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Windows 7 is coming in time for the holiday shopping season

Windows 7 has been the talk of the tech community for months now. Excitement over the operating system reached a high point when Microsoft released the first public beta of Windows 7 during CES 2009 in early January. Microsoft then upped the ante last week when it provided the first Release Candidate (RC) version of Windows 7 to the public.

Microsoft is now confident enough in Windows 7 that it today announced that the operating system will be available in time for the "holiday shopping season". Although Acer has leaked its intention to release a product using Windows 7 by October 23, this is the first confirmation from Microsoft that the operating system will ship this year.

"Microsoft is committed to ensuring that IT professionals and developers continue to have the platform and technologies to drive maximum value and business results. Getting the most out of IT investments is even more important in today’s economy," said Bill Veghte, Microsoft's senior vice president of the Windows Business. "With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we’ve received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability."

The overall reception to Windows 7 through its beta and early RC stages has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the reception to Windows 7 has been quite the opposite of its predecessor, Windows Vista, which was plagued with software and driver incompatibilities at launch. Given that Windows 7 builds upon the foundation laid down by Windows Vista which has had a few years to mature, many of those growing pains are long gone.

Windows 7 will be available in Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. According to Microsoft, over 75 percent of Windows 7 installations will come through OEMs and the majority of installations will be 64-bit.

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anything is better than vista...
By Mikescool on 5/11/2009 11:07:25 PM , Rating: -1

By CrazyBernie on 5/11/2009 11:19:12 PM , Rating: 5
You mean like Mojave?

RE: anything is better than vista...
By Jedi2155 on 5/11/2009 11:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
Even Millennium Edition??

By StevoLincolnite on 5/11/2009 11:43:08 PM , Rating: 4
Blasphemy! Don't speak those words! It's supposed to be forgotten forever!

RE: anything is better than vista...
By CrazyBernie on 5/12/2009 12:27:14 AM , Rating: 5
You know what's really odd is I never had issues with Millenium Edition. People all around me claimed that their computers were spontaneously combusting, but mine kept trucking along. I guess it's because I did really crazy stuff like download updates to Windows and device drivers.

RE: anything is better than vista...
By afkrotch on 5/12/2009 2:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
ME was worse than 98SE. I also downloaded updates and drivers. 98SE would get the like 2-3 blue screens a day, while ME would get double that.

I quickly went to NT and then Win2k just to get off both the piece of crap.

RE: anything is better than vista...
By dubyadubya on 5/12/2009 5:18:49 AM , Rating: 2
You must of had some good hardware? Windows Me was mediocre at best but I had few if any BSOD's. It's weak spot was the lack of available memory handles. 9x has a limited number of memory handles and Me just used too many itself. This caused low or out of memory errors even with plenty of physical memory left. 98se was as perfect as 9x could get. Not server stability but plenty stable for general home use.

RE: anything is better than vista...
By Targon on 5/12/2009 8:52:32 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that ME had VERY VERY bad plug and play support for resource allocation. If you took a card and moved it from one PCI slot to another, it might cause your system to crash, and moving the card back would not resolve the issue. 98 was NEVER that bad, so it was pretty clear that Microsoft was trying to improve that aspect of the OS, but failed miserably.

By captainpierce on 5/12/2009 7:36:23 AM , Rating: 2
Millenium sucked on clean installs w/hardware and drivers it was supposed to work with. I sometimes wished it would cause spontaneous combustion...then I would've been done with the damn thing!

RE: anything is better than vista...
By oab on 5/12/2009 1:35:05 AM , Rating: 2
Even Bob?

RE: anything is better than vista...
By Nekrik on 5/12/09, Rating: -1
RE: anything is better than vista...
By das mod on 5/12/2009 11:08:49 AM , Rating: 3
by "Dick Around" you mean "Playing games" ???

yeah, i'll stick to a PC for that ...

RE: anything is better than vista...
By Nekrik on 5/12/2009 3:52:05 PM , Rating: 3
it was a reference to the Onion article for the Apple Wheel, just didn't go over too well.

RE: anything is better than vista...
By Targon on 5/12/2009 8:49:58 AM , Rating: 3
When Vista first came out, the drivers just were not ready. You can really fault HP, Canon, Epson, NVIDIA, and pretty much every hardware vendor for this, because they DID have time to develop decent drivers and software to go with them. That was back in November of 2006 through January of 2007 during the initial release to business customers and then the retail market.

By July of 2007, the drivers and software from most companies had stabilized and were mature enough for computers to be stable. At that point though, the driver discs still were the older drivers that were not quite stable. Most people do not know about looking for driver updates, so it took a bit longer for people buying a Vista machine to have a fully stable computer. There were people like myself who went Vista in July that never had problems since we DID go out and get the latest drivers.

