFCACHE.1 file/pre-SP1 issue), that does not apply in my case. I cannot install my hardware without reinstalling when my existing installation is a new clean one! The "Found new hardware" wizard does NOT even allow users to choose from a list of available device drivers assuming that Vista has a driver in its database or online. You have to go to Device Manager and start the "Update Driver" wizard to manually choose a driver from a list. I’ve enabled Error Reporting and always submit the errors from Problem Reports and Solutions but a solution does not seem to exist except reinstalling for the device driver to install properly.

  2. graham.lv says:

    When you say ‘make sure that programs that run on Windows Vista continue to run on Windows 7’, I was surprised to discover that if you right click an exe program in Vista and select ‘properties’, you have a choice of ‘compatibility mode’ starting with Windows 95. Incl. my favorite Win ME that had a lot of good try-out ideas for XP.

    I wonder if this works, not having really encountered a need to use it?  And does that mean Windows 95 programs run in Windows 7 :-)

    If you are intent of migrating everyone to 64-bit I’m wondering if MS could ramp up explanations and benefits of this?

    And finally, slightly off-topic; do you think that ‘code names’ are the best way to go for such a high demand and excitingly expected product?  By that, I mean do you think you are ingraining ‘Windows 7’ in the conscious of your excited masses instead of the ‘release name’, that should, in my opinion, be hammered home at the earliest.

    I’m getting very use to Windows 7 — but ofcourse that may be the real name anyway.  Only you and a selected few know.  I don’t think ‘Snow Leopard’ is doing Apple any harm.

  3. RotoSequence says:

    If I understand the undertones, the ecosystem of supported hardware and software is considered the greatest asset to Microsoft’s continued success. However, it is probably the source of the greatest bloat. While it’s good to have a back catalog of supported software, a line needs to be drawn at some point. Computers today don’t need to support the same legacy stuff that was supported by Windows 95, unless a business is using some absolutely ancient systems. In that case, they probably wouldn’t upgrade the OS anyway.

    Perhaps the ecosystem should be more of a Zoo and Museum variety, with only the outstanding specimens kept for all to see. The more less common, or more extraneous elements held aside unless explicitly needed or requested. I don’t know if that metaphor makes any sense or has any practical baring on Microsoft’s course with Windows 7, but hopefully it’s of some use to you.

  4. domenico says:

    Windows "Ecosystem" ??

    WORLD

  5. mariosalice says:

    "Optimizing entirely along one dimension sometimes seems right in the short term, but over any period of time is a risky practice as the benefits of a stable platform that allows for differentiation is something that seems to benefit many."

    –Steven

    The ecosystem… I think it’s more than that, when you design Windows. It’s about other operating systems, the mistakes of the past, the education system (and other OS byproducts) and the power Microsoft gets from an operating system.

    – Other operating systems.

    Why do you think Windows is number one worldwide and not another OS?

    Why IBM compatible PCs became top of the world?

    Why lots of companies prefer Windows to unix systems?

    – Mistakes of the past

    What was the main problem with Vista? Could it be UAC or DRM?

    How do you explain that "IBM compatible" laptops are doing well, even though they are not actually customizable? Are they going to survive in the future without "IBM compatible" and customizable desktop PCs?

    – The education system (and other OS byproducts)

    How profitable is the involvement of Microsoft in the education system?

    Could this ever exist without an operating system that is widely used?

    – The power Microsoft gets from a widely used operating system

    Profits from education, from companies, from other Microsoft products, all are connected to Windows. Simple users of the IBM compatible platform chose DOS and then Windows as their favorite platform. This is the real power of Microsoft. Break this connection, or make them angry and you lose everything.

    Optimizing entirely along one dimension is not right as Steven said. Though Windows users deserve special attention.

  6. Hairs says:

    Re: your comments that enthusiasts are the "common thread" running through all the above groups, there may be an element of truth to that, but there are overriding pressures in each group that are going to override the input of the enthusiast element.

    In the case of OEMs, I think it’s obvious to all of us at this stage that while the likes of HP and Dell have talented engineering teams, the fact is that the Marketing and Inventory departments have far far more influence over what is actually delivered to the customer – the amount of redundant software bloat is evidence of Marketing’s push to shove whatever cross-promotion deals they’ve struck with ISV’s, and the problems we’ve seen with Vista "capable" shows how Inventory’s skimping on the pennies in terms of component choice has trumped the engineering needs of the OS.

    The gross failure of some very major hardware vendors (Nvidia and Creative, I’m looking at you) to properly develop Vista drivers, even more than a year after release, shows that engineering concerns are being similarly overlooked in favour of… well, who knows what.

    The same can be said of major software devs (even Microsoft’s ones!) who have failed to take on the adaptations to Vista’s UI that they should have done – there was a good comparison I saw recently which showed that even within vista, adherence to the inbuilt UI "look and feel" wasn’t done with any consistency. If this is the case, then it also suggests that underlying "hard" engineering isn’t being adhered to either. As most Vista crashes have been caused by 3rd party drivers and apps to date, this certainly has some evidence to back it up.

    If I had to pick out two areas where Windows 7 can learn from the introduction of Vista it’s this:

    Vista had a very strong concentration on one particular part of the ecosystem: The OEMs. Users really didn’t get a great deal of improved functionality, but the increase in hardware requirements was massive. It’s very difficult to come away with a conclusion other than that Vista’s purpose is to increase hardware sales for OEMs, and vendors of graphics, storage, and RAM.

    The way Vista presents itself is very much like a superficial advert – plenty of flash, pretty colours, and shiny things. Simple, catchphrase slogans instead of explanations. It’s all very slick, but it’s generally not helpful or useful when you’re trying to find something out about what the OS is doing, or fix something. This is important to the "dummy" end users that us enthusiasts end up having to help – The better the information the OS is giving them, the more comfortable they feel and the easier it is to help them. Apple has a similarly "Don’t ask questions, press the shiny button and wait" sort of help system, but they have the advantage of closed hardware platforms.

    And finally, application compatibility in an OS is all very important.

    But what’s the point in an OS supporting hardware that it can’t possibly run on? Any vendor still using (for example) Win95 apps simply does not have the hardware capable of running Vista in the first place! Hell, a lot of hardware that was actually sold *new* when Vista was released couldn’t run it!

    It all smacks of wasted effort, blindly supporting hardware models that the OS couldn’t run on even if you wanted it to!

    You need to bring back the proper Windows Explorer as well.

  7. Florin says:

    I know quite a few users that use legacy applications that date back to 16bit computing, I still use some of those applications occasionally today on Vista, so I really understand the importance of backward compatibility. At the same time I understand that Microsoft spends a lot of time trying to get older applications to work with the newer OS through compatibility shims and workarounds.

    And to be honest I think most casual users didn’t even have a computer when DOS 6.22 or Windows 3.11 first shipped, heck a lot of computer users today weren’t even born when those came out. However playing the first version of Tomb Raider on their Windows 7 PC might still be important to some people.

    So a good solution for supreme app compatibility is virtualization and we already see a lot of that in MS products like 64bit Windows (WOW32), in Server Products HyperV and of course MS VPC, but I think we could see more virtualization, with something like HyperV making it’s way to the Desktop version of Windows, and also with improved VPC performance (which in my humble opinion is lagging behind VmWare at the moment).

    So if you’d bundle yet another component with windows (a virtualization solution) that would only take up resources when "compat challenged" applications are running, and that would be able to run XP or older OS with a negligible performance penalty. You could support only Vista applications on Windows 7 and let the users who need to run older apps use virtualization to do so.

    From my experience most typical users don’t use applications that are more than 2-3 years old anyway, and the users who use older applications, know how to get the most out of virtualization.

  8. domenico says:

    From today we can see  Windows Ecosystem much drawn near

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/default.aspx?icid=winvan

    I’m PC

  9. thecolonel says:

    > PC Makers (OEMs) are a key integration point for many aspects of the ecosystem. They buy and integrate hardware components and pre-install massive amounts of unwanted crapware

    any chance this time around that you guys can stop OEMs from flooding our new PCs with garbage please?

