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Microsoft's Windows 7 was looking good running on an ASUS laptop (with bamboo paneling) at WinHEC. The OS is set to ship in mid 2009, much earlier than expected.  (Source: Ina Fried/CNET News)
Windows 7 is set to drop mid-year 2009, says Microsoft

At Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), an important yearly event for the tech giant, new hardware details on the upcoming Windows 7 weren't the only revelation that Microsoft had in store.  Perhaps the most significant development of the conference came as a minor clarification -- Microsoft set a solid timeframe for when it plans to release Windows 7, barring unforeseen problems.

Originally, speculation was that Microsoft might field a Windows Vista successor in 2011 or 2012 as there was over 5 years between the release of Windows XP and Windows Vista.  However, with less than glowing reception of Vista, largely due to poor hardware partner support and a large footprint, Microsoft stepped up its efforts to launch its new Windows OS, which would set right the places where Vista went wrong.

Early this year, 2010 was what some Microsoft executives were saying to expect for a release date.  However, as the year progressed, Microsoft's top executives became increasingly optimistic that the OS could be delivered in late 2009.  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer first floated the possibility of a 2009 release earlier this year.

Microsoft director Doug Howe showed slides in a WinHEC presentation that all but confirmed a 2009 release -- and even earlier than expected.  His slides stated that Microsoft will be releasing Windows 7 mid-year, in time to be included on the machines to be sold during the holiday buying season.  Mr. Howe stated, "Definitely the holiday focus is going to be on 7."

Also revealed by Mr. Howe were more details on Microsoft's secretive Velocity program aimed at improving Windows Vista PC quality.  The program, according to Microsoft, will run through next spring, conveniently terminating at about the time that Windows 7 will be preparing to ship.

The new program was initially only open to select computer manufacturers, but will now be opened to select software and hardware partners as well.  The basic premise is that the partners will have to engineer their products to work optimally with Vista and will have to undergo rigorous certification testing.  Partners will benefit from the good publicity, and Mr. Howe revealed in a slide that Microsoft might do some advertising for their products first-hand.

No list of the criteria was given, but one of the criteria, confirmed by Mr. Howe, was the ability to boot Windows Vista and have it ready to run within 50 seconds.  Many of the Velocity-certified machines boot significantly faster than this, according to Mr. Howe, but Microsoft wanted to set a widely obtainable goal.

After the debacle of Microsoft's "Vista Capable" program, which saw the company's stickers placed on underpowered bargain machines clearly not Vista ready, Velocity is both an effort on Microsoft's part to show that it's turned over a new leave and an effort to overall improve Vista machine quality.  The program launched in July 2007.

The program targeted the sluggish system performance that was plaguing many Windows Vista machines.  Originally intended as a three month program, it was extended far past the planned termination, due to Microsoft realizing there was still much work to be done.  In particular the program aims to speed up the time it takes for Vista computers to start up, shut down, sleep, and wake up.  Other goals include that all the hardware and software is completely compatible with Vista, as compatibility is a perennial trouble-spot or Vista.

Microsoft's labs in Redmond, Wash. are in charge of the Velocity testing.

Overall, Windows observers should be able to appreciate that Microsoft sincerely seems to be trying to improve the OS.  However, what it can't improve like memory and processing footprint, should be remedied with the release of Windows 7, which has now been all but confirmed for mid next year.   

One last interesting note -- Microsoft previously stated that it would release Vista's Service Pack 2 before Windows 7 -- so that means that if it sticks with this plan, Vista SP2 is likely coming in Spring of 2009.  Stay tuned for more details on that one.

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By acer905 on 11/7/2008 10:36:44 AM , Rating: 5
I still don't see the issue people have with Vista's footprint. Right now you can get storage space for 10 cents per GB.

Around the time XP was launched, storage space went for around $10/GB.

In order for Vista's footprint to be economically worse than XP's, it would have to be 100x the size. Last time i checked, it wasn't.

RE: Footprint?
By FITCamaro on 11/7/2008 10:44:24 AM , Rating: 1
While I don't like how big it is, I don't really care. As you say, space is cheap. My 250GB drive is more than big enough. Games go on my 2 raptors in RAID 0.

RE: Footprint?
By Chaser on 11/7/2008 11:00:55 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah. It runs fine on my pair of Raid 0 Intel 80GB SSD drives too.

