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InfoWorld claims early Windows 7 benchmarking show it to be virtually identical to Windows Vista in terms of bloat and to have several noticeable compatibility hang-ups.  (Source: New Line Cinema)
If early testing holds true, so much for running Windows 7 reliably on a netbook

One key Windows 7 feature driven home again and again by Microsoft's Windows team is the superior system performance with respect to Vista.  The team, at the recent Professional Developers Conference (PDC), showed off a netbook apparently running the OS smoothly, leading many to hope that their prayers of a smaller-footprint Microsoft OS had been answered.

Unfortunately, it seems the rosy picture painted by the development team at the WinHEC and PDC conferences might have been a bit overly optimistic.  InfoWorld has done some extensive early testing on the pre-beta of Windows 7 and the results aren't very impressive in terms of improvement over Vista.

According to InfoWorld, in terms of basic system design, Windows 7 is shaping up to be a OS X like release, in that it is only a minor iteration over Windows Vista, with little change in performance.

Looking first at the kernel, both Vista and Windows 7 M3 (Milestone 3, the other name for the pre-beta) featured 97 to 100 processes.  The system process also consumes a similar amount of memory to Vista, according to the writer.  He states, "This was not "MinWin," the mythical, streamlined new Windows kernel that promised a clean break with the bloated Vista... In fact, as I worked my way through the process lists of the two operating systems, I was struck by the extent of the similarities."

He continues to reinforce this assertion by pointing to key subsystems such as Desktop Window Manager (dwm) and Client/Server Runtime (csrss), which were virtually identical in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Using a test suite composed of Clarity Studio's ADO (ActiveX Data Objects), in particular, the MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface), and WMP (Windows Media Player) Stress workload objects, InfoWorld set to stress testing the system after examining the kernel.  Windows Vista had been shown in March to be 40 percent slower under load than Windows XP, using this test suite, so how would Windows 7 fare?

The results were that Windows Vista actually beat Windows 7's pre-beta by 5 percent in database tasks, while Windows 7 scraped by with a 2 percent win in workflow tasks.

The memory usage during testing was remarkably similar -- 637MB for Vista and 658MB for Windows 7.  The thread count was also very close -- 712 for Windows 7 versus 810 for Vista.  InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy sums up his conclusions, stating, "In a nutshell, Windows 7 M3 is a virtual twin of Vista when it comes to performance. The few minor variations I observed during comparative testing are easily explained away by slight tweaks to the kernel (such as the aforementioned MDAC changes); they certainly don't indicate a significant performance overhaul."

The reviewer praised the updated UI, stating it was far more than an OS X clone.  He argues this is the key feature of the new version of Windows, not improved performance.

However, he also points out numerous frustrating software compatibility issues that he ran across, which could indicate a repeat of Windows Vista's early problems.  The Daemon Tools suite, an ISO image-mounting utility, installable under Windows XP and Vista, would not install.  When the author tried to use the compatibility tab, he found himself stuck in an "endless loop of failed installations and mandatory reboots".

Additionally, Skype 3.8 would randomly crash with no apparent cause.  Also, VMware Workstation would not launch virtual machines, though the exact cause of this problem was not able to be determined.

So has Microsoft tried to pull a fast one on the audience, preparing a Vista-twin with similar problems to its sibling, while deceptively promising a lean fully-compatible fresh OS?  It remains to be seen if this is the case, as many changes remain in upcoming beta releases.  However, with only a year to go, initial testing is indeed showing a troublesome resemblance to Vista in terms of performance and compatibility problems, a stark departure from the cheery picture painted at Microsoft's PDC.




"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates













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