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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  • Gary Key - Thursday, May 7, 2009 - link

    Actually, the public release of the 8.612 betas work fine with the HD 4770. AMD made a couple of changes right before they were posted on the site. :) Reply
  • CSMR - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Best source of information on Windows 7 by far. Nice work! Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    In the article you said that the "Jump Menus" have their roots in OS X? Not at all. They've been their for years. The only example I can think of at this time is Winamp. It had a "jump menu" in Windows 98 for controlling playback. Reply
  • Axell - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Well, this is actually Windows 7 Release Candidate. There won't be a second RC, so it's "Release Candidate" only, no RC1 like the title and text suggests. Reply
  • vectorm12 - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Just for the sake of argument.

    Ever thought about how long it usually takes for MS to actually make their OS:es work well? Doesn't anyone remember what a abysmal OS XP was before SP1 let alone SP2(which in my opinion was the point where I felt confident enough to upgrade from win2k). I'm starting to wonder if people have actually forgotten how much they where complaining about XP before SP1&2 or if they just don't want to remember. What about the security vulnerabilities that still plague XP? The fact that both Vista and Win7 improves on these seem to have been lost in the quest to keep XP alive.

    After all do you hear Apple users complaining about 10.5.6 being significantly slower in many respects than 10.4? The fact that 10.4 in my opinion had a bunch of features lost in 10.5 that where really useful doesn't seem to bother them half as much. In the end I think this whole discussion has become more of a "hey I'm cool for bashing Microsoft and Vista rather than keeping an open mind and actually seeing the improvements they make"

    How long did it take for Microsoft to make windows 2k a better OS than NT4.0 besides the USB support (which for the first couple of years was more or less pointless anyway).

    Windows 95 and RC2 and so on. I mean it usually takes years for MS to actually make a OS superior to the older version.

    What sets Windows7 apart from Vista in my opinion is just that.

    Windows 7 may as well be a dressed up/optimized/"insert random comment" version of Windows Vista. Sure they could have made major GUI changes and feature updates to Vista through service packs etc but the fact is that when people hear or think vista it usually equals "dog turd" or worse and usually that is because it's become cool to bash Vista. In my opinion I wouldn't hesitate to run Vista SP1 on our studio computer where I work but unfortunately most of the software required for production purposes require specific software configurations which means Vista isn't supported other than in the latest releases.

    The name change is a chance for people to try what in many ways is a vastly improved OS without having that association in mind when doing so. Sure Windows 7 is still more bloated and in certain areas probably slower than XP because of bloated code/new functions etc but the fact is Microsoft has actually taken a lot of great functionality in vista and(most likely taken inspiration from Mac OS in certain areas) and improved upon it even further.

    I for one want a Microsoft OS for my gaming computer. I can't be bothered running Linux and wine just to play WoW and run the Adobe suite. Given the choice I'm going for Win7 rather than XP or vista, it's safer, I've got performance to spare and there's nothing wrong with a little eyecandy to make things look more exciting.

    Macs are fine but to be honest I don't like OS x THAT much to pay the premium.

    Linux works perfectly on my work computer and on the servers I run at work or on my laptop that I use to surf the web.
  • leexgx - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    apart from some drivers XP has allways worked well for me (+ i was behind an router so RDP basid worms was not an problem),

    Vista is slugish and bloted for the most part and it allways will be as thay not port stuff to vista that are makeing windows 7 run far more smoother,

    i have loaded win 7 onto an amd64 3000+ 2ghz, 2gb ram, it works well there is One small bug not sure why but it thinks i got 16gb installed in an socket 754 socket lol, but lists 2gb useable (at least Win7 now Shows Both numbers useable and installed as on SP1 for vista that was an joke hideing useable ram) need to report that to MS but not sure where i submit that
  • Lexington02 - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    :face palm:
    You have 32 bit and that is not MS's fault for 32bit portion, it is pure math. Also 64 bit will always be slower than 32 bit on the same specs. Think about it, 64 is twice as big as 32 bit...
  • Bmadd - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    If any of that was refering to my post my Thanks MS was for giving me the features i wanted and not having to go to win7. Not that they make bad products. I love the one ppl "hate" the most. PS xp needs to be laid to rest, please Reply
  • iAURA - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    I'm in the same boat as the above poster, all I will get from W7 is a "funner" GUI and DX11, but hey, there's still tons of game being released as DX9 games. Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    DX11 will be released for Vista as well. Reply

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