Windows 7 saves Microsoft, but will it rebuild post-Vista spirit?

Windows 7 saves Microsoft, but will it rebuild post-Vista spirit?

Summary: Windows 7 has saved Microsoft after suffering the side-effects from Vista for years after initial release. But can the world regain confidence in Microsoft after the post-Vista blues? Article


Microsoft is on track to release the next client operating system, Windows 7, on 22nd October 2009, in time for the holiday season to follow. Will it be everything we are hoping for? I truly believe so.

With the disaster that Vista was to the public image of Microsoft, I can see no less than a steaming, fresh dog turd with a Windows flag jammed into it being a thorough improvement to their line of operating systems. Although I may have had different opinions before, opinions change when circumstances change.


The information it gives you is not only accurate but friendly. The new user experience guidelines surpass those used for Vista and XP; the latter with error messages which just appeared rude at times. With options for pretty much everything, even customising how notifications alert you are essential to the overall end user feel.


With Microsoft's new "approach" to modular installation, which in absolutely no way was determined by the European Commission... (smirk), it gives the user a greater option of what goes into the system. Even though you can uninstall features such as Internet Explorer 8, you'll still need it to download another web browser, but it's the thought that counts. Maybe Windows 7 will push out the unofficial modular and cut-down installations that people build, ISO up and release to the web?


Even though in this day and age of operating systems, no future Windows edition will match that of Windows XP. The precedent has been set with Vista, using the system resources to power the chunky graphics which it boasted. However, the Desktop Windows Manager, the key engine behind powering the Aero Glass user interface has been stripped down to a bare minimum. The outcome? Exactly the same power and functionality, without any of the crap that wasn't needed; cutting nearly 50% of the service.


The ability to manipulate your desktop space has long been desired, yet been there from the start. Being able to cascade and tile your windows wasn't enough; being able to truly take control over where your windows go. With Aero Snap, this can be done so easily, by literally taking control of the window and throwing it against the side of your screen. It's become almost natural in physically taking control of your desktop.


Even though it has many of the eye candy features of Windows Vista, it remains clean and crisp, and a genuine pleasure to use. Long Zheng has taken his Thursday evening admiring the elegancy and precision of finer details - the icons. I have been hearing rumours that the Windows version screen will be changing. Whether this to be true or not, we will have to wait and see, as presently it is fairly boring and goes against the grain of what we have previously seen. Nevertheless, my guess is as good as yours - as you can see.


With XP mode allowing you to turn the clock back and use a legacy version of Windows to ensure your applications work properly, this will be a massive, extraordinary feature which no other company has come up with before. The only downside is that the virtual memory used in your virtual machine will still clock up physical memory and physical hard drive space. Still, it'll be worth it to get the best of both worlds.

After the bad experiences many have had with Vista, as long as the marketing is put forward in a way which is gentle, easing to the eye and not "in your face", it'll make Windows 7 a new milestone in the company's history. Making operating systems is what made Microsoft famous in the first place. It's about time they clawed back their market share with this quite frankly, wonderful piece of kit.

Has Microsoft already shot themselves in the foot or can the dark cloud finally be lifted over Redmond?

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It's not even out yet and pre-release hype is the one thing MS is good at..

    Apart from selling vaporware and bait'n'switch products (DX10 and Flight Simulator X instantly spring to mind, if not Vista too...)

    I lost most respect for MS with Vista...

    Then I found out this comment from Steve Ballmer:

    "?(taxing offshored profits) makes U.S. jobs more expensive,? Ballmer said in an interview. ?We?re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.?"
    (Source: Bloomberg)

    The line doesn't even make sense; it's a gross non-sequitur. Does Ballmer even think before speaking, or is he just going to offshore more and more jobs so it doesn't matter what sort of waffle escapes his lips?
    • Perhaps not, but don't underestimate him

      You may have lost most of your respect for Microsoft and Steve B./Bill G., but underestimate them at your own peril. That pair almost single handedly changed how we think about computers. Further, Steve B. has demolished more successful companies and smarter people than you.

