Windows 7

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Windows 7
Part of the Microsoft Windows family
Windows 7 (build 7068)
Preview version 6.1.7000 (2009-01-07; 90 days ago) (info)
Source model Closed source
License Microsoft EULA
Kernel type Hybrid
Update method Windows Update
Platform support x86, x86-64
Further reading

Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) will be the next iteration of Microsoft Windows, an operating system produced by Microsoft Corporation for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, netbooks[1] and media center PCs.[2] Representatives of Microsoft estimated in 2007 that Windows 7 would have a three-year development time frame following the release of its predecessor Windows Vista, but that the release date would ultimately be determined by product quality.[3]

Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7 is intended to be an incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is already compatible.[4] Presentations given by the company in 2008 have focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[5] and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, most notably Windows Movie Maker and Windows Photo Gallery, will not be included in Windows 7, but will instead be offered separately as part of the freeware Windows Live Essentials suite.[6]



Originally, a version of Windows codenamed Blackcomb was planned as the successor to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Major features were planned for Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor release, codenamed "Longhorn" was announced for 2003, delaying the development of Blackcomb.[7] By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb. After three major viruses exploited flaws in Windows operating systems within a short time period in 2003, Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was also "reset", or delayed in September 2004. Features were cut from Longhorn, including WinFS, to complete the project in time for a 2006 release. Microsoft stated WinFS would be part of a subsequent release of Windows.[8]

Blackcomb was renamed Vienna in early 2006,[9] and again to Windows 7 in 2007.[3] In 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would also be the official name of the operating system.[10][11] The first external release to select Microsoft partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build 6519.[12]

Bill Gates, in an interview with Newsweek, suggested that the next version of Windows would "be more user-centric".[13] Gates later said that Windows 7 will also focus on performance improvements;[14] Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient code paths and to help prevent performance regressions.[15]

Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they encountered migrating from Windows XP.[16] Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Vista and Windows 7.[17] Ballmer also confirmed the relationship between Vista and Windows 7, indicating that Windows 7 will be an refined version of Vista.[17]

At the PDC conference of 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its reworked taskbar. Copies of Windows 7 build 6801 were distributed out at the end of the conference, but this build lacked the demonstrated taskbar.

On December, 27, 2008, Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent.[18] According to a performance test by ZDNet,[19] Windows 7 Beta has beaten both Windows XP and Vista in several key areas, including boot and shut down time, working with files and loading documents; others, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical office activities and video-editing, remain identical to Vista and slower than XP.[20] On January 7, 2009, the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web.[21]

At CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format of an ISO image.[22] The Beta was to be publicly released January 9, 2009. Initially, Microsoft planned for the download to be made available to 2.5 million people on January 9. However, access to the downloads were delayed due to high traffic.[23] The download limit was also extended, initially until January 24, then again to February 10. People who did not complete downloading the beta had two extra days to complete the download. After February 12, unfinished downloads became unable to complete. Users can still obtain product keys from Microsoft to activate their copy of Windows 7 Beta. Users can still download Windows 7 via the Microsoft Connect program. According to the Windows 7 Center, the release candidate is scheduled to be publicly released on the last week of May.[24]

Microsoft, apparently accidentally, published information on the release candidate to the web, and quickly took it down. The information stated that it would be available for download in five of the seven supported languages by the beta and that it would expire June 1, 2010.[25]


New and changed features

Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch, speech, and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors,[26][27][28][29] improved boot performance, and kernel improvements.

Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center,[30] a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, the XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion.

Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner, Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display.[31] Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds) which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer.

The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with pinning applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. These buttons also enable the Jump Lists feature to allow easy access to common tasks.[32] The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons.

Adjacent to the system clock is a small rectangle button for the new feature Peek. Hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop.[33] Clicking this button minimizes all windows.

Additionally, when a user drags a window to the edge of the screen, it will snap in place on that half of the screen. This allows users to snap documents or files on either side of the screen to compare them. There will also be a feature where when you pull a window to the top of the screen, it will automatically maximize. When you try to move windows that are maximized, the system will restore them automatically. The 'middle-click' or scroll button on the mouse will be in more use as the middle click will be able to close applications and tabs.

Unlike Windows Vista, window borders, and the taskbar do not turn opaque when a window is maximized with Windows Aero applied. Instead they remain transparent.