  10. Florin says:

    Speaking of Windows Explorer, when I first started testing Longhorn build 4074 Windows Explorer crashed, a lot probably because it was using WinFX (or at least .NET 2.0, anyway it was "Managed") at the time , and WinFX itself was far from complete, and even though it crashed, a lot, I was glad because it meant a new Windows Explorer for a new Windows. Finally a departure from the explorer we had from Win95. Now 4 years later I’m content with the new Explorer, it’s not bad, it had quite a few useful features, but it also removed quite a few useful features (like toolbar customization).

    Now I hope that Windows 7 will have yet another Explorer, but not one that brings old features back , one that makes us forget about old features. Something that lets us do more faster, something task oriented, something that really helps us organize 500GB, 1TB drives filled with 6-7Mb files (and please don’t mention Saved Searches, I am curious just how many Vista users use Saved searches, maybe your usage and metrics department can give an approximation)

    So what I am saying is, you should definitely should not ignore Windows Explorer, because it is the main component Windows users interact with everyday.

  11. Typhoon87 says:

    The UI consistancy between apps both pre bundled (MS apps) and Dell or HP added is a major issue. Dont believe me Check out the   http://www.aerotaskforce.com/  this site is full of enthuists pointing out old/inconsistant ui issues within the shell and preloaded vista apps.

  12. PsironTech says:

    Okay, this is all well and good, but:

    With the targeted release of 2010, isn’t all of this discussion kind of moot?  The feature set should be determined by now if there’s any hope of a decent Beta/RC cycle.  

    The goals and features should be laid out by now and be locked.  What are they?  

  13. Xero64 says:

    I would like to say I really like reading this blog.

    On this particular topic I was reminded of something that annoys me with drivers.  This is that the regular joe using his PC will find it diffucult to remove a driver for a specific hardware device even with explaination from a professional over the phone.  I presonally would like to see something similar to ‘Programs and Features’ on Vista for 3rd party drivers.  This could also have an option to view other drivers.  The same could be said for problematic Codecs and make it easier for the end user to check if they even have the correct codecs to view a certain file.  I find this information hidden in the depths of the system folders and as they say ‘where angels fear to tread’.

    I really do like the fact that with Vista a lot of the regular hardware is plug and play, and often the windows OS drivers work better than that of actual hardware manufacturers.

    I really look forward to more comments on this topic and any future topics you present us with.

  14. lsproc says:

    Why is the consumer not on the list? Surely they are the most important.

    The issue MS have is balancing between everyone. You dont want to make it tooo simple so that a sysadmin screams, but you dont want to use really long acronyms to annoy non-experienced people with computers. That is a hard one to fix, and I dont know a way on how to do it (Profiles e.g. User, Programmer etc. arent a good idea IMO).

  15. domenico says:

    @lsproc

    was certainly an oversight

  16. cquirke says:

    I know MS likes to model different types of users and role-players into typified categories, but this can over-simplify what we do.

    For example, the notion that OEMs will never need to do a non-destructive or upgrade OS install – the assumption being that OEMs are so large, with such low levels of service quality, that they would never stoop to helping individual users at that level.

    However, as a small OEM, I often have requests to build new systems while preserving crucual but abandoned applications, i.e. those that cannot "just" be re-installed.  In such cases I may have to preserve the application by installing the new OS over the old one.

    That’s one example, but similar problems crop up elsewhere.  The same user may be a non-tech consumer of certain aspects of the system, and an enthusiastic control freak in others  😉

  17. cquirke says:

    The first comment about driver installation issues reminded me of a Vista bug.

    It’s often necessary to clear out Temp and Temporary Internet Files locations, e.g. as part of cleaning out malware (some tools automate this).  It’s usually best to do this "from orbit" rather than in the OS, and often one deletes the whole subtree rather than just the contents.

    If you do this in XP, no problem; the subtrees are re-spawned as needed.

    If you do this in Vista, it’s often apparently OK, too – until months later, when some installation process fails.  When this happens, the error messages you see will imply an unreadable source (e.g. file not available on CD-ROM drive).  Copying the installation material somewhere else will cause the same error messages to refer to that new location.

    What’s really happening is that Vista is trying to bounce this original source material through a Temp location that no longer exists.  It fails to re-spawn the location (as XP does) and it also fails to report the error correctly, mis-reporting the "missing destination location" situation as "missing source material" instead.

    Please fix this in W7, and Vista too?

  18. steven_sinofsky says:

    Of course consumers (aka everyone) are part of the ecosystem.  When I was writing this my mindset was that the ecosystem is there to serve consumers. I hope that makes sense.

    –Steven

  19. cquirke says:

    I see folks complaining about bundled OEM software, but a far bigger problem is OEMs that fail to provide fully-functional OS installation and maintenance disks.

    OS disks aren’t just to wipe and rebuild the system; they are also for less-destructive maintenance, too.  A consumer has the equivalent of all a corporation’s servers and workstations in one box; not something you’d want to be forced to trash, whenever something goes wrong.

    Yet OEMs often provide only "wipe and rebuild" disks, or no disks at all.  This may benefit MS, in terms of "license creep" and also extra license sales for the same PC – but it’s bad for the user.  To call these crippled (non-)disks "Genuine Advantage" is to confirm the cynics who say the only "advantage" is that MS got paid.

    I hope Windows 7 improves WinPE/RE to catch up with what we’ve been doing in Bart PE for years – and I hope they ensure that all users get the benefits of this, without dilution by OEMs.  

    I’d like to see Service Packs that re-spawn properly-patched OS disks as well.

  20. cquirke says:

    Steven’s comment "the ecosystem is there to serve consumers" is apt, and can be viewed in another way.

    It’s often assumed that most consumers have low tech skills, which may be true – but these users are not alone.  They have other users within their ecosystem who can help them, so the OS feature set should take this into account.

    GUIs make things easy to use, but also widen the gap between doing things once, interactively, and automating the same tasks.  

    Learn the CLI and you’ve learned 80% of batch programming; learn how to set things via GUI, and you learn nothing about how to save and restore the underlying registry values.

    The richness of NT security is largely unavailable to end users.  What administrators can do via automation, end users can’t manage through the UI – and worse, malware can use the same automation facilities to override the user.

    For example, consider multiple user accounts.  Without a way to control the settings that are applied to newly-created accounts, this is only useful if the user is prepared to live with MS’s defaults.  There’s also no UI to manage settings across multiple accounts.  

    The result; multiple accounts don’t solve many of our problems, yet blow out the interactive effort required to maintain the system.

    So, consider who is likely to be helping end users at the keyboard.  Many will be "techie friends" or techs who came up through the end user experience rather than formal IT training, so they need a UI that exposes what they need to do.  Don’t assume they will be able to access the "backroom" facilities that professional system administrators use across their large networks.

  21. kanno41 says:

    I believe that these are most of the important ecosystems to get to the end user experience.  The problem comes when the end user doesn’t know what to do when something doesn’t work.  If software or hardware isn’t compatible with the OS, many people won’t even bother trying to fix it or make it work because it’s too much of a hassle.

    When you are talking about choice and customization, you come down to people who do know what they’re doing and people who don’t.  Everything has to work in tandem between the ecosystems, though it often doesn’t, which causes a majority of problems that people have with computers.

  22. TimOR says:

    Steven –

    I think that ordinary users ("consumers", if you like) also serve each other. I say this looking at the way the staff in my department, none of whom is an expert or enthusiast, try to help each other through their computer problems before calling the IT guy.

    Also, the greatest "service" ordinary users give each other, and thereby are part of the ecosystem, is through word of mouth and helping each other. Vista has an awful reputation here because of experiences of several secretaries and PAs who decided that it was the pits to use, and kicked up such a fuss among themselves that I personally had to intervene and authorize the installation of XP on their Vista laptops. They’re now very happy with XP, but continue to rubbish Vista very powerfully to their colleagues and friends.

    I do think that the ordinary user (however you define and segment him/her) has a role to play in the Windows ecosystem.

  23. Knipoog says:

    Hmm, I wouldn’t describe PC makers (as I would wish they would be) as "..They buy and integrate hardware components and pre-install software applications."

