Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Four Secret Reasons Why Win7 is Ten Times Better

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of Windows Vista. I really wanted to love it but even as a designated Microsoft MVP I couldn’t drink the kool-aid(1) nor did I promote Vista to family and friends.

So, what makes Windows 7 so much better that I’ve changed my tune? I’m still happy with Windows XP but I am encouraging folks to invest their money and time to upgrade to Win7. I’ve put together four reasons that may not be secret but you may not hear a lot about due to their technical nature.

MultiCore Processing
When Microsoft designed Vista they saw a future in 64 bit machines. It was a reasonable assumption but they were a little ahead of the times. While x64 CPU’s are gaining in popularity the technology of cheap multiple core processors still dominates the market. MultiCore processors give you the power of multiple CPU’s within a single chip. Windows 7 doubles the number of your CPU’s.


In any modern OS there is a system that schedules which programs or processes run when and at what priority. It’s like a traffic cop inside your computer. Vista was optimized to easily handle 64 bit operations. Its traffic cop was trained to expect a lot of big Cadillac's and SUV’s to be using the data road.

The Windows 7 traffic cop understands that multiple core CPUs are still popular so it’s still ready for the SUV’s but knows in between there will be a lot of Sport cars, Smart Cars and even Motorcycles on the data roads.

If you have a dual-core, quad-core CPU you will be thrilled with the increased performance. Using Hyper Threading technology from Intel, a virtual core is created for each physical core adding yet more multiprocessing computing power.

Solid State Drives
I’ve been preaching the future of Solid State Drives over many years. While the prices may still be out of the reach of many, they’re continuing to come down. SSD’s are so much quicker than traditional drives which have moving parts. They’re also so much more dependable. Windows 7 understands how data is stored on Solid State Drives and is optimized to handle their unique operation.

General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit
You may have noticed over the years the video cards inside your computer have grown in both size and power. As gaming and video popularity has grown computer manufactures have greatly increased graphical power. Modern video cards now have their own processors(GPU’s) and plenty of memory. Windows 7 can now take advantage of some of this processing power when it’s not being used for rendering graphics. If you have a powerful video card from NVidia or AMD(ATI) you’ll most likely benefit from this technical addition in Windows 7.

Network Startup Time
Quick startup may not be a secret but most folks don’t realize that Microsoft has put a priority on WiFi network discovery on startup. At least 2-3 times a week my wife Cindi would ask me if the network was down when she went to read the morning paper online. The problem was, Windows appeared to be all ready for use but it wasn’t. The cursor reverted from an hourglass to the arrow but Windows was still doing many background tasks including trying to find the default network. So while everything appeared to be ready for action, the internet was still a few minutes away from use. In most cases, you’ll notice Windows 7 will have you connected as quickly as you can load your browser.

Engineering Windows 7: Support and Q&A for Solid State Drives

Toms Hardware: Win7 Desktop Graphics Loves Multi-core CPUs

CNet: Intel, Microsoft Highlight Windows 7 Improvements

MVP Global Summit 2009

(1) Note: While I did make reference to the common expression about drinking the kool-aid it really bugs me when I hear this. Most people relate this expression to the Jonestown mass suicide when in fact the followers of Jim Jones drank grape cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent bit as always.
But still not persuaded to abandon Win XP for a new OS especially now (hard economic times) maybe in a couple of years.
Better wait and see, don't you think so?

Greetings from Greece

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your attempt to dumb down the explanation of Multicore and Hyperthreading left me (a 22 year software architect and developer) scratching my head wondering what you were trying to say.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Bill,

I have used Vista since it when out and I could say honestly that it is way more friendly to use then XP and 7 is way more better for handling all my multimedia file that I have stored on a windows home server built by me and it is a pearl of OS and hardware that did not break my bank also.

I am so happy that when the offer came in to upgrade at 50% of the regular price for an upgrade I did it right away for my 4 family PC with the Windows 7 pre-order, knowing it wasn't Ultimate but the Pro and that I would have to spend another some 12 to 15 dollars per PC to get the proper codec to pay DVD and other multimedia files.

