Understanding “the five pillars of Windows 7”

Over the past few days Bryant from AeroXP.org, a popular Windows enthusiasts community, has been writing a series of posts titled “The Five Pillars of Windows 7“. In these posts, predictably five in total, he reveals and discusses a lot of interesting tidbits about the next version of Windows. The information presented is highly interesting and encouraging for any Windows enthusiast, but one could easily become tangled in the web of optimism.

To shed some light on the matter, the information Bryant sources actually comes from the “Windows Feedback Button” that is in the current builds of Windows 7. This tool allows users to leave their thoughts on the Windows 7 experience categorized by a list of “pillars” and “scenarios” as predefined by Microsoft. With each scenario is a brief description of what it is about. For example,

If you actually compare what’s described in the screenshots above with what appears on AeroXP.org, you’d notice a difference, they are not the same descriptions. Because Microsoft’s descriptions are somewhat short and vague, what Bryant has done is added in his own interpretation, knowledge and speculations about what these scenarios mean. Arguably that’s what all bloggers do, but remember he might be wrong or he might be right. The descriptions are not facts.

Another point to note is that these are not Microsoft promises, but merely areas Microsoft has identified to improve on. The important difference is that they simply can’t be held accountable if not all of these scenarios are actually realized because they didn’t indicate they would do so. These are goals Microsoft is working towards, reaching them is another matter. Set your expectations accordingly.

In short, take everything you read, including what you read on this site, with a grain of salt.

30 insightful thoughts

  1. Thanks for posting this, Long. I tried making it “linguistically obvious” that some of the material in my series is based on my own personal experience, but if that didn’t get across to the reader, I hope your post will.

    Microsoft could easily change any or even *all* of this at the last minute.

  2. Thank you gentlemen for the info. So they didn’t have that much time if they really want to get this out next year. I guess it would be much like the jump from Windows 2000 to XP. Not that many architectural changes but many improvements on the ui and interaction for home users. Hopefully they focus more on the quality and details of the ui than they did in Vista.

  3. Pillars are good as long as they aren’t twenty billion SKUs of Windows. XP did it well… Two SKUs. I think we could even have three SKUs: Home, Business, and Ultimate. But the current situation is off… We have too many with Vista. There is: Home Gimped, er Basic, and Home… um Premium, and then there is Buisness, and Enterprise (What the crap? Is it really so much to consolidate these?), and of course, Ultimate.

    Again, is it really so much to de-SKU? Components would work for customizing, but that could be screwed up. It really is tricky to do, but its possible.

  4. My personal Think???

    Windows 7 is Windows VIsta SP2 !!!!!!!!!!
    WIndows 8 is the first concept of WIndows 7

    why Nick white go to Microsoft?
    Why Bill gates annunce Next WIndows in 2009??

  5. “Buisness, and Enterprise”

    Business does not use VLK. Business is meant either for home users who need business tools at their disposal away from work (tablet PC, etc.) or for small businesses not buying on a bulk plan.

    Whereas Enterprise only comes with bulk licensing as well as BitLocker (it was determined that enterprises would be more likely to tick BitLocker on a mass scale). The separation was done more for the sake of consistency and lack of confusion than anything else; saying that your business runs enterprise instantly means “hey, you’ve got a volume licensing scheme going on.”

  6. If you ask me, they should just have 2 SKU’s : Home and Business. Home has practically all the features that a user will ever need, and Business has everything a company will ever need. Both of them costing $250 or less.

    And maybe a 3rd (special one) for really poor countries with just the basics. People could go Linux, but a super cheap Windows with just the basics, but also having Windows compatibility would be great. It probably won’t make retail stores and will be highlighted as much.

    Keeping the choices simple, but well, would be a good start for Win7.

  7. I think big OS’s are over. Windows 7 will flop because:

    a. It will require even more resources than Vista. This is a big deal because companies like Samsung are already having an inordinate amount of difficulty putting Vista on their more lightweight devices.

    b. Devices like iPhone and MIDs will bring a whole new paradigm to computing, and Windows won’t be a part of it.

    c. Software development is commoditized. Developers will write killer apps for any platform, and port it to any platform. SDK lock-in is no longer much of a way to ensure OS lock-in.