      So, even though he may not speak eloquently (or even correctly), he is still a tremendously intelligent, capable and thoroughly evil human being. Microsoft wouldn't be where it is without him.
      Rob Oakes
      • All the intelligence in the world won't help him...

        if his arrogance overtakes him. Which is how I read that statement. He's telling our Government to back off or Microsoft will take their employment elsewhere.
  • This article feels like an advert...

    Windows 7 saves Microsoft... Dude, it's not even out yet, how can you say that? There's no proof that XP users would suddenly feel an unexplicable urge to upgrade if they already shunned the Vista upgrade.

    BTW, this article feels SO MUCH like an advert...
    • @luch3

      I do believe it's wishful thinking on his part.
  • I agree

    Having used the Windows 7 RC for a bit now, I'm really quite surprised. It works well, and there are a lot of subtle UI improvements and additions that just seem to work well. It's actually a pleasant OS to work with. And it seems like a truly modern OS, too.

    Vista will quickly become a forgotten "oops" and Microsoft will find people and businesses accepting Win7 the way they had hoped they would accept Vista. Of course: Win7 is what Vista should have been...
  • Claw back marketshare?!

    Huh?! They barely lost any marketshare.

    The Mac system, though a more pleasing overall
    experience in comparison to Vista and something that
    perhaps should have increased its marketshare greatly, has
    gained a few percent at most.

    A few percent... In context against the dominant 90+% it's
    insignificant. Windows remains the world's OS of choice.

    The "disaster" from a Microsoft point of view is not that
    they lost Windows share to Mac or Linux, but that they
    didn't take a larger amount away from the existing XP
    flavor of Windows. That is, didn't get the numbers of
    boxed copy upgraders and new system purchasers

    Whether you're selling XP, Vista, 7 or CE derivatives, it's all
    Windows, and it's all maintaining the Windows monopoly.
    You can't grumble too much about that.

    Microsoft is like a drug dealer: their customer is hooked
    and will remain hooked, they've just been buying the low-
    grade, cheaper crack cocaine, instead of the high-grade

  • How did you get into your parallel world Zack?

    Try not to confuse the massive Mac fanboi representation on ZDNET or the whinings of some bloggers with reality.

    Microsoft has not been, is not and probably never will be in danger from such a small and eccentric user base as Apple. You can only fool some of the people all of the time and that's the extent of their base.

    Once again we hear the big lie of problems with Vista - so presumably the millions using it wake up each morning with a heavy heart and force themselves to use a damaged OS. Perhaps you could talk to the actual people USING Vista, because we don't seem to have a problem.

    Nevermind, I'm sure it goes down well with the fringe.
    • The "Big Lie".

      Has already been written into the history of computing. You may want to think about quietly letting go of your cherished belief in the "WOW Starts Now". Just saying.
      • Part of the MS revisionist ways

        It part of the MS way, lie about the past to put them in better light.

        I for one hope windows 7 is everything they want it to be. It's about time
        windows consumers had use of a decent OS. Late October seems a long
        time to wait for an OS ZDNet writes as if it's shipping;-)
        Richard Flude
        • hmmm

          I have used apple compupters from system 5 through to OSX so I dont quite understand where your coming from. Apple system was pretty unstable from 8.6 onwards especialy 9.2.2 (Far worse than any version of windows NT), and before that they were not 100% reliable either.

          All versions of windows NT have been stable as have the 9x windows when running 32bit applications (except millenium edition but then 9.2.2 wasnt much better).
          • So you're saying Vista wasn't bad

            That the entire IT industry simply made up issues with Vista. When MS
            says issues with Vista have been fixed they were making the issues up.
            When OEMs rant about the disappointment of Vista and their hopes for
            windows 7 they just don't understand. How wonderful are the MS

            Vista was a disaster - late, buggy and slapped together. It doesn't
            require a "100% reliable" Mac OS for this to be the case. And please
            windows 95 was rubbish, as was millennium. NT server crashed daily.
            More new history from the revisionists.
            Richard Flude
          • Vista is fixed.

