Continuing our discussion on performance


We’ve talked some about performance in this blog and recently many folks have been blogging and writing about the topic as well. We thought it would be a good time to offer some more behind the scenes views on how we have been working on and thinking about performance because it such an interesting topic for the folks reading this blog. Of course I’ve been using some pretty low-powered machines lately so performance is top of mind for me as well. But for fun I am writing this on my early holiday present–my new home machine is a 64-bit all-in-one desktop machine with a quad core CPU, discrete graphics, 8GB of memory, and hardware RAID all running a pretty new build of Windows 7 upgraded as soon as I finished the out of box experience. Michael Fortin and I authored this post. –Steven


Our beta isn’t even out the door yet and many are already dusting off their benchmarks and giving them a whirl. As a reminder, we are encouraging folks to hold on benchmarking our pre-production builds. Yet we’ve come to expect it will happen, and we realize it will lead many to conclude one thing or another, and at the same time we appreciate those of you who take the time to remind folks of the pre-ship status of the code. Nevertheless we’re happy that many are seeing good results thus far. We’re not yet as happy as we believe we will be when we finish the product as we continue to work on all the fundamental capabilities of Windows 7 as well as all the new features folks are excited about.


Writing about performance in this blog is nearly as tricky as measuring it. As we’ve seen directional statements are taken further than we might intend and at the same time there are seemingly infinite ways to measure performance and just as many ways to perceive the same data. Ultimately, performance is something each individual feels is right–whether than means adequate or stellar might vary scenario to scenario, individual to individual. Some of the mail we’ve received has been clear about performance:



  • Boot-very very fast in all applications ( open-load applications) especially so many simultaneously!!!!! Hence, massive multicore ( quad-octa core cpu) , gpgpu for all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • This is right time to do this properly, the users want speed, we’ll give them speed.

  • i want to be able to run windows 7 extremely fast and still look good graphically on a asus aspire one netbook with these specs-1.5 ghz intel atom processor (single core) 1gb of ram

  • I hope that in addition to improvements in the gui and heart (I hope massive multicore + 64-bit + Directx 11 ..extreme performance, etc) for windows 7, modified the feature Flip 3d In Windows 7!!!!! Try to make a Flip 3D feature, really efficient and sensible in windows 7.

  • With regard to the performance thing, could you look at ways to reduce the penalty of having a lot of fonts installed.

  • From performance, boot up, explorer speed and UI experience , I hope the next version of windows delivers something new and innovating. I was playing with the new UI on the HP TouchPC and I have to say they did a great 1.0 job on the touch interface controls.

  • I do keep my fingers crossed for Windows 7 to be dramatically better in its performance than Windows Vista.

  • The biggest feature I see a lot of people wanting is performance.

You can also see through some of these quotes that performance means something different to different people. As user-interface folks know, perceived performance and actual performance can often be different things. I [Steven] remember when I was writing a portion of the Windows UI for Visual C++ and when I benchmarked against Borland C++ at the time, we were definitely faster (measured by seconds). However the reviews consistently mentioned Borland as being faster and providing feedback in the form of counts of lines compiled flying by. So I coded up a line count display that flashed a lot of numbers at you while compiling (literally flashy so it looked like it couldn’t keep up). In clock times it actually consumed a non-zero amount of time so we got “slower” but the reviewers then started giving us credit for being faster. So in this case slower actually got faster.


There’s another story from the past that is the flip side of this which is the scrolling speed in Microsoft Word for DOS (and also Excel for Windows–same dynamic). BillG always pushed hard on visible performance in the “early” days and scrolling speed was one of those things that never seemed to be fast enough. Well clever folks worked hard on the problem and subsequently made scrolling too fast–literally to the point that we had to slow it down so you didn’t always end up going from page 1 to the end of the document just because you hold down the page down key. It is great to be fast, but sometimes there is “too much speed”.


We have seen the feedback about what to turn off or adjust for better performance. In many ways what we’re seeing are folks hoping to find the things that cause the performance to be less than they would like. I had an email conversation with someone recently trying to pinpoint the performance issues on a new laptop. Just by talking through it became clear the laptop was pretty “clean” (~40 processes, half the 1GB of RAM free, <5% CPU at idle, etc.) and after a few back and forths it became clear it was the internet connection (dial-up) that was actually the biggest bottleneck in the system. Many encourage us to turn off animations, graphics, or even color as there is a belief that these can be the root of performance. We’ve talked about the registry, disk space utilization, and even color depth as topics where folks see these as potential performance issues.


It is important to consider that performance is inherently a time/space tradeoff (computer science sense, not science fiction sense), and on laptops there is the added dimension of power consumption (or CPU utilization). Given infinite memory, of course many algorithms would be very different than the ones we use. In finite memory, performance is impacted greatly by the overall working set of a scenario. So in many cases when we talk about performance we are just as much talking about reducing the amount of memory consumed as we are talking about the clock time. Some parts of the OS are much more tunable in terms of the memory they use, which then improves the overall performance of the system (because there is less paging). Other parts of the system are much more about the number of instructions executed (because perhaps every operation goes through that code path). We work a great deal on both!


The reality of measuring and improving performance is one where we are focused at several “levels” in Windows 7: micro-benchmarks, specific scenarios, system tuning. Each of these plays a critical role in how we are engineering Windows 7 and while any single one can be measured it is not the case that one can easily conclude the performance of the system from a measurement.


Micro-benchmarks. Micro-benchmarks are the sort of tests that stress a specific subsystem at extreme levels. Often these are areas of the code that are hard to see the performance of during usage as they go by very fast or account for a small percentage of time during overall execution. So tests are designed to stress part of the system. Many parts of the system are subjected to micro-benchmarking such as the file system, networking, memory management, 2D and 3D graphics, etc. A good example here is the work we do to enable fast file copying. There is a lot of low level code that accounts for a (very significant) number of conditions when copying files around, and that code is most directly executed through XCOPY in a command window (or an API). Of course the majority of copy operations take place through the explorer and along with that comes a progress indicator, cancellable operation, counting up bytes to copy, etc. All of those have some cost with the benefit as well. The goal of micro-benchmarks is to enable us to best understand the best possible case and then compare it to the most usable case. Advanced folks always have access to the command line for more power, control, and flexibility. It is tempting to measure the performance of the system by looking at improvements in micro-benchmarks, but time and time again this proves to be inadequate as routine usage covers a much broader code path and time is spent in many places. For Internet Explorer 8 we did a blog post on performance that went into this type issue relative to script performance. At the other end of the spectrum we definitely understand the performance of micro-benchmarks on some subsystems will be, and should be, carefully measured –the performance of directx graphics is an area that gamers rely on for example. It is worth noting that many micro-benchmarks also depend heavily on a combination of Windows OS, hardware, and specific drivers.


Specific scenarios. Most people experience the performance of a PC through high level actions such as booting, standby/resume, launching common applications. These are topics we have covered in previous posts to some degree. In Engineering Windows 7, each team has focused on a set of specific scenarios that are ones we wanted to make better. This type of the work should be demonstrable without any elaborate setup or additional tools. This work often involves tuning the code path for the number of instructions executed, looking at the data allocated for the common case, or understanding all the OS APIs called (for example registry lookups). One example that comes to mind is the work that we have going on to reduce the time to reinsert a USB device. This is particularly noticeable for UFD (USB flash drives) or memory cards. Windows of course allows the whole subsystem to be plumbed by unique drivers for a specific card reader or UFD, even if most of the time they are the same we still have to account for the variety in the ecosystem. At the start of the project we looked at a full profile of the code executed when inserting a UFD and worked this scenario end-to-end. Then systematically each of the “hot spots” was worked through. Another example along these lines was playback of DVD movies which involves not only the storage subsystem but the graphics subsystem as well. The neat thing about this scenario is that you also want to optimize for the CPU utilization (which you might not even notice while playing back the movie) as that dictates the power consumption.


System tuning. A significant amount of performance work falls under the umbrella of system tuning. To ascertain what work we do in this area we routinely look at the overall performance of the system relative to the same tests on previous builds and previous releases of Windows. We’re looking for things that we can do to remove operations that take a lot of time/space/power or things that have “grown” in one of those dimensions. We have build-to-build testing we do to make sure we do not regress and of course every developer is responsible for making sure their area improves as well. We left no stone unturned in terms of investigating opportunities to improve. One of the areas many will notice immediately when looking at the pre-beta or beta of Windows 7 is the memory usage (as measured by task manager, itself a measurement that can be misunderstood) of the desktop window manager. For Windows 7, a substantial amount of architectural work went into reducing the amount of memory consumed by the subsystem. We did this work while also maintaining compatibility with the Windows Vista drivers. We did similar work on the desktop search engine where we reduced not just the memory footprint, but the I/O footprint as well. One the most complex areas to work on was the improvements in the taskbar and start menu. These improvements involved substantial work on critical sections (“blocking” areas of the code), registry I/O, as well as overall code paths. The goal of this work is to make sure these UI elements are always available and feel snappy.


It is worth noting that there are broad based measures of performance as well that drive the user interface of a selection of applications. These too have their place–they are best used to compare different underlying hardware or drivers with the same version of Windows. The reason for this is that automation itself is often version dependent and because automation happens in a less than natural manner, there can be a tendency to measure these variances rather than any actual perceptible performance changes. The classic example is the code path for drawing a menu drop down–adding some instructions that might make the menu more accessible or more appealing would be impossible to perceive by a human, but an automated system that drives the menu at super human speed would see a change in “performance”. In this type of situation the effect of a micro-benchmark is magnified in a manner inconsistent with actual usage patterns. This is just a word of caution on how to consider such measurements.


Given this focus across different types of measurement it is important to understand that the overall goal we have for Windows 7 is for you to experience a system that is as good as you expect it to be. The perception of performance is just as important as specific benchmarks and so we have to look to a broad set of tools as above to make sure we are operating with a complete picture of performance.


In addition to these broad strategies there are some specific tools we’ve put in place. One of these tools, PerfTrack, takes the role of data to the next level with regard to performance and so will play a significant role in the beta. In addition, it is worth reminding folks about the broad set of efforts that go into engineering for performance:



  • We’ve been building out and maintaining a series of runs that measure thousands of little and big things. We’ve been running these before developer check-ins and maintaining performance and responsiveness at a level above which all that self-host our builds will find acceptable. These gates have kept the performance and responsiveness of our daily builds at a high enough level that thousands have found it possible to run their main systems on Windows 7 for extended periods of time, doing their normal daily work.

  • We’ve been driving down footprint, reducing our service costs, improving the efficiency of key code paths, refactoring locks to improve scalability, reducing hangs, improving our I/O efficiency and much more. These are scenario driven based on real world execution paths we know from our telemetry to be common.

