Vista mistakes Microsoft won't repeat with Windows 7

Vista mistakes Microsoft won't repeat with Windows 7

Summary: Microsoft learned some hard lessons with Windows Vista that it already is applying to Windows 7. So says Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management, who is chatting this week with press and bloggers about the state of Vista, just about a year after the company released the product to manufacturing.


Microsoft learned some hard lessons with Windows Vista that it already is applying to Windows 7.

Vista mistakes Microsoft won't repeat with Windows 7First and foremost: Keep Windows architectural changes to a minimum. And secondly, be more predictable (and believable) when it comes to delivery targets.

That's according to Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management, who is chatting this week with press and bloggers about the state of Vista, just about a year after the company released the product to manufacturing.

Nash isn't apologizing for Microsoft's decision to introduce User Account Control prompts, default to standard-user mode (instead of administrator) or move the graphics subsystem out of the kernel space -- all choices the company made in developing Vista. Nor does he think it was a mistake for Microsoft to delay the final RTM of Vista, resulting in the company missing last year's lucrative holiday retail season.

Nash said Microsoft had to make the under-the-cover changes it did, for security and performance reasons, to Windows Vista.

"I don't regret that we made a lot of changes to Vista," Nash said in an interview on November 14. "But I don't anticipate that level of architectural change in Windows 7."

Microsoft hasn't said explicitly what it plans to do to minimize disruptions from any internal changes it does make with Windows 7. But it has dropped some hints.

If the company does build Windows 7 on top of MinWin -- the stripped-down Windows core -- as it sounds as if it is planning to do, that will help reduce some problems Microsoft and its partners have encountered, in terms of Windows dependencies. There's been talk Microsoft plans to include a hypervisor as part of Windows 7, enabling users to run applications virtually to prevent incompatibilities. And there's always the mysterious "StrongBox" feature that allegedly is part of Windows 7. Perhaps StrongBox provides some kind of isolation from lower-level Windows changes?

In terms of delivery schedules, Microsoft has made a conscious move from being transparent to "translucent" with its future Windows release plans -- including its plans for service packs. It also has appointed as head of Windows engineering a guy who knows how to make the trains run on time. Microsoft's main message in its communications with press and bloggers this week is that they should take another look at Vista. The Softies acknowledge now that the product got off to a rough start, in terms of missing drivers, application compatibility and overall performance and reliability. But as a result of numerous Vista updates pushed out over Windows Update, as well as changes that ISVs and hardware makers have made to their products, Vista is now running a lot more smoothly and reliably than it did a year ago, Nash said.

"A lot of the first imressions that enterprise users were having with Vista were at home," Nash said. Initially, those experiences may not have been as solid as Microsoft and its users were hoping. "But now that experience is changing," Nash said.

Vista is past the initial pain-point phase and deserves a reevaluation -- even before Microsoft ships Service Pack 1 in the first quarter of 2008, Nash said.

Any Vista naysayers taken a recent look at the product? If Microsoft had released Vista as it runs today a year ago, would your opinion of the operating system be different?

 (7. Image by Claudecf. CC 2.0)

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Actually

    My opinion has gone through iterations. After I got over some of the initial FUD (I still hate WGA and not because I'm a pirate), then I used it a bit at work. It was OK, but I wasn't very happy partially because I was on a Novell network without proper support. Lately, I have been using it again, this time with Novell support and it's fine.

    Slow, but fine.
    • Microsoft won't repeat mistakes

      Good, so there'll no more BS, dumbing down of their "tyre fitting" followers, trying to kill anything that looks like competition, extortionate pricing, megalomania and FUD against Open Source.

      Don't believe it somehow.
  • Vista DOES NOT run DOS apps ....

    Vista does not run my DOS apps (at least in a usable fashion).

    Been there, done that, got the old XP re-install to prove it.
    • Vista DOES NOT run DOS apps ....

      Good...Thats the best reason to install it.

      Why would you want to run a DOS app anyway...

      You should have been activly decommisioning them for years by now!

      • Why?

        > "Why would you want to run a DOS app anyway..."

        Because I happen to own a DOS application that runs better/faster than any that have been developed for Window that's why.
        • Why?

          Gosh - Why run a dos/console app? Speed, reliability,
          speed. When I want to get work done over an enterprise,
          it's a dos/console app or death. Why do I want to see some
          wizard playing checkers instead of doing my job?

          Consoles rule - that's why *nix rules.
      • Agree completely

        DOS/CLI as far as post Win 2000 MS OS's go, has effectively had its day.

        The fact that the DOS interface is only a shadow of its former self only reinforces that it is now effectively *toothless*. The power that the cmd prompt once held is gone. It's obvious that MS are doing all they can to get away from the legacy architecture which in essence is their *design albatross*.

        Adios DOS.
        • Try Exceed -

          If you need to run a real cli.
      • Easy to say...but

        deommisioning DOS apps is easy to say. Sometimes it's harder to do.I know of a case where the DOS app has been approved by the customer, and they don't want to pay to change to a windows app that only duplicate what is already done. And I think they are right. Why spend money for no improvement. Time also enters into the equation. We are a one programmer shop. Replacing that app would eat up a couple of months of my time, which could be better spent elsewhere.
        • A question then.