For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking API with support for building SOAP based web services in native code (as opposed to .NET based WCF web services),[34] new features to shorten application install times, reduced UAC prompts, simplified development of installation packages,[35] and improved globalization support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API.[36]

At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.[37][38] Microsoft is also investigating better support for Solid State Drives and Windows 7 will be able to identify a Solid State Drive uniquely.[39]

Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7.

Windows 7 will include Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12. The latest beta of Windows 7 blocks the usage of third party video decoders from Windows Media Player[40]. It is not known whether this restriction will take place in the final version of Windows 7.

Users will also be able to disable many more Windows components than was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and the Windows Gadget Platform.[41]

Removed features

While Windows 7 contains many new features, a number of capabilities and certain programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or have changed, resulting in the removal of certain functionality. The following is a list of features that were present in Windows Vista but have been removed in Windows 7.

  • Several shell features[42] including:
    • Classic Start menu user interface
    • Floating Deskbands (was deprecated in Windows Vista, now deskband can be only pinned to taskbar)
    • Windows Media Player Mini-player (replaced with the new Jump list feature)
    • Pinning default Internet Browser and E-mail client software programs on Start menu by default (programs can be manually pinned)
    • The ability to disable grouping (placing next to each other) similar taskbar buttons
    • Combined taskbar buttons no longer numerically show how many windows are in their stack.[citation needed]
    • The Taskbar network icon does not show network activity animation.
    • The ability to turn off taskbar window previews (thumbnails).
    • Advanced search builder UI.
    • The ability to disable the taskbar's "always on top" setting.
    • Taskbar buttons' context menus have been replaced with Jump Lists, which lack Restore, Move, Size, Minimize and Maximize buttons.
  • Some Windows Media Player features:
    • Advanced Tag Editor
    • Paste Album Art
    • Recently added Auto playlist
  • Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Mail and Windows Calendar (in favor of downloading or using online the free respective Windows Live counterparts, which lack some features[citation needed]) although the Photo Viewer module of Windows Photo Gallery has been retained.
  • The Aurora, Windows Energy and Windows Logo screensavers.
  • Software Explorer feature of Windows Defender[43]
  • Removable Storage Manager (RSM)[44] (applications dependent on it, such as NTBackup or the NTBackup Restore Tool, cannot run)
  • Windows Meeting Space[45]
  • InkBall, a game
  • The numeric keypad from On-Screen Keyboard[46]
  • Microsoft Agent 2.0 Technology
  • Windows Sidebar (replaced with Desktop Gadget Gallery)
  • Windows Ultimate Extras in the Ultimate edition

Antitrust regulatory attention

As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 is being studied by United States federal regulators who oversee the company's operations following the 2001 United States v. Microsoft settlement. According to status reports filed, the three-member panel began assessing prototypes of the new operating system in February 2008. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research said that, "[Microsoft's] challenge for Windows 7 will be how can they continue to add features that consumers will want that also don't run afoul of regulators."[47]

In Europe, Windows 7 may be required to ship with rival browsers including possibly Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. The reason for this suspicion is on the inclusion of Internet Explorer which is seen as harming competition.[48] However, Microsoft announced on the Engineering Windows 7 blog that users will be able to turn off more features than in Windows Vista including Internet Explorer.[41]


Windows 7 will be released in six editions, although only two of them, the Home Premium and Professional editions, will be most emphasized. The names given to them will be the same as in Windows Vista, except for the Business edition which will become Windows 7 Professional.

Only Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions will be available at retail stores and through most OEMs. Home Basic will only be available to emerging markets, Enterprise only through Volume Licensing and Starter only to selected OEMs[citation needed]. Microsoft has yet to announce the pricing for the editions.

Each successive edition will include all the features of the more basic editions. As a result, upgrading from one edition to another will be simplified and more seamless.[49]

Hardware requirements

Microsoft has published their recommended specifications for a system running Windows 7 beta, which are much the same as for premium editions of Vista.

Windows 7 Beta recommended hardware specifications[50]
Beta Recommended Specs
Processor speed 1 GHz (either 32-bit or 64-bit)
Memory (RAM) 1 GB
Graphics card DirectX 9.0 capable
Graphics memory 128 MB (for Windows Aero)
HDD free space 16 GB
Other drives DVD-ROM
Audio Audio output