RE: Footprint?
By therealnickdanger on 11/7/2008 11:09:48 AM , Rating: 5
If you actually have that... I hate you.

RE: Footprint?
By gemsurf on 11/7/2008 12:13:08 PM , Rating: 1
If you actually have that... I hate you.

I'm not him but I do! :-)

RE: Footprint?
By Lakku on 11/7/2008 6:29:08 PM , Rating: 1
Eh don't feel bad. Just get some 15k RPM SAS drives with an X58/i7 and you'll feel just right with everything, plus you will get a whole new PC and more storage space, for the price, or a little more, of those two SSD's.

RE: Footprint?
By Pirks on 11/7/2008 7:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd go for investing into a nice young hot woman instead of this i7/sas/blas/shmas junk you know. Much better ROI I say :P

RE: Footprint?
By jonmcc33 on 11/7/2008 8:21:30 PM , Rating: 5
Till that young hot woman starts nagging you, whining that they aren't getting enough attention, etc. Women are only good for one thing to a man but that's another blog altogether.

RE: Footprint?
By Pirks on 11/7/2008 8:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
Then instead of a next i7/sas/shmas/$$$$$$ PC I'll invest in a next woman when it's time. Still getting more ROI this way

RE: Footprint?
By sweetsauce on 11/7/2008 10:47:10 AM , Rating: 5
Too much logic. Much easier to spew random blurbs like OMGZ its like so big and stuff, cuz this one guy that uses it says its slow and stuff.

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/08, Rating: -1
RE: Footprint?
By TamaIe on 11/7/2008 10:51:20 AM , Rating: 3
Isn't that 50 cents per GB?

RE: Footprint?
By therealnickdanger on 11/7/2008 11:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
$0.46/GB, but who's counting?

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 11:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
D'oh! Stupid decimal points...

RE: Footprint?
By Mr Perfect on 11/7/2008 12:44:53 PM , Rating: 5
Nice math, Michel Bolten. ;)

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 1:03:53 PM , Rating: 4
You can just call me Mike. :P

RE: Footprint?
By theapparition on 11/7/2008 1:20:05 PM , Rating: 1
That's Mike Bolten. :-)

RE: Footprint?
By rmlarsen on 11/7/2008 2:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
The most bang for your buck is currently Seagate's 1.5 TB drive, which is 10 cents per GB.

RE: Footprint?
By TomZ on 11/7/2008 3:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's also pretty easy to pick up various 1TB drives for around $99.

The problem with the Seagate 1.5TB is that a number of users are reporting problems with that particular drive. Also, some users are reporting that the drive occasionally hangs for 30-second periods from time-to-time.

I've got a couple here that are running fine so far, but the reliability is something that I'm concerned about.

RE: Footprint?
By kevinkreiser on 11/7/2008 10:53:13 AM , Rating: 2
more content in less space is always better. personally i'd rather the install use less space if it is possible. and with ssd's coming into play, space is a commodity.

RE: Footprint?
By mikefarinha on 11/7/2008 11:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
With Windows Vista and the proliferation of cheap & large HDDs Microsoft made a philosophical change to how you deal with additional functionality.

Prior to Windows Vista you had the concept of 'add/remove programs.' This let you actually free up disk space when you removed stuff but conversely you had to use the install disk to add features back in.

With Windows Vista you have the concept of turning features on or off. This is why they changed the control panel description from "Add/Remove Programs" to "Programs and Features."

When you install Windows Vista all the features are installed, you can choose to turn them on or off instead of adding or removing.

The end result is that it makes it easier to work with Vista since you don't always have to go dig out the install disk when you want to add something.

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:36:15 AM , Rating: 2
No, all the features are not installed. Some are left out, it is only the MOST OFTEN USED, according to Microsoft, ones that are put on your hard drive.

Or, at least they are only UNZIPPED AND UNPACKED when they are chosen to be installed. Really, most of Vista is 'drivers, drivers, those nasty freaking dri-vers' (sings stuff in quotes) to the tune of 4 Gigs.

If they would make it so that if you installed something new, you had to put in it's install disk OR it immediately went online to find the driver or you had to put in the Vista disk..... Vista would be about the size of Windows 7.

RE: Footprint?
By epobirs on 11/8/2008 4:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
The change really started with Windows 2000. This was the first version of Windows that put the driver library on the boot volume by default. Huge improvement. Before that, NT4 users had to copy the i386 directory to the system for themselves. Likewise, there was the CABS folder that needed to be copied onto Win9x systems.

