Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Microsoft Reveals Windows 7

Earlier this week, Microsoft provided the first extensive preview of Windows 7 -- the successor to Windows Vista that may ship in early 2010 -- at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

At this gathering for programmers, the company gave attendees a "pre-beta" release of this operating system and showed off some of its new features in a series of demos.

The most interesting changes affect the Windows desktop. The taskbar, that strip running across the bottom of the screen, now looks more like Mac OS X's Dock, with its rectangular, text-labeled buttons replaced by square buttons that feature each active program's icon and can offer "jump lists," contextual menus that provide shortcuts to common functions. The tray, that collection of random icons at the bottom right of the screen, has been cleaned up and should only feature items that you allow (then again, XP and Vista were supposed to clean up the tray too).

Windows 7 will also try to make it easier to organize your data with "Libraries," virtual folders that collect files scattered across different directories on your drive. Microsoft says this operating system will simplify device management and wireless networking. And on a PC that allows touchscreen control (still a rarity), Windows 7 will support "multi-touch" gestures, a bit like those on the iPhone.

But the feature I may be happiest to see, if it arrives as promised, will be a less annoying, more flexible User Account Control security system.

You can read more about this project at the usual tech-news sources. For instance, Ars Technica describes the interface changes at some length and covers some details of Windows 7's revised UAC. PC World has a good roundup of 7's features and a screenshot tour. If you're in a hurry, Wikipedia offers a concise summary.

You can also read Microsoft's own blogs; Engineering Windows 7 carries some lengthy technical descriptions of this software's new features.

On the slight chance that those developers read this blog, what would you like to see in Windows 7? Post your top three feature requests or bug-fix demands in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 31, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Windows  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Baby Got Backup
Next: Obama v. McCain: New Tech Policy Scorecards


Generally, I'd LOVE for Windows 7 to be less resource hungry than Vista.

Posted by: p_chuck | October 31, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, how many more tiny steps towards OSX must M$ take before they just throw in the towel and buy Steveo out?

Posted by: Bush--notrelated | October 31, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Just allow me user control for every task. I hate having to click through the boxes. Opt out of restrictions for universal access would be easy.

Posted by: tbva | October 31, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

It does look interesting, Rob.

Now if only Microsoft considers the state of the economy to likely exist then in the pricing set ups and realizes that this time ESPECIALLY that Linux remains a very real alternative to future Windows products, maybe we'll all GET LUCKY LOL.


Posted by: | November 1, 2008 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a 64-bit system, requiring maybe 2 GB for itself. By that time there should be a 64-bit Office which will not be backwards compatible.
While it will be a good way to sell hardware, many of us who are not yet (or no longer) rich will be holding on to our XP computers for dear life.

Posted by: lrmc623 | November 1, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I've been waiting since windows 3.1 for a decent file utility manager such as QDOS XTree or even FFM that allows for easier viewing, copying and backups. How hard could it be to provide an option "copy only newer files" when copying from one directory to the next. Also, isn't it about time in addition to "yes to all" an option of "no to all" be provided?

Posted by: rob0 | November 1, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I like automatic microsoft search when problems arise & answer sent back to machines software glitches, makes it more sensible.

7 should be in ONLY NT6 capable machines, yet will media center survive? in beginning of year alpha release of 7 comes to public, so beta near spring?, often thats 9 months, then if 7 is multicore capable, problems might be bigger than people believe.

Worse, Microsoft just had all software its made from day one declared public property by court, will it stick & what will Microsoft do? its large company, maybe write for more secured company, like google, which wants browser or even O/S. 80 core 2015 have been made? & they don't even use Windows, so go figure.


Posted by: thomasxstewart | November 1, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Since you ask, the biggest bug I want fixed in Windows is that when you set your display appearance to use white-on-black windows, what you really get in too many application is white-on-white or black-on-black (e.g. the help system).

Posted by: bh1123 | November 1, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Windows is a wash. Vista is one of the clumsiest OSs ever designed. I've been VERY seriously considering the Apple changeover! I've had it with M$ and it's lousy system and even poorer customer service!

Posted by: flipper49 | November 1, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Rob...

This mostly silent fan is clicking this out to you to say that you have no peer in sorting out the details of the myriad gidget-gadgets we're urged to buy.
[That's a verbose compliment.]
This comes from one old enough to remember the advent of "Hi-Fi", so I guess I'll claim to be an emerging-from-the-mists Jurassic computer user.
Full Disclosure:
I like Vista.
Charlie Griffith.

