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A peak at Device Stage's display when looking at options for your cell phone. Note documentation and functionality are both easily accessible.  (Source: Microsoft)
The latest developments from Windows 7 focus on hardware

With the bits of Windows 7's pre-beta and milestone releases taking the torrent community by storm, there's more excitement than ever surrounding the highlights of the UI and top level features of Microsoft's upcoming OS, demonstrated and released at its Professional Developers Conference.  Many are pleased to see Windows 7 to be running leaner than Windows Vista, despite featuring rich graphics.

An important focus at Microsoft for Windows 7 has been hardware, though, not software.  Hardware was a virtual nightmare for both Microsoft and Vista users, when poor developer support led to incompatibility with many devices at launch.  Vowing not to repeat this problem, Microsoft is rethinking how it approaches hardware with its new OS.

At its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, it released more official pre-beta copies of Windows 7 to hardware developers.  And it gave the same features overview, this time with a hardware twist.

Leading the way is Device Stage, a new invention from Microsoft.  This intuitive idea is something you might expect from OS X, but it’s a sign of the newfound creativity brewing at Microsoft.  The new center allows the user to select from any device attached to the system.  Microsoft is providing an interface that allows the user to access any capabilities of the device and to go online to fetch manuals and documentation on the device.  Microsoft is being stricter with hardware partners, demanding they provide quality interfaces and information.

An example of how this feature would work is if you plugged in your cell phone -- say a Blackberry Pearl. Clicking on the device in question, Device Stage has a section for manuals, a file browser where you can manage content or look through the files.  Any interface functionality, which the hardware provides will be accessible in Device Stage.

Julie Larson-Green, vice president of program management for the Windows Experience describes, "I can set up my sync capabilities [on my Motorola phone].  I can manage the media on my device. I can browse files. I can go and find that documentation because I probably threw out the manual when I got the box, so I can go online and get that. And anything that the device does can be exposed through the Device Stage."

Also improved is Microsoft's code to exploit SSD drives.  SSDs will be faster than before.  They will also provide much faster wake up and hibernation.  According to initial reports, the difference between a Windows 7 PC equipped with a SSD and a Windows Vista PC is visibly dramatic when it comes to wake-up and sleep times.

Microsoft says it is planning "Windows enhancements that take advantage of the latest updates to standardized command sets, such as ATA."  SSD makers are enthused about Microsoft's support as they feel it may give the turbulent industry the boost it needs.

While much of the Windows 7 hardware interface upgrades will require some work from developers, Microsoft is also mollifying them, by explaining that they will have less work to do adapting to the underlying interface than with Vista, as Windows 7 shares much with Vista on a base hardware level.

Microsoft is expected to elaborate more on new hardware features in coming weeks.

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Looks good
By GreenEnvt on 11/5/2008 2:25:25 PM , Rating: 5
I like the idea of clustering all info about a device together.
Improvements for SSD drives are also great.

RE: Looks good
By amanojaku on 11/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: Looks good
By TheFace on 11/5/2008 2:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
WinFS, from the linked wiki, looks interesting. Although I wonder how much of the stated performance issues were problematic. It sounds as if the file system had to parse through lots of metadata to operate. Although, my knowledge of file systems is elementary at best, it still seems like a promising system.

RE: Looks good
By mmntech on 11/5/2008 2:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
As long as WinFS means no more defragmenting, I'm for it. It's good to hear that Microsoft is learning from Vista's mistakes and at least trying to streamline the OS.

RE: Looks good
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 3:00:19 PM , Rating: 1
Isn't WinFS the file system that Vista was supposed to have had to begin with?

RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:09:17 PM , Rating: 5
No, it was simply a database operating on top of NTFS. The idea was that users would query for files instead of using folder structures. It's been replaced by the indexer, AQS, and libraries.

RE: Looks good
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 3:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I see. Since folders makes more sense to me than a 'rubble-of-files' that seems like ok then.