I don't care about Apple too much and their publicity although I own an Itouch and iPod but there software is less reliable when it come to keep my 10 Gig of music in order and Media Center of windows 7 do it perfectly, granted I had duplication on both programme but guess what after clean up no more duplication but still have duplication remaining in iTunes of course in Apple forum it is the fault of Windows not them as usual they are just perfect and whatever they do is always perfect and simple and unbreakable like their advertising ;) , well I am not cool enough to be able to afford a Mac Pro, even less 4 of them and I don't want a all in one solution also like a Mac (close box that is lock tight), so for me it is my unperfected PC that is remain the best option for my wallet, at least I could do whatever I please to do once I decide to pop up the "hood". I prefer to spend on my other kids and wife needs i.e. iPod, iTouch or in my wife case a very good old model of the Palm Treo 650 unlock and free to go to any Telco provider if ever needed to be:), don't you love that freedom lol.

If I had a million dollars in bank I guess I would have both PC and Mac Pro also but as I am not and perfectly happy with my Windows 7 PC alias Vista before and alias XP before.

You get for what you pay or you accept to learn the inside out of your PC but I must admit with Windows 7 32 bits and 64 bits I am very impress and have more time to enjoy my PC then before and I did not get and blue of death yet, but as I said I learned that you must learn the PC if you don't want problems also.

Both Vista will give you good result and now with Windows 7 it just gets way better for many aspect of computing the list is so long that I won't put here but just let me tell you that if was a very pleasant surprise, altough I saw Vista SP2 and that ain't bad lol.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Zach and Me! said...

As nice as Windows looks and feels, it is still plagues with malware and hacker problems.

As long as Microsoft refuses to sandbox their operating system from the internet, it will still be a problem plagued operating system.

I am switching to a free version of Linux. At least those folks make and fix it out of pride and not greed. And I can use a run from CD version if I feel the need. Microsoft for some reason won't make such a OS for the general public to easily buy and use - I winder why ($$$)...

Microsoft makes money from other companies who desire free covert access to your computer. RIAA comes to mind, and some others.

If Microsoft took the money motive out of their OS's, then pirating would diminish considerably.
Prices should start from $20, $30, and no more than $40 for a total and absolutely complete OS.

What makes me mad is that I spent over $400 on XP pro, and well over $200 for Media Center Edition, just to have it last a few short years. I want what I buy to last as long as I want it to.

I will still dual boot when needed into XP, until Linux catches up with some of my hardware, which generally takes about 2 years or maybe 3.

Btw, most versions of Linux only need about 512Mb RAM and a 1.5 GHz CPU with no less than 8gb of hard drive space. More HD space if you want to store things (hint: STAY AWAY FROM RAPTOR DRIVES - I have had to replace mine every 2-3 years, all 5 of them, more than once each!).

Win7 needs what? 16gb ram and a massively fast GPU with a 4-drive RAID array to function at a decent level?

I don't play games or video editing on my computer, and neither does 99.99999% of the people I know.
We all use it for emails, surfing, still picture sharing, myspace (but not me), and sometimes POGO.

Linux excels EASILY in these areas, and won't make you take out a loan every 4-5 years or so to 'upgrade' to some other flashy problem laden insecure OS.

I am not bashing Microsoft, in fact I supported them. But enough is enough.

Time to pay the fiddler Microsoft.

LOWER YOUR PRICES or people will switch to something more reliable (Linux, Mac) that does not need very expensive hardware upgrades nor allows free access into your computer by unauthorized individuals or companies.

I could write an entire volume on this subject.

If you want Win7, then go for it, but be prepared to buy antispyware, antimalware, and firewall programs if you want good one's.

If you want Linux, which most of them are free and unencumbered, go to pclinuxos dot com (this one is very user friendly, appears like Windows, and is easy to use, all for FREE, with lifetime free updates and upgrades.)