    But as "..They buy and integrate hardware components and pre-install the most-minumum variant of the OS to get started".

    Nothing more nothing less.

    Regards 😉

  24. magicalclick says:

    Hi TimOR, I think your concern is tied to

    PC makers

    Hardware components

    Developers

    As we, the users, can’t enjoy Vista when all the above failed to be compatible with Vista.

    I think Vista has some killer factors.

    1) Google Desktop works on XP, and it replaces Vista Sidebar on Dell computers.

    2) Windows Live Applications are now better than Vista Applications.

    3) PC image has been damaged by false advertisements from competitor.

    4) Early hardware drivers (especially GPU) are really bad.

    5) PC makers includes crap wares that actually has huge impact on Vista performance. Both my co-workers using Vista ends up with 30 minutes restart time on Lenovol notebook. Strictly a PC maker problem because my Dell desktop installed with same business software has no such problem.

    6) UAC and driver conflicts.

    #1 and #2 has no apparent solution.

    MS is dealing with #3 right now.

    #4 seems to be settled down after a long long struggle on Vista. Win7 is like Vista, so should be fine.

    So, I think MS should start thinking about problem #5 and #6.

    The thing is that, if MS sells computer, it will be fix #1, and #4~6. And MS can and will bundle Live App for sure. I still think MS should sell PC to set an example, so people won’t point finger at MS for bad PC makers.

  25. marcinw says:

    @Steven,

    I don’t want to write here agressive comment…but I simply don’t agree with some points from your post.

    > For Windows 7 we have been working with OEMs

    > very closely since the earliest days of the

    > project to develop a much more shared view of

    > how to deliver a great experience to customers

    1. I think, that Microsoft was working closely during developing each Windows version. Results aren’t too nice: OEMs are selling often Windows in form of hidden installation partition on disk (no CD/DVD), which can accessed and infected. There are added many programs, which can’t be totally uninstalled. You can’t create partitions like you want (you can reformat all HDD only).

    If this is great experience, something is wrong here.

    2.I repeat my question: if you know problem of big resolutions, why can’t you propose to manufacturers building computers (notebooks, netbooks) with smaller resolutions ? why can’t you change "Designed for…" program and force them for it ? why can’t you give new label "small/medium/large fonts in WIndows" (or something like that) ?

    ————-

    And some more comments:

    why have you forgotten about "end users" ? (I will repeat it although I have seen your comment)

    have you forgotten, that they’re the most important ? and they don’t like DRM (which makes problems for legal users only) – what is your opinion about ? will you increase it in Windows 7 ?

    what do you think about their problems with getting installation CD/DVD for their OEM system ? (and please don’t say, that this is issue between OEM and end user)

  26. marcinw says:

    @Steven

    one more comment, when we speak about ecosystem as one thing.

    if you will push pressure into it (and start treating all users as people copying everything without licenses and implement many DRMs), it will not like it.

    if you will have some architecture problems, wrong people will use. because of it we have so many trojans, viruses and many of them are using IE too…

    if you will allow OEMs for removing some installation settings, they will use it…but it will be not liked by end-users.

  27. mariosalice says:

    PC Makers (OEMs)… Together we have been sharing views on ways to provide differentiated PC experiences, customer feedback on pre-loaded software, and partnering on the end-to-end measurement of the performance of new PCs on key metrics such as boot and shutdown.

    –Steven

    A PC is "IBM compatible" and customizable by the end user. Mac hardware vanished from earth. "IBM compatibles" won the battle. But Macs are still not customizable. They are Macs.

    I’m a PC.

    I have the freedom to use the same Windows OS on any IBM compatible hardware I choose. And it works. Break this connection and you are a Mac.

    Is Seven a PC or a Mac?

    Windows users deserve special attention.

  28. AndiG says:

    @mariosalice, "Mac hardware vanished from earth"

    Hey, just to bring some fun into this discussion, I’ve found that there must be at least one mac left…

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/09/19/microsofts_im_a_pc_campaign_created_with_macs.html

  29. mariosalice says:

    PC means no artificial locks.

    PC Makers (OEMs)can freely build a certain hardware to give the same experience after installing Windows. Lock a special Windows edition to a certain OEM and this version of Windows is no more a PC. Though you may sell additional functionality, with certain hardware configurations as an extra, to everyone.

    This is still a PC.

  30. stat_soft says:

    Im a programmer (writing system utilities for Windows), a PC enthusiast and operate a small business as a IT expert (building PC systems, repairs, servicing etc).  Does this mean I fall into three categories or do I have a common mindset for what I want Windows to achieve?

    Why Change whats not broke.  This is the common complaint in Office 2007 and Vista from my clients, they can’t find their feet. They don’t want to find their feet when they’re already comfortable and productive.

    An inventor knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.  You are engineers. Optimized, compact code makes huge impressions on both performance and people, including yourself.

    Windows 7 needs to be smaller, compacter, with minimal changes to the UI, otherwise Windows  is going to sacrifice itself again, and you cant afford another 3 years to get it right with Windows 8.  

    People dont want Vista not because their happy with XP, its because it offers less than whats taken away.

    Just look at Norton’s new 2009 product line, I bet you they take a huge increase in market share in the next 12 months because they realize they’re not listening.

    MinWin all the way, I pray that Windows gets it right because I dont want to be servicing Google, Apple and Open Source Operating Systems.

  31. bobharvey says:

    You appear to have omitted a very large group from your "ecosystem".

    Ordinary, uninformed, users.

    People at desks all over the world who have no choice in what they use day to day, but represent the bedrock of experience of your products.

    Nor do you include their representatives to you: the IT support professionals.

    I think if you concentrated more on the experience of those shackled to your particular design of rowing bench you would have a better product and some of the more hysterical observations of the people you have named would never have happened.

    I estimate that the groups you have identified represent a small percentage of those who live in your ecosystem day in day out.  They are the predators and the scavangers.  Do you design a meadow for the sheep or for the wolf?  The henhouse for the chickens or the fox?

  32. justausr says:

    You talk about developers, but MS seems to favor VBScript and C# -languages it created.  Let’s face it, *every* developer writes Javascriptm, so why not broaden the devleoper ecosystem by making this language a first class language for Windows 7 and other Microsoft products.  

    To be a first class language, you need to provide documentation and examples of use of all the major subsystems in the language.  I mention Javascript, but other scripting languages should be considered, even if Microsoft doesn’t provide the interpreter.

  33. marcinw says:

    @stat_soft

    Windows 7 beta 1 is rumored to be released in December, currently in USA we have a little financial crisis (and people think more about "normal" things and don’t work so good in such atmosphere), we don’t see any excellent posts on this forum (like – yes, we will make such and such architecture changes), only "I’m a PC" campaign…

    Does Microsoft have enough power for making system with new kernel and architecture ? I have bigger and bigger doubts. It looks more and more, that Windows 7 can be Vista SP2 – no separating apps from each other, no known Windows XP interface, no Windows XP performance…

    And I don’t want to write FUDs here.

    Market is changing – EA has notified, that DRM is wrong (see Spure game issue), more companies are joining it, DirectX 10 is not so popular (we have consoles from various manufacturers), etc. etc.

    Microsoft must notify it. If not, PC will be less and less used. Maybe it will be better for end users, maybe not. We will see…

  34. AndiG says:

    @marcinw, you hit the point – I totally agree with you. When I read this post about ecosystem, I felt the same way as I felt when I saw the first episode of Microsofts campaign with Bill Gates and Seinfeld.

    i think there will be no big changes and it is already too late to discuss anything if Windows 7 beta will already appear in december this year.

  35. Mr. Dee says:

    This was a great read, but hope the comittment is there at the RTM for Windows 7. Personally, I hope this release of Windows gives the user more control in certain aspects, for instance:

    a reset Windows 7 to its default settings settings. Meaning, when I buy an OEM branded computer, I can remove all the third party programs that OEM’s often include without having to reinstall the OS from scratch, this should not affect device drivers. But even virus protection software must be removed in the reset process. Let me the user; decide what I want to put on my computer. IE 7 has a similar setting.