    FYI, I make my living writing Windows software, and I feel more and more outdated and useless every day. I can see where this is all going and I’m looking to get off this bandwagon.

  8. Kevin, one of the pillar scenarios deals with stability. Windows 7 should actually run better on hardware that ran Vista decently. So, that is quite wrong. And anyway, since when didn’t a new MS OS require better hardware to live up to it’s potential?

  9. I am happy with you reminding users that these are not facts. These days, everyone is desperate for Windows 7 news and is trying to build his own castle of dreams on what Windows 7 should be or will be. Some others are fools trying to make us believe how Windows Server 2008 is better than Vista. It’s becoming more difficult to separate and filter genuine Windows 7 facts from MS and mountains of FUD spread by the community.

  10. @Long – Your blog is one of the best in the world but please do not jump on the bandwagon in regards to the fictious “facts” within Bryant’s AeroXP articles.

    Microsoft has not publically or privately announced that these are “areas Microsoft has identified to improve on.” Due to my own certain involvement, I have Win7 and I have not seen any documentation or communications from/by Microsoft stating this. In my opinion, they are just continuing on the work started with Vista.

    @Bryant – Please stop spreading your imagination as “truth” and “fact”. Please make your articles extremely obvious that they only contain your opinion, imagination and that they do not contain any fact’s from Microsoft at all.

    @Drew – the “Pillars” concept was introduced with Vista quite some time ago. Nothing new there.

    @Yert – Unfortunately, due to the various legal cases around the world, Microsoft is forced to offer multiple SKU’s. IMHO, Win7 will be no different.

    @Kevin – If you think your programming skills are outdated, then you need to update them! Move with the times boyo! SaaS is the future.

  11. @Fred Flintstone:

    Long got it right. I’m picking all of my material from the feedback dialog, which actually does contain a good amount of detail. However, my own experience, information from contacts within Microsoft, and trends from within this and future builds led me to write what I thought would be possibilities and trends to follow. Also, there is a pretty beautiful *red* disclaimer at the top of each of my posts on the Pillars of 7.

    By all means, if you think I’m trying to push “fictitious ‘facts,'” don’t read my posts on AeroXP. However, don’t take it out on Long; he makes a good point.

    People read blogs for insight. I’m trying to offer insight into 7. Long is trying to offer insight into the way Microsoft works with just about everything. It’s the nature of a blogger to weave thoughts of trends, possibilities, etc. based on his or her own experience into what he or she hears, sees, or somehow finds out.

  12. although i have taken all of this with a grain of salt as Long has suggested…. i dont believe all of the info is true not becuase i assume Bryant is lying, but because M$ has been quite tight lipped about the goin-ons of Win7 and everything at this point is open to ones interpretation, but it is still a great read none the less, and who knows, maybe this time M$ will get it right!!

    interesting to see what happens….i guess ,only time will tell!

    peas
    cityboy

  13. Response,

    I think it’s bizarre that an OS can’t run decently in 1GB RAM. I also think that there’s a reason why Microsoft has no solution for MID’s and that Intel all but dumped them for that class of devices. Vista is an obese OS, and Windows 7 sounds like more of the same. Microsoft is trying to push an obese OS at a time when footprint is beginning to matter more than ever, and at a time when computing resources largely exists in the server.

    Really, far more than Windows 7, Microsoft needs to provide a MID solution, as well as ship Photon asap. In the next 5 years, those OS’s will be more important than a fixed Windows Vista. Maybe we’ll see some variant of CE fill that niche, but right now they have nothing compelling for the mobile space.

    -Kevin

  14. I personally would stay away from comments about Windows 7. If you think about it, it’s really obvious that this whole “looking to Windows 7” is an outgrowth of certain parts of the community believing Vista is broken and problem filled. Nothing I see in these “supposed” pictures really give me the idea that things people are complaining about will be changed or fixed by what’s being posted..