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I switched from XP to Vista Home Premium (64) and have been happy with it. There are a lot of things that are easier to do in Vista. Unlike most people I have had some experience with Win7 Beta and RC, as well as knowing a few other people that have been playing with these O.S.'s for several months. Myself, I can't wait for the full release. I am back to just Vista at this time but will most likely be going to Win7 Ultimate. Last I heard I may actually be one of a few people that may get the full release for free. That makes it even better!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Michel ... when did this become a PC Vs. Mac Topic?

@Bill ... thanks for the insights.. I have happily been running all my PC's on XP & avoided Vista after an initial near disaster with one machine. We have been considering the update to 7 but until now.. there's been no real compelling reasons to try it.. I'll be adding it to my shopping list in the near future (for a test machine anyway) & we'll see if we get any performance gains out of it :)

8:57 PM  
Anonymous stuiar said...

Anonyomus with the hyper threading and multicore... It's easy - each of the cores in a quad core pc is built with hyper threading as part of the core architecture, so two threads can be processed per core at the same time. Thus effectively turning FOUR cores into EIGHT cores. XP and Vista were never able to use this feature as really they struggled with multicore processors. 7 has been designed with the ability built in to the core programming.

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though you may be right, I'm so frustrated with the cost and bloat as a lower middle class groundskeeper. Gates could charge half-price and still be the richest man in the world. Gaming? Sounds like fun, but I'm always behind the curve in min. requirements. Jeez, I could save some money not having to buy new peripherals if all the drivers worked. I want my old stuff to work, plan and simple, not another 2 years of buying new stuff. I've got linux on an old box, and am learning it.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with the other anonymous poster about your desciption of multicore processing and hyperthreading. Its so obtuse, I can only guess what your intended meaning was.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think maybe the author is a bit confused about how CPUs work. Any 32 bit "multi core" is only using Hyperthreading. The true multi-core CPUs are all 64 bit.

10:04 AM  
Blogger rrswamy said...

I brought Win vista Ultimate for my new quad core PC with 750gb HDD, 8gb DDR 2 ram, a nvidea video card with 1gb ram, but my system takes 5 minutes to boot up and allow me to work and takes a cool 8 minutes to boot down. When I approached Microsoft for paid help, they blamed everything in my system except their OS. They even made me replace my hard disk which had just one bad sector. After all this they told me my configuration was a rare one and they cannot support me. I would not touch MS's any product now for which I have to pay through my nose. I am contemplating of going to the court to stop their release of WIN7 in my country.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Derek in WPB said...

Thank you Bill, For an insightful and educational read. I have been a XP front row fan for nearly 9 years now. But, I can remember my feelings of moving to XP from 98 and from 3.11 to 98. Our computers have become exactly what was envisioned in those early day... they are "Personal" in every way. Because we have this connection with our computers we are also just as reluctant to part with them as we would be some close neighbors when we decide to move to a new home and location. Its tough to give up what we are comfortable with. XP,I found, was as friendly as they come... I used the system for years and still keep it handy in a back up lap top. But I just moved up and bought a new computer with Vista loaded on it. It also came with a Upgrade to win 7 when it becomes available so my stop on Vista will be a short one. I hope that it will give me a bit of a leg up on win 7 instead of moving from XP directly to win 7... but have no clue if my plan will have any positive result.
I feel sorry for those who see hacking and other malicious actions as a result of Pricing. I do not think that is the case at all. Malicious attacks are the result of malicious people who desire only to "watch it all burn" (to steal a Batman phrase) and because of their actions, we are the ones who end up paying the price for the need for higher security and ridiculous memory hogs for Virus Protection. I would not need half the physical Memory on my machines if it were not for all of the virus protection needed to keep the rest of my system running safely. If it were not for those people... you know the ones? The jobless, clueless, girl-friendless Moms underwear sniffing pimple faced Jerk-offs living in the basement and writing trash to keep people miserable. All the cost and resources would be much less and we likely would have access to a great deal more information, recreation and graphics. Assigning blame to Windows because of what losers like I have described above have done is only another form of some people endless crusade to blame the rich and free pass the poor.
If you want to run Linux...OK... use Linux... But don't think that makes you unique, well I suppose you are unique in that you are the only guy in the room who cannot run common software. Try to run Programs like Pro Tools, Sound Forge, Acid, Magix Audio cleaning lab, Photo-shop, illustrator or Office 2007... or other major music production programs... Not a snowballs chance in hell. Linux is great for surfers and picture swappers but do not show up in a meeting room with a Linux system and get asked to run a Power Point presentation. Otherwise you are going to be made a true fool of. People who want to run those free system and not pay for the best "have at it" but do not think the rest of us look at you as revolutionary wonderment's... no... your just cheap and have no other purpose for your machine other then writing e-mails to mom. Want a real OS??? Buy a PC or a MAC. Want to be a tight wad with a sloppy cheap ass computer... Run Linux... no one really cares what you do. But don't blame MS for the actions of the criminals.... blame the criminals.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been using XPx64 for several year now on Dell Pentium D4 - happily, now my next stage is to go Win7 (x64) Enterprise. Just for the thrill of it.