Just like it makes sense for MS to look at the SSD routines etc., since that IS the future of storage.

RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:50:17 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, it took me a while to adjust to searching for things instead of going to their location, but it's actually faster to search.

I hit windows-key, type "visu" and hit enter and bam Visual Studio opens up. Much faster than clicking start->Programs->Visual Studio->Visual Studio.

I'm looking for photos of my dog, so I click start->Photos and then type tag:George in the search box. Bam, all the photos that I've tagged with George show up. I don't even know how I'd do this in XP without some third party software.

With Windows 7's libraries, this experience will only get better, especially since any application can tie itself into the libraries. You make changes in one place and it instantly affects all of the others.

This is the most excited I've been about an OS release since 95.

RE: Looks good
By Diesel Donkey on 11/5/2008 6:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
I don't even know how I'd do this in XP without some third party software.

Google Desktop gets the job done quite nicely. Also, the sidebar that comes with it is, in my opinion, far more useful than the gadget bar in Vista, simply because you can bring it to the forefront just by hitting shift twice. To search your indexed files just press CTRL twice (as opposed to pressing the Windows key). Works great!

RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 7:10:30 PM , Rating: 3
Hence the reason I said "without some third party software" :)

And I couldn't search for tagged photos in XP, because XP didn't support tags on photos.

RE: Looks good
By Flunk on 11/6/2008 12:12:28 AM , Rating: 3
You can now get the windows search update for XP and get Vista-style search in XP. It's on Windows Update as an optional update.

RE: Looks good
By Clauzii on 11/6/2008 6:00:22 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like the 'FS' tricked me. I always known FS as 'File System'.... not 'Future Storage' as it is in WinFS.

OK, don't know why my post got rated down, but thanks for answering my question :)

RE: Looks good
By Spuke on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: Looks good
By retrospooty on 11/5/2008 8:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
No, he was right... Originally Vista WAS supposed to have WinFS. MS decides they had to drop it to release Vista on time (which was late anyhow).

Windows 7 is looking pretty damn good though. Streamlining is a good thing.

RE: Looks good
By piroroadkill on 11/6/2008 7:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
It was supposed to be in codename Longhorn, after the code reset, they.. downgraded their plans for Vista.

RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:00:03 PM , Rating: 3
Windows 7 is "API Complete" which means no features will be added and no features will be removed. The public beta is in a few months. From all accounts, even the M3 build is extremely stable and fast.

This follows the historical pattern of MS OS releases:

New -> Improved
95 98
Me/2000 XP
Vista 7

WinFS has had its functionality replaced by a combination of the indexer, AQS, and the new libraries feature.

RE: Looks good
By Myrandex on 11/5/2008 3:22:30 PM , Rating: 5
ME is just "the OS that shall not be named" and I wouldn't consider it in your graph.


RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
It did introduce some features that are still with us today, including System Restore. But yes, I agree that the 9x codebase had gotten so bloated by then that it's better to just forget Me.

RE: Looks good
By Flunk on 11/6/2008 12:15:01 AM , Rating: 3
To be fair those features actually were not ported to NT but totally rewritten.

RE: Looks good
By mindless1 on 11/5/2008 4:19:04 PM , Rating: 4
You've ME in the wrong place,

95 98 ME

You've also misused the word "improved" and should have used "features added".

RE: Looks good
By MonkeyPaw on 11/5/2008 3:10:06 PM , Rating: 5
They always cut half of the useful features before the product reaches the market...

Are you sure WinFS fit that description? People like to complain about not having WinFS in Vista, but does anyone know why they wanted it or even what it was supposed to be? Many assume that WinFS was to replace NTFS, when in fact it was to perform on top of NTFS. MS instead gave us the search features WinFS promised without adding the overlay. Vista never saw the actual "feature," but it still implemented all the functionality.

Vista is doing what it needed to do--make a much more secure environment than XP with an updated driver model, paving the way for Windows 7. And before the Vista hate begins, keep in mind that the next version of Windows is coming no sooner than Apple's next version of OSX. It's called a product cycle.

