At the Professional Developers Conference last week, Microsoft released details on its new Operating System. Although the name isn’t very exciting, Windows 7 looks like it is going to be the champion that Microsoft hoped Vista would be. Below is a list of the details on the new system that I’ve found scattered across the internet.
- Windows 7 will run effectively on 1 GB of RAM (eschewing the recommended 2GB RAM that Vista really needs). This also means Windows 7 can be implemented on Netbook computers (basically laptops with smaller screens and limited resources).
- The new OS will support AAC, H.264, DivX and Xvid media files natively.
- An updated Windows Media Player is implemented into the taskbar which allows for easy access to common controls. The Media Player is also lighter on system resources and is optimized to keep track of media all over a given network. It even can play nice with systems like Sonos and other extender technology.
- Multitouch and touch technology will be much better than Vista. Menus and other items frequently used enlarge slightly when you touch your finger to them.
- The taskbar has seen a major redesign in functionality. Now when you click on an application, you get the option to open recent documents. Another feature lets you preview windows by showing the user a floating version of hidden windows.
- Apparently strides have been made to make improvements to the User Interface. Microsoft’s vaunted “Flip 3D” that was a flop in Vista is said to be put to shame by attendees of the PDC. Developers received a copy of Windows 7 that did not include this feature, but it was demoed for them.
- The Ribbon Interface that you recognize in the 2007 version of Microsoft Office products will now appear unilaterally throughout the Operating System. Apps like Notepad and Paint will have the Ribbon Interface.
- Instead of dedicated folders like My Music, My Pictures, or My Movies, Windows 7 introduces “Libraries”. Libraries let you centralize files that exist in folders across your computer.
- Gadgets (the bar on the right side of the desktop of Vista) are now given the ability to be placed wherever on your desktop. They can also now exist completely behind your open windows and programs so they don’t take up space.
- Connecting to a Wi-Fi network only takes one click. All I can say is, “Thank goodness”.
- Windows 7 now examines how and why your applications crash. It “learns” from that experiences and runs the application in a manner that avoids crashing.
- Like Linux Distros have been doing for years with software, Windows 7 implements sandboxing of drivers so a messed up driver doesn’t ruin all your fun.
- Another really awesome feature is that all updates of drivers will now appear through Windows Update instead of users having to hunt them down individually and installing them manually.
- Apparently power management is significantly better than Vista and XP. Windows 7 can tweak system settings like the power of a CPU or settings for playing a DVD or turning off hardware internally that does not need power at a given time. The new OS will even be able to display details on what components are sucking power.
- In Vista, the same amount of RAM is given to every open window that you have, even if some windows are minimized or in the system tray. In Windows 7, the OS intelligently only gives RAM to active, visible windows. This goes back to the fact that you can run Windows 7 with 1 GB of RAM.
- From Gabriel Aul (head of Windows Performance): Any application that run on Vista should run on Windows 7. If a computer can run Vista, it will run Windows 7 even better. Laptops and netbooks will benefit from better battery life. Windows 7 will be more reliable than Vista SP1 from Day 1.
I’m pretty excited about Windows 7. My Dell Laptop runs Vista pretty well, so I look forward to the performance increases that are promised. Many people weren’t a fan of the user interface experience changing from XP to Vista, but I thought it was a step in the right direction. I remain hopeful that Windows 7 will deliver the final modernized user interface that Windows Vista has started. I have read some reports that Microsoft is working to utilize the GPU in a lot of computers to offload some work from the processor. This is similar to the technology that Apple has been flaunting with it’s upcoming Snow Leopard OS. This will be a welcome addition to Windows 7 if they are able to implement it.
Check back in the future for more on Windows 7. Will you be upgrading to Windows 7 from XP, or from Vista to Windows 7? Leave your comments below!