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | November 1, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

If MS really wants to make Windows 7 different, I would LOVE to have COMPLETE control over processes. It's so annoying to open your process list and see all these "update" processes that just sit there and take up CPU cycles (Google seems to install 3 and Apple installs at least that many; Adobe has at least one). There should be some way of controlling this so that Windows won't allow it unless you approve. Also, when you look at a process in the list some sort of description is shown and the process can not only be stopped but also "deactivated", so it never runs again.

In this vein, I would like to be able to COMPLETELY SHUT OFF Windows SearchIndexer; I hate when it starts indexing files while I'm trying to do stuff. (In Vista, you can set all files on the hard drive to have indexer off, but you can't seem to actually disable the indexer to begin with.)

And, as Microsoft is trying to hype it's gaming cred (the whole "Games for Windows" thing), it would be nice to have a "Gamer Mode" that shuts down all non-essential processes to enable best game performance (nothing more annoying than to have your hard drive start grinding in the middle of some big battle in a game because Windows is doing some maintenance).

Posted by: AtlPatrick | November 1, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

my problem with vista was it did away with all my data and then most of my hardware wouldnt work either. what will windows 7 do to my xp if i install it?

Posted by: nhojh | November 1, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to let people know that after some experimentation the X64 version of Vista, although requiring more memory runs very well.

What's more, it doesn't max out at 3.25G of memory either. I'm running 6G of memory, it runs all my 32 bit programs just fine. And its *faster*.

All that said, Windows 7 really is just the Vista kernel. If Microsoft was smart, they'd make the "standard" Vista the 64 bit version.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 1, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see fewer flavors of Win7 than of Vista. XP had three, which Vista grew to twice that number, only half of which have, for example, BitLocker encryption. (The standard install on consumer PCs, Vista Home Premium, does not.) And if you have Vista Home Premium, you can’t buy an "upgrade" to Ultimate: you have to buy a whole new shrinkwrap license. How about cutting back to only one (like OS X) or two? With encryption a standard feature.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | November 1, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see fewer flavors of Win7 than of Vista. XP had three, which Vista grew to twice that number, only half of which have, for example, BitLocker encryption. (The standard install on consumer PCs, Vista Home Premium, does not.) And if you have Vista Home Premium, you can’t buy an "upgrade" to Ultimate: you have to buy a whole new shrinkwrap license. How about cutting back to only one (like OS X) or two? With encryption a standard feature.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | November 1, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Why even have another version of Windows? Just make Vista better. I'm using Vista at home with no issues. I'm using an old scanner which I got to work using Vista's software compatability feature, onkyo external usb card that was suppossed to work with 2000, again no issues. I have fewer viruses too because I run the PC as a limited user; of course my antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall are all up-to-date and they are all free and work beautifully with Vista. Again, why put out another version???

Posted by: RobX | November 3, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Give power users the option to disable absolutely every bit of interference with control and access to every part of the system. This will include the ability to traverse junctions without changing ownership of files and the ability to change any attribute of any object or file without having to first change permissions. No barriers, no interference, no "Are you sure?" pop-ups whatsoever.

Allow group policy to disable the option.

To cover its corporate tail, at first use Microsoft can include enough warnings about the danger of this option to scare away nervous users.

Restore the classic XP interface for Windows Explorer, including the big, red "X" for delete. In fact, it would be a good idea to provide an option to use the entire classic XP interface. Aero saps resources and does not enhance productivity.

It doesn't bother me if Microsoft includes an interface for people who do not understand computer and for people who use computers only because they must do so. On the other hand, there should be a fast, clean interface for people who know what they want to do and how to do it.

Putting it another way, my biggest objection to Vista (and the reason I do not use or recommend it) is that Vista gets in my way, rather than being a semi-invisible platform for applications.

Posted by: A_Post_Reader | November 3, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Check out Gizmodo, they have screen shots and specs. 7 should be able to run off of 1Gb. And all the huffing and puffing about user access control, i find to be silly, because people don't pay attention to the safe guards it provides anyway. I see alot of people still contracting malware and viruses because they don't pay attention to what they are doing online. And last, really, what is so bad about vista. OSX has updates, vista has updates. I dual boot Linux get updates there also, but have not seen a BSOD since I started the vista beta over 2 years ago. I wish these enhancements would come as upgrades though.

Posted by: fr1chise | November 4, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I would like to have Windows be instant on when powering up my computer vs. the lenghty boot cycle that currently takes place. I think this would be the most benifical feature that could be offered.

My second place feature would be a 64 bit system which would run 32 bit software.

Posted by: roccaseccadave | November 4, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company