          If you are running a critical DOS app on the machine, why in the world would you up grade it to a new version of Windows? I have clients running DOS 6,2 as a PLC front end and there is no way I would load the machine down with Windows.
          • A fair question

            That's a fair question. The answer is that there are apps that need to run on the same machine that either require an upgrade or at run better with an upgrade.
      • Need to get the work done!

        There is lots of configuration software still out there from major companies that will only run in dos. Industrial PLC configuration, radio configuration, and many, many other applications are the same.
        You would need to get rid of billions of dollars worth of equipment that uses dos or needs dos based configuration software.
        Plus dos works VERY well in embedded applications where you are working with limited resources.
        • I disagree.

          Ok, I do a lot of PLC work and I understand what you are saying. However I don't want to even try and run it on a Vista machine. I mean if it's a dedicated machine doing its job why would I want to change it to the latest version of Windows? That makes no sense.
  • They need to set a rule

    where legacy apps which use 10 year old technology get supported, and anything older than that does not.

    Of course there will be exceptions to that rule, since basic win32 apps are now more than 10 years old, but even that should be put on notice if they are to move forward. What they should do is offer legacy support on VM for a premium price (XP on VPC will do nicely), since they'd be turning away a fortune if they didn't, but new OSes should be kept clean of legacy support older than 10 years (plus or minus). I mean there's no need for the average user to be running 10+ year old software, and there's no need to punish the rest of us for a small percentage of users who insist on doing so. So offer them XP on VPC for a premium if they insist on running old software, and give them a choice as to whether they accept that solution or upgrade their software (and hardware too, there's no need to support serial and parallel ports or ISA slots on a widespread basis anymore).
    Michael Kelly
    • Legacy Suppport . . .

      Either that, or License DOS to a third party, who could set up a VM Out of Box program for those who NEED to run that 25 year old program . . .Just install it, and then install your ancient tech program, and it'll run.
    • Not that one!

      Of course, part of the problem is just how bad M$-DOS & Win16 actually [i]were[/i]....

      When doing preliminary development work, I usually run a flavor of BASIC under AmigaDOS using the WinUAE or E-UAE emulator' WinUAE is a bit more advanced, E-UAE, which runs under Linix, is usually faster.

      With the exception of a few programs developed in the original M$ BASIC for the Amiga, and a few hardware-hitting games, all of the programs from 1985 work fine--and if they do what I need, why should I have to upgrade them? But every time ther's a major u/g to Windows, I have to replace about 1/3 to 1/2 of my basic software, it's a pain. Often I have to find something new, as the original people have "left the building", and have to learn a whole ne workflow. Maybe why I'm finding myself doing more and more work in Linix these days....

      • I'm betting

        that most of that basic software you replaced were third party operating system utilities. A properly coded and packaged OS shouldn't need third party utilities IMHO. All the more reason for Windows to start fresh and get it right.
        Michael Kelly
        • Making It Fresh & Right From Jump Street

          "A properly coded and packaged OS shouldn't need third party utilities IMHO. All the more reason for Windows to start fresh and get it right."

          Amen Brother Michael...but after reading Mary Jo's article on MS's Vista mistakes to be avoided in Windows 7...I wonder whether or not we're gonna be doomed by MS to repeat the new OS torture drill all over again as usual?
      • So why upgrade?

        I understand the need for some backwards compatibility, but if you've got THAT many DOS apps, then why not have a dedicated DOS machine? I can't imagine there's a DOS app out there that wouldn't run great on any CPU that came out in the last 10 years (maybe 15).

        A CPU like that wouldn't require much power, so it's not going to cost much to run the extra machine.

        For that matter, you could always run virtualization software. even if Dos isn't supported, I'm pretty sure that Win9x is, and you could run most software in a win9x dos box.....and if it doesn't, I go back to running a dedicated Dos machine.
      • If it ain't broken, don't fix it - or replace it

        In agreement with pgf (who uses a non-MS version of Basic), if I want to develop a new idea, my fastest "idea to working program" language is Acorn (Cambridge UK) Basic running on an Acorn emulation which runs on a PC! And on the Acorn front, their BBC Micro computer which came out in 1982 or 1983 still beats the latest PCs when it comes to hardware - it had various interfaces to the real world built into the motherboard, such as input/output ports for control applications; on a modern PC you have to spend half the cost of the BBC Micro just for a plug in input/output card. Moreover the OS was in ROM. Just think of it:
        1) Negligible boot-up time (maybe 2 seconds)
        2) No possibility of upgrading via the internet - it has to be BUG-FREE WHEN SOLD!!!
        3) No virus can corrupt the OS
        4) Still bootable if the hard disk crashes
        I'd be prepared to wager that Microsoft daren't release a ROM-based operating system, spcifically for reason (2) above.
        It's a shame that Acorn stopped making desktop computers (in 1987, they produced the Archimedes, the fastest desktop PC in the world) but at least the heart of that computer, the ARM processor, lives on in mobile phones, satellite TV receivers, and miscellaneous other devices where high computing power combined with low electrical power consumption are required.