    I know that 64-bit is the future, it offers a user more access to memory and opens up new possibilities for applications. But of course, there are trade offs in the fact that 64 bit applications need to be there and at the same time, 64 bit applications use more memory. Which means, if I buy a Tablet PC in 2010 with Windows 7, I should have a respectable 64 bit experience, this applies to bundled applications, device driver performance and of course system specifications. I see some efforts towards, for instance, I am typing this on my friends HP Pavilion dv2000 laptop with Vista Home Premium 64 bit and 4 GBs of RAM, so I feel like she is well on her way to having a good experience. But I must go back to the control aspect, consumers want choice and control, they want to be able to make Windows there own and you need to work with OEMs, ISVs and IHVs to make them aware of that. I hope user experience is a topic for the upcoming to PDC and WinHEC conferences.

    Thanks

    You can read some of my wishes for Windows 7 at the following link:

    http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeehouse/424384-My-Wish-List-for-Windows-7/

  36. Fredledingue says:

    I don’t agree with those who says that "a line should be drawn", that "w95 software are a thing of the past" etc becquse it ceqtes bloat.

    To the contrqry I think the compqtibility mode selection "back to w95" is an excellent idea.

    Seriousely, how much bloat can be a "w95 mode" or a "w98 mode" while all the complete w9x versions combined accounts for less than half of a Vista install? Here we are talking of a few libraries.

    In fact w95 era or look alikes software are cool and I use them often. Their main advantages are that they are often stand-alone, small, open instantly and without useless cheese. Call me an enthousiat if you want, but that’s the way he crucial processes on my computer runs full speed.

    I don’t see why a perfect software written 10 years ago shouldn’t work on new computers just because it’s too old. That’s silly.

    If the API’s are slightly different (same call, different response) then let’s use the backward compatibility mode. I still have to find a program that needs it, but it’s the best idea Vista came up with IMO.

    No, if your team can team up for a brainstorming about how to reduce bloat, HDD footprint and redundancies, I’m sure you will write on the white board for 8 Gb of stuffs in less than 10 minutes. :-)

    What creates the bloat is, as some posters put it already, hundreds of tutorial videos, a compound of several versions of .NET, Vista itself, games… and the drivers database.

    Let’s talk about these drivers. I’m not the first one who, already with XP again on Vista, had issues installing the right driver because windows wanted to install its own one. Given that 99% of the time new hardware come with a driver on a CD-rom, let’s first ask for this CD, then only ask for the installation DVD if we don’t have the hardware CD. No need to keep zizabytes of drivers on the HDD. Especialy when we buy a new piece of electronic only once in a while. OEM without installation disc, could be sold with a driver databse on an external disc.

    OEM, to whom we asked to talk with so that they stop the malpractice of installing malware.

    We are all part of the ecosystem, and the small consumer we are at the lowest level of the food chain (just above whales dung -LOL-) don’t like predators, you know.

  37. burgesjl says:

    First, you need to talk to hardware makers and get them on board to jettison old hardware models. For instance, the majority of desktops today still sport PS2 ports for keyboards and mice, which just adds to hardware that needs to be supported in legacy mode. I cannot fathom why this continues to exist. In fact, most hardware partners are not being very innovative at all at the moment – virtually every system is exactly the same. Dell has finally started doing something with its Studio line, we have a few more All-In-Ones, and we’re beginning to see netbooks. But other than that, there’s been zero innovation in the last 5 years especially on desktops.

    As regards software, you might ask your own people why Office is not available in a 64-bit version. If you want to drive adoption of this, which should have been a goal of Vista and has to be a goal of Win 7, then you need to make your best apps available on it to run natively. I see the hardware makers are finally shipping 64-bit OS Vista with their latest machines with SP1; about bloody time.

    MS doesn’t help itself. How many mail clients do you have (or have done in the last 5 years)? I bet even you don’t know. You need to provide ONE mail client for light use (local app) and ONE mail client on the web, and ONE mail client for heavy/corporate use to be used to replace the complete dogs breakfast you have now, fully backward compatible with all past versions and able to migrate safely, and clean all the old stuff out completely. This is just one example of the bloat you have perpetuated.

    Hardware driver loading etc. is still a farce; it doesn’t work half the time. You need to get things to fail gracefully and ‘auto-find’ when drivers get added after the initial connection. People want to attach hardware FIRST, then install software SECOND. Still WAY too many reboots, which tells you no-one has any confidence in the driver model or the ability to change/update drivers on the fly.

  38. Kosher says:

    Based on the current M3 screenshots and info I’ve heard from my sources, this blog is basically a waste of time to the public (or breath if we were talking face to face).

    You might be reading what we write but are you taking the information, advice, and critiques and actually using it?  I think the latest M3 release answers that question.

    The next release of Mac OS will allow me to install Mac OS X on my PC.  My PC wasn’t supported on the current Leopard because NVidia had not created drivers yet.  This will be resolved in Snow Leopard and I will be making the switch.

    I’ve made my living developing on Microsoft platforms and technology.  Heck, Microsoft probably paid for my house.  It’s time to move on though.  Too much was promised in Vista and then cut at the last minute.  I’ll see you all on the flip side (or on the way back up the stairs).

    Peace!

  39. mariosalice says:

    The next release of Mac OS will allow me to install Mac OS X on my PC.

    — Kosher

    Are you talking about illegal installation on PCs with certain configuration?

    Microsoft considers "enthusiasts" the representatives of Windows users in their ecosystem. I am glad to hear from Steven that this ecosystem works for end users.

  40. LCARS says:

    I would like to hear more about Microsoft’s thoughts on the OEM ‘crapware’ bundling problem that PCs currently have.

  41. Kosher says:

    mariosalice,

    It so happens that I purchased Mac OSX family pac for an old Macbook Pro and yes there are ways to install it on Intel hardware without buying a Mac.  I just consider myself ahead of the curve in that regard.

    I used to be a Windows enthusiast but lost hope when they axed WinFS and nearly tossed out .NET 3.5 from the Windows SDK.  I can see right through this blog about as clearly as I can see through the windows in the glass theme.  Enjoy the next release.  I am sure it will be everything you wanted and more.

  42. domenico says:

    Hey guy

    This is a Blog of WIndows 7

    if you wont talk to other S.O. go in the Forum Blog and site of Stereotype.

    If Microsoft did half of stupidity that makes Apple, the fire would, Bill would be crucified in the same cross with Ballmer, would be sentenced to 20 years of electric chair, there would be popular riots, floods, hurricanes, landslides, glacial eras.

    Instead, and not risk anything ever thanks to the "distraction" of certain autority.

    Discussing quality technical, value for money, versatility of products that are purchased because Apple products, whatever, or why imposed, or why are cool, or because of fashion, I discovered to be a huge waste of time.It is more than a year that I’m dedicating to find a single reason why it is worthwhile to give up Vista switch to Leopard, paying market prices outside, suffering harassment of any kind,

    Security, ease of use, stability myths that have been falling at the event.

    While in the past could be justified (shortcomings in Windows), now are largely simple slogan "catchstupid" without foundation.

    Often exchange the incompetence of those who install / use Vista, with limits of s / o Microsoft that would prevent this or that, while the other side, there is a race without an end to those found evidence of any kind for any shortcoming were to submit any Apple product, which comes to paint as innovative solutions limits elsewhere would be intolerable, So while a device driver written with the feet, generates intolerance towards Vista, accused, in effect, be unable to correct the defects programming drivers written by others, the inability to use devices, or absence of application software for OSX environment is seen as a strategic choice projected winner in the future.

    Apple products, rather than ‘be reviewed journals in Tech , should be presented in Vogue , Vanity Fair , E! etc etc

    so that we can talk of only good thing that characterizes them: design.

    THIS IS WINDOWS 7 BLOG!!!

  43. Prixsel says:

    Ribbon UI isn’t the best for smartboard or multitouch usage and hope do see more options with it like left or right down or up of the screen…

    Win7 should or has to be same fast as WinXP if you lower down effects and new functions what take down the processing power.

    Hearing rumors about Apples Snow Leopard is making me question how good will WIn7 actually be without using hardware max usage potential…

    +++++ If drivers get updated immediately like system updates.

