Windows 7: Release Candidate 1

When we wrote our Windows Vista Performance Guide, we were left wondering about Microsoft’s ability to sell Vista to a community of users well entrenched with Windows XP

Among those that won't become switchers, Microsoft's own worst enemy is itself, as it needs to prove that Vista is a worthwhile upgrade to XP when XP is already so refined. For many users in the consumer space, Vista is simply a version of Windows where (to borrow a quote from Field of Dreams) "If you build it, they will come." These people will get Vista on their new computers and they'll like it because it is good, but having never had the chance to decide if they didn't want it.

Now two and a quarter years later we can see the outcome of that. It’s not favorable to Microsoft.

While Vista’s adoption has not been a failure, it hasn’t necessarily been a success story either. Microsoft’s own worst enemy was XP, and the users complacent with it have been in no big rush to upgrade. The primary vehicle for moving Vista has been new computers, and even that has taken a hit in the kneecaps with the sudden rise of netbooks, which fit poorly with an OS that was made for newer, faster computers.

Further complicating matters is that the quality of Vista wasn’t particularly stellar at launch. We’ve already covered this with our Vista SP1 article, so we won’t completely rehash this, but specific performance problems such as file copies (local and networked) and Vista’s hunger for virtual address space quickly made themselves evident. Netbooks drove this point home even harder –Vista doesn’t do so well with so little RAM.

Finally, Apple deserves a great deal of credit here for driving the stake into the public opinion of Vista. The extremely popular Get a Mac campaign took the dissent from above and managed to amplify it and sew it into the public at large. Apple made it popular to hate Vista, and Microsoft did too little too late on the marketing front to counter that. Never underestimate the power of marketing – many people can tell you they don’t like Vista, few can tell you why. That’s marketing.

Even though many of the technical problems were fixed before or at the launch of Vista SP1, by then it was too late. The public had become permanently dissatisfied with Vista. Regardless of the quality of the OS these days, the Vista name has become poisonous.

Of course as far as consumer sales are concerned, this hasn’t significantly dented Vista adoption. Vista’s still going out on virtually every new consumer-level computer shipped. People may be dissatisfied, but so far they’re not doing anything about it other than complaining. Business users on the other hand are acting, or rather are not acting. They’re not upgrading to Vista on existing computers, and on new computers they’re still installing XP. Vista’s not taking at the corporate level, and that’s Microsoft’s more immediate problem.

So here we are today with Windows 7 Release Candidate 1, Microsoft's grand attempt at taking Vista and building a more palatable operating system out of it. With Windows 7, Microsoft has ripped the Vista playbook to shreds and they are going an entirely different route. The goal: make Windows 7 successful before it even ships.

Windows 7: A New Marketing Approach
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  • Bmadd - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    I see the graphs, i see the new features and i honestly cant be the only person who doesn't want to change from my Vista x64 install? Can i? i got a dual core and 4gig of ram, a dash of tweaks and moving the pagefile and everything loads within a second of running. I personally dont see how going from vista to 7 for me can be a thought when there gonna give me the only thing i care for in 7 and thats DirectX11 and the new aero features. Thanks MS Reply
  • Sazar - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Why not?

    It's free to use and try. If you don't like it, go back.

    I have switched both my HTPC and my main rig to Windows 7 simply because it is a more efficient way for me to work. The homegroups sharing features is miles better than the old, archaic sharing method and the new Media Center interface is fantastic.

    Also, Windows 7 loaded up all the drivers I needed by default, including both of my Hauppauge TV Tuner drivers and it just worked.

    I see a lot of naysayers nit-picking, which is fine. However, I have yet to see anyone point out anything meaningful that should disuade people from either using Vista or Windows 7.

    Btw, for me, the biggest selling feature, beyond the vastly improved 10 foot interface in MCE, was Aero Peak. Can't go back to Vista now without that functionality :)
    Reply
  • Bmadd - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Well i have never really used gadgets, widgets and such. There not for me like myspace and twitter aren't for me. I would hate to change to win7 after setting me vista install up so nicely only to not like it and have to spend time getting it back to the sleak thing it is at the moment.

    Perhaps i will download the RC and just keep it there till Win7 is released and drivers are all sweet, install RC on a new hard drive and go from there but i am fair to pleased with my current vista install to consider changing
    Reply
  • papapapapapapapababy - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    not a single feature that i want or even care about. how about a good competent fast image viewer? more drm? giant icons? no classic ui? terrible. just give me a smaller, faster, stronger and more efficient xp or gtfo ms. Reply
  • TonkaTuff - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Microsoft should count themselves very lucky that Apple remains uninterested in being the OS for everyone and restrict themselves to the premium OS and hardware market.