The problem is that it was over six months before Vista was stable due to the previous driver and software compatibility issues, and as a result, Vista was almost permanently thought of as being slower, or being buggy, or whatever. People like Mikescool obviously just follow the crowd without really looking into the source of the problems and discovering that Vista itself was never that bad, even at launch, it was all about the drivers and changes to networking and audio code in Vista, that DID break some applications.

So, the weaknesses of Vista(to be fair, I am not a Microsoft fan by any means, but I hate seeing a decent product bashed by clueless individuals)....

Vista uses a system to boost overall system responsiveness called Superfetch. This basically acts as a caching system for your most commonly run applications so that they will load faster. The problem is that it uses a lot of system memory, and this can reduce system performance if you have less than two to three gigs of RAM. If you have enough system memory though, it DOES boost system performance.

Vista Home Premium(which seems to be what the majority of people have) includes the AeroGlass UI. It is actually pretty nice, but it requires a bit of GPU resources, and if your graphics card or integrated graphics chip is slow or does not have full DirectX 9 support, the UI itself will feel a bit slower as a result.

Basically, if your computer was old back in 2007 and you installed Vista, the increased memory usage of Superfetch and the increased demand on the GPU for the desktop would make low end computers feel sluggish. It did not help that it took until April of 2007 for Dell, HP, and others to realize that you really needed 1.5 gigs of system memory or above for Vista to run acceptably. There were still systems being sold with only 1GB of memory though, and people buying those systems would experience poor system performance.

Windows 7 is really just Vista release 2 with a new name. It is better about memory usage(Superfetch is more intelligent about how much system memory to use I suspect), and other systems have also been improved. The big thing is that Windows 7 uses the same driver structure as Vista, so they will be more mature right away compared to when Vista first came out(because the drivers had to have a new design at that point).

Vista really just suffers from a bad reputation at this point. Anyone who wants to put a new OS on an old computer in general is just asking for trouble. Upgrades NEVER run as well as a clean install. New operating systems add features, which will add additional demands on the system on top of the previous operating system. This is just common sense. Now, if your computer is unstable(Windows ME for example), then going to a new OS MAY help, but you have to accept that you may need more system memory, and if you have a low-end computer, you may run into more trouble than it is worth.

These days, for $350-$400, you can get a computer with a dual-core CPU, GPU that handles DirectX 9 in hardware(Geforce 6150LE), and 3 gigs of system memory. That should act as a sort of base line for what you should have if you are looking to put Vista or Windows 7 on a computer. You may not need quite that much memory, but for the price of memory these days, expect that if you go with minimum system specs, you WILL see limited system performance.

Oh, and User Account Control really does suck, but it can be turned off easily(from the UI, no obscure command line too required).

To Mikescool,
You may want to actually try something before you go around bashing it. You may also want to learn a bit about WHY things break, because if you even looked into the reason for Vista problems, you would have seen that bad driver quality will always result in a bad experience. Look at how pathetic the drivers were from Creative Labs back when Windows XP first came out as an example of this.

By Disorganise on 5/16/2009 9:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
Whilst I agree with most of what you're saying, Vista really isn't that great an OS.
I played with Vista since beta 3, and agree most issues were driver based -it took Nvidia a couple of months before I had a driver that worked at ALL with my card. By the time it was released to the general public, the basic drivers were there, but performance was dodgy and crashes too common with common apps (I recall the first few versions of adobe reader being truly excellent at turning machine into something that felt like a 286)
A couple of years on I no longer dual boot to XP, BUT, Vista does have a tendancy to go slow at times for no apparent reason - and I have 6GB RAM didn't help much.

I see Vista like Windows 2000; full of excellent ideas but ultimately rushed out the door too soon. XP built on 2000 and is a brilliant OS. Windows7 builds on Vista and will also be a decent OS I think/hope. Win2k was version 5.0 internally and XP is 5.1. Vista is 6.0 and I'm pretty sure Win7 is actually 6.2 (6.1 being taken by windows server 2008).

Hopefully the algorithms for super fetch have been thoroughly worked over since that's where i believe the biggest issues remain. SP1 brought (for me) much higher disk IO, and SP2 has turned it back to 'normal', but I still find apps far too slow to start, and too often go 'not responding' for 30 or 40 seconds or so. And this with RAM at 4.2GB in use leaving 1.8GB free, and CPU around 25%.
Having said that, my media centre PC (also Vista) has no particular problem but then that's not running office, games etc etc.

So in conclusion - I agree drivers ruined Vista's reputation in the early days, but disagree that everything is now peachy.

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