7 things to work about windows 7

7 things to work about windows 7

THE GUTS

Feature teams: Fundamentals; Kernel & VM; Security

Don’t be distracted by predictions that Windows 7 will have a new kernel. It’s going to be an evolution of the kernel shared by Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. I’ll be especially interested to see whether some form of the Hyper-V virtualization platform appears in Windows 7. If it does, I expect it will be in the enterprise version. The security challenges for Windows 7 are well known as well: refining User Account Control and hardening the kernel against new forms of attack.

DEPLOYMENT AND MANAGEMENT

Feature teams: Deployment and Component Platform; Engineering System and Tools; Customer Engineering and Telemetry; Assistance and Support Technologies; International

Some of the most interesting advances in Windows Vista are here, in the new servicing stack and a massive change to the way system images are built and deployed. If you’re a consumer, you probably aren’t aware of these changes, but enterprise customers sure are. It would be nice to see these technologies leveraged so that any Windows user can build and save a custom image that includes only the features and updates they need, without having to use third-party tools.

HARDWARE

Feature teams: Devices and Media; Devices and Storage

The driver model for Windows 7 will essentially be identical to the one used in Windows Vista. That should mean the biggest headaches of the Vista launch, where immature drivers caused performance and stability problems, will not be repeated. We’ve probably already seen a preview of the handful of new features that will appear; see the Storage 1.0 feature pack for details. I don’t expect any other major changes here.

USER EXPERIENCE

Feature teams: Core User Experience; Desktop Graphics; Applets and Gadgets

You can sum up this group’s mission in two words: fit and finish. I can already see the reviews, which will compare the Windows 7 UI and its included tools with their Apple alternatives, such as iLife and MobileMe. Microsoft has been doing some exceptional UI innovation post-Vista, with its Zune software and its Windows Live tools, especially the Photo Gallery update. Tying that all together to create a consistent end-to-end experience is essential. This group has had two full years to address the usability complaints with Windows Vista, so there really is no room for excuses. I’ll be especially interested to see how Live Mesh and other cloud-based services fit into the picture.

ORGANIZATION

Feature teams: Documents and Printing; File System; Find and Organize

Several commenters on that initial “Welcome” post expressed hope that the WinFS file system, which was killed off during the infamous “Longhorn reset,” would be resurrected for Windows 7. Not gonna happen. Nor, frankly, is it necessary. One frustrating aspect of Windows Vista is the disconnect between its Windows Search architecture (excellent) and its search tools (weak). This is another area where reviewers are going to compare a Windows 7 feature to its Apple counterpart, Spotlight. Being able to win that comparison is essential.

NETWORKING

Feature teams: Networking – Core; Networking – Enterprise; Networking – Wireless

This group has a lot of work to do, both at the plumbing level and at the User Experience level. Making the Network and Sharing Center more accessible is what reviewers will focus on, but it’s equally important to iron out the remaining glitches in network performance (especially those that slow down file transfers while multimedia components are in operation).

DEVELOPER SUPPORT

Feature teams: User Interface Platform; Windows App Platform

Because I’m not a developer, I haven’t been paying much attention to this space lately. So, I’ll throw this category open to my dev-centric readers. What do you expect to see here?

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