Print 58 comment(s) - last by really.. on Feb 25 at 6:13 PM

  (Source: Wikipedia)

The new Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 will enable the writing of Blu-ray discs, and includes 671 hotfixes.  (Source: Mitsubishi/Sony)
Some new updates to Microsoft's OS's should soon be headed down the pipe

Windows 7, looking to be one of hottest products of 2009 when it debuts later this year, brings many improvements to the table over Vista.  The new OS, while it shares most of its underlying code with Vista, features a richer and much faster user interface and promises better hardware support out of the gate thanks to dedicated efforts by Microsoft's team and hardware partners.  The OS will also bring key technologies like multi-touch to the table, and is shaping up to be all that Vista could have been in terms of PR and polish.

However, before the hot new OS can ship to customers, Microsoft needs to prove its systems and ready itself for the massive deployment that a Windows release entails.  The critical first step of this process was to release a beta to the general public.  Now, Microsoft is readying the first real test of its new update system for Windows 7.

Starting Tuesday, February 24, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing a series of five test updates to beta users.  The updates are available through Windows Update, but will not download automatically, even if Automatic Update is enabled.  Instead, Microsoft needs users to volunteer their aid, by volunteering to manually install the updates.

The updates are simply stock system files, which replace the identical system files.  Thus the update is simply a dummy test and includes no bug fixes or improvements.

However, in the realm of actual Windows bug fixes and improvements, Microsoft today released the Release Candidate (RC) build of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2).  The RC features 671 hotfixes.  It is available, as a standalone installer package or via Windows Update or as a slipstreamed download.

Microsoft is offering the RC version of SP2 to its testers to verify that all the fixes are indeed working and that they do not introduce new problems.  It is urging its testers not to suggest new features, explaining that's outside the scope of the current testing. 

On the hardware side in Windows Vista, the RC should provides support for VIA's new 64-bit CPU, Bluetooth v2.1 and Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration wireless functionality, faster Wi-Fi resume times after hibernation, and most significantly the ability to record Blu-ray.

On the software/connections side, the SP2 provides faster RSS feeds in the sidebar, Windows Search 4.0, the ability to configure the maximum number of TCP connections.

The service pack is also for Windows Server 2008, and offers the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a free fully integrated feature, with one free daughter OS with Windows Server 2008 Standard, four free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and an unlimited number of free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.  It also improves the management options in Windows Server 2008 and fixes some licensing key problems.

In short, both for enterprise clients and for consumers, SP2 should bring a number of noteworthy improvements that will improve the Windows experience in little ways.  Microsoft has yet to announce the final release date for the production version of SP2.

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By Lotus SE on 2/20/2009 1:23:29 PM , Rating: -1
I installed Win 7 64bit on a clean install, only had a problem with the Ethernet driver on my ASUS P5KC (Intel P35 chipset).

But then nearly all of the software I have installed either refuses to work or crashes.
1)The game Portal refuses to run
2)Google Chrome wouldn't run until I changed the line in the target of the shortcut.
3)Gears of War refused to install
4)Maya 5 runs and then crashes (though that was made in 2003 for Win 2000...)
5)The beta Norton 360 for Win 7 won't scan the registry correctly.

Win 7 looks nice, but it's not usable for much more than the internet right now.

By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 1:49:34 PM , Rating: 3
Can't really complain about what is out of MS's control. The thing is many of the problems you mention are exclusively under 64bit. Chrome works fine in 32bit Windows 7, same as Gears of War and Norton 360. They obviously have no excuse for a Microsoft game not working in Gears of War and game Portal. Chrome 64bit also seems to work for some people, and not for others (doesnt work for me) but in the end the responsibility falls on Google to fix the problem.

Give it time, the OS is still in beta 1, although I do agree I personally cannot use it for more than the internet right now.

By IGoodwin on 2/20/2009 2:17:26 PM , Rating: 3
While I can't comment directly on the already mentioned compatibility issues, I can say that my experience is different. I have a partition with Windows 7 64 bit loaded and had very few issues. Including loading two old 32 bit games from 2003 and 2004 that worked without modification, KotOR and KotOR:TSL.

KotOR ran without needing anything different done, surprising as it is the older game. KotOR:TSL did need to be placed in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode with administrator rights.

Many older games should not be installed in the default 'Program File (x86)' folder, as this has special authority setup. Installing to a directory not managed by the OS will help many older programs. Also, using the compatibility mode does make a difference

By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 2:33:23 PM , Rating: 3
I wasn't trying to imply that this is the case for everyone, this is just my personal experience with the applications I use on a daily basis. I have my girlfriend running on 7 64 bit and she has no problem with any of her daily tasks.

By Lotus SE on 2/20/2009 4:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I wasn't complaining, read my comments below including my appreciation for being able to try the software and see if it suits my needs...

My post was an observation based on the high percentage of software, that I picked at random, that failed to run in Windows7 at first install. If you think about the average user, this is actually a good test of the maturity of a beta build.

