Intro to W7 class is now in session! Pay attention!
I’ve recently started to work at collecting news and information about Windows 7. Just when I was getting comfortable with Vista and was deliberating the upgrade of our two XP systems to Vista, now a few things are clear.
- Vista looks to be treated as a “road-bump” in their Windows OS releases.
- That W7 is hoped to be the savior of the future of Microsoft.
- That W7 is remarkably similar to Vista under the hood, but it is different in many respects.
I think that now Vista SP1 has resolved many of the underlying issues with it, most XP users (home/corporate) are in no hurry at all to switch to Vista; except with purchase or build of a new system. I certainly fall into that category.
That said, just as I am getting used to and finding many things to like about Vista, it looks like Windows 7 will again require some major UI adjustments.
So with the big Microsoft effort taking the wraps of an early version of W7, the Net has been flooded with posts, reviews, and analysis of all things Seven.
I’ve been dutifully reading them all and have collected the very best (IMHO) of these posts for posterity. Once you get done working though this Valca syllabus, you should have a pretty decent working knowledge of what W7 will deliver as well as what it means to you.
Hang on. It’s a bunch.
Bookmarking ready? Netbooks open?
OK class, let’s begin!
First Big Picture Looks
These posts show us the major design elements and features of W7. Particularly the desktop, revised task-bar, and window and file management elements. Overall the Windows feel is still there, but there will really be new ways of relating to your data.
- A first look at Windows 7’s pre-beta PDC release – Ed Bott at ZDNet shares his first take. With a wealth of early-build W7 screenshots.
- Window 7 - The New UI – Josh’s Windows Weblog - Windows Connected
- Notes on the Windows 7 Demo from Today’s PDC Keynote - Windows Experience Blog - The Windows Blog
- Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows 7 – Dwight Silverman’s TechBlog’s take on W7.
- First look at Windows 7’s User Interface – Ars Technica
- Loads of Windows 7 eye candy – Paul Thurrott’s Windows 7 information landing zone
- Windows 7 Preview, Part 4: Apps, Internet and Devices - Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows
- Windows 7 Preview, Part 3: Explorer and Networking - Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows
- Windows 7 6801 Review - Andre Da Costa has the most extensive single-page review and breakdown of W7 I’ve yet seen. It’s a doozie. Go get a 2nd cup of coffee and come back. This should get you prepared for any W7 pop-quizzes at the geek’s cafeteria table.
- Windows 7 hands on - Impressive at every turn - Download Squad provides an abbreviated look at W7. They—like many—have peeked behind the curtain and come back changed.
Deeper into the Eye Candy
Like most Windows faithful, the technicals are interesting and important, but come-on, we want eye-candy to inspire us. Looks like W7 won’t disappoint.
- Windows 7 UX tidbits: color hot-track – istartedsomething – Applications minimized to the action/task bar will glow with a intuitive color based on the application itself.
- Windows 7 themes: glass, basic and classic – istartedsomething. At least in the developmental versions of W7, it looks like you can roll back the theme to Classic, and Vista'ish styling. To a point as we will soon see.
- Windows 7 DPI scaling: my 7 is bigger than your 7 – istartedsomething. Supersize my DPI please!
- Improvements to fonts in Windows 7 – istartedsomething. Font display and management will get a major overhaul in W7. Should be much more helpful and intuitive; especially for those like me who have a bazillion fonts installed.
- Windows 7 and light sensors: let there be light – istartedsomething. W7 will be able to interface with future laptops that have light sensors to adjust the screen display for optimal viewing enjoyment.
- Tidbits about the new "superbar" taskbar – istartedsomething. The new action/taskbar is going to be radically different in W7 from XP and Vista. Prepare for something much different, and maybe, just maybe, much more useful.
- More on the Windows 7 UI: new taskbar will be mandatory – Ars Technica. Oh. Did I mention that you have to have the new W7 action/taskbar? No rolling it back to the Vista/XP task-bar behavior Windows users world-wide have gotten used to. Cope. You will like it. Microsoft says so.
- Why you should contribute to Win7 Taskforce - istartedsomething. Long Zheng continues his campaign to make the UI interface in Windows (W7 now) more logical and beautiful for Windows users. It makes a lot of sense. Hop over to the Windows 7 Taskforce page to view and comment on the most popular submissions for the past 30 days for GUI elements needing tweaking and repairs.
Greater than the Sum of its Parts
Haven’t fallen asleep yet? Good. Teacher’s watching…
- PDC 2008: The 7 Coolest New Features in Windows 7 – Web_Monkey blog gives us our list of key power-words vocabulary: Taskbar, Jump Lists, Areo Snaps, Unified Search, UAC, HomeGroups, and Device Stage.
- Windows 7: Looking ahead at PDC – Martijn Brant breaks down (pre PDC event) many of the elements that make up W7. Including news that W7 will support virtual hard-drive files (VHD) natively. That’s cool.
- PDC 2008: Mike Nash answers your questions about Windows 7 – BetaNews interviews Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management. Nothing deep but a good primer.