    +++++ If balloons and tooltips wait when applications initialize completely then old systems don’t crash so often…

    +++++ If fewer folders and fewer junk files with system updates , new program installs then it would be a wize move and rule for system because I hate do find weird files that are unnecessary do be laying on my disk when that update or that program is already installed or removed.

    +++++ UI must be easy do customize with self made pictures and colors.

    +++++ Small size and many choices during install from the CD

    +++++ During install from CD should have animated video for tutorial and setup of text size , picture , programs , settings…

    +++++ Games should work with 1024mb ram because on Vista it made games slow without 2 gig ram….

    +++++ Don’t forget that size matters and people like do see it small on HDD and SSD and ram usage

    +++++ Make sysinternals software integrated in soem way into OS because taskmanager and Defraggler has do few options

    +++++ Give TaskManager or Process explorer with many craphic colors so people understand more how much is prefetched and how much of it is in real use by the programs

    +++++ All that we wish is speed and clean and leanness in OS

    +++++ Respect peoples needs and try do blend them in OS

    Keep the good work and don’t disappoint us 😛

  44. domenico says:

    @prixel

    inherent Ecosystem ??

  45. Fredledingue says:

    I’m glad we are talking about our view of the ecosystem because it puts things in their place. This discussion can help erase some stereotypes.

    I’m pesonaly interrested in this discussion because I’m a philosopher and Windows plays an important role in our cultural environement. The way the next windows release will be designed will influence the daily life and work of billions poeple.

    Just think how many days of work one hundred millions poeple spending 2 minutes for, say, disabling superfetch. I calculated it makes 1600 payroll years lost, just disabling superfetch (assuming they do it at work – 380 real years otherwise)! Imagine the economic loss, globaly, of such insignificant thing…

    That’s why it’s extremely important that Microsoft not seek to talk only with industrial partners or huge incorporated clients. The "enthousiasts" plays an important role because what they say (what we say on this blog comments and on other forums) are things that will never appear in the statistics and will never be told by OEM partners. We are the voice of the millions of individual users. Not a perfect voice, but a voice nonetheless.

    The difference between us, the "enthousiasts" and the pa-and-mum and my sister type of users is that we know why, technicaly, they don’t like Vista (or why they like it if you will).

    If Windows 7 developement reflects this view, I’m convinced that it will be a major version.

  46. marcinw says:

    @Kosher,

    yes, I can read on more and more forums, that Windows 7 M3 is looking like Vista (I understand, that it’s normal to start work from previous version, but in situation, when Vista and Vista interface is not too liked, it’s a little strange for me) and the most notified changes are such "great" features like ribbons in default applications or new calculator…

    if this is future, I will be not PC probably 😉

  47. jipper says:

    "yes, I can read on more and more forums, that Windows 7 M3 is looking like Vista (I understand, that it’s normal to start work from previous version, but in situation, when Vista and Vista interface is not too liked, it’s a little strange for me) and the most notified changes are such "great" features like ribbons in default applications or new calculator…

    if this is future, I will be not PC probably ;-)"

    I would like the windows 7 interface to be "simpler". I have nothing against a managed desktop or pixel shaded windows, but I think the vista ui could have been just a bit more clean from lines and stuff :)

  48. karthikrg says:

    I wouldn’t mind if the UI look was similar or heck even the same as vista. But do remove some glaring UI inconsistencies in the interface. For starters please trash that Windows 95 style look for Wordpad. :)

  49. Urvabara says:

    Yes, I know; wrong thread for a wish list, but here goes nothing.

    I want Windows 7 to have:

    – Fonts with all the glyphs in Unicode 5.1

    – Finnish Speech Recognition

    – Finnish SAPI Speaker (male and female voices)

    – Both 64-bit and 32-bit versions on the same DVD disc

    – Ability to run old 16-bit DOS and Windows programs without installing VMware or VirtualPC. If I just double click the 16-bit calendar.exe, I want it to start without error messages (even in 64-bit Windows 7!)

    – WinFS

    – Windows PowerShell

    – Virtual desktops

    – Packet management

    – Unix-like directory structure (drive letters (from A: to Z:) could run out so easily!)

    – Mount-command (DOSBox has mount-command! http://www.hackszine.com/blog/archive/dosbox-vista.png)

    – Support for more than two physical processors

    – Support for larger amount of RAM

    – Support for (U)EFI (even in the 32-bit Windows 7!)

  50. babakrezai says:

    What kind of work has been done by Microsoft to get CableCard capability for media centers to smaller PC Makers?

    Thanks

  51. babakrezai says:

    What kind of work has been done by Microsoft with Cablelabs to get CableCard capability for media centers to smaller PC Makers?

    Thanks

  52. lyesmith says:

    WinFS,

    Thing is NTFS is a bit old. You need a replacement. Probably not WinFS though.

    I mean drive letters??? I found for exp search on Mac or Linux much faster. The filesystem is more responsive. You can rename or move files while they are open.

  53. Eghost says:

    Most of the buzz on the web and a fair amount in this blog is the UI, Yet the UI team still has not come up with a UI suggestions, or preferences, or engineering the UI.  Why dose Microsoft,to use your new battle cry, "Put up Walls" with this aspect of Windows?  It seems to me Microsoft is at all cost avoiding, what is the most important and personnel function of any OS, how people interact with it.  To most Vista is miserable, to quite a few the Ribbon is flawed, yet according to the buzz the ribbon is the new way. That could be bad or that could be good.   I shake my head, instead of having a true open debate, you let a few people decide what millions of your customers may or may not want. Look at the UI in IE8 it’s the same UI in Vista, it’s the same UI in IE 7, It was to most the number one complaint about IE 7.  Is it being blind, or arrogance, or not wanting to admit mistakes. I’m not so sure any more.  I would like to see Microsoft have a real open discussion on the UI,  others wise this will wind up just being Windows with Walls….      

  54. marcwickens says:

    What about Anti virus software companies?

    They are part of the ecosystem.

    Microsoft can’t make Windows too secure, otherwise the AV companies will get upset and probably sue them.

    The likes of Norton 360 just slow down Windows. I used to work in a PC superstote here in the UK, and we were targeted to sell Norton with all PCs. I hated doing this, knowing that this nice fast laptop was to be slowed down severely. I likened it to driving away in a new sports car with a toeing caravan.

  55. woodycodeblue says:

    As one of the enthusiasts, one thing that I have always thought would be nice from the ecosystem is better in-system identification of hardware.

    It’s happened plenty of times: I come to help fix a friend’s computer and somehow the sound card (or some other device) isn’t working.  I check the Device manager to see if the drivers are in order, and there’s absolutely nothing helpful to be found.  The automatic driver installation fails, because it can’t find what the hardware is.  Then you’re left to opening up the case on the unreliable chance that the make and model will be printed on the card.

    In light of this sort of problem, I could see some real benefit in well identified hardware at all contact points in the OS.  A collaborative effort from Microsoft and the hardware vendors could result in some kind of unique, identifiable tag for a better experience.

    Maybe that’s how the Plug-n-Play system already works, but it could use some improvements.  A unique code automatically identified from a list online (hence up to date and not restricted to the list available when the OS was released) would go a long way to making troubleshooting easier.  Identify the devices to the user in a legible and meaningful way, because "Generic Video Card" doesn’t help much when you’re trying to get things fixed.

  56. Kosher says:

    These WinFS haters don’t really understand what WinFS meant for the big picture.  See, what really happens in WinFS is two things really:

    #1:  You know all of those applications out there that microsoft keeps creating that have contacts, media, etc?  Well they all have many things in common with their data but none of them really share data nicely.  They each use a separate API or backing store for their information.  The "schema" for those applications would be unified with WinFS.  That scheme would allow ISVs and other developers to tie into a single API to gain the ability to add contacts across multiple applications.  I for one DO NOT want to store this data in a "cloud" that I don’t own.  That’s where WCF came in and where the P2P client, which was also axed came into play (but that’s a whole different discussion really).