  • We’ve been partnering closely with the top OEMs, ISVs and IHVs. Our tools have been made public, we’ve held numerous training sessions, and we’ve been focusing heavily on shipping systems in an effort to insure customers get great performing systems out of the box, with great battery life too.

  • Within the Windows dev team, we’ve placed a simple trace capturing tool on everyone’s desktop. This desktop tool allows each person to run 24×7 with performance tracing enabled. If anything seems slow or sluggish, they can immediately save the last minute-or-so of activity and send it for automated analysis. Additionally, a team of people visually inspect the traces for new issues or issues not yet decipherable by our automation. The traces are incredibly rich and allow us to get to the root of top issues most of the time.

  • For all Pre-Beta, Beta and RTM users, we’ve developed a new form of instrumentation and have used it to instrument over 500 locations in the operating system and inbox applications. This new instrumentation is simple in concept, but revolutionary in result. The tool is called PerfTrack, and it has helped confirm our belief that the client benchmarks aren’t too informative about real user responsiveness issues.

Perftrack is a very flexible, low overhead, dynamically configurable telemetry system. For key scenarios throughout Windows 7, there exist “Start” and “Stop” events that bracket the scenario. Scenarios can be pretty much anything; including common things like opening a file, browsing to a web page, opening the control panel, searching for a document, or booting the computer. Again, there are over 500 instrumented scenarios in Windows 7 for Beta.


Obviously, the time between the Stop and Start events is meant to represent the responsiveness of the scenario and clearly we’re using our telemetry infrastructure to send these metrics back to us for analysis. Perftrack’s uniqueness comes not just from what it measure but from the ability to go beyond just observing the occurrence of problematic response times. Perftrack allows us to “dial up” requests for more information, in the form of traces.


Let’s consider the distribution below and, for fun, let’s pretend the scenario is opening XYZ. For this scenario, the feature team chose to set some goals for responsiveness. With their chosen goals, green depicts times they considered acceptable, yellow represents times they deemed marginal, and red denotes the poor times. The times are in milliseconds and shown along the X axis. The Hit Count is shown on the Y axis.


Graph measuring responsiveness goals and real world data.


As can be seen, there are many instances where this scenario took more than 5 seconds to complete. With this kind of a distribution, the performance team would recommend that we “dial up” a request for 100+ traces from systems that have experienced a lengthy open in the past. In our “dialed up” request, we would set a “threshold” time that we thought was interesting. Additionally, we we may opt to filter on machines with a certain amount of RAM, a certain class of processor, the presence of specific driver, or any number of other things. Clients meeting the criteria would then, upon hitting the “Start” event, configure and enable tracing quickly and potentially send back to us if the “Stop” event occurred after our specified “threshold” of time.


As you might imagine, a good deal of engineering work went into making this end to end telemetry and feedback system work. Teams all across the Windows division have contributed to make this system a reality and I can assure you we’ll never approach performance the same now that we have these capabilities.


As a result of focusing on traces and fixing the very real issue revealed by them, we’ve seen significant improvements in actual responsiveness and have received numerous accolades on Windows 7. Additionally, I’d like to point out that these traces have served to further confirm what we’ve long believed t be the case.


This post provides an overview of the ways we have thought about performance with some specifics about how we measure it throughout the engineering of Windows 7. We believe that throughout the beta we will continue to have great telemetry to help make sure we are achieving our goals and that people perceive Windows 7 to perform well relative to their expectations.


We know many folks will continue to use stop watches, micro-benchmarks, or to drive automated tests. These each have their place in your own analysis and also in our engineering. We thought given all the interest we would talk more about how we measure things and how we’re engineering the product.


–Steven and Michael

Comments (129)

  1. hollamon says:

    One thing I’d like to request is for issues around over-grown filecache problems on x64 machines to be looked at.

    It’s not uncommon in vista x64 (on a 4gb machine) for the file cache to grow to 4+gb, and cause low memory error issues.  It seems to actively push out memory of active desktop processes (which should never get paged, minimized or not), which then causes thrashing when you return to these.

    In addition, this memory contention causes a really surprising performance hit:  after closing an app that consumed a great deal of memory.  

    In the default state, after closing Eclipse, for example, this will cause the drive to thrash hard for a minute or two.  When consulting Resource Monitor, its a normal-io-priority process hitting the pagefile.

    Because of all the disk activity, the desktop is slowed down.  Why would closing an app cause a minute or two of disk-thrashing ever, on a 4gb machine that never uses more than 4gb of memory (not including the horrible file cache)?  

    When doing some research on this, I discovered this post on the ‘ntdebugging’ blog:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/archive/2007/11/27/too-much-cache.aspx

    After reading that and the linked article, I started using Russinovich’s CacheSet tool to constantly force the file cache down to 50MB.

    This results in dramatically increased performance (perceived at least) in normal operations, at some minor cost to startup of big apps and login scenarios.  

    But the important thing is that now, with that change, the laptop is well behaved all the time, even after closing eclipse or vstudio, and the disk does precisely … nothing.  Which is wonderful.

    Something to consider, as excessive drive thrashing due to an overly aggressive file cache on x64 systems seems to be a performance problem, at least for some subset of users such as myself.

  2. Jembe says:

    Good post, but what I really miss is the discussion on what you call ‘perceived performance’. There are a lot of settings in Windows that are designed to "help" users but have a HUGE perceived performance cost.

    For example, On the ‘System Properties’ dialog –> ‘Advanced’ tab –> Performance Settings window, you can choose the setting ‘animate windows when minimizing and maximizing’. I always disable this setting because I like windows to be snappy as you call it and not take ages to fade in / out to / from the taskbar. I think this setting should be disabled by default in Windows 7; it will greatly improve perceived performance for the end user. The ‘benefit’ of this fading in / out is only limited anyway; users need to discover only once that windows go to the taskbar when minimizing. So please turn this off by default!

  3. All-in-one with RAID? Sounds like a Sony… I got a Touchsmart, though the specs are far from the same. But my main machine sounds identical spec wise (not an all-in-one). But it is strange how slow it can feel at times.

    Something like 10% of the time it feels so slow I want to pull my hair out, and the other 90% of the time I never think of performance (meaning that it is good). It can drive me nuts when an application (IE, Outlook, etc.) can’t even show its menu when hitting the menu bar (the second click grays out the whole window for a time).

    That and loggging in — every IM app want to startup and log immediately, all at the same time. Live Mesh too. Everything. I swear they all use just one CPU core between them.

    Which brings me to my pet peeve — if I start using an app like IE, and start typing — one of those startup items gets going and takes the focus away. So I have to click the window again and start typing — nope. Another did it — I have to click again on the window, see what letters didn’t make it and start typing again — oh wait, I have to start again — wait I didn’t type anything — click that window again! No… again! Again! Type real fast before the focus is gone (and doesn’t even seem to go to any other window). Oh heck, just go get a coffee until the blasted machine will let me work…

  4. jetblueISAM says:

    @steveandmicheal

    I think this was an excellent post and it definitely gave us a more informative outline of just how serious Microsoft is about giving its customers a faster and more responsive system, perceived or not ;). After looking over some of the pre-beta builds online and reviews, it looks like Windows 7 is heading in the right direction.  Performance is a big deal for some of my customers with the bigger ones having over 60,000 systems with most of them holding out on Windows Vista because it just does not perform acceptably on Dell D610, Dell D620 and other older laptop systems. Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 on these systems – Forget It! Unfortunately, I think you have a perception problem to overcome in regards to Vista.  I think the performance improvements will go a long way but you also need to make some improvements to the GUI. I know the taskbar is a start but on top of that you need to give users a feeling that Windows 7 is a new and exciting system…A cleaner Windows UI that is not exactly like Windows Vista along with the continued performance objectives will make this OS the best since Windows ME ;). You would not believe how many comments I’ve received from avid PC users reading Build 6956 reviews about how MS finally put a nice little graphic at system boot even though its just colored orbs coming together to form a Windows logo. I know..very simple and flashy. However, good looks, great functionality and high performance go a long way. With that said..Thank you all for continuing to prove that Microsoft is moving in the right direction with Windows 7.  Keep up all the good work and I look forward to contributing to the beta.

  5. dovella says:

    Nice post Thank’s !!!

    PS. No vacation 😀

  6. steven_sinofsky says:

    @Jembe — you make an interesting point.  I was speaking with one of the many reviewers at our reviewer’s workshop and their point used the same setting, but drew the opposite conclusion.  This person said "there are settings like window animation that I know technical people say they turn off for improved performance, but you need to leave those on and add more of them–performance is not just speed, but also the perception of being in control and feedback" [not an exact quote but close].

    I think your point and this point show how even perceived performance has multiple perspectives for the same thing.  

    –Steven

  7. hacked ghost says:

    umm i was just wondering that what if you could make the fastest version of windows WITH effects(unlike vista).please make windows 7 a success

  8. ignitedfirestarter says:

    I know that performance is a big thing, and I am well aware that there is much that can be done in Windows to improve performance; but am I missing something when hundreds of people are commenting with stupid demands about maximising speed and having a flashy UI, whilst running on the equivalent of an old ZX Spectrum?!

    People just need to be a little more realistic, that’s all I am saying. Maybe that’s where Windows 7 excel – it should scale itself down well, so that it runs acceptably on all machines.

  9. dovella says:

    @ Mr. Steven

    All in one

    8gb

    quad core

    Discrete Gpu

    by chance in multitouch 😀 ?

    curiosity

    Last Build of Windows 7 is 7XXXX

    as I read a post by Paul T. ?

  10. Magumi says:

    I believe that for most users, the most visible measure of performance of the operating system is how much and how often they have to wait for foreground tasks to complete. For example, it bothers me when I have to wait for files a folders to show up when saving or opening files from an application or when opening the Explorer, with the entire computer freezing for five or more seconds, but I don’t really care whether something like automatic backup or indexing, which run in the backgrounds, take a minute or two longer.

    Another example of a feature that would make the overall experience smoother and more fluent would be the ability of the system to save the state of the desktop in the event of application- or system-forced restart, such as after Windows Update. It would be nice to click restart, go make some coffee and return a couple of minutes later with all applications running as they were before restart, all the files opened and the computer ready to work.

  11. briantist says:

    This all certainly sounds quite excellent, and it is nice to hear that Microsoft is doing some proper performance enhancement with Windows 7.

    Just a few ideas.  

    1) There needs to be testing on "degraded" and "compromised" systems too, to see what the effect will be a few years hence on the OS performance.    Microsoft can’t rely on future on users choosing a new version of Windows to replace an old one that is performing badly, as in the past.

    2) Performance should not be hit when predicable but infrequent problems occur.  For example, a Wifi network going down, a problem with DNS on a corporate network, sudden network congestion, an accidentally removed Flash device and so forth.  