In no particular order:
1)Pick one old piece of software that was written for an older OS, see if it runs. (extremely complex 3D animation software MAYA 5) It ran well, but crashed when an overlay window was used to select a brush.
2)pick a recent high end game (distributed under the Microsoft Studios) and see if it runs (Gears of War, failed to install)
3)pick a competitor's software and see if it runs (Google Earth, Picasa, Desktop, and Chrome) Only Picasa and Google Earth Run!
4)Install the drivers for your system... one failed.
Pick another recent game distributed over the internet via Steam (Portal would not run)
5)Install movie editing/capture software. (Pinacle Studio 12 runs fine)
6)Install Windows 7 recommended AntiVirus software (picked Norton 360, it runs but it cannot complete a scan of the registry)

So my average, out of 9 installed items, was 6 failures or 33% success rate!

If you really want to know what happened, the message boards for Gears of War mentioned that there was a built in expiration of the DRM key, so the only way to play was to reset your clock to prior to Jan 29th. I tired this, and then Windows 7 ran a checkdisk scan the next time I booted, and it deleted several thousand entries... So I booted to win XP (on a separate drive) and it wanted to run checkdisk. I was out of the room, and after several hours it finally finished deleting many thousands of files, and my XP install was completely unusable. There was no task bar, quicklaunch was frozen, and nothing in the control panel would run. Now I might say that was my fault for setting the clock back, but I can't see why setting the clock back in Win7 should cause checkdisk to delete most of my XP install?!

By B3an on 2/21/2009 4:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
I had no problems getting Google Chrome to run on Win7 64-Bit... Also the Portal problem you mention is an old issue with a 64-Bit OS. If you google it theres a very easy fix.

Nearly everything i've tried with Win7 64-Bit has worked. The only stuff that hasn't are install .exe's that detect the OS and will not install unless it's Vista. Even running some of these in Vista compatibilty mode does not always work (like GTA4). This has nothing to do with Windows 7, a simple update to the installers should get these working.

Even every bit Adobe software worked for me on Win7 64-Bit and i have have the Master Collection, which includes just about every Adobe program there is.

By danrien on 2/20/2009 2:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
I personally haven't had a single problem. Adding a small command line argument to a shortcut? That's piddly for a beta release OS. Beyond that, I don't play either of those games anymore, so the damage is small there... eve online works wonderfully, on the other hand.

By Master Kenobi on 2/20/2009 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 4
I'm using 7 as my Primary OS. Let's see.

I've loaded and run the following every singal day.
-Left 4 Dead
-Team Fortress 2
-Half-Life 2
-Counter-Strike: Source
-Intel Raid Storage Manager
-Trillian 3
-World of Warcraft
-EVE Online
-Earth & Beyond (Yea baby)
-Office 2007
-Photoshop CS4
-Captivate 1.0
-Visual Studio 2008

and many more.

By Scrogneugneu on 2/21/2009 6:01:07 PM , Rating: 5
Boy, you do have some busy days.

By really on 2/25/2009 6:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ok Master Kenobi,
I have a serious question. How the heck are you running Earth & Beyond? Myself and a friend frequently talk about how much me miss that game. EA shut it down many many moons ago. Please I must now!!!!

As a side note all this stuff about Windows 7 is very interesting, but remember it is still a beta. I'll leave real judgment for when the OS goes public.

By GeorgeH on 2/20/2009 2:52:05 PM , Rating: 2

I installed Win 7 64bit on a clean install, only had a problem with the Ethernet driver on my ASUS P5KC (Intel P35 chipset).

But then nearly all of the software I have installed either refuses to work or crashes.
1)The game Portal refuses to run

I've been using the Win7 x64 Beta as the primary OS on my laptop for the past month, and have yet to find a program that won't run, including Portal. I'd guess your issues are driver related, and not directly attributable to the Win7 x64 Beta.

By GeorgeH on 2/20/2009 3:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
"Edited" to add:

2)Google Chrome wouldn't run until I changed the line in the target of the shortcut.

I just tried to install Chrome and you're right, it doesn't work. It's not like it's a complete surprise, though; you get a nice little system dialog box letting you know it won't work.

So you're not spreading complete misinformation, just exaggerating the problem a bit.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2009 2:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
Win 7 looks nice, but it's not usable for much more than the internet right now.

Are you installing 32 bit apps to the 64bit program folder ? If yes, than why ?

I made a partition on my HD and installed Windows 7 64bit just for gaming. I browse the web with Firefox, play World of Warcraft, listen to MP3's. So far I haven't had a single issue with 32 bit apps because I'm NOT an idiot installing 32 bit apps to the 64bit folder.

You get ZERO benefit trying to make 32bit apps run in 64bit. So why are you doing it then complaining about it when it doesn't work right ?

All my software and hardware works flawlessly so far with Windows 7. I suspect the Nvidia driver for Windows 7 is a bit shoddy and I'm losing some FPS, but for World of Warcraft and TF2 that's not really a problem. All in all, I'm very impressed and can't relate at all to your experience.