    #2.  WinFS would allow the registry, files, active directory, and other "elements" in the filesystem to interact very easily.  It would unify the "Backing store" for the various services that windows uses and allow each of these services to share common types via point #1.  So next time you see some guy on ZDNet write about something he doesn’t understand, make sure you understand what he doesn’t.

    And lastly, if you knew the real reason that WinFS was dropped, you would see where Microsoft is at today and why it lives in a never ending paradox.  They argue that having SQL server be a dependency that is required for your system to boot would be too much of a potential point of failure.  SQL server is a very complex beast that, if not started, would cause your entire OS to sit around waiting for its core.  In reality though, the problem is more political than anything else and I would hate to be at Microsoft during this huge blunder.  So many great products were lost in translation.

  57. Kosher says:

    These WinFS haters don’t really understand what WinFS meant for the big picture.  See, what happens in WinFS is two things really:

    #1:  You know all of those applications out there that microsoft keeps creating that have contacts, media, etc?  Well they all have many things in common with their data but none of them really share data nicely.  They each use a separate API or backing store for their information.  The "schema" for those applications would be unified with WinFS.  That schema would allow ISVs and other developers to tie into a single API to gain the ability to add contacts across multiple applications.  I for one DO NOT want to store this data in a "cloud" that I don’t own.  That’s where WCF came in and where the P2P client, which was also axed came into play (but that’s a whole different discussion really).

    #2.  WinFS would allow the registry, files, active directory, and other "elements" in the filesystem to interact very easily.  It would unify the "Backing store" for the various services that windows uses and allow each of these services to share common types via point #1.  So next time you see some guy on ZDNet write about something he doesn’t understand, make sure you understand what he doesn’t.

    And lastly, if you knew the real reason that WinFS was dropped, you would see where Microsoft is at today and why it lives in a never ending paradox.  They argue that having SQL server be a dependency that is required for your system to boot would be too much of a potential point of failure.  SQL server is a very complex beast that, if not started, would cause your entire OS to sit around waiting for its core.  In reality though, the problem is more political than anything else and I would hate to be at Microsoft during this huge blunder.  So many great products were lost in translation.

  58. Kosher says:

    And one additional point… WinFS in a P2P situation would be that so called "cloud".  Why not own the cloud system if you’re always connected via a cable connection like 90 percent of us are?  Why share your personal and business data with Google et al?

    BE THE CLOUD.   Think "you are the cloud", not this mentality that someone else owns you and your information.

    WinFS …  Just do it!

  59. Kosher says:

    WinFS with WCF and P2P would turn us all into a part

    of the cloud owning our own data and sharing only what

    we want to. WinFS would enable an occasionally

    connected API that would tie into many other

    applications out there through a single API with a

    single schema defining the common types like "user,

    contact, role, telephone number, geo location, email

    message, file, media, etc.". Why must these

    fundamental data types, objects, and overall schema be

    replicated with no ability to talk to eachother? Tie

    it all together with one API, one Schema (Outlook,

    Windows Mail, Live Mail, all of your contacts, MS CRM,

    SharePoint, Active Directory, the list goes on) all

    using a single unified schema and single backing

    store. Each application would have its own ability to

    synchronize with the WinFS data through its own copy

    of the schema and own instance of SQL server.

    You just don’t know a good thing until it hits you in

    the face.

  60. mdaria510@gmail.com says:

    I certainly don’t envy being in the position of having to try to satisfy the entire ecosystem as you describe – and I’m glad to see those behind the next version of windows clearly recognize the differences between the various types of user they must satisfy.

    I personally fit quite neatly into the enthusiast category, and you’ve described our situation nearly perfectly.  In another post you touched on performance.  As you say, us enthusiasts are always seeking more performance – and as demonstrated by the vast amount of "tweak guides" on the net, we’ll go to extremes to get what that performance we want.  But plenty of those tweaks are far more destructive than helpful, and most would never know it – what enthusiasts need more than ANYTHING from the windows team this time around is *information*.

    I’d love to see an official guide to windows performance, going into the gritty details on how each option and tweak actually effects the system.  How much memory will I actually stand to gain by disabling the indexer, system restore or aero UI, for instance?  Its a bit like the wild west right now – we’ll try anything for the sake of it, and with little or poor documentation on the actual facts, a lot of disinformation tends to get spread around.

    Rather than trying to build it for everyone, especially enthusiasts, build it so we have the information and the power to shape it as we like – Vista went much further than XP in this respect, and I hope Windows 7 goes even further.    

    Basically, you really need to get the enthusiasts on board this go around.  I believe theyre the main reason (channeled through the tech media) that Vista has such a bad reputation today.  Make us like it, and we’ll make everyone else will like it. (while we’re installing their wifi :P)

    And to get very specific – system profiles are an interesting idea, but I agree theyre not as valuable in practice as they sound on paper.  Like you say, we use our computers for more than just one thing, yet the default configuration basically gives everything the same priority to your system.  Especially nowadays, with gigabytes of RAM and multi-core processors, theres a lot of resources to go around, and we want control over it.  At this point, virtually the only real-time control we have over the way the resources of our PCs are distributed is by manually setting the priority of programs in the task manager each time.  So what I’d love to see is another tab in the properties page of a shortcut/exe – allow us to set the default priority of an app easily and simply.  Better yet, put I/O prioritization under user control.  Even better still, give us memory usage prioritization, and make it all simple to use for enthusiasts in the property page where "regular" users will never even know it exists.    

    When we can choose which programs run the show (like the game dominating our screen), the impact, real or perceived, of all that "bloat" because much less of an issue.  

    I believe this is a simple fix/addition that would go a *very* long way for the end user.        

  61. eagthyrl says:

    Speaking of enthusiasts, whyever did Microsoft come down so heavily on the people who were trying to do something with the abandoned Longhorn betas?

    It’s not as if Microsoft isn’t already competing with its huge installed base – it could’ve got some useful hints from the non-Softies who were trying to do something useful with a version of an abandoned Microsoft OS, some "out-of-the-box" ideas.

    It’s another aspect of "choice" that you’re talking about.

  62. mariosalice says:

    Overclockers community is not the same like enthusiasts community. Enthousiasts represent the end users. Overclockers greatly influence the opinion of everybody. All they need is a really fast and stable OS with an easy way to strip unnecessary tasks.

    We saw one first step towards overclocking with really nice benchmarks in Vista but this is not enough. There should be an overclocking team working for Microsoft, side by side with the core team. To stress the operating system, benchmark each part and help in fine tuning.

    Make Seven the overclockers’ favorite OS and Seven will be KING.

  63. marcinw says:

    @jipper

    People in each company (managers) create own vision of progress. Microsoft had good project called Windows XP. Decided to switch it to Vista instead of creating Windows XP SE. When I see Vista color scheme, I have wrong experience – it doesn’t look good for me. Additionally I’m not too productive (because everything is new places). Now we see first information and what we see ? Information about new calculator and ribbons, no info about deep changes… It doesn’t mean of course, that I don’t like new features. I like them, but currently we need something other than such details… I don’t know, who is testing new system, but maybe Microsoft need more testers from other countries than USA and maybe need more critic voices ?

  64. frances says:

    I am curious, in terms of the work we are doing with the Hardware Manufacturers, is there any effort to get PC manufacturers to offer ‘Vanilla’ PCs that only include Windows and the appropriate drivers for the devices included with the system? I for one, for quite some time, have always formated a PC I buy straight out of the box, reinstalling on the OS and the drivers for devices. Though this is probably not an easy road for our less technical customers, I find the condition of Windows based PCs out of the box to be abysmal, and without taking this simple early step my system usually runs slow and is unmanageable after a short amount of time.

    If PC manufacturers would offer a system that was free of any software of any kind that is not the Windows OS or device drivers, I think we could 1. Have, finally, a true comparison to the Apple out of box experience as this is the only true way to get a “Windows” PC and not one that has been tainted by bloat ware and 2. Eliminate a lot of the issues people have with our PCs over the long road.

    I know this is a shot in the dark and a long one at that, but hopefully sometime we can get this straight with our partners so the out of box experience is close to that of some of our competitors who have more control over the end to end ecosystem.