I'm entirely happy with the Vista way of doing things for desktops and fullscale laptops. Microsoft admits they went wrong in not offering more options for those in special circumstances but they didn't see the netbooks coming.

The needed options would allow the installer to selectively trim categories of device drivers from going on the system. This makes up the great majority of the space consumed. For instance, my current laptop doesn't have the old PCMCIA slots, they've been replaced by the ExpressCard slot. So there isn't much value in having drivers for any PCMCIA device on my laptop. Likewise for SCSI controllers and devices. Those probably don't have much of a footprint but it is an example that comes to mind.

On my laptops' 320 GB drive I would probably only eliminate the most obvious of device categories the unit will never encounter. On a desktop, where 500 GB is quickly becoming an entry level drive, I'd not bother at all. On a netbook however, it would be a very worthy effort. Especially if the OEM can do most of the work in advance and Windows Update could still make the whole library available.

RE: Footprint?
By Silver2k7 on 11/7/2008 4:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
" and with ssd's coming into play, space is a commodity. "

Thats perhaps why SSD isnt really in play yet.. cause they are too small.. Bitmoicro or some company do have a 1.6TB 3.5" SSD but until they let the price down to the harddrive levels SSD won't come to my computer.

10-15GB isnt that much, if someone is cheap and buying a small hdd then they have nobody but themselfs to blame. 1TB is good value today.. even 1.5TB is not that expensive. If your a laptop owner, get an external drive to store things on.

RE: Footprint?
By emboss on 11/8/2008 2:55:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, for me SSDs are just too expensive for the space I need. I just got a new laptop and put my "standard" dev environment on it - Vista-x64 (I'd prefer XP x64, but it's a long story ...) + Visual Studio + Xilinx ISE + Office + Delphi. Current HDD usage is 76 GB (that real GB, not HDD-manufacturer-GB). And I still haven't done things like put on the Windows DDK, Opera, and the usual collection of other apps and stuff. All up I wouldn't be surprised if I hit 80-85 GB, and that's without any data.

The laptop was pretty cheap - AU$500 with another AU$110 spent on upgrades (*). Even the craptastic OCZ JMicron 128 GB drives go for nearly AU$600. Assuming I managed to strip things back and get it to be inside 64 base-10 GB, I'd still be looking at over AU$1K for a MTRON drive or similar. There's simply no way I can justify spending twice as much on the drive as I did on the rest of the laptop.

(*) I was actually surprised how much laptop ~AU$600 gets you nowadays - after the upgrades, it's got a T5750, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB HDD, 15.4 inch 1280x800 screen (Intel X3100 graphics), 802.11g, DVD+/-RW, ~3.5 hours battery life (Visual Studio typing/compiling). Weight is spec'd at 2.7 kg (6 lbs). Sure, it's not going to be much good at 3D games, but for work duties the only negative points I've found so far are the screen resolution and the lack of TV out.

RE: Footprint?
By omnicronx on 11/7/2008 10:58:00 AM , Rating: 2
MS was also smart this time around, they are allowing for a base Windows install, and are allowing users to add in functionality as needed.

RE: Footprint?
By StevoLincolnite on 11/7/2008 11:14:08 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds a little similar to the Windows 98 installation procedure, hope it is, I used to save a couple hundred megabytes off the install by not installing the stuff I didn't require, I would rather the Install process let me choose what I want, the average Joe' doesn't know how to do a Format and Install windows anyway, thus I would rather it be more "interactive".

What I would "love" is a similar lay-out of all my folders and what-not to XP, but have the search function of Vista.

But I would also like the removal of the "Desktop" folder located in the Documents folder, all to easy to delete and lose something important on your desktop. - I tried "rolling back the folder" once it reappeared to no avail.

And possibly bring back the old Networking center look from XP... I have to do several more "clicks" (And get lost in the process half the time) just to change my I.P addresses to a Static one.

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 11:16:34 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have a link for this? All I had heard was that you'd be able to remove unneeded items after the install, similar to Vista. And that it won't come with an email or messenger app, instead prompting you to download the Windows Live apps.

RE: Footprint?
By mikefarinha on 11/7/2008 11:29:15 AM , Rating: 2
I think he is referring to Microsoft removing the photo gallery, movie maker, etc. and letting you download them as Window Live apps.

