Windows 7 insight

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To make sure you are not wasting your time, I would like to lay out the topics that I will be covering :
My background
Windows 7 launch
Installing Windows 7
Using Windows 7

1. My background

I am a Software Engineer so I will be looking at Win7 from that perspective. I am also an avid Security Now listener. Although I enjoy playing with a cool gadget/software, I don't like to be the beta tester 'cause frankly I don't have the time. That is the reason why my first encounter with Win7 was with the RTM version of Win7 Ultimate. Having skipped over Vista I was itching to get my OS fix. However, I decided to make sure it will do what I need to do.

2. Windows 7 launch

I went to the Developers session and was happy with what I saw. Microsoft's realized that they need to get back to the basics : Stability, Performance and Security. The presenters echoed this mantra and showed 'under the hood' improvements as well as some new capabilities of the new era of multi - touch and location aware devices.
Some of the memorable features / tweaks are :
Responsive UI
With Win7 you can configure when you want certain services to start. That means when the computer boots up you can start browsing the web instead of waiting on the background tasks to complete.

Flexible OS timer
Basically most of the software and services that are created need to execute some task at a particular intervals. With Win7 you can set the tolerable delay for those tasks. That translates into better battery life. How? Well imagine 5 services running on a laptop and each of them taking turns to read some information off of the hard drive. Until the last one finishes its task the hard drive will be spinning and the first service might start soon after. Instead if the OS knows that they can be executed as a group, they can work on their tasks concurrently. Once they are done the hard drive can then spin down or enter sleep mode.

Windows Biometric Framework (WBF)
This wasn't discussed in the launch event but something that I heard on Security Now. In previous OSes you expose your biometric information to the fingerprint software. There is a privacy implication to this as you can't change your biometric information. If it is leaked it can lead to your identity being compromised. Enter Win7. The OS abstracts the actual information and validates the user based on a token. This is why some of the existing fingerprint readers won't work with Win7. If you have a Microsoft Fingerprint reader go here, call the 800#, give them your serial# and you should get anywhere from 39-60$ back from Microsoft (waiting for mine).

Multi-Touch capability
This was a cool feature that many of us think they won't use but I would like to see my daughter paint using it. It also will make tablets a lot more user friendly.

Sensor support
Microsoft realized the importance of apps that are aware of multiple metrics like location, ambient light, speed, etc. He demonstrated this by having the wallpaper change depending on where he set the location. By turning the flash light on/off over the ambient light sensor the wallpaper toggled between daytime and nighttime view of the Statue of Liberty. The OS provides a standard interface for apps to get the above mentioned information. This means more stable and consistently behaving hardware.

3. Installing Windows 7

I wasn't ready to make one way jump to Win7 until I knew for a fact that everything I was using XP for can be done in 7. Not wanting to use the OS while it goes through growing pains I decided to dual boot with XP Pro. Even though majority of my apps are compatible with Win7 I won't install them (or at least try not to) until after the software vendors have an updated version (revision) for Win7. Also, I decided to install the 64bit version since my PC had 4gb RAM and I think we will be seeing software customized for 64bit version from majority of vendors. The install was painless and I didn't get prompted to select an option but once I think.

4. Using Windows 7

I can't say I have used Win7 extensively. I will be transitioning my XP apps as updated versions are available. I did install the 64bit version of WinRar and ran the benchmark. It was same score as when I ran it in XP 32bit OS. I haven't used any of the features mentioned above but I can attest to the under the hood improvements. As soon as I log in I can start using IE instead of waiting for the background tasks to get done. I am still trying to get used to the taskbar. I have customized XP to be just like I want it to be and getting there in Win7 will take time but I am looking forward to it.
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Expert Comment

Thanks!  I enjoyed the info and article.

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Author Comment

Thanks bol

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