RE: Looks good
By theapparition on 11/6/2008 8:34:05 AM , Rating: 3
Completely correct.
WinFS (Future Storage) sounded like it had some neat features, but in reality those features were not that groundbreaking, it was horribly slow, and was a complete security nightmare that the development team had no fix for. Vista currently does 95% of what WinFS was supposed to do, without any of the horrible side effects.

WinFS is dead. There is no development currently, and no plans to start it back up. Let it go.

RE: Looks good
By Smilin on 11/5/2008 4:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
GET OVER WINFS. Not yours. That gripe is so old.

RE: Looks good
By inighthawki on 11/5/2008 3:44:32 PM , Rating: 2
So far, windows 7 is really looking good. All the new features look great. I'm SOMEWHAT iffy on the new taskbar, but i haven't used it yet to see what it holds, so i cannot make a proper judgment yet. Otherwise i can't wait to use it. I might do like i did with vista and run the beta as my main OS, just to get some of the features early.

RE: Looks good
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I like the expanded thumbnails, but I don't know if I like the Dock-ish behavior of what was Quick Launch.

Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By Creig on 11/5/2008 2:34:41 PM , Rating: 5
That's nice. But what we really need is improved SSD pricing.

By TheFace on 11/5/2008 2:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
That will come with time. There will always be bigger and faster drives coming out too, so you'll have to make your compromises.

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By eilersr on 11/5/2008 2:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
True, but there is always a demand/price curve for new technology that never comes down quick enough. Give it time.

Think about it this way: If MS can improve the benefits of using SSD's, more people will be able to justify the extra cost. The more people that buy into the technology, the bigger and more competitive the market becomes, driving down costs. So indirectly, this may actually help bring prices down!

By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 2:52:40 PM , Rating: 5
SSD performance is NOT Microsoft's problem! SSD performance has everything to do with sh*tty controllers chosen by the manufacturers. There are plenty of SSDs that absolutely kickass when used with ANY OS.

By CvP on 11/5/2008 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 1
then...umm...this will make them perform even better (at least a little), you got a problem with that?

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
If the OS is part of the problem with the other drives, why not fix it?

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By tastyratz on 11/5/2008 3:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
This is not MS admitting there's a problem, this is MS optimizing their OS to utilize the potential resources ssd drives bring to the table.

And in response to other comments above: How else do you propose MS works to lower ssd prices? They are a new technology and will be widely embraced. Ssd prices are not managed by, nor the responsibility of Microsoft.

To be technical if anything: MS optimizing 7 to squeeze extra performance out of SSD drives IS working to lower prices by encouraging mass production and adoption through additional incentive.

By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 3:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
That is why I wrote 'if' :)

The rest I agree on.

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By Joey B on 11/5/2008 3:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
Just because it is not their problem, doesn't mean that they can't do their part to make things more efficient and faster.

By rdeegvainl on 11/5/2008 4:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
You are right, now get to work on it Joey B, and do your part to make them faster and more efficient.

By Visual on 11/6/2008 3:36:41 AM , Rating: 2
Oh but it is SO their problem.
Not all of it, granted... but an important part.
Their IO code is written with traditional HDDs in mind, expecting big latencies, slower performance for non-sequential operations and a bunch of other specifics. They are working around those with caching and reordering of operations and other things which just don't make sense for SSDs, and in fact hurt performance there.

I like Windows.
By gochichi on 11/5/2008 6:58:58 PM , Rating: 5
Frankly, I think that the main "problem" is that Microsoft has too much market share to turn its back on its past OSes. There is no "clean start" for Microsoft.

It's amazing to me (as an owner of Mac hardware, compared to most Mac users a Mac expert) is that nobody talks about the amazingness that I can still run everything ever released for a Microsoft operating system on the latest version (namely Vista). Sure, you need to learn a very simple procedure, namely "run in compatibility mode" and then select the appropriate system. And it will eventually run fine. Dos-Box does a fantastic job of running things that are older than Windows.