Microsoft has explicitly stated that they aren't focusing much on trimming the installation.

Having said that I doubt the Win7 install will be much different than the Vista install.

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, ZDnet says that the installation size is a little over 2.7 gigs..... with everything installed or the most common stuff needed installed. Hopefully, Microsoft has gotten the message and is NOT going to put all the drivers on the hard drive.

It will either tell you to put in the Windows 7 install disk or automatically go online to download and install the drivers (with the second being the best case scenario here).

The installation size cannot be trimmed very much UNLESS you get rid of storing those drivers on the computer for 'instant plugin and installation'. The only drivers that should be put on the computer's hard drive: basic motherboard drivers, basic processor drivers, basic networking drivers, basic ram drivers..... just basic EVERYTHING, and the ACTUAL DRIVERS THAT THE INSTALLER HAS SAID YOU NEED AT THAT EXACT MOMENT FOR YOUR HARDWARE.

RE: Footprint?
By The0ne on 11/7/2008 11:10:37 AM , Rating: 3
My personal issue is the bloat that gets crammed in a piece of software, whether that's MS software or any other. It is because of the advances in storage devices that managers (imo) are pushing programmers to put everything they can in there without any thought of optimization. I think many of us remember the good old computing days where great programs fit into a few floppy disks.

Although a bit off-topic, I would think most embedded firmware programmers would agree mainstream software could be done more efficiently.

The point is if there is no thought to even consider optimization then some improvements will never see the light of day. Gadgets wouldn't be so small, light, efficient if there were improvements and optimization. Software, I think, is just getting away with it because well...people either don't understand or don't are. Yes, I have almost 4TB but that doesn't mean the software should get so bloated to take up 10gig+ For an OS? I don't think so.

RE: Footprint?
By acer905 on 11/7/2008 11:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, yeah i remember my first computer, a Tandy 1000 with dual 3.5" floppy drives. One disk held the OS and a handful of programs. And anything that wouldn't go on that disk went on a second one...

RE: Footprint?
By XBMC Fan on 11/7/2008 12:24:36 PM , Rating: 3
I had a Tandy 1000 as well. I think you mean dual 5.25 floppy drives...

To chime in on footprint, yes, memory and hard drive storage are cheaper these days, but that shouldn't be an excuse to be sloppy. Besides, it still takes time to read all of that crap off the hard drive, even with slowly increasing mechanical hard drive performance and the advent of SSDs.

RE: Footprint?
By acer905 on 11/7/2008 5:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, never had 5.25's for it. Had those for my second computer... though i can't remember what it was... I actually still have the Tandy... complete with monitor, and ribbon printer. And it works perfectly

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:44:58 AM , Rating: 2
Little problem: you are automatically assuming that they are being sloppy. Truth is: most Microsoft code is as optimized as it is going to get, even WITH a total rewrite.

You add more 'funky pictures', more 'funky schemes', etc..... it's going to take a lot of space for those pictures, schemes, pointers, etc.

RE: Footprint?
By TomZ on 11/7/2008 12:03:14 PM , Rating: 1
The point is if there is no thought to even consider optimization then some improvements will never see the light of day.

Your approach only makes sense if engineering labor is cheap or free, which is not generally the case. The economics are such that fast CPUs are cheap, RAM is cheap, HDD space is cheap, but labor is expensive.

Therefore, it makes sense for software teams to focus on developing and testing new functionality, and optimizing only on an as-needed basis where performance and/or small footprint is an important requirement. Blanket optimizing everything as you suggest/imply is a waste of valuable resources.

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, right now.... totally optimizing everything is a VAST waste of resources. That's why most adults have a 'if it works, don't replace it!' view of the world.... they gone through 'optimization' of their jobs like my parents have with new hardware at their lab.... it usually means MORE work and less actually getting done.

RE: Footprint?
By nangryo on 11/8/2008 4:09:41 AM , Rating: 2
I full agree with you Mr. TheOne.........

But Mr. Z and his follower will disagree..., with 'why not use the capacity when it's there' reason.

RE: Footprint?
By quiksilvr on 11/7/2008 11:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
Though this logic makes sense for today's notebooks and desktops it isn't the case for earlier ones. If you have a notebook with 1 GB RAM, you are either forced to get Vista Basic, stick with XP, or upgrade your RAM. Now for techies like us that's no problem but for the average consumer it isn't the case.