See also


  1. ^ "Netbook version of Windows 7?". 
  2. ^ "Cnet: Next version of Windows: Call it 7". 
  3. ^ a b Foley, Mary J (20 July 2007). "Windows Seven: Think 2010". ZDNet. Retrieved on 2007-09-19. 
  4. ^ Nash, Mike (28 October 2008). "Windows 7 Unveiled Today at PDC 2008". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (28 October 2008). "How Libraries & HomeGroup Work Together in Windows 7". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11. 
  6. ^ LeBlance, Brandon (28 October 2008). "The Complete Windows Experience – Windows 7 + Windows Live". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-11-11. 
  7. ^ Lettice, John (2001-10-24). "Gates confirms Windows Longhorn for 2003". The Register. Retrieved on 2008-03-05. 
  8. ^ "Microsoft cuts key Longhorn feature". Todd Bishop. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. August 28, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-03-25. 
  9. ^ Thurrott, Paul (14 February 2007). "Windows "7" FAQ". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved on 2008-01-05. 
  10. ^ Fried, Ina (2008-10-13). "Microsoft makes Windows 7 name final". CNET. Retrieved on 2008-10-13. 
  11. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (October 2008). "For Microsoft's Windows, 7th time's a charm". Retrieved on 2008-10-27. 
  12. ^ Ian Cunningham (3 December 2008). "Windows 7 Build Numbers". 
  13. ^ Steven Levy (3 February 2007). "Bill Gates on Vista and Apple's 'Lying' Ads". 
  14. ^ Bill Gates (12 May 2007). "Bill Gates: Japan—Windows Digital Lifestyle Consortium". 
  15. ^ Sinofsky, Steven (15 December, 2008). "Continuing our discussion on performance". Engineering Windows 7. Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-12-18. 
  16. ^ Marius Oiaga (24 June 2008). "Windows 7 Will Not Inherit the Incompatibility Issues of Vista". 
  17. ^ a b Dignan, Larry (October 2008). "Ballmer: It’s ok to wait until Windows 7; Yahoo still ‘makes sense’; Google Apps ‘primitive’". Retrieved on 2008-10-17. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Graham-Smith, Daniel (January 2009). "Follow-up: Benchmarking Windows 7". Retrieved on 2009-1-29. 
  21. ^ Pennington, Kenneth (January 2009). "Windows 7 64-Bit Beta Hits the Web". Retrieved on 2009-1-07. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Microsoft delays first Windows 7 public beta". Gavin Clarke. The Register. January 10, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-25. 
  24. ^ "Windows 7 RC expected to be publicly released in May 2009 — Windows 7 Center". 
  25. ^ "Technet Publishes Windows 7 RC Information Accidentally". 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Gruener, Wolfgang (2008-01-16). "TG Daily — Windows Vista successor scheduled for a H2 2009 release?". TG Daily. Retrieved on 2008-01-17. 
  31. ^ Screenshots from a blogger with Windows 7 M1
  32. ^ Softpedia (November 2008). "Windows 7 User Interface – The Superbar (Enhanced Taskbar)". Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  33. ^ Windows 7: Some Minor Improvements, No Game Changer
  34. ^ "Windows 7: Web Services in Native Code". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26. 
  35. ^ "Windows 7: Deploying Your Application with Windows Installer (MSI) and ClickOnce". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26. 
  36. ^ "Windows 7: Writing World-Ready Applications". PDC 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-26. 
  37. ^ "WinHEC 2008 GRA-583: Display Technologies". Microsoft. 2008-11-06. Retrieved on 2008-12-04. 
  38. ^ "Windows 7 High Color Support". Softpedia. 2008-11-26. Retrieved on 2008-12-05. 
  39. ^ "Windows 7 SSD support for netbooks". 
  40. ^ "No third party video codec support for Windows 7". 
  41. ^ a b "Beta to RC Changes - Turning Windows Features On or Off". 
  42. ^ Steven Sinofsky's clarification on removal of classic Start menu and taskbar
  43. ^ Thurrott, Paul (12 November, 2008). "Windows 7 feature focus". Retrieved on 2008-11-22. 
  44. ^ Storage Networking Platform Features in Windows 7/Server 2008 R2
  45. ^ "Windows 7 – Where is Windows Meeting Space?". Retrieved on March 16, 2009. 
  46. ^ "Windows 7 On Screen Keyboard on YouTube". 12 January, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  47. ^ Keizer, Gregg F. (March 2008). "Windows 7 eyed by antitrust regulators". Retrieved on 2008-03-19. 
  48. ^ Humphries, Matthew (February 2009). "Windows 7 may ship with rival browsers because of antitrust regulators". Retrieved on 2009-01-27. 
  49. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (2009-02-04). "A closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs". Retrieved on 2009-02-05. 
  50. ^,39044164,62049967,00.htm

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