Microsoft Speaks on Windows 7 Technical Bits

As much as the new features of Windows 7 appear to be tailored to improve the end-user experience, Microsoft still needs to consider the corporate environment.

It might be even more important for Microsoft to make Windows 7 an attractive alternative for desktop IT professionals, as many businesses are still choosing to run Windows XP instead of Windows Vista.

To help educate on the lower-level features of the upcoming operating system, Microsoft technical fellow Mark Russinovich fielded questions over an hour-long roundtable video. The discussion covered Group Policy, BitLocker To Go, DirectAccess, BranchCache, and AppLocker then get tips on troubleshooting, deployment and application compatibility.

The Springboard Series TechNet blog features a summary in Q&A format. System admins and those interested in the more advanced features will want to check out the full post, but we’ve clipped below the most interesting bits.

Q:  Is the kernel the same for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 7?

  • A:  The kernel consists of many different files; it is updated with Windows 7, but is based on the same underlying architecture.

Q:  Has ReadyBoost changed from Windows Vista?

  • A:  ReadyBoost in Windows 7 adds support for concurrently using multiple flash devices (such as USB keys, Secure Digital cards, and internal flash devices) and for caches larger than 4 GB. ReadyBoost supports exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems.

Q:  You say any app that runs on Windows Vista should run on Windows 7, does that hold true for any app that runs on Windows XP? Should it run on Windows 7 as well?

  • A:  Since Windows Vista and Windows 7 share similar design frameworks, there is a foundation for application compatibly. Since Windows XP has a different framework, the levels of application compatibility are not the same.

Q:  Will there now be a possibility to burn an .iso image file without burning software?

  • A:  Yes. Double-click an ISO, and Windows 7 opens a minimalistic dialog. Choose a burner, select whether or not to verify your burn, and burn/cancel.

Q:  Will Microsoft support the RC [of Windows 7]?

Q:  Will there be an Application Compatibility Toolkit available for Windows 7 like there was for Windows Vista? When might that be available?

  • A:  Yes. We plan on releasing an update to the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) in April to support Windows 7 pre-releases. There will also be a version corresponding with Windows 7 release to manufacturing (RTM).

Q:  What kinds of improvements are being made in the area of application compatibility testing and migration?

  • A:  There will be a version of the Application Compatibility Toolkit to support Windows 7 available in the April 2009 timeframe. Additionally, the Windows system application compatibility fix (shim) database is constantly extended with each Windows release milestone.

Q:  Why is Windows 7 more quick to start up compared to Windows Vista?

  • A:  In working to improve performance for startup we have focused on making improvements in the following areas:
  • The efficiency of core Windows code
  • Only starting certain services when they are needed (demand-start services)
  • The way device drivers are initialized
  • Allowing multiple device drivers to start at the same time (parallelization)
  • An overall reduction in the memory and CPU required to start and run the graphics system

Q:  Windows 7 performance out of the box experience does seem much better than Windows Vista, but is there anything that addresses the overall issue of performance degradation over time that plagues devices over time without having to configure or buy and configure additional third party software?

  • A:  Microsoft has invested in PerfTrack, an automated reporting feature in Windows that tracks the performance of over 400 experiences on the PC. Windows 7 also includes troubleshooters such as IE Performance as well as a Check for Performance Issues to help users check for performance issues over time.

Q:  Will any other version of Windows be able to read BitLocker To Go "with an add-on or additional software"?

  • A:  Yes, you will be able to unlock and read from BitLocker files on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
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  • jacobdrj
    While I am aware the 'spinup' issue of readyboos is negated by SSD, I would immagine there is an aspect of parallelization that could be achieved by using multiple devices (in a quazi RAID form) to get more data through the bus simultaniously during startup and multitasking in Windows. Any word on if this will be the case, or should I just 'shut off' ReadyBoost with a SSD?
  • wikiwikiwhat
    Wow, no Linux fanboys putting their two cents in yet. It might be a good day.
  • bourgeoisdude
    Support for exFAT in ReadyBoost is welcome. On that note, formatting USB keys as exFAT may be worth it now that MS has a download for Windows XP adding support for it (Vista supports it with SP1, but does not support ReadyBoost with exFAT).