You also have to keep in mind netbooks and other ultraportables. Having the RAM and space needed jacks up the price very painfully. As a result, XP is kept and Vista sales decrease. This is where the space issue becomes a problem.

On top of that, despite the new service pack and upgrades, Vista still takes more battery life. So in a logical standpoint, the only real benefit for Vista is DirectX 10 gaming. The skin and aero interface with its transparent bars and whatnot can all be replicated on XP with 3rd party programs. So the reasons to get Vista decrease more and more.

So I agree, if you have a modern desktop and notebook, Vista shouldn't be much of a problem, but what's the point? If you can get XP for cheap you might as well get it and cut down the resources your computer eats up and wait for Windows 7.

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 11:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
Vista is incredibly different from XP under the hood. DirectX 10 gaming support and Aero are just icing on the cake.

What's more, Windows 7 is built from Vista. The hardware requirements are not changing.

RE: Footprint?
By kensiko on 11/7/2008 12:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
There you are false.

I can assure you, the new OS is way more lighter when run in slower computers !

And for the news, I'm not surprised, the Win7 Bêta 6801 is already fully stable ! It runs fast, very fast, I love it !

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 1:02:59 PM , Rating: 3
I'm just inferring the hardware requirements from the statements MS has made saying that if it works on Vista it will work on Windows 7.

I'm sure performance has been tweaked in Win7.

RE: Footprint?
By TomZ on 11/7/2008 1:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think that Microsoft is doing performance optimizations in Windows 7 in order to effectively support the netbook/ultra-mobile/low-cost markets - devices that have processors like Atom and only 1 or 2GB of RAM maximum.

It is important that Windows 7 runs there so that they do not have to continue to sell and support XP into that market.

RE: Footprint?
By epobirs on 11/8/2008 4:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
This is specifically due to a technique coordinating the display buffers with the memory in the video subsystem. They demonstrated this during the WinHEC keynote.

This trick is pretty much just to enable Windows 7 in the netbook market. As explained in one of the technical sessions, it reverts back to the normal way of doing things if anything is done to complicate the system, most particularly having more than one GPU and/or monitor.

This won't even matter for the netbooks for long. The way memory prices and density are going I wouldn't bother with less than 4 GB in a new system and would have at least 8 GB in any machine for a power user. (The first i7 desktop board I've seen supports up to 16 GB, albeit with reduced performance for the 4th DIMM.) A $300 netbook is going to have 2 GB minimum pretty soon.

There is plenty of tweaking that can be done to make Vista less processor intensive and most of that will likely still apply under Win7. There are a bunch of system services a netbook user isn't likely to invoke.

RE: Footprint?
By kalak on 11/10/2008 2:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that, despite the new service pack and upgrades, Vista still takes more battery life. So in a logical standpoint, the only real benefit for Vista is DirectX 10 gaming. The skin and aero interface with its transparent bars and whatnot can all be replicated on XP with 3rd party programs. So the reasons to get Vista decrease more and more. So I agree, if you have a modern desktop and notebook, Vista shouldn't be much of a problem, but what's the point? If you can get XP for cheap you might as well get it and cut down the resources your computer eats up and wait for Windows 7.

Couldn't agree more....

RE: Footprint?
By Solandri on 11/7/2008 11:18:34 AM , Rating: 2
Hard drive prices may have dropped 100x, but sustained read speeds have only improved by about 4x, and access speeds have barely improved (mostly due to going from 5400 to 7200 rpm). Vista just takes a lot longer to boot, and seems to thrash more whenever it hits the hard disk.

Heck, my current laptop takes longer to resume from hibernate (due to having to read 4 GB off the hard drive) than it took my 10-yo laptop to boot Win98/Win2k. For comparison, that had a 4.3 GB hard drive.

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
How long? If it's more than 60 seconds...... you have a driver issue somewhere. I had a friend whose computer was doing what you describe....... I found out by using DriverAgent that about 10 of his drivers were SERIOUSLY outdated AND he had a couple of viruses on his machine. Ran Norton Anti-virus, updated those drivers, defragmented his hard drive..... 30 seconds to resume from hibernation.

RE: Footprint?
By Kary on 11/7/2008 12:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
I still don't see the issue people have with Vista's footprint. Right now you can get storage space for 10 cents per GB.