    The issue with Windows is there are a few different releases.. Plus x64 (64-bit versions if you have a 64-bit processor which doubles the number of versions).

    Vista Home Basic (the one most XP home)- If you have an older PC with a smaller foot print and your graphics hardware can’t handle Aero Glass and aren’t connecting to a Windows Server for work this one is for you.. This works best with Low Memory Machine Configurations.

    Vista Home Premium (the one most like Windows Media Center Edition 2005)- This one includes Media Center but you still can’t connect to a Windows Server environment with it (not to say you can’t FTP, run a web server, etc. with it). It’s the best of the HOME versions, just media center (it’s like home, but not XP Pro)

    Vista Business- This version is designed to be installed on a network or small business server environment and can talk to a Windows Server. This version lacks Windows Media Center support and doesn’t come with support for playing back DVDs in Windows Media Player (you have to buy the extra codec)

    Vista Ultimate- This version has all the features listed before, can connect to the network, has media center, has ultimate extras (remember the plus pack), does everything..

    Vista Enterprise- Microsoft doesn’t sell these to consumers, or small business, it sells through their licensing program for large scale operations in conjunction with Windows Server 2008. It supports better virtualization doesn’t have media center (so it’s a lot like Vista Business), supports Unix Subsystem to run *nix applications. It’s got a very FAST installer (imaging based it seems like) and you probably will never see this outside a big company..

    Then there are 64-bit versions of the OS.. They give you support for larger than 4 gig memory configurations, support for 64-bit CPUs.. There has a been a lot of confusion about them, because a 32bit version of vista will run on 64-bit CPUs but usually doesn’t offer the enhancements like more memory, 64-bit performance tweaks etc.. It’s better to run the 64-bit version if you have a 64-bit CPU. Some makers like Compaq and HP sell laptops and desktops still in low memory configurations with 64-bit CPUs but only come installed with 32-bit Vista. They have done this mostly because for a while there were more 32-bit device drivers than 64-bit. That however has changed really quickly. Drivers are no longer an issue plaguing 64-bit Vista users..

    The people here who are complaining about Vista and resources need to realize that Vista is probably Microsoft’s last 32-bit operating system. If you go buy a new computer today (even a $500 laptop) it has a dual core 64-bit processor on it and at least 2 gigs of RAM. That trend/explosion is continuing. I just upgraded to a quad core machine myself and it would hit vista’s 4 gig memory limits (on the 32 bit version which tries to follow the OLD XP foot print).

    I think what people here think are midrange really aren’t, and they are probably staring at legacy hardware that they bought 3-4 years ago. The upgrade cycle for PC hardware is now about 3 years. When you buy you’ll get a completely different level of performance now. It’s like buying a car, when you drive it off the lot it’s value dips and the car’s features, engine capabilities are all getting faster and better.

    Is Vista flawed and not offering anything MORE than XP??? CERTAINLY NOT..

    Windows Vista supports hardware accelerated WPF applications (which they announced at Mix 08 that there will be WPF service Pack 1 later this year. WPF is part of .NET, and the current version is 3.5, so I expect a 4.0 which maybe after all is said and done Vista SP2- (or Win7 if marketing so desired I hope they don’t decide that).

    Vista also gives you Windows Communications Foundation that supports web services and communication infrastructure that is key to a lot of new web based applications that XP doesn’t really touch (at least from .NET 3.5 on..)..

    There is a lot more than this, but there are a lot of things under the covers that sysadmins have no clue about that developers are learning about and writing software for that are impossible with XP..

    I really think Microsoft could help a future Windows Installation with the possibility of check which features you load and don’t load during the install (much like *nix style OSes gives you custom installs). Instead of ADD/REMOVE Windows features after the fact. People would probably feel less limited by this alone.