    3) Performance after "hibernation" has always been an issue ("cron-style" processes that decide to trigger for each of the missed minutes) and this needs to be tested both virtually (by clock adjustment) and for real.  

    4) Windows 7 needs to monitor its own performance and make suggestions to the user when problems occur, for example messages about disk usage, defragmentation, even adding extra memory – using real world calculations such as the time, cost and simplicity.

  12. AndrewDucker says:

    sroussey has a very good point there – startup time would _seem_ a lot faster if I didn’t keep losing focus.  It’s something that seems blindingly dumb in Windows – that my focus can be whipped out from under me while I’m in mid-type.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been typing something, had a dialog come out of nowhere, be dismissed because I’d hit space as part of what I was already typing, and vanish, leaving me with no idea what I’d just agreed to.  Having that happen repeatedly during startup is beyond frustrating.

  13. yken says:

    1.  Lets say i change "logonui" with a edited one and windows dont start. I know this is not common but why windows cannot undersand this exe file is misssing and it doesnot put it back from its backup. For just a only one sys file system cannot start, last week this happened to me of a ndis.sys or something like this. İ had to restore from backup for just one file.

    2. Still there are small dialog windowses like folder options  and advanced properties etc.

    Why they dont change these to bigger one?

  14. Jalf says:

    When I think of Windows performance issues, it’s not so much the overall performance or responsiveness in normal conditions that bothers me. It’s the 30+ second periods during boot where nothing seems to be happening, no disk activity and task manager shows 0% CPU, and apparently, all the processses starting up are just stumbling over each others, and none of them actually get any closer to loading. It’s Explorer’s magical single-threadedness. One wrong click on a network or floppy drive, and *every* Explorer window freezes up until some humongous timeout has expired. Or NTFS’s seemingly incredible file access time (Subjective, and I haven’t done any specific testing on this, but doing something which requires touching a lot of files, such as compiling large C++ projects or checking dependencies for same, seems to be significantly slower than under other OS’es with other filesystems. And of course, it’s the amazingly excruciatingly slow installers and other non-essential software (Generally only Microsoft software seems guilty of this, although not actually Windows itself. But Visual Studio, TFS Team Explorer, SQL Server and even service packs all require incredible amounts of temporary disk space and enough CPU time to compute more than a few Folding@Home packets).

    And finally, another very subjective point, is the apparent step backwards in Vista. It seems every action got just a bit slower, because there had to be more time for intricate animations and graphical transitions, which don’t really seem to add more of a sense of "control and feedback" as you said above, but simply just inject a few more milliseconds of nothingness between your action and the feedback for it.

    And the apparently overengineered workarounds to "optimize" media playback by throttling network activity, speeding up network copying in specific  cases, by vastly slowing it down in others and other instances which to an outsider just looks like hugely overcomplicated workarounds to avoid fixing the

  15. Asesh says:

    Windows 7 benchmark:

    XP vs Windows 7: http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3187

    That’s really impressive. I saw many screen shots of Windows 7 build 6956. It seems like just like Vista and 7 server, their boot screens will be the same. I have both Vista and WS 2008 server installed (dual boot) and when either one is booting, I often get confused which one is booting, and only to find out when the welcome screen appears. You guys should put a text or logo of Windows 7 and/or it’s server so that we won’t be confused which OS is booting.

    And the explorer of Windows 7 is pretty much unchanged. Am sure you guys have used Mac. When it’s come to ease of use, it will blow Windows away. I was expecting explorer with ribbon UI which would expose the features esp the ones that are hidden deep under explorer like shadow copy etc right in front of our eyes. Ribbon has made using office so much fun and easy. Everything I use are just there, just in front of my screen. But the applications that are never or often used like Wordpad and Paint have ribbon integrated. And as usual, please update that ugly basic theme, it’s still unchanged…Hope you guys will take those things into consideration.

  16. d_e says:

    This was once again one of the best posts in all Microsoft Blogs. I think you do a great job and do it the right way. Congrats!

    Windows 7 feels very snappy. I don’t really care if it performs faster in benchmarks. I only care about percieved performance. The only two things that should/could be snappier are:

    – Hardware/driver related things (removing drivers, installing drivers, …). Not important.

    – Resume after hibernate.

    – Explorer. Very important.

    Explorer still slows down when creating thumbnails. When I double click a video I expect WMP to open and play. But instead the green bar in the adress bar moves around and I have to wait 10+ seconds until the video starts. The same thing happens when I try to delete a video – Explorer just sits there for several seconds before the "Do you really want to"-dialog pops up. It looks like it’s trying to create a thumbnail first (to display it in the dialog). Why can’t it show the dialog first and then create the thumbnail?

    Anyway: I’m enjoying Win7 and the stuff I read here. You’re doing it right!

  17. Asesh says:

    *It seems just like Vista, Windows 7*

    corrected that mistake 😛

  18. dovella says:

    @Asesh

    even if the bench is positive ,

    is stupid to do bench now  6801,6956etc etc

  19. Asesh says:

    *Vista and server 2008*

    same typing mistake correction from my first post.

    Why can’t we edit our post after we have posted once?

  20. stevex says:

    A clean install of Windows is, in my opinion, plenty fast today.  But use that same installation of Windows for a year, installing and upgrading applications in a typical usage pattern, and performance degrades.

    Do you have any benchmarks or metrics that cover the change in performance over time?

    In my opinion the need to re-pave a machine every year or two to regain performance is Windows’s biggest drawback.

  21. gsnedders says:

    Is the telemetry going to be opt-in/opt-out? I know there are plenty of people who will have privacy concerns with it (no matter how anonymous it is).

  22. hicks says:

    I love this blog! Such cool insight.

    If I may contribute my 2c… There are 2 things that annoy the heck out of me performance-wise and they haven’t been mentioned previously. I’d like to vent.

    1) CD/DVD spin-ups. When you leave a CD in the drive and you’re not using it, programs like media players and Explorer will hang periodically to spin up the disc before displaying menus or whatever even when i’m not trying to access the disc. It still wants to querey everything and make sure its still there, I guess. It annoys me. I usually keep cds out of the drive when i’m not actively using them because of this.

    2) When the computer starts doing some background operation that kills the performance, like a virus scan, i usually hit CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to pull up Task Manager/Process Explorer to investigate what it is that’s taxing the system. To my extreme annoyance, the task manager window doesn’t come up until whatever it is that was taxing my system has finished. Then, obviously the task manager can show me nothing of importance.

    Its not so much that I can’t see what it was, but that Windows doesn’t make ME the highest authority for issuing nstructions aside from the most critical tasks. To me, that’s the key to perceived performance.

  23. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    briantist

    "4) Windows 7 needs to monitor its own performance and make suggestions to the user when problems occur, for example messages about disk usage, defragmentation, even adding extra memory – using real world calculations such as the time, cost and simplicity."

    I think this is a very intresting point, we see that in Vista a little bit(Aero on or off like the Benchmark, Index say it)

    So you can improve that in Seven(and please print on the Pack that you sell "Seven" and not "7" 😉 to get spezified performance settings right from installation(user dont need to do something)…

    And now something i wish otherwise:

    1. Activate: Start Explorer window in its own Process.

    2. Dont activate: Hide know file extensions.

  24. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    @hicks

    1. They have done that in Windows 7 Build 6801…

  25. anony.muos says:

    After few months of usage, the performance still continues to go down. (The PDC build still on one of my desktops has after 1.5 months slowed down at startup horribly.) Any efforts in that regard? Why does it slow down even after restoring the registry and clearing up disk space and defragging? Are you testing builds on any systems for long-term performance impacts (difficult because the builds themselves keep improving in performance)?

    Another topic I am deeply concerned about is Windows Live. I fear the design and engineering principles of Windows 7 aren’t being applied to the Windows Live Essentials desktop suite. It continues to suck in performance and disk space areas, resulting in an inferior experience. Just today, the beta refresh/RC1 was released and I’m totally displeased after installing it on my laptop which runs Windows 7 very fast. Windows Live desktop applications are in every way, part of the OS (even though they may not be shipping with it).

    hicks has a point too that is really happening right now on my Windows 7 6956 install. Windows Media Player starts up quickly but takes long before anything can be done because it is spinning up and trying to access my CD/DVD drives as well as some USB flash drives (for AutoPlay and device syncing).

    Lastly, the aspect of performance (maybe perceived) where Vista angered me the most was the huge logon and shutdown time whenever updates were installed. Why should I bother what Windows does to "configure" updates, I do not want to wait a second longer for Windows to configure updates because previous versions did not require me to wait. I don’t need to know why or how the new servicing stack betters the reliablity and stability of the system. People won’t report on this issue during the beta because very few updates/hotfixes are released for development builds.

  26. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    @someone:

    Cant agree with any of this points, Windows 7 Build 6801, running now from PDC and its still running with same performance…also Live Apps have no impact to system performance…

  27. ramakandra says:

    …the way you have networked all the machines to troubleshoot issues is awesome…

    …seems like such a simple idea now…

    …but it is certainly going to change things…

    …way to go with that implementation…

    …im sure it was complicated…

    …very exciting times…

  28. DavidFie says:

    Quick intro…I work for Mike Fortin on the client performance team.

    @gsnedders

    The PerfTrack telemetry is part of the Customer Experience Improvement Program (see http://www.microsoft.com/products/ceip/en-us/default.mspx) and thus will be opt-in when we release.

    @Someone, bluefisch200 and others

    We call this problem "Performance degradation over time" internally.  .  While many people don’t experience this (myself included), we do recognize that some of our customers do.  I’ve seen this in relatives machines (yes, like many, I get called on for help) and I’ve heard enough reports from friends and acquaintances to understand that it’s a real issue.  We’ve also learned that there are many factors contributing to the overall problems in different degrees in different systems.  These factors include Malware, poorly behaved drivers or services, and some Windows issues which we’ve addressed in Win7 as well as some which we’re still working on.

    The PerfTrack telemetry will help us understand more about this area to improve both Windows and the ecosystem much like the Windows Error Reporting system has improved application and systems crashes and hangs over the last several years.

  29. Fredledingue says:

    Yes, indeed very exiting to read this.

    Do you realize that w7 will be the 1st Windows OS ever to have better performance (and lower requirements) than the previous version?

    This is a revolution at MS if you ask me.

    Talking about requirement you still didn’t talk about that. Will improved performance reduce req.? (I’d love to run w7 on my 6Y-old PC)

    Technical performance (or efficiency) is when the OS doesn’t slow down a process from a 3d party app and interracts with it as fast as possible (opening files etc).

    The problem we see today is that some softwares and scripts slow down the system outside their normal area of action. I’m thinking of scripts on some websites more specificaly. One interresting way to improve performance and maintain resource availability could be to have a strategy to combat rogue codes. Especialy when the "close" button has been pressed on the app window.