I hate bloat! This has nothing to do with hard drive space, though. Microsoft can give me all of the free programs...I have no problem with getting extra programs without adding to the cost of the operating system (I like this).

But didn't I say I hate bloat? YES! If I don't ever use it and it loads into RAM every time I turn the computer on it is BLOAT. I have 4GB of RAM in my only can use 3.5GB because it's a 32bit system. 64-bit Vista won't run some of my apps so it isn't really an option for me yet (though I would love it if they fixed that).

So, no matter how much money I throw at RAM, I'm limited to 3.5GB of RAM. Now the bloat:
Windows Search Indexer (I don't lose my files and they don't index theirs...not helping me)
Network Media Sharing (ok, would use...if I had a device for it to share with...since I don't, why is it on? Why is the operating system [Vista Premium] that forces this on the best for notebooks?)

Really, if Vista took up 20 to 30 gigs of hard drive, I don't think that would be bad so long as they did included useful programs...heck, that many useful programs could be great!!! :)

(also, this isn't just picking on Vista...MS OFFICE Quick Start, Quick Time, Real Audio, iTunes, ....if I'm not running them at the moment then leave my RAM alone so I can use the computer to work on WHAT I'M ACTUALLY WORKING ON!)

<rant complete>

RE: Footprint?
By mikefarinha on 11/7/2008 12:10:18 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you need to learn what Vista's SuperFetch feature is all about...

"SuperFetch is a technology that pre-loads commonly used applications into the memory to reduce their load times."

RE: Footprint?
By Kary on 11/7/2008 12:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you need to learn what Vista's SuperFetch feature is all about... From "SuperFetch is a technology that pre-loads commonly used applications into the memory to reduce their load times."

...not sure why I would need to read about that..maybe I wasn't clear

SuperFetch makes my computer more responsive for stuff I do...good thing, not a problem

Windows Network Sharing Service takes CPU and RAM resources away from what I'm doing to provide a service to share files (of which I have told it to share 0) to network devices that support it (of which I also have 0). I can shut it down, but I have had it turn on if I mistakenly use Media Player (I like Media Player being included, but I use VLC because I prefer it).

The OS can use all the RAM/CPU/whatever it can get at to make things more responsive for what I'm wanting to do on my computer. That's great and what I expect from an OS...using my RAM/CPU/what have you on something I don't want and slowing my computer down as a result...BLOAT

RE: Footprint?
By mikefarinha on 11/7/2008 12:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
You must have the senses of Super Man to be able to notice the minuet performance penalties such services create.

By all current benchmarks Vista performs on par with Windows XP.

Sure it is your right to be upset about such inconsequential things but that doesn't make it something most people should give two hoots about.

RE: Footprint?
By Kary on 11/7/2008 2:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
You must have the senses of Super Man to be able to notice the minuet performance penalties such services create.

Versus people complaining about the hard drive space MS Paint takes up :)

Background might help..
Windows Search Indexer used to make even old games pause on my Pentium D 805 (I have turned it off since I don't use it and can't comment on the updates they have made to it... we are talking C&C: Generals paused for no reason). IF Microsoft made an easy way to turn off background processes (MS CONFIG isn't an easy method for everyone) it would be better.

I'm also computer tech..I have spent the last 3 hours trying to remove background programs (admittedly mostly spyware/viri) from a computer. 30 background processes on the computer MIGHT be on purpose...several are rather pointless (Quick Time, Real Audio, MS Language Bar, one of the 2 wireless configuration programs in addition to the built in XP one,...). Now I get to sort through a list of 100 or so things running in the background and figure which ones are causing the slow downs and pop-ups.

A cleaner system is just easier to maintain and background processes that aren't running when not needed are considerably less likely to cause problems.

RE: Footprint?
By Lerianis on 11/8/2008 1:51:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I have to agree that WNSS being activated EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME you run Windows Media Player gets on my nerves as well... but I actually use that functionality (though I didn't realize I was at first!) so I got used to it and left it on.

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/7/2008 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 3
You can turn off both the Indexer and Media Sharing. But it doesn't make much sense.

The indexer has a low-priority IO thread, so it doesn't slow down other apps. The amount of CPU and RAM that it uses is miniscule. It would drain the battery in a notebook pretty quickly until the index gets built though (took about 5-6 hours on my desktop).

Media sharing simply causes your computer to show up as a media device. Again, an unnoticeable amount of resources is used.

