Windows 7 makes an appearance
Despite the ongoing ridicule of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, the software giant has opted not to abandon ship and has now provided a look at what Windows Vista should have been in the form of Windows 7.
Windows 7, on schedule for a 2010 release, is described by Microsoft as a "significant release" and a substantial upgrade from Windows Vista. Irrespective of Microsoft's assurance, Windows 7's first public appearance at PDC 2008 has highlighted what the OS really is; a glistening refinement of Windows Vista.
Vista, which launched to retail back in early 2007, took care of most of the so-called new plumbing. A number of invisible-to-the-user subsystem upgrades laid the foundation for new technologies such as SuperFetch, a new networking architecture, a new display driver model and much more. Accompanying that underlying promise, however, was sluggish performance, high system requirements, and new security features that proved to be a large-scale nuisance simply due to poor implementation.
Not to be deterred, Microsoft is sticking with the promise of Vista's expensive subsystem investment, and has taken the existing foundation and given it a polish so thorough that the result - even at this early beta stage - appears to be very impressive.
Speaking at PDC 2008, Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for Windows and Windows Live Engineering, states that his team had focused heavily on the fundamentals. A key area is performance, including footprint, memory usage, CPU usage, disk I/O and boot time, all factors which are said to be greatly improved.
What really stood out at Microsoft's first Windows 7 demonstration, though, is just how downright sexy the operating system is. Expanding on Vista's Aero looks, Windows 7 provides the attention to detail that you'd expect to find on a Mac. Stunning presentation, and we're still at least 12 months from a final release.
So, let's take a closer look at some of those easy-on-the-eye aesthetics, starting with a revolutionary taskbar...