    Percieved performance is not realy "performace" and is less important as soon as we have the option to tweak the UI.

    Jembe wrote: " ‘animate windows when minimizing and maximizing’. … I think this setting should be disabled by default in Windows 7; it will greatly improve perceived performance for the end user."

    Then Steven wrote:"  I was speaking with one of the many reviewers at our reviewer’s workshop and their point used the same setting, but drew the opposite conclusion.  This person said "there are settings like window animation that I know technical people say they turn off for improved performance, but you need to leave those on and add more of them–performance is not just speed, but also the perception of being in control and feedback""

    ????

    I don’t know to whom you was talking with but that had to be pretty wierd poeple.

    Windows animation tire the brain, create useless visual events, are against philosophy of work efficiency. It reminds me the "go-slow" in the administration of New-New-York in Futurama: Officers has to stand on a levitating platforms which move them from one room to another at slower speed than they would have by walking. The goal of the administration being to be slow as we all know. Sure like that Windows fit perfectly for these places! 😉

    Seriousely if it’s better for advanced users, it must be also for normal users IMO.

  30. steven_sinofsky says:

    @Someone, bluefisch200 and others in addition to DavidFie’s reply…

    For the tech-savvy readers who have been working on 6801, one thing you could do is compare your current 6801 installation to a clean install.  Just open up taskmgr and look at the process count, memory, cpu utilization and compare that to the baseline 6801.  While this is some "work" for folks on the beta, it would also be instructional as we learn together how to better understand and act on the feedback.

    As DavidFie said we understand some of the causes and a great many of course are beyond our direct influence.  Personally, I was exchanging mail with someone this morning who was experiencing excessive disk i/o and it became clear that it was not a feature of Windows but a function of a program that was clearly doing something that this person did not intend.  The ability to diagnose this by using the reliability monitor in Windows Vista was a new tool in the toolbox so to speak.

    Anyone is welcome to send me the before and after taskmgr listings for 6801 and I will be more than happy to learn from them (I can’t promise a full support/diagnosis if I get a lot of these).

    –Steven

  31. steven_sinofsky says:

    @Fredledingue — I think it is fair to leave a little room for differing views.  Some people do prefer a richer user-interaction and it does feel more responsive to them because it is interactive.  Looking at sports on tv these days shows that just having boring white overlay for scores is not as interesting to a mass audience even if some feel it is "tiring on the eyes".

    Again, I am not saying anyone is right or wrong but just that there are many perspectives that are equally valid.

    –Steven

  32. Fredledingue says:

    @Steven

    Absolutely.

    Just note, for the sake of discussion, that percieved lack of performance rarely takes the shape of something unexpectedly disapearing from the screen, but instead of something slow to go, leaving a residual shape or not going away at all.

    Also the intent of reducing a window is to see what is behind it. When we hit the reduce button, our brain expect to see, for example, the desktop. The animation just make it longer to deliver the brain satisfaction of seeing this desktop.

    I wonder how many users are realy aware that this is an intended visual effect and not a naturaly slow process… Would be interresting to conduct a study about that (one day your team has nothing to do -lol-)

    Maybe for some it’s cool because they have time to think about something else in the meantime,  I don;t know… 😉

  33. jetblueISAM says:

    @steven

    I’ve seen significant strides in performance efforts but I have a question. Does Microsoft have a valid reason why the typical Microsoft OS slows down over time? I believe that I hear this comment too often for it to be considered perceived performance but I may be wrong.  Any technical insight into this matter would be great or maybe you’ve been working on it in this revision?  Thanks much!

  34. Knipoog says:

    @Stevex "In my opinion the need to re-pave a machine every year or two to regain performance is Windows’s biggest drawback."

    Yes, I agree!

    But the way w7 will be distributed (with Media Player, with outlook, with IE etc) is also a big drawback!

    Distribution is a discussion I very much miss!

    Regards, Knipoog

  35. locolorenzo says:

    @Steven

    I have been testing 6801 since the PDC, it works above my expectations in most areas, I am using it on a 10 year old laptop and it is actually more snappy & responsive than XP sp3.

    I am wondering one thing where are the Beta Invitations that were promised…I have not received one yet!

    LLR

  36. dovella says:

    @locolorenzo

    This is Private Beta , no pubblic beta.

    prior to deploying something audiences need a test

  37. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    @steven

    "Anyone is welcome to send me the before and after taskmgr listings for 6801 and I will be more than happy to learn from them (I can’t promise a full support/diagnosis if I get a lot of these)."

    How can we send you these files?

  38. Jembe says:

    Steven: fair enough, I can understand non power users actually like this setting. Just make sure this can always be turned off for us experienced users 🙂 This is actually the only Performance Settings window setting that I turn off; I find the rest of them very useful. Maybe your team can tweak it some more for it to be less intrusive while still achieving it’s goal.

    Also, something not related to performance: I dislike that the bread crumbs bar in Windows Vista does not always show to top most folder (i.e. Computer) when browsing for example the Documents folder. I find the arrows between the breadcrumbs very hard to use (easy to miss, not easy to switch to folders). If I can always navigate to the top most ‘folder’ (i.e. Computer) with one click, I can easily navigate to the folder I want.

  39. "I’ve seen significant strides in performance efforts but I have a question. Does Microsoft have a valid reason why the typical Microsoft OS slows down over time? I believe that I hear this comment too often for it to be considered perceived performance but I may be wrong.  Any technical insight into this matter would be great or maybe you’ve been working on it in this revision?  Thanks much! "

    I think that Steven and DavidFie answered your question above:  To quote David: "These factors include Malware, poorly behaved drivers or services, and some Windows issues which we’ve addressed in Win7 as well as some which we’re still working on.

    The PerfTrack telemetry will help us understand more about this area to improve both Windows and the ecosystem much like the Windows Error Reporting system has improved application and systems crashes and hangs over the last several years."

  40. dovella says:

    Vista not slows down  over time!

    probably all depends on user

  41. hicks says:

    I wonder if all this data could be actively compiled into a public database that matched a change to the system to the affect it had on performance or reliability.

    I guess W7 would submit the information back to MS similar to the way it reports crash reports. As end-users’ data populated the system, it might be a good tool to refer to before installing a driver, or enabling a feature.

    It would be something like a wiki, except your PC does the contribution in the background.

    You could see how similar systems were affected by installing a new graphics driver or disabling visual affects.

    Over time, it would probably be very useful in isolating shoddy software and illustrating its negative impact.

  42. splxtreme says:

    I have posted this before, but there are a lot of people out there that like the visual effects. Even if they are cool for a short time. I see all time from people, "why doesn’t Microsoft have customizable visuals like compiz, or better minimize effects like Genie in OS X" I for one, would like to see something like this, or at least an expansion pack or something. I’m the type of person that customizes everything. Just to be different.

    Also, multiple desktops would be a nice feature too. Very useful for work. I’m a system administrator and use Dameware, pcanywhere, RDP, HP and SUN ILO’s, and would be nice to have these on different desktops. I know that there are 3rd party software, but these are not always stable.

  43. manicmarc says:

    The reason Windows slows down over time seems to be (from my experience) software like iTunes, RealPlayer, QuickTime, Skype, etc all needlessly loading themselves at startup. In many cases it’s simply for brand awareness (why, oh why do you need a QuickTime icon in the system tray? Why doesn’t Apple feel that Mac users need an icon on their menu bar? Oh of course, they’re not in the business of making Windows nice to use now, are they?)

    If you’re careful you can avoid installing this stuff, and find Windows is fast for years.

  44. dovella says:

    @manicmarc

    I usually happen to find these in my friends  PC

    Start – Msconfig

    and remove

    Apple update (real Virus install crapware like  Mobile me,Safari+more problem etc)PS. Zune in Europe PLS!!!

    Google update

    Adobe Update (reader-flesh etc)

    Java Update

    Nero Check

    Office or Open Office

    alcohol 120%

    and more more software 😀

  45. jipper says:

    One thing that has often stroke me as "bad", performance-wise, in Windows, is the time it takes to install things.

    To compare with the competition, in OSX, installing an application only takes a few seconds depending on its size.

    And if you compare Firefox to ie I.E. under Windows,

    Firefox also takes under a minute, while new versions of I.E. can take as much as 5 – 10 minutes to install.

  46. dovella says:

    @jipper

    Joke or Troll for free?

    Perhaps you have a PC of 1982 and quand core Mac pro?

  47. smartpatrol says:

    But this post seems to be "don’t get your hopes up about Windows 7 performance"

    The fact is lightweight code along with more disciplined, tighter coding practices = performance PERIOD! A topic I didn’t see mentioned at all in this post. Windows has needed a fat trimming for quite some time now do that and windows will fly!.

  48. hitman721 says:

    Steven and Michael

    While many of us appreciate your efforts to self check yourself and create performance standards, lets be honest here. All of the tech bloggers, tech journalists, critics, and the lot are going to use benchmark testing to praise or slam Windows 7. Instead of saying we have our own methods, why not work with of these benchmark testers to make sure Windows 7 blows away the competition? Everyone is going to compare Windows 7 with XP, Vista, and OS-X Leopard, and the latest Ubuntu build. If anything the data accumulated could help you make sure that the perception and the reality is a much quicker operating system.

    You guys should know from Vista, that perception becomes reality unfortunately. OS-X boots between 30 to 40 seconds. Versions of Linux boots between 15 to 20 seconds.

    Using my cell phone as a stopwatch, I tested the startup time on my desktop using Windows Vista Ultimate. From the instant I hit the power switch to the log in screen was 43.7 seconds. Password to desktop adds another 13.5 seconds.

    I’ve done this several times to verify. My desktop system has an AMD Athlon 64×2 processor, 2 GB of DDR2 800Mhz Memory, a 300 GB Seagate SATA drive, and an ATI HD 2600 Pro video card with 512 MB of GDDR2 memory.

    Not the fanciest, but pretty well built to handle what Vista asks of it. Hopefully if a netbook using an Atom processor can run Windows Seven well, my system should run Seven very well.

    However, the expectation is that Windows Seven smokes both Leopard and Snow Leopard in the wind. The harder challenge and expectation is that it smokes any version of Linux. I think its possible if you guys take the time. We live in the age of G-Hz processors, multicore processors, GB of Ram, and now TB of Hard Drive space. Making a speedy version of Windows Seven shouldn’t be that difficult. Especially if you’re not trying to boot over 70 processes at once, work with Intel and AMD to get every last bit of performance out of the processor, efficiently use the least amount of memory and better allocation, and have Windows run on the least possible amount of resources.

    I don’t envy the monumental task, but I know you guys can do it. I am dying to beta test it, as I have a 2nd hard drive in my desktop that has Windows 7 name on it.

