Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The windows7 release will so be better than vista’s

I’ve installed win7 on all my boxes now (well, except my home server box).  And I’ve finally made the move entirely to 64bit. 

Aside – I read an email that explained some ways in which having a 64 bit OS installed would increase your computer’s perf (assuming you have recent, x64 hardware, like a core2duo or later chip).  I don’t know if the difference is really noticeable, but I certainly haven’t noticed any problems, and I get access to more memory now (32 bit can only address 4 GB of ram, of which 1 GB is used by the platform, and 64 bit can address like a bajillion GB)

Anyway, I installed win7 on my home machine yesterday (the super cool one with badass graphics, etc).  Intel has already shipped two windows 7 drivers.  There was one available via windows update yesterday around 4 PM, and then a new version was released via windows update last night.

Part of the reason, at least in my opinion, that the Vista launch kinda sucked was driver availability.  Vista changed the driver landscape dramatically, moving a bunch of drivers from kernel mode (really low level, OS stuff) to user mode (application level stuff).  This was painful for device driver writers, because they had to re-write all their drivers, and had to learn how to be performant in user code (they had been in kernel mode since like win95 or so, I think, maybe earlier).  This is why XP drivers were generally faster than vista drivers when vista shipped; those drivers were like version 80+, while the vista drivers were version 1, exclusively.

In addition to changing the driver landscape, Microsoft failed in that we announced vista ship dates several times which we didn’t make.  Similar to the boy who cried wolf, when we finally did ship, we caught our hardware partners by surprise; they had grown accustomed to ignoring our ship date announcements.  This was obvious even within Microsoft.  Visual Studio (VS), one of our flagship products, wasn’t Vista compatible at ship time.  Then VS shipped SP1, and they still weren’t vista compatible.  They had to ship a QFE/windows update (called vsvista) to enable vista compatibility. This took several months after vista shipped. 

Win7 is not changing the driver landscape so dramatically.  Vista drivers continue to work with win7.  So, all your existing software and hardware should work just fine on win7 (all mine does, without exception).  The upgrade path from vista->win7 should be easy, which should drive acceptance of the product sooner, and should result in win7 having a much better image than vista does/did.

I’m really excited for win7 to ship!

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