- Windows 7 (M3) pre-beta features detailed in privacy statement – istartedsomething. Ready for your second vocabulary list? BitLocker, Device Information Retrieval, Driver Protection, Dynamic Update, Gadgets, Games Folder.
- PowerShell will be installed by default on Windows Server 08 R2 (WS08R2) and Windows 7 (W7) – PowerShell Team Blog. Oh yeah. By the way…Windows 7 will ship PowerShell natively installed so all you Command-Line Interface geeks rejoice!
- Understanding Windows Live Essentials in Windows 7 – Ars Technica. So Microsoft learned it’s lesson about embedding many key programs in its OS. Now you can get them via Live Essentials.
- The Complete Windows Experience – Windows 7 + Windows Live - Windows Experience Blog. More screen shots and element breakdown of the Windows Live elements: Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Family Safety Filter, and Windows Live Writer.
- PDC 2008: Windows 7 will add a “volume knob” to UAC – BetaNews – While UAC will not be removed, it will be refined to present a friendlier end-user interaction. The hope is that most users will no longer see it, and those that do can tune how obtrusive it is. Great information about the behind-the scenes development of UAC version 2.
- PDC 2008: More details on the new Windows 7 Taskbar – BetaNews – Close up look at the revised taskbar and Jump Lists.
- Under the Windows 7 Interface – TweakVista blog rounds up with a final summary of all the features, improvements, and benefits that W7 brings to the table.
For IT Professionals
- Windows 7: What’s coming for business users -All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com – First indications that Microsoft is trying to woo their enterprise and corporate IT customers. Something that has not been going so well with Vista: Includes Branch Office caching, new imaging (ImageX?) method, BitLocker to Go (for USB devices), AppLocker, Direct Access (allows employees to stay connected to their W7 system data from anywhere Internet connections, VHD support.
- Windows 7 management features will make IT admins grin – Ars Technica takes the teases above and fleshes them out with added detail and explanations. Real world stuff that many IT shops may find appealing.
- Windows 7 Preview, Part 5: Business and IT Pro Features - Paul Thurrott adds a bit more information that the Ars Technical post above leaves out. But not much.
- Windows 7 M3 Interactive Install Screenshot Gallery - Paul Thurrott has a fantastic gallery of screenshots for a pre W7 setup. Looks very polished and easy for both IT and home-users to follow. Reminiscent of Vista, but not quite as confusing to some.
These posts are only for those GATE students or those wanting to earn extra credit.
- Channel9: Mark Russinovich goes Inside Windows 7 - Mark talks about kernel changes in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, including the removal of the scheduler’s dispatcher lock, support for up to 256 CPUs, boot from VHD, MinWin, core parking for power savings and more.
- Design principles for Windows 7 – istartedsomething. It’s clear to me that Microsoft wants to put to rest application design issues that still show up from developers on Vista software releases. Long Zheng walks us through highlights of expectations from Microsoft when designing GUI elements and user interactions for W7.
- Windows Media Center in the PDC Build of Windows 7 - Charlie Owen delivers a master-work of Media Center goodies for W7. If you are a media-fan, you have got to study his post.
- Windows 7 DWM cuts memory consumption by 50% – istartedsomething. The Desktop Window Manager has been optimized and tweaked to deliver even more performance than Vista. That’s a Good Thing!
- Windows 7 software logo requirements published – istartedsomething. Want to stick a W7 certified logo on you package? Better understand the requirements. Let’s hope Microsoft also learned it's lesson with the Vista Ready, Vista Compable logo hi-jinks as well.
- The Windows 7 Blog for Developers – Microsoft Blog. New blog that should provide more technical information for folks writing code and figuring out how to earn that coveted W7 logo. Might be worth adding to your RSS feeds as I’m sure some back-room goodies will come from this site.
- Engineering Windows 7 : Windows Desktop Search - Information regarding how Windows Desktop Search will be implemented in W7.
- Engineering Windows 7 : Follow-up: Windows Desktop Search – What we meant to say about Desktop Search but maybe need to further clarify….
- Engineering Windows 7 : User Account Control – Everything you wanted to know about the Microsoft’s justification and design for UAC…but without saying much technically about UAC…just yet.
- Bits from Bill: WinPatrol Exposes New Windows 7 Services – Leave it to Bill and his WinPatrol Scottie dog to sniff out some new W7 services. Interesting post.
Windows 7 and Netbook Support
For Christmas we are almost committed now to getting Alvis a Netbook. No decision yet but we are strongly leaning to a Sapphire Blue Acer Aspire One Mini Laptop running XP. So future compatibility and performance of Windows 7 on it is a prime concern.
Looks like it should do sufficiently well.
- Windows 7 & Netbooks – Ars Technica interviews Steven Sinofsky with some netbook questions. I like the answers so far!
- Eee PC 1000H Runs Windows 7 Well – Real-world test of early W7 release on a netbook. It works and works well!
- PDC 2008: Microsoft Debuts Sleeker Windows 7 on a Netbook – A few folks noticed that Microsoft didn’t do their big W7 debut on a super-maxed-out gaming rig to impress. Nope. They boldly used a Netbook and pulled it off.
W7 will you be ready? Will you care?
You probably should.
Class dismissed until next time. Study up!