    Best Wishes and Happy Holidays.

  49. dovella says:

    @hitman721

    In Vista you can use Hybernate

    or you can use Sleep for your desktop (OSX only notebook), and the desktop is ready (no wait 13 sec.)

    you have notice the milion problem for 10.5.6 update?

    or perhaps believe that the problems are only with Windows

    See here http://discussions.apple.com/category.jspa?categoryID=235

    remember that the combination of configuration of these "PC" Apple is miserable

  50. steven_sinofsky says:

    I was talking to brad weed who leads our design and research team and he text’ed me this from vacation.  We were emailing about the response to a startup animation that some of you might have seen on the web 🙂

    By way of introduction, I work in Steven’s org on the User Experience team.

    Let me start by saying that I firmly believe performance is the number one UX killer.  No matter what user interface gets presented to the user, if it’s slow or perceived as slow it’s an uphill battle.  But perception is a tricky thing.  The field of visual arts is full of illusions and user interfaces are now squarely in the realm of the visual arts.  

    When it comes to performance and the visual arts, the field of animation comes to mind.  Animators use tons of little illusionary tricks to alter the perception of speed and motion.  Ironically they end up taking more time.  Take anticipation, for example.  Often times before a character or object moves, it will first move in the opposite direction ever so slightly to enhance the perception of acceleration – as if it was wound up before it is let go.  This takes time away from the overall sequence, but it can make the movement seem faster, more believable or play up a particular personality.  Believability and personality are a big part of why we incorporate animation in the UI.  Ease in and out or cross fades are other examples of techniques that enhance the believability of motion.  

    Now if a given frame happens to stutter, freeze, jerk or suspend then we’re back to the performance as the number one UX killer.  Imagine how you’d feel about an animated movie or a company’s flying logo on TV if they were jerky and stuttered a bunch.  We don’t mash our teeth over the performance of the TV or the time it takes for things to animate because the performance is so good.  We’re doing our earnest to track down as many cases of visual and animation performance issues in Windows as we can and are getting great responses from developers to fix them.  It’s not the animation that is necessarily the problem, but the fact they may be interrupted or slowed for one reason or another.  We all agree animation needs to enhance the experience of the product, not degrade the experience.  And everyone should also know we’ve managed to squash a few gratuitous animations that tried to make it in the product!  

    Animation, like any visual effect, has to have a reason for existing.  Look at movies.  Sometimes a straight cut between scenes is necessary and sometimes a cross fade is best.  But every movie is selective about which one to use and when.  I suppose the movie would be faster if they had straight cuts, but that probably wouldn’t make for a very interesting movie.  The same can be said for software.

    –Steven

  51. marcinw says:

    I wanted to wait for beta 1, but some comments here made, that I need to say some words… Let’s start from Windows 7 components.

    Windows system – during years millions of users were notifying, that intensive used system is going slower and slower. Now some of you’re writing, that this happens because applications vendors or drivers creators made wrong their job. I agree, that it can be part of problems…and I don’t want impossible things from Microsoft…but the role of operating system creator is making it as difficult as possible. What will be changed in this area in Windows 7 ? Almost nothing ?

    What else could convince users to new system ? Vista looking interface, which was already criticized by many people ?

    Or maybe DRM ? BTW, why are you escaping from answer on question, how many CPU cycles it’s using and when they’re taken from user ?

    Or maybe new version of IE8 ? tgdaily.com pusblihed IE8 RC1 test. Software prepared by big company with big financial funds. Costed many, many USD. ACID3 – 12/100, speed – slower than other browsers (see tgdaily.com). But…it will be still proposed as window for watching world and it will have to be used by some people (for example in some companies). What compatibility problems they will see ? And how they will be explained by you ?

    I know, that many of you (Microsoft employees) are working very hard. But I’m still not convinced, that your new product will be better than previous one. Or different – it will be better, but it will not give enough profits in many daily tasks.

    I want to say here, that you should start development from thinking about stable roots, not from building castles on the sand. Start from saying, that black is black and white is white. Look, what is liked by customers. When you will have it, you can return to computers and code.

    Currently many people will maybe give you some credit and will use Windows 7…until they will see disadvantages (like these specified above). You will not have second chance and will loose them forever.

  52. marcinw says:

    I wanted to show in my previous post, that Microsoft has got weak arguments, when speak about some aspects of new system. This is result of some decisions, which should be changed…

    I will remind in the same time, that I don’t have anything to company or people.

  53. jetblueISAM says:

    @LarryOsterman

    I obviously missed the post by David Fie so thank you for informing me. My eyes obviously were not working.

    @steve&davidfie

    However, I must agree with marcinw on this particular issue.  I think any technology professional that has been working with Windows for a long time knows that third party programs and drivers installed after the base OS installation have impacts to the overall performance on the system.  We know that ITunes was definitely not written by a group of geniuses,who in there spare time of course, sell iphones at the apple store.  No. We understand that the registry, poorly written drivers, WinSxS, the Windows code, third party programs, programs at startup, etc etc have been blamed for this degrade in performance. Some of them are valid depending on each individual system. However, even without this array of problems, I’ve seen PC’s that are relatively clean from an application standpoint become unacceptable over time.  I believe Mark Russinovich spoke to Windows slowing over time in a video session quite some time ago and I thought it was interesting but forget the point he made in the video.  With that said, I guess my real question from the customer base is what happens from a system level to contribute to this degradation.  I ask this question because fixing such issues and communicating them helps increase the interest "buzz" of Windows 7.  In addition, since we know the problems that cause this "performance degradation over time" what can MS do from the OS perspective to help protect the non-technical end user from them? If the answer is Windows Defender..well yeah..umm…let’s talk about them. I know MS is working with hardware OEM’s on new drivers and I applaud you for that because it must be a monstrous undertaking. Efficient and well written drivers are a few reasons that Apple has been so successful but they are not a true integrator and do not have the problem you have given the scale of Windows. Also, jumping on the marcinw perspective, will the Win 7 team be doing anything to the interface to make it look less like Vista and more like something new? I agree that on top of the taskbar this is a necessity to create buzz. My fear for your team, whom I have a great deal of respect for, is that you create a Ferrari engine (code base/features) and then cover it with the chassis of a Dodge Shadow (GUI). No offense to owners of Dodge Shadows on this board but I think you get my point.  We did see a change from 6801 to 6956 on the UI so hopefully from Beta to RC to RTM we’ll see an improved UI. If not, would a please help to change your mind? 😉 Thanks again.

  54. DCMonkey says:

    I think MS did a pretty good job bringing a composited desktop to Windows with Vista’s DWM. It’s nice to be able to drag windows around without the tearing and artifacts of previous versions of Windows.

    But I remain dissapointed with how Vista handles window redrawing while resizing. In most cases I find the artifacts and flickering while resizing a window to be worse aesthetically than when resizing a non-composited window. This is especially bad with windows that have client area glass like WMP.

    I understand some of this is related to backwards compatibility with GDI style rendering and a desire to make it seem like Windows is responding quickly to the user’s mouse movement. But even with more modern apps like WPF apps, I find the lag between the resize rectangle and the actual window contents to be disconcerting.

    I remember when Mac OS X first came out, it had no hardware acceleration of its composited desktop. Resizing windows was really slow and often lagged behind the mouse cursor by a noticeable distance. But the windows always rendered completely with no artifacts or gaps between the window border and content. To me this gave apps a more solid feel despite the lag, like the app window was a physical thing.

    I’d be interested to hear whether this responsiveness vs "solidity issue" has been considered by the w7 team and what arguments if any for each side of the coin have been made.

  55. Rayadoman says:

    Good post.

    One thing that drives me crazy is when I am installing a program (MS or other vendor) and the estimated time remaining is 10 secs but 5 minutes later I am still installing.  Or when I have an estimated time of 0 secs.  If I have 0 secs left, shouldn’t the install be done?  And several installers seem to use about 3-5% of CPU.  If I am not running any other program, when isn’t it maxing out the CPU and installing faster.

    The other thing about preformance is the hung up idea people get.  If program A doesn’t finish what is doing in X secs then it must be hung up (especially if the systems resources are not maxed).  Then they kill the program and try again, only to continue to wait.  I personally HATE visual indicates that just repeat the same pattern over and over (ie status bar that goes to the end and restarts about 2-3 secs).  I never know if the program is still working or had an internal error and got stuck. Why not just show me how much of the task is remaining or in cases of unknown length so me what is complete?

  56. sroussey@network54.com says:

    UI Performance can be a killer — take Outlook 2007 when I try and type a search. If I type too slow it starts the search prematurely, and then locks up on the IMAP server for 3-10 seconds. Clicking on the window makes it gray out (good idea, btw). Just because I didn’t type fast enough, it goes and responds in kind. I don’t know why Outlook isn’t asynchronous all the time. Drives me nuts.

  57. jestempies says:

    Very good article, and it’s nice to see you innovating again (as far as I know) in the area of OS engineering.

    I would really like to see a better task manager in Windows, one that would let me see which apps use the most disk IO, network, maybe even dig deeper into which files do they have open etc. Currently to do that I need extra tools and it’s not easy to do — and I’m a programmer. I’m quite sure my mom wouldn’t have any idea how to go around finding that out. Keep in mind that this is directly related to issue of perceived system performance.

    I like Vista a lot, and I think Windows 7 is exactly what is needed at this point — no big API-level changes, but improvements in UI, reliability and performance.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  58. jestempies says:

    One more thing, currently my total network IO is shown on the scale of 0 to 100 Mbit. That 100 Mbit comes from my DSL modem being connected to the computer with an Ethernet cable, so technically it _is_ a 100 Mbit connection, but for all the practical purposes it’s a 2 Mbit connection, so the current usage that is displayed as a graph by task manager is never above 2% — which renders the whole display useless (2% is around 2 pixels high).

  59. Jandler says:

    Hello everyone,

    Just wondering what do you guys think of this ongoing debate about the performance of windows 7 between Randall C. Kennedy and Thom Holwerda.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/154783/windows_7_debate.html?tk=rss_news

    It is making quite alot of noise, surely you must have heard of it and have some thoughts?

  60. mrfixitfox says:

    If all this work will result in some tool that tells me what Windows is doing when its busy, that’s a good thing. I dont even know of a third party app that will do this. Sure there are plenty of apps that will tell you what you can already find out with WMI, but I’m interested in whether its disk, network, or other resource that its waiting for, not which process is busy in the tasks list.

  61. mrfortin says:

    in response to Jestempies request for a better taskmgr, the resource monitor in Windows7 was improved significantly over the Vista version.  it is linked to conveniently from the taskmgr, and offers many substantial improvements.  My team and I look forward to hearing feedback on it.