You can go into the registry or use msconfig to disable the other startup items you listed.

RE: Footprint?
By emboss on 11/8/2008 7:13:00 AM , Rating: 2
The indexer has a low-priority IO thread, so it doesn't slow down other apps.

Although this is commonly-stated, it is, alas, incorrect unless you have a SSD. The problem is that the I/O scheduler in Vista doesn't appear to use anticipatory techniques properly when pulling items from the background I/O queue. Since most applications don't read an entire file in a single read call, this means that low-priority requests are inserted between closely-spaced normal priority requests.

This creates problems if the low-priority requests are to distant locations on the disk than the normal priority requests. For example, if you're streaming a file off the disk, this might be done at the application level as a series of 1 MB reads. These 1 MB reads are broken up into a number of 64 KB reads prior to the I/O queue. Since all these reads are at normal priority, they are all done prior to any background I/O reads. All up, they might take 10 ms on a modern disk, giving you a total throughput of 100 MB/sec.

Now, once all the 64 KB reads have been emptied from the normal priority queue, there is a small delay until the reading thread gets resumed and it can dispatch another 1 MB read. During this time, the normal priority queue is empty. So, the I/O scheduler notices this, and notices that there's a request in the background queue, so dispatches it. The end result is a 64 KB read operation from the background queue in between the 1 MB normal priority reads. On a SSD, this doesn't matter since there's effectively no seek time. On spinning rust, you're looking at about 25 ms for the two seeks (one to the background request, one back to the foreground file), bringing your total throughput down to 28 MB/sec.

Vista isn't quite this bad. I did a test exactly like this (sequential 1 MB reads) and it showed a ~30% drop in throughput when the indexer was active, as opposed to the ~70% drop from the calculations. Also, after 30 seconds or so the indexer would realise that it was getting in the way and back off.

Streaming may appear to be the most extreme example of this problem. However, it actually shows up more significantly when doing compiling. If I do a rebuild in Visual Studio (2005) while the indexer is currently running (or if SuperFetch is shuffling things around), it takes around twice as long as if there were no "background" I/O tasks running. The problem is less pronounced when using the GNU toolchain, presumably as the parallel make keeps the disk queue full enough that background I/Os can't sneak in so often. This should apply to VS2008, since that finally supports parallel building, but I haven't tried it yet. Also, in this case, the indexer does not appear back off.

This is one of the things which hopefully will be fixed in Windows 7, or in a service pack to Vista. It just requires a bit more tuning and testing in the I/O scheduler to be a bit less aggressive in processing background requests if normal priority requests keep coming in while waiting on background I/Os to complete. As it is, background I/Os aren't truly "background" unless you've got an average normal-priority I/O queue depth of something greater than 1.

SuperFetch itself could use some tuning as well, but that's another long post ...

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/10/2008 10:17:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Vista might not get it completely right, but it's a heck of a lot better than XP. XP doesn't even have prioritized I/O. Windows Search 4 appears to monitor CPU usage to know when it can start updating the index.

The Engineering Windows 7 blog did imply that they have further tuned I/O performance in Windows 7, so hopefully we'll see an even better system that Vista has.

RE: Footprint?
By Spivonious on 11/10/2008 10:17:12 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Vista might not get it completely right, but it's a heck of a lot better than XP. XP doesn't even have prioritized I/O. Windows Search 4 appears to monitor CPU usage to know when it can start updating the index.

The Engineering Windows 7 blog did imply that they have further tuned I/O performance in Windows 7, so hopefully we'll see an even better system that Vista has.

RE: Footprint?
By LazLong on 11/7/2008 12:16:44 PM , Rating: 2
The footprint referenced here isn't the space on disk, but rather the RAM and processor power required to provide functionality similar to that which would be available from an XP-based system.

RE: Footprint?
By DeepBlue1975 on 11/7/2008 12:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is, as has always been, people trying to run state of the art applications and OSs on 4 year old machines.

This time with Vista, that stupid question was accentuated by OEMs selling laptops with 512mb of ram and Vista installed. Not even the home basic version runs well on that quantity of RAM... But going to 1gb it starts to run well, and upgrading to 2, you forget completely about performance issues on Vista.

I happen to like my vista 64 installation, though I never felt it was a quantum leap from XP, just a good enough (for me, at least) evolutionary step.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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