That level of compatibility is ten times better than any other system. Not only were there more applications for Windows to begin with, but there are more YEARS of applications available for Windows.

Mac redid everything (what did they have to loose?) when they went to OS X. Then they redid everything again by switching to Intel. Old users get slapped in the face which they can afford to do because their market share is growing significantly.

Microsoft can't slap us all in the face, it's still 90% of the market IMHO. So anyhow, Vista is more than adequate. Windows 7, I think will be amazing.

RE: I like Windows.
By chronodekar on 11/5/2008 9:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you that each time a major change happens with the Mac, that the old users DO get slapped in the face.

I don't mean to be rude, but a part of what makes progress, well Progress is that you need to let go of the old when their time is up.

I mean if there really IS that much of a demand for old software, then someone would create SOME kind of compactibility for it, right?

And as far as the software industry goes, this is one of the reasons why we learn that frameworks are important. They make transitioning old code MUCH easier. ( I'm talking about .NET, Java ... etc )

Just because someone wants to use their old TV, doesn't mean that everyone else should put up with the grainy analog transmissions ? We support legacy systems for 5 - 10 years and then, it's time to find/ build new systems.

By sticking to using old stuff, you impend your own efficiency.

RE: I like Windows.
By inighthawki on 11/6/2008 12:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isnt with old software that is developed by larger companies. Any really big software in demand can be updated to newer version, the problem arises when someone wants something that was very useful to them, but maybe also happened to be the side-project of some random guy on the internet, or a small utility that was made by one guy. Some of these products haven't been updated since windows 98 or the beginning of XP days.

The TV analogy is actually very flawed, because it only takes a little work and hardware from very large corporations to rebroadcast the exact same stuff in digital. In the windows world, not everyone is a big corporation who can simply update their applications to please everyone with the same function.

PLEASE don't get me wrong, i'm dying for a change in windows, a fresh start if possible. Dual booting a "new" and "legacy" version of windows could be nice. I would love to see microsoft roll out a fresh, clean new API, something which is far more efficient and compatible with everything we have now.

RE: I like Windows.
By Spivonious on 11/6/2008 10:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. I'm sure Microsoft is constantly improving the underlying implementation of the Win32 API, and what does it hurt to leave the old functions in there? They already made huge changes with Vista by rewriting the graphics, sound, and networking subsystems, as well as providing much higher kernel-mode security.

And the problem is definitely with old software developed by large companies. Why would a company upgrade the OS if it meant half of their programs stopped working?

A large market share is a blessing and a curse. Apple was able to rewrite their APIs because they had such a small marketshare, and it was mostly with users that upgrade software often (graphics design, home users).

We still have PCs with NT4 on them, simply because the software that is needed for business operations will not run on anything higher. It is not worth the money to upgrade the OS "just because" and then completely rewrite the software, only to wind up exactly where we were.

RE: I like Windows.
By Visual on 11/6/2008 3:43:45 AM , Rating: 2
"impede", surely?

By benx009 on 11/5/2008 7:19:23 PM , Rating: 5
"This intuitive idea is something you might expect from OS X"

What exactly is this article implying? Microsoft devs come out with great ideas all the time... Apple just gets credited with theirs more because Steve Jobs has this thing called a 'Keynote' where he pretty much rubs Apple's mediocre technological advancements into everybody's face.

RE: Hmmm...
By TomZ on 11/5/2008 8:09:30 PM , Rating: 3
Jason is an Apple fanboy - and therefore he feels that the only engineers capable of good user interface or industrial design are working in Cupertino. Obviously this is not even close to the truth.

RE: Hmmm...
By robinthakur on 11/6/2008 8:45:19 AM , Rating: 1
Whilst Jason might be an Apple fanboy, I don't think its a stretch that on the evidence of Vista (e.g. the Networking dialogues spring to mind) yes they did have a way to come in terms of designing original interfaces which were intuitive for humans to use. MS is making good use of its market dominance here, I can't see manufacturers being quick to support it if Apple thought it up because it requires quite a bit of work at the manufacturer end and they don't have the market share yet.