    It does not, unfortunately address your specific notes on network i/o scaling.  The scale is still shown relative to the local connections.

  62. Tihiy says:

    Now with latest Windows 7 builds looking much better then Vista in performance area, there’s still one small bug left inside it.

    It’s interesting to note that this bug, no, feature is most resource intensive according to task manager in the matter of disk I/O, open file handles, etc… Guess what it is?

    Windows Defender! Do you guys consider malware to be essential part of Windows ecosystem? What’s the point of silently scanning my system so often? Sorry, but to be honest – it has never ever been useful in XP or Vista.

    And it looks so alien and shallow… Can you at least make it uninstallable?

  63. GrayShade says:

    What about trying to reduce the polling done by Explorer and the various services.

    To see what I mean: download Process Monitor, close all of your programs and run it. In a few seconds you’ll see thousands of disk and registry accesses. Even if done from lower priority threads, they can still affect the responsiveness and things like laptop battery life.

    It’s sad that this issue seems have aggravated in every version of Windows, including the pre-betas.

  64. JoeWoodbury says:

    One aspect of performance that is often overlooked is executable size. When Windows starts, the size of the things it has to load is rather large. The astonishing thing is how much of this size is just waste. Even the most basic start up code from the Visual C++ CRT is bigger than it needs to be. This casual attitude–often caused by a "the compiler will optimize it" spreads throughout the entire package from top to bottom. A bit of bloat in everything pretty soon adds up to a gargantuan amount.

    * * *

    Another poster made a very good point about pieces of windows doing a lot of polling. Just run regmon and the number of useless reads and writes to the registry will blow your mind. It gets worse from there; looking at raw disk access.

    * * *

    The point of both of these is that Microsoft engineers could gleen a whole lot of performance gain in windows and other products by a bit more engineering discipline–heck just giving an honest answer to the question "do I really need to do that?" would give great gains.

  65. marypcb says:

    This is the corollary to the componentisation post,isn’t it 😉

    Personally, I notice I’m reluctant to switch back from my W7 test machine to the many other PCs I need to use that aren’t running 7 😉 Performance-wise, what feels fastest isn’t anything that’s actually to do with actual performance: it’s getting at documents through Libraries. The file open and browse time is probably identical to Vista, but I get my document faster because it’s more logical and easier to find.

    I have noticed – and I think it says how good M3 is that it took me a while to accept – that when things start getting unstable (Excel tells me there’s not enough memory to start even though I have 50% free memory, IE8 doesn’t paint a whole page properly, etc) that I should reboot instead of hoping for the system to stabilise. Personally, I like to reboot about every 6 months when I really feel I need updates (do I hear the security team screaming?): the rest of the time I just hibernate. At the moment, I am rebooting a fraction more often than in Vista and I think that’s another performance/time calculation: how performance changes over the time of a Windows ‘session’.

  66. manicmarc says:

    joewoodbury: AFAIK The whole executable doesn’t get loaded into RAM.

  67. manicmarc says:

    joewoodbury: AFAIK The whole executable doesn’t get loaded into RAM until needed, certain parts can be paged out when not in use.

  68. mrfortin says:

    In response to GrayShade’s comments on polling and disk and registry accesses, we have been and still are quite focused on these matters.

    We’ve come quite a long way during the release of Windows7 and have been working more and more w/ our partners on the applications and services typically installed on client systems.  

    At PDC, a nice talk was given on the tools we use internally and w/ partners to root out these issues.  A channel9 video of the talk is available here http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC62-V/    The portion of the talk that focuses on energy efficiency is most relevant.

    We know this is quite important and we’re committed to continuing our efforts to reduce these activities.

    Thanks   Michael Fortin

  69. JoeWoodbury says:

    manicmarc: Unfortunately, this attitude and ignorance is the root of this problem. While Windows does paging, it’s not as simple as paging happily away and, most importantly, larger programs use more pages and cause more page faults which are very expensive performance wise. (I wrote some code years ago where a simple, small algorithm was inexplicably faster in real usage than than the larger, more complex one until we looked at page faults and the answer became clear.)

    I can’t count the times I’ve seen DLL initialization code hit enough pages throughout the DLL image that it effectively loads all the pages. Or code that is so large and complex that it crosses page boundaries. Few programmers pay attention to this. Even few pay attention to base address, which can greatly improve load times. (And the number of .NET developers that don’t pay attention to File Alignment is huge.)

    Finally, larger images reserve larger amounts of memory which exacts a real performance cost (yes, small in isolation, but it adds up.)

    (PS. To be fair; Microsoft does do a better job than most in what I’m discussing, I just think they can do better.)

  70. mark_ms says:

    I frequently hear of Windows performance tips from supposed experts that don’t always seem correct e.g. turning off Aero/SuperFetch/Search/etc. Of course, maybe their tips are valid in certain situations (e.g. no hardware graphics accelerator, constrained memory, etc.), but may not be valid in others.

    Can you provide benchmarking software that can validate these generalized statements, or better yet, document when certain features of Windows is better turned off for performance reasons so that all the ambiguity is removed.

  71. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    Hello

    just one thing about peformance in Windows, in Windows Vista you add Windows Defender for more Security. Windows Defender most is not important, becouse the user will install an other security software(Norton, Avira Premium, Spybot ot others…), so please remove Windows Defender and ad him to the Live Apps, or let him away(i hear OneCare will be a Live app soon)…Defender creates a lot of Disk I/O and use performance, but most Users dont need him…

  72. marcinw says:

    once again:

    Applications can write things to system directory. It’s bigger and reading it needs more and more time. It was required adding protecting system files, System Restore, WinSXS and similar solutions. They’re working, but naturally need some RAM, CPU time and HDD space. Isn’t better to close access to system directory and decrease number of these checks ?

    There were many methods of breaking Windows security, because applications were working with high privileges. The answer is Windows Defender. It needs some RAM, CPU time and HDD space. Isn’t better to separate more processes and make it unnecessary ?

    There were many performance issues with Vista. The answer is building more checks in system. It needs some RAM, CPU time and HDD space….

    And what about DRM checks. How much they affect system ?

    As said before, start from roots and later add additional things to them. Don’t put Ferrari on old car chassis, but start from better chassis.

    If you will allow manufacturers of drivers making strange things (like adding some applications on startup, which later work in the tray), they will do it… The same with Registry – if it’s shared, you will always have problems, etc. etc.

  73. hitman721 says:

    @Domenico,

    I wasn’t aware of the 10.5.6 issues as I use OS-X in a virtual environment at my brother’s PC and we don’t use the most current builds. I try to keep in practice of Apple’s OS but I don’t use it on a daily basis. I prefer Windows to Mac OS-X, because I prefer the hardware and software environment. Second, I cannot justify a $1,200 for non-desktop CPU.

    However, we cannot as users, designers, or developers become complacent because of Apple’s problems. When Apple’s operating system works, its performance is beating Vista and XP. Startup, shutdown, and performance over time. Just because Apple users are having problems now, we had problems at launch with file copy with Vista. While Mac fanatics may have an blind devotion to all things Apple, Windows users need to be bound in truth.

    We as Windows users must always be looking to better performance. Thats is why I’m continuing to blog here that Windows 7 must be the best it possibly can be. It must break the trend of poor performance over time. It must speed up the OS and bring a "Wow" factor that was missing in Vista.

    I really do appreciate your post and encourage as you clearly know what you’re talking about.

    Peace.

  74. quux says:

    @DavidFie or Steven

    PerfTrack looks very nice. I am wondering, will there be a user interface to it, so that we can pull our own results? Or will it be limited only to returning results back to MS via the Customer Experience program?

    I’m hoping I make it into the beta, and would very much appreciate having this level of instrumentation available from a sysadmin’s POV.

    Thanks again for the excellent blog.

  75. dovella says:

    @hitman721

    Sorry ,

    OSX has never worked,

    in Apple work fine only Marketing PreMarketing and FUD.

    The user is always full of problems

    Archive and install

    Repair permise

    reset p ram

    v ram etc etc etc

    Considering the possible combinations of hardware minimum  5  10   20 ..

    OSX is real epic fail.

    The user tend to hide the problems, why all this for me remains a mystery

  76. locolorenzo says:

    @Steven

    Thanks for post on the graphical animation at the beginning of the Leaked WinHEC release. I noticed that there was an intresting animation during install… the rainbow bar.

    The Boot Animation as it stands takes way to long…although it performs more resposively through-out than 6801 it has a longer boot period on my machine (6956) I have gone back to the PDC version because of the boot time issue and also some legality issues involved with the build.

    Simplify the boot screen, the glowing bar is the nicest effect yet.

    Thanks for all the great work!

    I await the Beta with great anticipation.

  77. Asesh says:

    What about a new thread on security enhancements in Windows 7 besides UAC?

  78. kudraw says:

    A little off topic: can you consent in the installer the choice about destination of Users directory?

    Default is C:Users, it can be D:Users ? I found a way to do it with Junction links, but it would be useful to set it on other partitions while installing, without loss of compatibility.

    The same with Program Files.

    (sorry for my english) 😀

  79. jipper says:

    @Domenico

    "Joke or Troll for free?

    Perhaps you have a PC of 1982 and quand core Mac pro?"

    No, and I think perhaps it has to do with that OSX treats programs as packages and are merely copying the files upon installation.

    In Windwos, the installation program can do a lot of other things (which is a good thing, I guess), like adding registry keys and verifying data. But it can sometimes be painfully slow to install some Microsoft applications, like the office suit or even Live messenger.

  80. TimOR says:

    One of the lurking issues that dogs Vista (and presumably Win7) is video DRM and the Protected Video Path. If one ignores the fact that all DRM systems are crackable, and if one accepts the "political" decision by MS management to introduce video DRM despite the possible market consequences for Windows, a question relevant to this forum still remains: what is the "engineering" impact of video DRM on Windows’ performance?

  81. dovella says:

    @jipper

    Use Wikipedia if you wont and search this

    NETINFO

    in Snow Leopard netinfo will be further implemented

    😉

    Merry xmas

  82. danklima@gmail.com says:

    Hello,

    this was quite great post.Half of my concerns and questions has been answered.

    NO some more.

    1)One of annoyances of Vista is that it put there more dialogs and windows to click through.(In XP to set TCP/IP address was doubleclick on icon on taskbar then click proprietes then select tcp/ip and you are there ; Vista put there "connection center" or how is that named – I have only one PC with Vista fortunately)So will it be possible to get XP-classical style with NO effetcs and classic start-menu?(XP-2000-98 style)

    2)ability to shut down completely support for any DRM(including protected audio/video path) and TPM module

    3)ability to monitor any driver/service without changing behaviour (like blocking some code-paths or notifying) when its in kernel-mode.

