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Windows 7 Team Improves Speed of Start Button

With the huge pool of Windows 7 beta testers thanks to the publicly released build 7000, Microsoft has been tracking various performance measures and the progress its made in the latest versions.

One such metric that Microsoft is tracking is the time it takes between the click of the start button and the appearance of the menu, which is measured in milliseconds. The Windows 7 team posted two graphs showing the improvement since the beta.

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7000 (Beta)

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7033

“Some caveats first—the sample sizes are different (after all Beta did go to a far wider audience) and these numbers shouldn’t be taken too literally since they really do just represent a snapshot,” explained program manager Chaitanya Sareen in the Windows 7 blog.

“The different colors denote performance against the ‘interaction class’—the acceptable experience range defined by each feature team. In this case we want the Start Menu to appear within 50ms to 100ms,” Sareen explained. “A trace capturing tool running on each machine lets us investigate and fix what may be impacting performance.

“The charts shows in Beta 85% of interactions were within the acceptable range (i.e. green or yellow, but not red). After examining the traces and making some optimizations, we find 92% of interactions are this range for a more recent build.”

Last week, we went over a few of the more notable changes to the Windows 7 taskbar that we thought to be the most useful.

Although Microsoft isn’t sharing when we might see a new version of Windows 7 released to testers, the rumors are pointing to April 10 as the target date for the Release Candidate.

Marcus Yam
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.
  • jsloan
    joy, i still think windows xp is better and windows 7 is nothing but microsoft's effort to put lipstick on vista pig and shake us all for more money because their stock price has fallen off the cliff since it's high.
    Reply
  • E7130
    jsloanjoy, i still think windows xp is better and windows 7 is nothing but microsoft's effort to put lipstick on vista pig and shake us all for more money because their stock price has fallen off the cliff since it's high.
    Stop your trolling, you post the same crap on every Windows 7 article. We get it, you will be sticking with an aging OS.
    Reply
  • A Stoner
    It is good that they are doing such detailed investigations and fixes. Here is hoping that UAC gets a bit more of this, such as a more intelligent version of UAC that is directly linked to anti-virus software. The truth is that UAC is a worthless device with the exception of self propogating virus's that somehow lauch themselves silently. When you click something and want it to run, that little reminder is just going to be clicked yes every time. Thus, unless windows comes back and says that the file is a virus, everyone just clicks yes.

    Current UAC

    Are you sure you want to run program you downloaded from internet?
    Yes
    Are you sure you want to run program that is unsigned/signed?
    Yes
    Program wants to make changes to your system, do you want to allow it access?
    Yes
    Program wants access to the internet, Allow once, always allow, block?
    always allow

    There is no ability to make that file permanantly click and use. First, through infinity times you click that file it goes through the same
    UAC steps, and the only part that is not is the access to internet. Thus UAC is a constant nag that never learns a thing.

    What I think a good UAC would be like.

    Windows recognises that actual mouse hardware clicks were used to click the download file as well as to initialize the start of said file and then refers to anti-virus software to see if any action needs to take place.

    No virus, no popup.
    Virus, popup.

    While not perfect, there are also heuristic virus scans that look for virus type activities of files to decide if there is a new unbranded virus present.

    It can, as an option selected by user in settings, warn that a file is an installation type as compared to a run type. Instead of saying system changes, it would say install software. Settings could even be setup to warn for specific system changes. Such as, adding files to start launch menu, or to registry, or any other bootup sequence database, giving some actual information to the user as to what the file is actually doing. Then I would actually welcome a popup. Once the popup is intialized the system should then allow the user to select check marks as to how to handle this file in the future.

    Here is another idea for a really good way to cut back on virus'. Have windows run a virtual version of itself during installations. Put an icon on the desktop or taskbar once the virtual installation is completed, the user then has a chance to verify that they like the installation and can click the taskbar icon to either have that virtualization deleted or appended to windows. Any virus would only be in a virtual windows that once shut down would be gone forever. So, as long as the virtual windows installation is secure from the actual windows, there would be no chance of a virus getting free because a click on the delete installation or a simple reboot would wipe the virtualized virus off the system.

    These things add actual security, give actual information to the user, and are valued added, as compared to what UAC does now, which is give every user a terrible spouse in the form of a computer that constantly nags you as to what you are doing.

    Cuddos for Microsoft working on the details, now to see them move that detail oriented thinking into where it is going to matter most for people who will not use Vista, because Windows 7 as it stands is just Vista with a couple curtains and blinds installed over the windows.
    Reply
  • While I like Windows 7 alright, I have to partially agree with Stoner... I definitely like 7 more than Vista, but it really lacks any real innovation. I recently wrote MS (probably uselessly) in a feedback that I don't understand how 7 warrants the money to uprade from Vista, assuming it's the same price as Vista upgrades/ full editions are. I'm not a Mac lover, but since literally being forced to buy one for school, I've come to appreciate OS X. QuickLook lets me hit the space bar for an almost instant preview of a file. Time Machine, while not exactly full-featured backup, is painless to use and pretty intuitive. Expose is an excellent alternative windows management method.