It sounds like a nice usability feature and I hope they deliver, looking forward to Windows 7 more and more now! Sounds like MS learned some valuable lessons from Vista's relative failure. Apple do still make good interfaces though (e.g. iPhone), give credit where its due.

Moving things around?
By brandonicus on 11/5/2008 2:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
It makes sense to place all of the device's information in one spot, but are they just moving around old menus?

"Windows 7, This time we put the Device manager, Help, and an Explorer window together!"

I'm sure there is more to it. Has anyone on here tried it out yet?

RE: Moving things around?
By Joey B on 11/5/2008 2:59:44 PM , Rating: 2
From what I have read - and they allude to this a little bit in the article - MS is trying to use this to step up the support from the manufacturers.

With the example of a camera, clicking on the camera in the device stage will give you options to view pictures in a slideshow, transfer pictures, etc without installing any other software for the device. You will be able to look up the manual for it there, find new device drivers, etc. So, yes, they are consolidating menus to give a better interface but there are other things as well.

RE: Moving things around?
By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:05:35 PM , Rating: 3
It's not Device Manager. It's more of a "home" for the device. If the device has the support, it will let you sync files to your MP3 player, download ringtones to a cellphone, work with photos on your camera, etc.

This new screen is simply providing a common interface for manufacturers to use. Check out Thurrott's site for some more details:

As Creative Labs product user
By nangryo on 11/5/2008 10:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh...,I wonder if they will get their driver for my X-fi come out in time (or if they ever get them out at all) for Windows 7. Coz I was waiting for like ages to get a quite decent driver for my vista. But this new "driver stage" means more work for them to work at their driver (which they can even finish decent standard vista driver in a reasonable time).

Well, I just hope that I don't have to "buy" a new product to be able to use their card in the new OS. Like what they did to audigy users.

RE: As Creative Labs product user
By V3ctorPT on 11/6/2008 7:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
That's why, I'm waiting... I want a soundcard, but I can't buy one, because I don't know if Creative is going to leave me eating dust...

Minimal OS maybe?
By sparkuss on 11/5/2008 4:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
So any chance that we'll be able to get a minimal version of 7?

Or will I again spend time turning off services and garbage to get down to just what I need for my tasks (Web, light office, gaming)? Or using 7-lite when released?

Was that "minimalist required to run" aspect supposed to be coming as the answer to bloated Vista?

By derwin on 11/6/2008 12:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
...for both Microsoft and Vista users...

a new forgotten old
By Visual on 11/6/2008 3:25:38 AM , Rating: 2
Device Stage... from the description, it seems just like what "My Computer" was supposed to be from the start.

I'm curious about the new SSD improvements though - they may be worth the wait.

I'm starting to like this Windows 7 so much already that I might give up on buying Vista and just put up with the activation harassment prompts for the next year. I wish MS had some future-proof license instead, that would've let me use Vista Ultimate for the time being and then upgrade to Windows 7 when it was out.

By coversyl on 11/6/2008 4:06:37 AM , Rating: 2
I cannot for the life of me see how applications would have direct access to the pagefile, which is there to provide virtual memory support and thus all application requests for a memory block would have to be done by a request to the operating system.

I have 2GB XP and have run without a page file for over a year now with no problems

There is no performance advantage as the system would not be paging much memory anyway as I never get near using the full 2GB

By JonnyDough on 11/6/2008 10:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
What I'm wondering is that if Windows 7 is a leaner, meaner Vista...