            "That the entire IT industry simply made up issues with Vista."

            There were some issues on first release.

            But - they've all been fixed.

            It's not really making stuff up as much as it is exaggeration and refusal to acknowledge the fixes.

            "Vista was a disaster - late, buggy and slapped together."

            Late, yes. Buggy on first released, yeah.

            Slapped together? No.

            It's basically an overhaul of the OS. A lot of stuff underneath was rewritten. Yeah, that's gonna introduce a lot of bugs. Doesn't mean it was slapped together without any thought.
          • Yours is an issue of degrees.

            [i]That the entire IT industry simply made up issues with Vista.[/i]

            The "entire IT industry" has never agreed on a single thing, ever. Apple jumped to FUD, and it's paid journalists like goatberg repeated the message. The mainstream media caught on and after that Vista's fate was sealed, but let's make one thing clear, Vista had marketing and perception issues, not technical ones that were magically all solved in the first service pack.

            By the time SP1 was released, nVidia and Creative had gotten off their lazy humps, the worst of the incompatible software (with most incompatibilities caused by some horrendously egregious programing and security mistakes by the various third parties) had been identified and replaced by better software by more capable and responsible developers, and even the most ardent, unsupported and illogical Vista hating pseudo-journalist had to admit the "issues" with Vista had been mostly corrected.

            And yes, portions of the "IT industry" did make up issues with Vista, none more infamously than Guttman's drivel.

            Vista was rock solid, bug free and a joy compared to XP, Linux and OS X for an incredibly large number of people, despite the organized campaign against it by Apple and it's ilk.

            Over 20% of the installed userbase is using it, if it was the disaster you claimed, this number would have been impossible to achieve.

            Edit: and before you jump to it, I'm not claiming it is perfect, no OS is or ever will be.
          • I didn't realize the DRM was removed with SP1.

            Not bad. I bet that sped things up a bit. Not enough for a 67 year old member of my church. She's had Vista since last fall and can't wait to get rid of it. Oh wait, she has. I set her up with PCLinuxOS last week. And another one bites the dust.

            You see it's really Linux that doesn't require any geek-like maintenance. It's Windows. Her computer was slowing down. Way down. Why? I don't know and I don't care. She keeps her Internet surfing mostly for church business and does not file share or install software much beyond what she gets from Microsoft. The Microsoft solution is to pay someone to "fix" Vista until she needs it again. The problem for her is not the money, it's the disruption in her work.
          • There's a lot you don't realize

            it's just great to hear ya admit it. ;-)

            It wasn't removed in SP1, it was never a problem to begin with. Guttman was wrong, before and after SP1.

    • Agreed

      Vendor locked crap os x will never go main stream. Windows will always dominate that's for sure :)
  • So Colorful

    And very mistaken. Vista itself is not bad; it was the way MS marketed and sold it that was. It amazes me how the tech journalists are tripping over themselves praising Windows 7 and at the same time villainizing Vista. Win7 is Vista. Just improved.
  • Hold that uninstall button on IE 8.

    Download Opera, Firefox, Chrome or Safari first...then hit that uninstall button.
  • One step in the right direction

    In the short term I think W7 will repair the damage done by VISTA. Since it now has backup in all versions, functional UI changes as opposed to eye candy and improvements across the board ... with all the attributes you list ... then it is fit to be out in public.

    However it is still operating along the curve of diminishing returns, having failed to solve the hard problems (some not entirely software): how to remove the IO bottleneck; exploitation of multicore CPUs, accurate sound interface ... and other innovations like surface and directional controllers e.g. WII.

    M$ is also just starting to get it together on the browser front, the cloud and RIA front ... indeed on all fronts where it is increasingly under attack from other leading global corporates.

    More steps - even breakthroughs - are required to remain at the top.