    Finally I see a great number of users complaining about compatibility. When you buy or use a new OS there are always updates needed of software on any platform. You can’t get away from that. Microsoft in the past has just been better about giving legacy support. If you have something that doesn’t run check for an update with the maker. Don’t expect programs that offers things like privacy and malware written for XP to work. Things that take advantage of new things like security features need new versions. It’s just common sense. Games that were written correctly have no problems, but games that weren’t are seeing issues. Games are written to take advantage of “custom” features of hardware that the OS usually doesn’t account for directly. So those could break too.

    Finally UPDATE your DRIVERS regularly, when Vista SP1 came out I had 3 potential problems with sound etc, but since I was good about updating I had no problems..

    Lastly, the new interface can be made to look and work with the old.. The windows explorer breadcrumb trail I hear the most people complaining about, because they can’t type a path in there or see the old DOS like pathing.. DOUBLE CLICK on this FOLKS, what’s new will be old again and you can do the same things you could always do.. Also in the folder pain if you don’t see a drive you want in there, go into windows explorer and drag and drop the drive icon into that window and presto it’s there.. A lot of this is just common sense, and you can have a really great experience with Vista. And for those complaining about speed of file copies, it’s really not that bad, and the issue seems fixed under SP1..

  15. it may be that vista is bloatware, but these are the facts for me:

    – on my vaio fz21z notebook it runs perfectly stable (perfmon shows 9.91 and increasing). my experience regarding stability is awesome for me and vista.

    – i have 4gb ram in my notebook (2 would be fine too i know) and all runs smooth and very responsive.

    – my vaio is out of standby in 1 second and ready to use in 2. i never had that experience under xp.

    all in all i cannot understand all the discussions about vista. looks to me as a well OS. why all that arguing? i guess its all about using the right hardware.

  16. @Rufus LaDoofus – Home Basic is so useless… why not just turn off Aero if the computer doesn’t support it instead of causing consumer confusion? I just don’t think we need more then one “Home” version in that way… Ultimate was brilliant, Home (Premium) is a good idea, and a business version makes sence too. But two Home versions just suck, at least in my opinion. Nice points though.

  17. @Yert:
    Its not just about aero. Home Basic is just that…Basic. If you think Vista is bloated, use basic. That is the least bloated version you will ever buy.
    @marco:
    4gb? So that’s what it takes. And here I was thinking 1gb would be enough…no wonder my computer almost constanly runs at 60-90% RAM usage.

  18. “interpretation, knowledge and speculations” Hope it works out better for him than it did for me last time around XD. Eh well I wouldn’t expect anyone to screw up as bad as I did.

  19. @Chustar
    Your an idiot, yes marco states, that he has 4Gb of ram, which by the way is over kill for vista and most applications, but he states 2Gb would be fine. My laptop only has a 1Gb and runs vista fine, but when I bought it I made sure I could upgrade to 2Gb, why, because modern software needs modern hardware. Get with times and don’t complain about Vista because your too cheap to upgrade your hardware, what are you going to do when Windows 7 comes out, complain some more. I also have a desktop with a Quad core processor and 4Gb of ram, but I didn’t need that to run Vista, it’s for the latest games aka software. As long as you upgrade to the latest drivers from the manufactures you will have no problems with Vista. If you are either too lazy/stupid and/or cheap/poor to properly upgrade/maintain your machine, just stay with your outdated XP and quit complaining on blogs about Vista.

  20. @Anon:
    So I’m an idiot because I don’t like the fact that my computer uses approx. 500mb when idle? Also, did you really need to call me “an idiot, cheap, lazy, poor, stupid”? Good thing I don’t indulge in flame wars anymore!

  21. Rufus LaDoofus- Vista may have more to offer than Xp I do agree with you on that, But if its not flawed than tell me why in three months of owning it I’ve had to do 8 system restores because certain windows programs stopped working for no reason(no new installs, system changes etc.) I’ve had fix my computer with the vista disk 3 times because it would’nt boot. again no reason. Compaired to five years of xp ownership which I’ve never had to fix once. I’m sorry but I don’t think that you know what your talking about. Vista is a buggy p.o.s. and I hate it. next problem i have and i’m UPGRADING BACK to XP.

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