By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 3:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Are you installing 32 bit apps to the 64bit program folder ?
When did he say this?
You get ZERO benefit trying to make 32bit apps run in 64bit. So why are you doing it then complaining about it when it doesn't work right ?
Do you even use the 64bit firefox variant? Because it is its own special project.

Also Steam itself is not native 64bit, Half-Life 2 is, so you very much so are running 32bit apps.

By Lotus SE on 2/20/2009 3:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
Most of applications and games that I have on my current system are not 64 bit, and I would like to be able to run them still. How many do you know that are 64bit? Very few.

However I do run some software that does come in 64bit versions, like SolidWorks and Ansys FEA software, and I would like to be able to take advantage of more than 3GB of RAM.

Since Windows 7 64bit was offered as a freely distributed BETA, I was attempting to see if the 64bit version would suit my needs and allow me to run the programs that I need along with the programs that I want, and utilize more RAM.

Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 64bit as a mainstream version, and it should run 32bit applications just fine. Assuming they were written correctly in the first place.

There are not many Windows 7 drivers available, so I was using the Microsoft Windows 7 drivers from Windows 7 install, and Windows 7 update. Nvidia even recommends Microsoft's driver for the GeForce 8800GT.

So you might say that my install is a clean one with only drivers meant for the Beta test, so I fail to see why it would be useful for me to go "tweaking" things in order to get them working. It's more valuable to MS for me to report my findings, and let them figure out how to make things work. BTW I did try the various compatibility modes.

So far at first glance, I wouldn't spend money for Windows 7 64bit, since it doesn't work for my needs, but I am glad MS gave us the chance to see it before we have to decide if we want to buy it.

By Master Kenobi on 2/20/2009 3:54:15 PM , Rating: 4
You do NOT need a 64-bit app to run on a 64-bit system. Any 32-bit app will run just fine in a 64-bit Windows Vista or 7 (Thanks WOW64). The only thing that NEEDS to be 64-bit are the drivers, and they are available for all major hardware.

By Lotus SE on 2/20/2009 4:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
The only driver that I had trouble with was the Atheros Ethernet driver. It did not come as part of the Win7 install, and I could not connect to the internet to get it on Win7 update, so I had to boot back to XP to download a Vista 64bit driver. I installed that and was finally able to connect to windows update to get the Windows7 64bit version of the driver.

No other driver issues so far...

And I agree, Wind 7 64bit should be able to run any, let's say Vista compatible 32 bit application... And most XP applications. Though I have run into sloppy programming in the past. I use Corel Painter (used to be Fractal Design, then MetaCreations, then CoCreate) and Version 4&5 would not work with greater than 384MB of ram. The error message was actually "Not enough Memory", but they worked fine with less, Then Version 6 worked with up to 1GB of ram, but not more. Now version IX works fine with 3GB, wanna bet it doesn't work in Windows7 64bit? ;)

I really need 95% of my work with older 32bit apps, but that 5% that could use increased RAM from a 64bit environment would really be a huge help.

By therealnickdanger on 2/20/2009 3:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
Wait... you're encountering issues with a BETA OS? Say it ain't so! ;-)

I'm willing to bet that your problems are specific to your install. Other folks seem to be able to run the programs you mention without issue. I'm not going to rip on you and I'll assume you're not a troll, so I'll encourage you to look deeper into the issues you're having before dismissing W7.

That being said, I had zero issues installing my normal suite and apps and games on W7x64. However, I uninstalled it for now. I'll reload when I can buy the W7 OEM.

By mindless1 on 2/20/2009 5:00:21 PM , Rating: 3
Instead of implying you have a cause to rip on someone and blame them, do tell exactly what you feel they could've done wrong during their "install" that would be a problem?

Suggesting someone is a troll because they're having a problem is just bad form, what should someone do if they have a problem? Just keep quiet because you find it offensive? Amazing.

This is the nature of many bugs, they don't effect everyone, every system, every use, or else they were already found and eliminated. Your initial point about it being a beta OS was on target but then you went off the deep end.

By Chaotic42 on 2/21/2009 1:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
He went off the deep end because he encouraged the OP to look into his issues further before dismissing Windows 7, especially when the OP says that it's not usable for anything but the internet?

It would appear that something is screwed up, but aside from him reporting the issues to Microsoft and getting help there, I don't see how anyone could tell the OP what he did wrong with the limited information he gave us.

The OP is not a troll because he had a problem, he's being shortsighted because he appears to be assuming that it's an OS issue when it isn't.

By mindless1 on 2/24/2009 1:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
OS issues can be dismissed this easily. You think application? Well then, similarly there had to be a lot of people using the app w/o issue. Driver? Same thing, if it didn't work for most the problem would've been caught.

We can't assume such an inherent part of the computing environment is not to blame until we have evidence pointing elsewhere. It could be shortsighted to blame the OS IF no research was done, but if a problem is significant enough to comment about, it seems reasonable to think that in this day and age people will have done some research.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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