    So what does Windows 7 have over Vista? Aero Peek? Ok that's kinda nice. Little tweaks here and there, but my enthusiasm for Windows 7 has seriously waned since I first installed it because it does seem to be simply a fresh coat of paint. There is no innovative feature that says "this will increase your productivity, or your entertainment while using this OS." It's a lighter weight system, and I'm sure many will appreciate that, but they need to update it a heck of a lot more than that to convince me to spend a couple hundred dollars to upgrade. In that way Stoner's likening it to a service pack is actually very accurate, I think.

    Anyway, I don't want to rant, and I like Windows 7. But it kills me that they're parading this as a brand new OS. For XP users, sure charge the full amount. But especially for Vista users, how could this possibly be worth more than $50 for an upgrade?
    Reply
  • skittle
    DiffA Stoner...Statements from almost all the reviews stated that if you have working drivers for Vista, you will have working drivers for Windows 7. That sounds like for the most part Windows 7 is almost completely a clone of the Vista kernal...
    Statements from those same 'reviewers' also say that they like windows 7.
    New (updated kernel), but the same driver model.
    They chose to use the same driver model for a very good reason. Your just used to thinking that because its windows, it needs new drivers for every release.
    Reply
  • tayb
    A StonerActually you are the troll. We have legitimate arguments to make against Microsoft and this is our forum as much as it is yours to put OUR views of what we want out there. Yes we will stick with an aging WORKING OS if microsoft refuses to hear our concerns and address our needs in an operating system. Just like we already know you are in love with Windows 7 and Vista, so why don't you stop putting your crap all over users who comment in Windows 7 articles that do not like Windows 7? We get it, you love it, now move on, blah blah blah blah. You are really a useful person, I mean you have accomplished so much with your writting, really put all us Windows 7 haters in our place and shut us up.Windows 7 is nothing more than lipstick on a pig. While they may have changed the undergarments a bit, the real changes are simply cosmetic and nothing that could not have been a service pack for Vista. Statements from almost all the reviews stated that if you have working drivers for Vista, you will have working drivers for Windows 7. That sounds like for the most part Windows 7 is almost completely a clone of the Vista kernal.What does that mean? It means that Microsoft is making a service pack into an operating system. There are plenty of reasons for them to do it. The first is that they get the chance to reframe the software, where Vista has a bad name, Windows 7, if they get away with it, will have a better name, even though it is the same OS with a few service pack level upgrades and updates. Second, they can sell more copies of Windows 7, which, as I have said before is nothing more extravagant than a service pack, to all the people who bought Vista. They get to charge for this service pack...
    Pipe down. I didn't both reading beyond the first sentence.

    Windows 7 has better performance numbers than XP and nice graphical user interface to go along with it. It will also support nearly every piece of hardware or software that was written or updated to work on Vista.

    If you want to stick with a slower operating system, without the eye candy, without the features, and without the support by all means continue using Windows XP. The bulk majority of us will not be enraged with blind hatred and upgrade to a clearly superior operating system.
    Reply
  • skittle
    And at least Microsoft gives away some service packs for free. How much does Apple charge to upgrade OSX every year? $129.99. But apple would rather you buy a new notebook instead.
    Reply
  • gnesterenko
    Huzzah for Windows 7 and the support it will bring for new hardware including SATA, USB, and SSDs. Shockingly enough, there's users out there who need their OS to support brand new hardware and features. I know I know: Its nothing short of a crime that the Windows doesn't cater just to us regular internet browsers and music listeneres and instead includes features for enthusiasts - maybe they should fire somebody...

    So there you have the reason why jsloans posts are consitently rated in the negative double digits. Honestly, just click the thumbs down and move on, there's nothing new or useful to read there...

    On a more positive note, looks like 7 will come out around the same time as AMD puts out RD890 chipset married to the SB800 and better then 3GH AM3 Phenom IIs. ARound the same time as DDR3 really becomes a logical choice vs DDR2. Should make for some really really tasty overclocking. By the price is right rules (closest without going over), I think 4.5GHz on air will be easily doable within the first week or two(with the black edition CPUs anyway). Its going to be a VERY merry X-mas this year!

    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    dude why bother keep writing books responding to people. you sound like a holy preacher making someone believe in god. know how how much useless BS you write it will not affect anything people think. go back to being stoned as your name suggests. i like windows 7 and i will be getting it because I do not want to keep using an old OS that will be useless in the next 2-3 years
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    why read reviews when you can just download windows 7 and make your own judgment. unless your talking about the computers users that don't know much.
    Reply