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Windows 7 Optimized for HyperThreading

HyperThreading was cool. It was an innovative way to process threads concurrently without actually having two physical CPU cores. Of course, then we got two (or more) physical cores with the Core 2 processor, and so went away HyperThreading. But now HyperThreading is back with Intel’s Nehalem and even Atom processors supporting the technology, and Microsoft’s optimizing Windows 7 for it.

Bill Veghte, senior vice president for Windows business, spoke last week at the Tech•Ed event and touched upon many upcoming Windows technologies. As expected, Microsoft works closely with partners such as Intel to ensure that software takes advantage of the hardware.

Veghte explained that Microsoft and Intel worked closely together on many angles. “One is around power management, power management in what they do across their cores and across their chipsets, and what we do in the OS. And the work that we've done across Windows 7 and Nehalem, the Nehalem lineup, I think you'll be very, very, very excited about,” he said.

With Nehalem’s arrival, Intel’s HyperThreading technology is back. Veghte explains that Windows 7 contains optimizations to take advantage of HyperThreading (and we’ll assume that will also apply to any system with multiple cores).

“The second thing that we're excited to announce in terms of the cooperation and the work that's been done is around hyper-threading. And obviously the work that Intel has done around hyper-threading across a multi-core system is absolutely critical for you,” said Veghte. “And so the work that we've done in Windows 7 in the scheduler and in the core of the system to take full advantage of those capabilities, ultimately we think together we can deliver a great and better experience for you.”

Some enhancements could be related to changes in how Windows 7 renders its 2D desktop graphics. (Read more here.)

Of course, it’s only natural to see software evolving alongside hardware, but it’s things like this that Microsoft hopes will be enough to get users still stuck on Windows XP to ditch the aging OS for the new and shiny one.

Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.