How will it perform on an older system like my Opteron 185?
XP is nice, but my Athlon is still pretty capable I think. It would be nice to see some entry level DX10 games running on my 8800GTS, which I happened to pay quite a handsome sum for. I can see getting a small cheap SSD for older systems once the price comes down, as the hard drive was always a major bottleneck. I feel an SSD could spring new life into an old system, especially if you can run 64bit Windows 7 with 4 gigs of ram on it, and a modern card. Even by today's standards an overclocked Opteron 185 is still no slouch.

Google Desktop
By NobleKain on 11/6/2008 7:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
Google Desktop Sidebar is a piece of waste if you ask me. While they have a compliment of nice widgets, the actual app has a horrible memory leak, AND on top of that doesn't understand how to drop its history... so it just continually eats more and more memory. Horrible I tell you. The only way to clean it up is to shut down the service and restart it, which is stupid.

I love Google, but this particular app is poorly done. The issues it experiences are likely due to the widgets I've had running, but Google should account for garbage widgets with their API instead of leaving it to the widget developers to write proper code. Sure it's not their "fault" per'se, but it reduces the quality of the Siderbar itself.

Why wait
By FXi on 11/5/2008 9:33:26 PM , Rating: 1
SSD's are happening right now. Why wait 2 years to bring out SSD optimized code for SSD's?

Why? Because we're MS and we can't move any faster...

Windows 7 should be a free update for Vista owners
By Lord 666 on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 2:47:37 PM , Rating: 4
The article that this one links to regarding SSD performance:

Until recently , solid-state drives used an older--and theoretically slower-- PATA (Parallel ATA) standard. But the newest drives shipping with, for example, the Dell Latitude E4200 and HP EliteBook 2530p ultraportable laptops, use SATA-2.

WTF? Not even recent HDDs use PATA! Clearly whatever performance boosts given to SSDs in W7 has not been expounded on enough to A) believe any such boost exists, or B) believe said boost could be used in Vista.

The only problem with SSD performance are the crappy controllers used in "budget" SSDs. Intel's X25-M proves that you can have a blisteringly fast MLC SSD with no write hangups. There's nothing wrong with Vista and SSDs, you have to place blame where it belongs: the hardware.

By Lord 666 on 11/5/2008 3:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
Correct - these updates should be technically addressable with Service Pack 2 since Windows 7 uses the Vista base. Last update I read is Windows 7 will be compatible with vista drivers. Bottom line is the performance can be updated without having to upgrade to 7.

I stand by my previous post... regardless on how it was rated down.

By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 4:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, my point is that no matter what you do on the OS side of things, you have to eventually write to the SSD. If it has a crappy controller, no amount of tweaks will keep it from freezing. W7 might carry optimizations for SSD sleep states or perhaps even an optimized writing method, but you still can't get around bad hardware. I'll welcome any improvements to the OS, obviously, but I think this whole article (and its clones across the web) are jumping erroneously to the conclusion that W7 will solve SSD performance issues.

By TheFace on 11/5/2008 8:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
The article is actually unclear on this SSD issue.
"SSDs will be faster than before. They will also provide much faster wake up and hibernation. According to initial reports, the difference between a Windows 7 PC equipped with a SSD and a Windows Vista PC is visibly dramatic when it comes to wake-up and sleep times."
SSDs will no doubt be faster by the time 7 comes out. They should continue to progress in speeds more like processors. This quote does not mention anything regarding the actual throughput of the SSD being faster. The rest of the quote seems to suggest that, while using the same SSD a PC with 7 on it should wake up and go to sleep in a faster manner than one with Vista.
I'm sure that some optimizations can be made for writing and reading SSDs, although I wouldn't imagine that we will be blown away by the differences between SSD performance in Vista vs 7.

By chmilz on 11/5/2008 2:49:41 PM , Rating: 5
My lossless digital audio files don't play well on my 1983 Sony Cassette Walkman either. I'm still waiting for my free, updated product.

SSD's were barely even mentioned until about a year ago, well after Vista was launched. New technology isn't always going to be backwards compatible.

By Lord 666 on 11/5/2008 3:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Poor analogy as your lossless files did not exist back in 1983.