    Regards,

    Francesco Esposito

    FrancEs

  65. frances says:

    @marcinw

    I can assure you that Microsoft employees are just as critical, maybe even more so, then those outside of the company. We use these products every day, are shareholders of the company and are very passionate about the software and solutions produced by this company.

    In terms of international exposure, our products are created, tested and dogfooded (internal beta testing) by one of the most international organizations in the world.

    It is difficult to be perfect all the time, especially when your systems are used in so many different ways, in so many different places and on so many different types of hardware. That is not necessarily an excuse, it is a mandate – our stuff has to live up to that standard. From Sales and Marketing to Technical Roles we are all committed to this.

  66. Vistaline says:

    >> Now we see first information and what we see ? Information about new calculator and ribbons, no info about deep changes…

    The images you’re talking about are leaked M3 shots, MS hasn’t really delved into W7 officially. If you want official news though, PDC is October 27th through the 30th and something important should come from that. Whether that set of information is relevant to you or I is another matter entirely.

    >> To most Vista is miserable, to quite a few the Ribbon is flawed, yet according to the buzz the ribbon is the new way.

    >> Look at the UI in IE8 it’s the same UI in Vista, it’s the same UI in IE 7, It was to most the number one complaint about IE 7.

    >> I would like to see Microsoft have a real open discussion on the UI,  others wise this will wind up just being Windows with Walls….      

    Vista miserable? Yes, many people don’t like the design of some components of the UI (Context Bar, I’m looking at you…) and the fact that MS removed customization from Explorer. But IE8 and Office 2007? Most people I know haven’t complained about either of those, other than small gripes. Office even gets positive reviews by my peers and reviewers, partly because of Ribbon. Discussions never hurt anyone though. :) Honestly, I’d like a theme manager in W7 giving users the ability to make their own custom themes. I don’t think MS will add one but it’d be nice. Would definitely lift some stress from their shoulders is people don’t like the default non-3D theme if they could download a new one… *wink* *wink*

    By the way, that article by Randall C. Kennedy @ InfoWorld? Inane rambling by a would-be tech journalist with no story, apparently.

    *gasp* If I open six windows, they take up the space of… one, two, three, four, five… SIX WHOLE WINDOWS?! And they have ribbons?

    …If Ribbon in W7 is anything like it is in Office 2007, you’ll be able to minimize it… I can’t believe he gets paid to write that.

    >> What about Anti virus software companies?

    >> They are part of the ecosystem.

    >> Microsoft can’t make Windows too secure, otherwise the AV companies will get upset and probably sue them.

    This is unlikely to happen, as far as I know, MS doesn’t have a quota for security holes in their operating systems to adhere to. AV companies, who fit into the developer category, exist solely because of flaws in these operating systems that they capitalize. If MS were to make an W7 invulnerable to all forms of malware (don’t ask me how… I’d be rich if I knew) they would be doing absolutely nothing illegal. Of course, if they packaged OneCare with W7, that would be something else entirely.

    >> We saw one first step towards overclocking with really nice benchmarks in Vista but this is not enough.

    >> There should be an overclocking team working for Microsoft, side by side with the core team.

    >> Make Seven the overclockers’ favorite OS and Seven will be KING.

    Overclockers and such represent maybe 10~15$ of the market? Less? Hardcore overclockers (the group that avoids Vista as they want better clocks AND better performance) much less than that. I don’t think MS needs an overclocking team, its just not worth the effort. Any stable system should overclock decently, given appropriate hardware. And I’ve only seen people making noise about Vista reducing overclocking potential, never increasing. Its worth stating though that most people overclock for performance, if 7 were to beat out Vista in performance, it’d be a big win across the board.

  67. kchaits123 says:

    I’ve read that Windows 7 is not going to have bundled apps like photo-viewer.

    Is it true? :-)

    Live versions of these apps are FINE, and the strategy is good, as long as every customer has easy and ready access to Internet.

    That is not the case in every market.

    I am from India, and even in my country, not every home has a Internet connection.

    How will the basic tasks be handled for such users? Will they see photos in IE (like windows 98), or will the OEMs be entrusted with this responsibility of ensuring that the system they are selling is ‘complete’?

    Could you please post something on this strategy of ‘de-coupling’?

    Thanks,

  68. RuslanUrban says:

    It looks to me like the PnP protocol is ready for another spin. What are we missing and what can be improved?

    – Windows can identify the device by it’s ID, but human-readable full product model, manufacturer and description are not always available, or not displayed to the user in an intuitive way. This information must be included into the hardware signature.

    – Hardware identification information should contain a link to web pages containing information about the product and a link to the location of the latest digitally signed driver package. This can tremendously help installing and updating drivers when a network connection is available, and to troubleshoot driver issues.

    – New hardware that is Windows 7 certified must be compatible with the core Windows Hardware Class drivers (e.g. PCI Express Graphics Controller, PCI Network Adapter, USB Video Capturing Device). When a new class of hardware is created, hardware manufacturer must submit it to Microsoft for certification, after which the new Windows Hardware Class Driver can be published in the Online Windows Driver Repository.

  69. marcinw says:

    > The images you’re talking about are

    > leaked M3 shots,

    > […]

    I’m talking about really different sources… Steven needs to make release on the time and I’m going to afraid, that 7 will be mainly Vista (with Vista architecture issues) with removed by default some apps or possibility of making it (there will be added required inf/msi files)

    > It looks to me like the PnP protocol is ready

    > for another spin. What are we missing and

    > what can be improved?

    > […]

    what Microsoft could do is displaying possible vendor of device based on IDs (Intel – 8086, etc.)

    > Overclockers and such represent maybe

    > 10~15$ of the market? Less? […] Its worth

    > stating though that most people

    > overclock for performance

    > […]

    Let’s say the truth – many people read, that AMD CPUs are not so overclockable like Intel’s and because of it they don’t buy them (although will never use it). And this is not only my opinion… People hear overclockers a lot.

  70. Prixsel says:

    Even when software is limited with the CD and OS takes very small space you just can’t get rid off the fact that when you install new program then it creates install and other permanent junk files or so called backup files..

    If there would be new standards and new rules then HDD space wont get so bloated with unneeded junk files what are scattered in System32 , my documents and settings  +  my program files… <- Just hate do see what trashcan HDD will be trying out new programs..

    ( install creates files and after uninstall it leaves files and only removes from my program files <- Please change behaviors how programs store their data… )

    Still everyone’s hopes are high and wish there is point do replace WinXP

  71. RuslanUrban says:

    I certainly hope that Registry is going to be replaced with a new technology. It’s been causing grief for years.

    One idea that comes to my mind is Flat File Configuration System. The benefits seem to be obvious: you don’t need to load the entire contents of the registry into memory or implement database-like approach to accessing data. Theoretically, it should provide much cleaner application maintenance experience.

    The following configuration store locations can be used:

    – System (e.g. $WindowsConfig)

    – Shared or common (e.g. $ProgramsCommon)

    – Application (e.g. $Programs%APPLICATION%application.config)

    – User Role (e.g. $Users%USERROLE%Programs%APPLICATION%role.config)

    – Users (e.g. $Users%USERNAME%Programs%APPLICATION%user.config)

    This will also create ability to take a file copy of a user profile and restore it onto another drive (when main drive is running low in space) or onto another computer (or on the same computer after a system restore) with minimum effort. E.g.

    1) Backup $Users%USERNAME% folder;

    2) Restore $Users%USERNAME% to another computer;

    3) Create new user account and specify $Users%USERNAME% path.

    Application management would be simplified.  Backup/restore of the applications will not require re-installation. It is also possible to encrypt licensing configuration files using hardware signature as a part of the encryption key to protect from software piracy, but other mechanisms should be considered also.

    However, things like security, maintainability, scalability, performance should be analyzed.

    The registry can be kept only for compatibility with legacy applications that use COM technology for example. But, these can be run in a virtual machine mode.

  72. wtroost says:

    Vista was a frustrating release for me because for most users, I’ve had to install a virtual machine with Windows XP due to compatibility issues.

    It would be great if the next version of Windows had a built-in Virtual PC you could use to run XP applications in a transparant fashion.  For example, without seeing the Virtual PC window borders.