    4)Ability to chose what will install.(Some modules or services are not needed – like in 9x)

    5)What criteria is used to chose beta-testers before public release of beta and how could one apply?

    Thank you

    P.S.:I chose to skip Vista for its problems,hugeness and worse administration…

    Simply there was far too less better things then those bad/worse.(Not worth the money)

  83. Mantvydas says:

    How about code being optimized enough, so that there’s no travelling from New York to Florida through California…

  84. yeehaamcgee says:

    I really don’t think the people complaining about the DRM actually understand the issue at all.

    Maybe a future post on this blog could go into depth on it, to correct people’s misconceptions?

  85. jipper says:

    I think that a bit more memory being consumed to get increased performance is not a bad thing. I am thinking about for instance "trim on minimize", where applications such as WLM gets paged out to the virtual memory when minimized in order to save some MB ram, at the cost (assumingly) of the time it takes to acess the application.

    Personaly, I would rather have had it consume some more MB ram, than having the window open slower (which I assume is a side-effect).

  86. marcinw says:

    well, I think, that Microsoft will not say too much about DRM performance. Why ?

    Let’s say, that it will affect graphic subsystem in 5%. Could you imagine, how people will be annoyed ? What if it will be 10% ?

    What, if we will see report, that it doesn’t affect performance at all ? Some people will search for alternatives – it’s physically impossible, that DRM code doesn’t use CPU/RAM/HDD. When Microsoft will say something else, there will be many suspicions…and it will not help product.

    Because of it Microsoft will simply ignore all DRM related topics and performance.

  87. yeehaamcgee says:

    DRM is only supported if your hardware supports it. Just like your DVD player, just like your BD player, just like your HDTV.

    Unless your graphics card supprots HDCP, it’s not available, and all HD content is reduced in resolution.

    HARDWARE.

    Quit your moaning and quit your guessing people. Make sure you understand what it is you’re talking about, rather than making random, uninformed comments about wanting it gone.

  88. marcinw says:

    @yeehaamcgee,

    Vista wasn’t so big success like XP and DRM was one of reasons. People want to know, why Windows 7 will be better and want to have explained some issues (performance, functional, etc.). Why is it so difficult ? These are simple questions. Does Microsoft want to hide something ?

    Please note, that we have difficult recession time. If some things will be not explained, people will search for alternatives.

  89. krammazda says:

    "i want to be able to run windows 7 extremely fast and still look good graphically on a asus aspire one netbook with these specs-1.5 ghz intel atom processor (single core) 1gb of ram"

    I’m pretty sure Acer will be disappointed if Asus have bought out an Aspire One range :S

  90. yeehaamcgee says:

    There’s nothing to hide about DRM though. Several TV on demand services require vista, or XP, because the DRM that they require isn;t available in Linux, or OSX. Perfect example is the BBC’s i-player. You can stream media on any os, but they’ll only allow downloaded content on Windows.

    If we didn’t have the DRM infractructure, they wouldn’t allow it.

  91. Fredledingue says:

    1/ Brad/Steven

    "I suppose the movie would be faster if they had straight cuts, but that probably wouldn’t make for a very interesting movie."

    Well that illustrates the mistake you are doing: an OS is not a movie or a video game. It doesn’t have to be  ‘interresting’. Animations are cool but they are not crucial.

    I’m not pushing for my personal preference to be the default ones in the next release, I’m just saying that this aproach is the wrong one.

    2/ System slow down over time and porgams at startup:

    This is one point we have talked again and again and that many here would like it to be discussed: Crapware.

    One radical solution would be to totaly forbid a program to automaticaly launch at start up, unless the user has decided so through a MS Windows console or if the software has been installed as a driver, through a special driver installer.

    3/ joewoodbury on bloat:

    Vista’core code (+-2Gb) is twice as large as XP’s core code and 10x the size of w98 complete install.

    But what is the most frightening is the increased level of complexity. I was hallucinating when I read the explanation on WinSxS: How come MS developers engaged themselves in something so crazy?

    And this is probably the tip of the iceberg: MS Windows developers can’t make things simple and consistent with a simple idea of using a computer with a keyboard and a mouse. That’s why their code is bloated.

    Maybe now that the various MS developers gather once a week in front of a  whiteboard for a brainstorming, things will be better.

    4/ Windows Defender

    Definetely it should be installed as an option, just like about everything.

    But I like Windows Defender because it’s one of the best anti-virus (at least 2 years ago) and because I don’t want to look for a third party anymore. For simple users who don’t extra-featured security facilities it’s ok.

    But radical security is still to totaly protect system files, make impossible for installers, scripts or softwares to modify them, to allow installers, scripts and softwares to modify things in their allocated folder only. With the same principles acting for the registry.

    System files and registry should be accessed only through windows update, remote maintenance and UAC-like authorisation (no disabled UAC in this case).

    Then the ultimate, albeit optionable, measure would be that under no circumstance a system file or registry can be modified if an internet connection is present or if IE, Office or Windows mail is running..

    Great Stuff! Great Discussion! I enjoy it!

    Merry xmass to all!

  92. jipper says:

    @Fredledingue

    Power users are the ones who would want to disable a feature such as Windows Defender, or even Windows Resource protection, but casual users probably have more use of it enabled, as an effective mean of putting an end to spyware of different kinds. Although it would be nice if security features like that would come without a cost of decreased performance (A Windows installation with Windows Defender or Windows File protection disabled in XP, seems faster than one with those features enabled)

  93. marcinw says:

    @yeehaamcgee,

    I don’t have anything against protecting content…as long as this done on application layer and doesn’t affect my functionality. When companies try to make such things like Sony rootkits, there is something wrong. When DRM is implemented on very low level and it can affect my performance, there is something wrong.

    @Fredledingue,

    You notified very good thing. Microsoft seems to be have some wrong design rules and that’s why they failed with Vista. I have feeling, that these rules were changed after 2001 (do you remember, what did happen then ?). I agree, that we need first good stable operating system for secure running applications, later it will be good to think about nice graphic animations or similar things.

  94. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    I hope again that Microsoft will add a Installation for Normal Users and one for Powerusers who can disable what they would disable, and not after the installation, while you are installing will be mutch better.

    About Boottime, i dont think that this point is very important(how mutch do you boot your machina while a workday? M? One time). Also i think that the 24.427 s that Windows need to boot up are fast enought(yes i now you say that you will go down to 15 s) but thats mutch faster then OS X Leopard on my MacPro does…ok now to my problem…i dont think that you can do a lot but there are your hardware partners.

    BIOS…they need so long to start(on my brothers system the BIOS start needs about 10 s)…and thats the biggest problem in system bootup. The BIOS developers need to remove all de bonus featueres out of the systems…

    @marcinw: I think Vista was the step to the stable operating system, and seven is the step to the stable OS with graphic animations, and the clear UI…

  95. d_e says:

    To all DRM-kills-my-performance-posters:

    DRM does not impact performance of your daily operation. PVP and all that stuff only goes into operation when using WMP to play videos. DRM is not a performance killer. This is utter rubbish.

    To mrfortin:

    Ressource monitor in Win7 is great. I have only two suggestions:

    1. It’d be nice if there was a shortcut for it (similar to CTRL-SHIFT-ESC for taskmgr).

    2. There are some processes which represent a whole range of stuff. "System" or "svchost.exe" come to mind. When checking disk access I’m interested in which thread of "System" or which Service caused the access. Couldn’t you give me more details there?

  96. marcinw says:

    @bluefisch200,

    I haven’t said, that everything in Vista is wrong. But the truth it, that market is changing and main design principles used to build OS should be changed too… And we still have shared Registry and thousands of old things… And this is wrong. When we will need 2x more of code for giving users ability of running their software, this is wrong. I will say probably much more, when beta program will start 🙂

    @d_e,

    from Microsoft documents:

    "In Windows Vista, the Protected Environment provides process isolation and continually monitors what kernel-mode software is loaded"

    and this is only example. I’m not sure in 100% how exactly this is implemented, but word "CONTINUALLY" still gives a lot to thinking… and many people will not like Windows 7 because of it (and not because, they want to play illegal content)

  97. Mantvydas says:

    Besides, back old xp days, if you wouldn’t do anything to your computer, processor would be standing at 0%, 1% usage… Computer used to be silent, no harddisk movements… Now, with Vista, computer’s always doing something, harddisk’s stuggling and making noises… weird. There’s too much working inside… Can it be standing still at least for a minute before I leave my desk or decide to get back working?

  98. jipper says:

    @Mantvydas

    One thing that is using idle harddrive time seem to be the superfetch feauture. That is a feature I would have liked to be able to manage better, and turn of through some gui.

  99. fanSte says:

    Ive still got the old vista bootscreen in build 6956 as in build

    7000

    Ive got an nvidia chipset, is that the problem?

    please fix microsoft!!

  100. steven_sinofsky says:

    marcinw — please don’t just post links to other sites.  please try to keep comments fresh and related to the discussion.  thank you.

    –steven

  101. PedroAsani says:

    Any ideas yet on how many versions will be released?

    I am hoping it will be less than previously. I would hate for another one of these:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/02/02/

  102. robertc says:

    Can we please, for the sake of our collective sanity, have a moratorium on comments like = "ZOMG, DRM is killing us all".

    Without the appropriate DRM infrastructure in place, elementary tasks like playing a DVD, Blu-Ray or other protected online content would simply be impossible. Thus, DRM is necessary and its inclusion in Vista and Seven does not impose an onerous performance overhead.

    In fact, I’ve never seen one empirical study that concludes that DRM is one of the predominant causes of performance degradation in Windows. That’s right, not one. Yet, day after day after day, we get unrelenting feigned indignation from anti-Vista, anti-Microsoft zealots falsely proclaiming otherwise.

    So, can all those people oblivious to facts please give it a rest and go away. It is tiresome, especially for Mr Sinofsky who has gone to all the effort to post thoughtful and engaging pieces only to have the ensuing comments sullied by infantile, acerebral discussion.

  103. robertc says:

    Now that I’ve had my rant, I’d like to comment specifically on the article.

    Firstly, it was very informative. I especially praise the Windows team for focusing on performance tuning in this release, particularly more efficient memory usage.

    However, one of the ongoing problems with Windows, since the newly introduced network stack in Vista, is that network file transfers can be abominably slow. As of yet, even with SP1 and subsequent patches, no substantial improvements have been realised in my experience. I really hope that this issue is resolved in the final RTM of Windows 7.

    Many people have commented on the issue of performance degradation over time. I can personally affirm that it does occur – however the situation improved markedly with Vista. The superior memory management, background defrags and other assorted performance tweaks introduced with Vista minimised the threat of deleterious performance, which I might add mostly originates from third party applications infecting the registry and start-up folders.