SSDs did exist as well as SATA devices before Vista release. The performance update is effectively a driver re-write and can be addressed with Service Pack 2.

By mindless1 on 11/5/2008 4:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
You should now the difference, that your walkman doesn't use software codec updates. Don't be a smartass.

SSDs are an evolution of CF cards which have been used in the embedded market for many years. There really wasn't any excuse for the incessant writing that windows did even when the only target was a mechanical hard drive. Once upon a time ago you could load an application and run it all day (until saving a file or reading a new one) with the hard drive spun down - quiet, using less energy.

By TheFace on 11/5/2008 8:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
SSDs are an evolution of... SSDs! They've been in use in industrial applications for far longer than CF cards. The current batch of them may have received technology used in CF cards, but the fact is, solid state disks have been used for longer than those CF cards.

The incessant writing windows does is really annoying. One of the reasons I got x64 Vista and 8gb of RAM and turned off pagefiles. Vista is pretty but it has some major issues. Keeps me coming back to my macbook.

By Nekrik on 11/5/2008 9:24:32 PM , Rating: 3
just wanted to throw this out as I see a lot of people making comments about the amount of RAM they bought so they have decided to 'disable the pagefile':

From what I understand it's not a good idea to completely turn off the pagefile, doesn't really have much to do with the OS or the amount of RAM in it. Many apps are written and expect to find and use the pagefile, if it's not there it can cause perf issues on it's own, it's a design issue in the apps themselves.

If this no longer the case, or measures have been taken to deal with such apps I am sure I will be scorned and rated down, and in such case I apologize for the fud.

By archcommus on 11/5/2008 9:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry, you're totally correct. The pagefile's purpose is to make every app think it has the whole memory address space available to it. Then, as the CPU requests specific blocks, they will be mapped from the pagefile to physical memory. So if an app relies on this fact and accesses hard-coded memory addresses, they could crash or perform erratically if the pagefile is disabled.

By TheFace on 11/6/2008 12:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, well maybe I'll turn the pagefile back on again. Didn't really notice much difference, just wanted to end unnecessary writing to my disk. Thanks for the tip.

By mindless1 on 11/6/2008 12:09:07 AM , Rating: 1
Yes but you ignore the obvious, that memory is dirt cheap these days so if someone pretends they care about performance, they're not trying to optimize pagefiling, they're stuffing another few gigs of memory in their system so there really isn't any need to page nor have that pagefile (unless an app has memory leaks but obviously that problem is separate and has to be dealt with either way).

Pagefile is an idea whose time has passed. Disable it, then if an error results take it as a sign the system is not adequate for the jobs, then replace it or upgrade the memory if possible.

There's just no sane reason to think in terms of maybe needing a pagefile. If a job is that large (relatively speaking compared to the system) it's either inappropriate for the system and will take a ridiculous amount of time to run while using the pagefile, or it should be ran on a beefier system.

pagefile is only a way for MS and other developers to try and sell software to owners of systems that are inappropriate for that. It made more sense back when a system might cost $2000 and a few hundred MB Of memory close enough to that. Today with PC boards capable of 16GB, there's just no reason for one, it only slows a system down by the amount of I/O required for allocation even if that virtual memory space is never actually used.

By mindless1 on 11/6/2008 12:02:00 AM , Rating: 1
"SSDs" have not been in use, the term was coined only a very few years ago while CF cards were used since their beginning.

SSD <> any random type of solid state storage, the term was coined for a specific type of solid state storage. Ramdrives for example may be solid state but are not considered "SSD" for any practical purpose.

It is laughable that you write that you got x64 Vista and 8GB RAM as if that is somehow combatting windows writes. Don't you get it yet? It's not pagefile writes from lack of memory that cause most I/O, it's the bad logic on allocation and all the other OS services that cause it. With memory now less than $15 a GB, we can practially ignore amount of memory in a multi-hundred dollar system and focus on the rest.