    This would also ease the introduction of Vista/Windows7 in the corporate environment.

  73. Richard Rayner says:

    i appreciate that vista features various ‘security’ enhancements like UAC to protect the millions of clueless users who click every link offered on their porn sites. and its possible saving the worl dform loads of zombie windows pcs clogging up the net.

    but, a vast number of people, very vocal i may add, are power users or enthusiasts. when i choose to not install AV software, i get warnings about it all the time, when i turn off UAC vista insists there is a problem until such times as i turn it on. i even had it so that uac was running but it auto eleveated, still the security center insisted it was needing fixing, so i then had to kill that.

    i’m no mac fanboy but i never remember OS X security model causing me daily greif. i cant see that an admin account being artificially blocked is the answer, most of the incompatibility comes from UAC silently causing errors on installs or programs giving the user no indication of whats wrong as the program in question is not aware of UAC and vists seems to assume that it should.

    i dont want my windows system to treat me like an idiot ‘for my own protection’.

    the mac ad with the bodyguard really hit the nail on the head (cant say i agreed with any of the other ads)

    also, get rid of this ‘idle’ tasks where if the system is idle it winds up doing other crap. this does affect seek times and grinds away while i’m doing nothing.

    fast boot into idle pc. stays idle unless i do something, and when i do something i want it started fast. when i’m done i want to shut down…fast.

    all things like printers etc come with helper apps and agents and crap that installed 20 icons in the notification area, so when i see teh desktop i then have to wait 60 seconds or more before clicking the start orb does anything, and then when i click it the start menu disapears again coz another app has just loaded.

    it’s ALL about the user experience first. not just how it looks, how it feels. i want to feel in control all the time, windows should open and close before any other task is complete.

    faster and more optimised is the way to go i reckon, take a time out frmo adding features no one knows exist anyway (like the 60 or so performance monitoring tasks that i see which a) dont help me tune my system becuase b) its those that slow it down in the first place.

    man that rant felt good, hope it reaches someone!

  74. I think one of the largest impediments to a successful release of windows is caused by the OEM’s. It’s rather ironic that the OEM’s are one of the largest distributors of Windows but yet simultaneously are the largest contributors to ruining the experience.

    I say this because of the trends I’ve seen throughout the years of assisting family and friends with computer issues, it all comes down to how clean a machine is when it’s shipped.

    Lets face it, we all know that OEM’s will always ship a configuration of a machine that’s always under powered in some areas, and charge a ridiculous figure for it. The fact is, the consumers already feel intimidated by its price tag. That’s just partially the problem, the biggest culprit is the evaluation software and third party utilities (I should add, poor quality ones as well), that are shipped with the operating system, yes with the intent to aid and assist the user in "cleaning or maintaining" their system. Furthermore the idea of evalaution software is ever so confusing to users, people associate the fact that, Office comes with Windows, as if its a core suite, this perception shouldn’t be completely blamed on the confusing product range, but should be attributed to the fact of shipping evaluation software and that users don’t even understand that the software it came installed are evaluation, they just know that they paid X amount for an X piece of equipment, and only expected it to be included.

    It’s frustrating to see family and friends purchase OEM machines and having to help them uninstall redundant utilities. I think Microsoft really needs to become more aggressive with their OEM’s, and force some compliance with what is shipped with their configured images, furthermore, they should really work with peripheral companies as well with their software they ship with devices, another problem is bloat with these software packages which causes more system resource chew ups, for example, HP, Canon, et al, all tend to ship software that’s completely redundant, is there really a need to ship fundamental tools like acrobat reader, or another photo viewing tool? It’s effectively making new innovations in the new versions of windows redundant, in this scenario, some user installs their printer software and have a photo management tool installed, does this render windows photo gallery as obsolete? After all, all file associations will be mapped to this installed utility, users won’t even have a faint clue in how to restore the associations.

    I think if Microsoft stripped away some of the flexibility for OEM’s to cause havoc, they will ultimately achieve a much better OOBE, cause quite frankly, no matter how hard Microsoft works on enhancing the OOBE, they will forever be let down through the poor configuration machines shipped in conjunction with "junk" bundled with an OEM image.

    I truly think Microsoft will be able to get it right if they addressed concerns like this.

  75. Bjartr says:

    My entire understanding of just how much goes into Windows’ backward compatibility was revamped when I read "The Old New Thing".

  76. mvadu says:

    Hi Steven,

    One of the major things that people are cribbing with Vista OEM is lack of original Windows media.

    People paid >1000$ for their high end laptops and later when they want to install a clean copy of Vista they realized their OEM never bothered to provide install media. And the restore disk was a s**t which will wipe out their 200GB HDD and the manufacturer thinks that after using the laptop for say 6months people will have a way to backup their 200GB and restore after “resorting the laptop”.

    So in the Windows7 ecosystem can you ask (or convince) the OEM to provide Windows installation media which can be used with the OEM license to do a fresh install?

  77. maurizio251076@hotmail.it says:

    Well, i write for ask you this ::

    1)In windows 7 , users should forget to make a defragmentation!!!!!

    So find a way so that the hard disk management in Windows 7, is very efficient , very fast and optimized!!!!

    No defrag for users, the user in Windows 7 must only work, not think about nothing else.

    Therefore find ways to optimize the management of records, and in performance with very low fragmentation !!!!!!!!!!

    That’s very very important, windows 7 Team!!!!!!!!!!!

    Windows 7 will be easy , very very easy!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just fragmentation, once and for all.

    The users are annoys to Defragment windows!!!!!!!!!!!

    Find a way to do this, maybe make an Api specific for this!!!!!

    2)Reduce enormously , the memory and cpu occupation and consuption and Aero interface consuption, because also this , is very very important, for the windows 7 success!!!!!

    otherwise you risk really being overtaken by competitors this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3) Multicore cpu consuption, will be balanced on each Core of quad-core and octa-core Cpu !!!!!!

    "And listen to the advice of a stupid user once every so often"

    Thanks!!!!!!

  78. theAcidix says:

    If you really want to make an OS for enthusiasts you can try a marketing move like calling it:

    Windows Pwn.

    But seriously I liked Vista with exception to some of the gutted/stripped down apps like Sound Recorder and Movie Maker. I suppose that’s what third-party programs are for, but then again, when I buy Windows Ultimate edition….. what am I paying soooo much money for??

  79. porum says:

    What kind of work has been done by Microsoft with Cablelabs to get CableCard capability for media centers to smaller PC Makers?

    Thanks

  80. porum says:

    Windows "Ecosystem"?? what this?

  81. cirurgia plastica says:

    You might be reading what we write but are you taking the information, advice, and critiques and actually using it?  I think the latest M3 release answers that question.

    The next release of Mac OS will allow me to install Mac OS X on my PC.  My PC wasn’t supported on the current Leopard because NVidia had not created drivers yet.  This will be resolved in Snow Leopard and I will be making the switch.

    I’ve made my living developing on Microsoft platforms and technology.  Heck, Microsoft probably paid for my house.  It’s time to move on though.  Too much was promised in Vista and then cut at the last minute.  I’ll see you all on the flip side (or on the way back up the stairs).

  82. Texas Driver education says:

    I was surprised to discover that if you right click an exe program in Vista and select ‘properties’, you have a choice of ‘compatibility mode’ starting with Windows 95. Incl. my favorite Win ME that had a lot of good try-out ideas for XP.

  83. I believe that these are most of the important ecosystems to get to the end user experience.  The problem comes when the end user doesn’t know what to do when something doesn’t work.  If software or hardware isn’t compatible with the OS, many people won’t even bother trying to fix it or make it work because it’s too much of a hassle.

    When you are talking about choice and customization, you come down to people who do know what they’re doing and people who don’t.  Everything has to work in tandem between the ecosystems, though it often doesn’t, which causes a majority of problems that people have with computers.

  84. "Now Social sites have become a necessary part of my life and not only for killing my time but also for my business activites, I have to spend a huge amount of time in the world of social media.

    Roughly speaking, I spend more than seven hours each day on such sites but ya I love to stay in such sites"