    Given that Windows 7 now has an applet that allows users to configure the notification area applications with significantly more granularity, I am even more excited. I have to say that it’s long overdue, but welcomed nonetheless. The only thing I would recommend is that access to this applet is made obvious to average users. Microsoft has a long history of providing feature-packed releases wherein the features are difficult to discover. So, make sure that these important features are discoverable, preferably via the new "Action Center".

    As for real vs perceived performance, I would advocate that a reasonable balance between both is important. Using Windows has to be aesthetically pleasing, simple and snappy. A user experience which I feel strikes a pretty good balance is that on the Apple iPhone. Relative to its competitors, the device is running a slower-clocked processor, yet the software maximises real performance and complements it with visual effects that give the impression of snappy performance even where empirical measurement shows otherwise.

    While Vista isn’t interminably slow, the user experience is occasionally encumbered with an excess of dialogue boxes. As someone mentioned earlier, the simple process of changing TCP/IP settings, or even viewing your IP address, requires several clicks. In XP, you just needed to right click the network status notification icon and click properties or status. The same task requires you to open the network center first and then search around. It’s cumbersome and makes basic network administration tedious because the software seems to forcibly encourage use of the "diagnose and repair network" applet, which is not very helpful at times. Needless to say, please bring back the option to view status and properties from the right-click menu of the network status notification icon. It’s sorely missed by power users.

  104. danailed says:

    I’m looking towards Windows 7, as i noticed some people talking about the speed of the Windows and it sounds like the requirements are not high 😉 and that the actual Windows runs really fast so it could actually be compared to Windows XP Pro. Good Job looking forward to the Windows coming out and me trying it out myself

  105. kudraw says:

    Hi Steven, what about the file copy engine? There are any improvments (especially for USB drives and transfers across network)?

    A little OT:

    Please can you separate the Snipping Tool from the Tablet PC components in the features of Windows? :D.

    Thanks!

  106. marcinw says:

    @robertc,

    Every time, when some company creates some new DRM protections, speaks, that it doesn’t affect performance at all.

    You have not seen any studies about it maybe because more experiences people are not interested in using Vista ?

    Please note, that few weeks ago we had seen interesting discussion about it, how does shared Registry affect performance. The same about number of kernel threads and other issues. Quess what ? For some people even if you have many MB data (garbages) in Registry or much more kernel threads (I remind: some new are added because of DRM), system is very fast. Interesting, isn’t it ?

    I agree with idea of protecting intellectual property (and that’s why I’m waiting for official starting beta program for Windows 7), but from the other side – maybe some methods of protecting it are not so good like companies say ? Blue-Ray or DVD are already cracked. Why to continue illusion, that they’re working as expected ? You have bigger CPU, energy, RAM usage only…

  107. marcinw says:

    @robertc,

    More and more people are testing beta 1 and more and more are naming it "Vista Second Edition". They write, that this is improved Vista (with some problems left) and nothing more. I was trying to show some reasons of problems on this forum, but some my posts were removed (even yesterday). You can read them on my www.

    Have fun !

  108. boss_kevin_boss@hotmail.com says:

    Maybe nothing to performance, but wy do you dont think about install Windows Media Player, IE(not the Runtimes)… like every other Application, so the User can remove them in the CP under Programs?

  109. marcinw says:

    @bluefisch200,

    It’s simple:

    1. you will see probably answer, that multimedia files & www pages viewer is required in each modern OS

    2. Microsoft wants to promote own software

  110. kudraw says:

    Hey Steven have you see this?

    http://www.windows7taskforce.com/

  111. Knipoog says:

    @bluefisch200

    I totally agree with you!

    All I want is an operating system, nothing (!) more.

    So, IE, mediaplayer, outlook, paint, etc please leave them out, or make the installation at least optional.

    Regards Knipoog

  112. marcinw says:

    @Knipoog and bluefisch200,

    I suggest you to read "Removal of Internet Explorer" topic (or Removal part in "Internet Explorer" topic) in wikipedia.org.

    Have you heard about Ford T ? It was possible to paint it any color, so long as it was black.

    The same here.

  113. dovella says:

    @kudraw

    Is Old 😀

    Happy New Year to ALL!!!!

    2009 The Year of Windows 7

    Resistence is FUTILE

  114. Knipoog says:

    @marcinw, tnks, but things like Removing IE are exact the point. I prefer not to remove it, but to, optional, not install it 🙂

    As a customer I’d like to have choices 😀

    The Ford T policy about the color black changed in 1926 because of dramatically dropping sales 😉

  115. disserman says:

    I’ve tested Win7 latest build a couple of hours. Was impressed, especially in a network performance and usb hotplug speed (I use KVM with devices in shared ports). I’ve decided to use Win7 Beta in production as soon as the official beta will be available. Would even probably buy this "beta" because it’s much faster, more stable and works much better than "non-beta" vista with SP1.

  116. sroussey@network54.com says:

    Besides my reference to to loosing focus when working immediately after logging in for the first time, it does occur to me that the OS need not focus on SMP, as the architecture of the future is more single package NUMA, and total symmetrical processing is not the most efficient. Where this brings me is a reservation system, a quality of service system (QOS) for the UI much like the QOS for networking for multimedia: reserve a core or core set for the user when they log in, as well as some IO and network bandwidth such that the user will have a very responsive system. That, and profiling the startup processes over time such that they don’t get started serially in order, but based on their history of CPU, IO, and network requirements, they can be started in the most efficient order, and even with delays as necessary.

  117. wtroost says:

    Very good post.  It’s nice to hear that my telemetry data might useful.

    But… performance doesn’t mean much if the thing doesn’t work reliably.  For example take Desktop Search.  It’s very fast.  But try searching for FILES= and see if it shows up your CONFIG.SYS file.  

    Desktop Search is only useful as a quick first try.  If I want to be sure something is not there, I still fall back to grep from the command line.  It may find too many things, but it never fails.

    P.S. Those performance tools might be useful for the blogs.msdn.com signup server… it took 40+ seconds to log me in.

  118. Prixsel says:

    Why is windows7.iso / sources / background_cli.bmp <- that should be jpeg or something smaller , don’t you think? bmp takes 2mb but jpeg would take only 200kb and would not hurt anything and quality would not change?

    Control panel should be easier and things should stay on same window as much as possible or it will pop-up too many windows!

    Upgrading windows using internet connection should check if it has or doesn’t have the latest drivers for your computer so we know if our computer will actually work 100% before we press install and remove our old OS….

    Tablet ,Touch Recognition, Media Center ,Speech recognition and Drivers should be optional… would make install much faster!

  119. jipper says:

    One thing I often remove after installing Vista are all the foreign fonts I never use. I feel that this increases performance. Is this just a placebo or is there a real performance-benefit of not having tons of fonts?

    If there is a performance-benefit, it would be nice to have a font manager that I could use to disable fonts that I never use anyway…

  120. richiefrist says:

    My HP dual-core 2gb notebook came with Vista. I made it dual-boot with XP. I cannot stand Vista. It takes FOREVER to boot. Now, I may boot into Vista less than once a month – and of course there are tons of updates that need to be done to the OS, the apps, the antivirus, etc. It’s just plain painful.

    On the other hand, XP boots really fast and runs all the stuff I run really fast. I’ve vowed I will not buy a new computer as long as Vista is the only Windows choice.

    I’m beginning to think that I [and the rest of the world] needs to get away from Windows altogether. I really should devote some time to Linux…….

  121. Prixsel says:

    Reply to:

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009 12:16 AM by richiefrist

    Windows is touch , speech , tablet enabled gaming and tons of programs main OS

    Surfing Web and making office or schoolwork you only need cheap-laptop and it runs good on Mac or Linux without much worry s of slowdown or virus infection…

    When you want Windows programs or games on Linux then you can try and waste some time using OS called Wine…

    Windows needs improvements and when it can’t fix the problems and slowdown points then it’s sad 🙁 , probably windows 8 would be fast enough and behave and interface will look better than Windows 7 🙁 , Vista has sp2 what has already some improvements as on Win 7 so dunno how different they actually are…

    Linux can save disk data on RAM and when Ram is full then it puts unneeded data on HDD , Windows Prefetch needs much more improvements and having 45services on fresh install just isn’t gonna squeeze performance so much as Win XP on same system , XP takes 88mb with 15 services , Windows 7 over 300 with 40 services 🙁

    Make services run only when needed , when Win XP could run with only just 15 then why do we need 40 services now?

  122. mAxius says:

    Performance is getting better though i would love to see the option to enable the classic start menu put back in so users have an option on what they want

  123. Computermensch says:

    Vista: Not sure about this yet – however please check out behaviour of the default vss provider on symbolic links on the system volume (i.e. shadow copies enabled by default). Symbolic links can point to i.e. online storage. AV does not like it yet – and I have had to register symbolic linked folders with AV to keep the folders from being traversed. Resource Monitor was up too 80 mb’s on disk activity for the default vss provider. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the symbolic links – but will examine more closely.

    But anyway hope the "system protection on drive C:" will have less disk activity in Windows 7. As I just stated I don’t know if I ever provoked it somehow. But its really noisy and freaking out on 80 mb/s of disk activity writes pr. min.

  124. bswain says:

    Windows 7 looks very exciting, but all of the performance improvements might count for nothing.

    I find the biggest obstacle to system performance delays introduced by "third party" anti-virus programs and software firewalls. The quote marks indicate additions to the OS, not necessarily other vendors.

    Reading through the above blog, neither of these appear mentioned amongst the numerous user experience improvements.

    The question for me becomes how large is the surface exposed by Windows 7 to malicious attack or infection?  And how much of a performance hit will be felt by using effective countermeasures?

  125. juliana prado uchoa says:

    Hi

    Already I use the windows 7 in my notebook but i discovered some bugs with example .

    when you get some time without to use it .It appears a message requesting the recovery of information and there are models of wireless card doesn´t recognize it automatically and when you try to install it’s driver error

  126. Carlos says:

    I was Running Windows xp 64 before windows 7 ultimate 64

    I my computer has

    Quad core 3.4mhz

    8 GB ram

    Main Hard drive 500 gb that is just for windows and software.

    2 secondary Hard drives of 1TB each for

    storage including my email

    the problem that i have is that every time that I try to reply an email open an application or print the new sand clock takes sometime like a minute to proccess

    I there a solution for this Issue

  127. Carlos says:

    I was Running Windows xp 64 before windows 7 ultimate 64

    I my computer has

    Quad core 3.4mhz

    8 GB ram

    Main Hard drive 500 gb that is just for windows and software.

    2 secondary Hard drives of 1TB each for

    storage including my email

    the problem that i have is that every time that I try to reply an email open an application or print the new sand clock takes sometime like a minute to proccess

    I there a solution for this Issue