Remember, it's not whether you're writing 50MB an hour or 1MB, it's whether the OS "chose" to spin up your hard drive to write anything at all. 1 byte of data written is stupidity on MS' part, when a user does not want their system to do anything other than what that user directed it to do. For example, once the OS has fully booted and all apps are loaded, it is ridiculous that the disk subsystem is ever accessed if the user doesn't try to read in a file or save one. Given the price of memory today, it's similarly stupid to have disk bound browser caches so that the OS can prefetch. Yeah, let's guess about computer use and cause resource waste just in case, then let's either flush it all out or save every lil brower file when today's webpages have dozens per page. It's lunacy.

Basically, those in charge of making such decisions are morons.

RE: Windows 7 should be a free update for Vista owners
By TomZ on 11/5/2008 2:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
You have an unrealistic expectation, since SSDs more-or-less came to market after Vista did.

And besides, its not like Vista was "flawed" with respect to SSDs as you say. Instead, it is about performance tuning and adding the ability for the OS to detect the presence of a SSD and adjust its algorithms accordingly.

By Lord 666 on 11/5/2008 3:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
SSDs existed way before Vista

For the OS to be aware, all it will take is a simple Service Pack and not to purchase a new OS.

By Spivonious on 11/5/2008 3:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
They existed before Vista, but weren't used in consumer devices until mid to late 2007, over a year after Vista was finished.

By Lord 666 on 11/5/2008 4:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is well aware of new products before their introduction and sale to consumers.

By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 4:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
...And hardware manufacturers are WELL aware of the requirements to interface with Windows. They also are fully aware of their crappy controllers before bringing them to market. Bad SSDs freeze on any OS you use.

By TomZ on 11/5/2008 8:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is well aware of new products before their introduction and sale to consumers.

There has to be a valid business case to support a new feature in a particular software release. Engineering resources are not infinite. And as others have pointed out, SSDs - especially in the use case of replacing HDDs - were not widely used when Vista came out.

And while SSDs did exist (for many years BTW), they also did not exist in their current form with the current technology. Microsoft wouldn't even have been able to test their implementation against any of these devices.

By mindless1 on 11/5/2008 4:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
No, Compact Flash cards are SSDs, just with their own CF abbreviation. Obviously they were in the market long before Vista, and it's definitely true that Vista, and XP, and 2K, were all flawed with respect to disk access. The flaw is the idea that an OS "needs" or "should" be writing non-essential things to a drive continually without the user specifically directing for it to happen.

All SSDs are doing is causing MS to go back and properly implement what they did wrong in the first place.

By coversyl on 11/6/2008 3:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of the OS accessing disks, can anyone help me with the following. I have an external USB hard drive which powers down after a period of inactivity.

I want it to stay powered down until i access it, but if I delete a file on (say) my c-drive then the delete 'hangs' until the external usb drive powers up (a few seconds) and then the delete completes.

Why should the external drive power up when i am deleting files on the local c-drive?

By mindless1 on 11/7/2008 10:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
There is no valid reason why it "should", this is just another blatant bug in windows. Same thing happens when most people launch any 16 bit legacy app, or when the recycle bin is emptied, etc. MS does not care about your system so long as you keep paying them.

It seemed ok, when we only had average commodity PCs, but now the field has changed and windows can't suit all system applications anymore, but all get get now is the bloated XP, the expensive and fickle XPe, or the obscenely bloated Vista. Oh, but you can have obscenely bloated with a !@#$ touchscreen if only you buy Windows7 too. LOL, masochists don't want to learn anything.

Political Campaign
By dagamer34 on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: Political Campaign
By Master Kenobi on 11/5/2008 2:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well, like any politician the answer is of course, no.

RE: Political Campaign
By JonnyDough on 11/6/2008 11:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
Unless of course, it just so happens to be Opposite Day.

In which case "no" in fact means "yes".

Of course, if it is Opposite Opposite Day "no" still means "no", because a dual rhetoric of pointless switching would need to be applied.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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