    Yeah Snookie Im sure apple holds themseves back from over 90% of the O/S market based on there morals and lack of interest in making more money. What kind of deranged fanboy are you? Comments like the one above show how brainwashed some of you looney tunes are becoming.
    It really is scary and you should seek professional help.

    A comment in the article really hit the nail on the head,

    MANY PEOPLE SAY THEY HATE VISTA BUT FEW CAN ACTUALLY SAY WHAT THEY HATE ABOUT IT.

    Yeah Vista had issues when it first was released, it was a major step from the XP O/S but that was 2 bloody years ago. Ive been running Vista on my Gaming rig and my Work Laptop and a server/seed box and in 12 months I havnt had 1 crash that was the O/S's fault, Not one crash, not one BSOD, probably 4 or 5 freeze ups that had to be end tasked in 12 months on 3 systems numbering well over a 1000 hours of use, not even XP could claim to be that stable.

    Like any O/S it has its annoyances, they all do (yes snookie even your precious mac).

    Do I expect Win7 to be much different from Vista? No not really, I expect it will be a dressed up and refined version of Vista.

    Why would Microshaft do such a thing, they just want more money, why not release it as a service pack for Vista?
    BECAUSE THEY HAD TO CHANGE THE NAME AND MAKE IT OUT TO BE DIFFERENT FROM VISTA BACAUSE OF ALL THE LEMMINGS OUT THERE THAT HATE VISTA BUT DONT KNOW WHY THEY HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

    End of rant.......Snookie you sir are a sychotic applemac fanboi, get help for god sake.
    Reply
  • squeezee - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Microsoft has said to developers (at PDC at least) that Direct2D and DirectWrite along with the rest of DirectX 11 functionality will be available on windows Vista. Reply
  • fendell - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Has anyone tested Windows 7 and Ventrilo (any version) over some time?

    It's the only thing that keeps me on 64bit XP at the moment, because ventrilo has this weird behaviour on windows 7 where it suddenly doesnt recieve data for 2-5 minutes, then suddenly gets everything at once, this is veery frustrating and in fact raidbreaking in wow ;)
    Reply
  • nycromes - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    I have also used Windows 7 RC for WoW raiding and have had no major issues. Ensure you are running it as an administrator. I had a few issues before doing that, but none like you are describing. I am using a USB microphone and a standard soundcard speaker combination with no issue.
    Reply
  • vectorm12 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    I use ventrilo for wow a couple of times per week, at times for hours without any issues on build 7077x64(correct me if I'm wrong, found on piratebay.org btw). However I do use a USB connected wireless Microsoft headset(looks like the 360 one but grey) which might have some impact as it works like a second soundcard. Reply
  • snookie - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    If you think XP is the best OS ever then you haven't used very many. It is archaic.

    "The biggest news is that the Ultimate/Business/Home Premium schism has been resolved with Windows 7."

    This is a pretty amazing statement seeing as how it took a further paragraph to partly but not fully describe what all the versions are for.

    The Start Menu remains a horrible user interface designed by committee. Just awful.

    Windows 7! Now with even more DRM!!!

    UAC is an attempt to place responsibility for security too much on the user which is why it was so intrusive. A certain amount of user action is reasonable but UAC went far beyond that.

    WTF, why does IE 8 take up so much space with its headers? Seriously Microsoft do you have no idea at all about usability? Slapping a ribbon interface on a simple text processor is just dumb.

    Mail, Calendar, and Movie Maker might as well have been removed because they suck. But their removal points out even more how Microsoft needs its own version of iLife.

    ISO implementation is so Microsoft. Half-ass as usual.

    Why does Windows 7 need a disk defragmenter in 2009? No other modern OS does.

    Virtual Windows XP? Is this a joke? Probably won't run on older machines which is where it is needed most and even more headaches for desktop admins for configuration and administration.

    Why would you do performance testing on an SSD drive which very few desktop boxes have these days?

    Looks like Windows 7 will suck on laptops as much as Vista does. Not good news since so many notebooks are sold these days.

    My recommendation to Corporations is that for the 95% of users who need basic functionality they replace Windows entirely with a locked down Linux of some form. Many that I have worked with are considering this very thing and I have no doubt the Windows 7 will hasten this decision. XP requires far too intensive support ( yes i know your handbuilt game tower never has to be rebooted with XP, sure it doesn't).

    Microsoft should count themselves very lucky that Apple remains uninterested in being the OS for everyone and restrict themselves to the premium OS and hardware market and that an unrestricted Linux desktop is still to complicated for most users. more and more companies are providing their high end IT Architects and Developers with Macs and they are happily snapping them up. I have seen this at Cisco, Oracle, Motorola, and may others. When Visual Studio using .NET developers would rather use a VM on OS X t do their development there is something very wrong and I'm seeing a lot of that.

    The authors really do not understand the relationship between development tools, threads, the kernel, and processor usage.
    Reply

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