3:54 PM  
Blogger John S. said...

I have a 32-bit Vista OS in a computer running a Q6600 quad core processor. Intel lists this processor as not supporting hyperthreading.

My question is what benefit might I see from Windows 7?

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to know when Windows will support multiple user logins at the same time (without needing to buy the $500 Ultra Supreme Mega Business Plus Plus version). You have one user logged onto the console and that's it. Another user can't log into the machine from the network and start a virtual machine (e.g. VNC). Until you can easily do this on Windows then I think it is a waste of good compute power.

5:56 PM  
Blogger midnightwolf76 said...

So very many people benefit from the price tag of each OS that Microsoft develops. Mr. Gates has a committee that gives 20 million dollars to charity every single month.

People who still like Windows XP can still use Windows XP inside Windows 7 and use it directly from the Windows 7 Start Menu. With Windows XP Mode under Windows Virtual PC (both free products) you can enjoy all your old Windows XP programs without having to dual-boot.

I have tested Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 RC, I'm ramping up soon to install Windows 7 Professional RTM.

Windows 7 recognized all the hardware on both my Desktop and my Lenovo Laptop, I was ready for the interet before installing chipset drivers.

Windows 7 has had zero performance issues, on the other hand, I had to upgrade to Windows Vista from XP to get the hardware in my current desktop to work properly.

Windows XP came out in 2001, it has been decent up til now, but times have changed, Windows 7 is worth every penny to purchase now. I have also run OpenSuse, Fedora, Slackware, and Ubuntu Linux, but getting a simple game to run, requires and emulator and recompiling the kernel just to play.

Windows 7 uses DirectX 11, but most games now are barely using DirectX 10, the future will bring much more in the way of 3D graphics.

The biggest con everyone had with Windows Vista was the UAC, it's great if you like to approve every single action, but not so great is you "pre-approved" it in your mind.

With the UAC slider control in Windows 7 you can completely turn the UAC off, restart, and never have to worry about those pesky prompts.

All the Windows 7 packages come with Media Center, you can play DVDs without addon software, though some addon software has better audio and video effects. They also come with DVD Maker and DVD Burning, so you don't need to purchase addon software to burn backups.

In conclusion, there are so many reasons why to purchase Windows 7, whether by benefiting charitable organizations or using Windows XP, and being able to use the latest/greatest hardware. Not to mention that Windows 7 is Touch ready right out of the box.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

@Midnightwolf - are you kidding? Buy yet another Microsoft OS to benefit charitable organisations? Whatever you've been drinking, I'd stop if I were you. It's damaging your brain.

I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on MS' inefficient bloated OSes, and I'm about fed up with them.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just want to thanks to you and Microsoft for coming out with Vista simply because it has made me lot's of Money doing repair work on it. For the guy who says Vista is much frendly user then Windows XP must have never used XP before or if he did he is the only person on earth that thinks so. Also I am going to stick with XP for the simple reason of cost at this time. Like another guy said I'll go to Windows 7 in a couple to three years from now when truly afford to swith all my PCs over.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Bigmutt said...

So many of you think everyone has the same requirements and knowledge levels and preferences, etc. that YOU have; statements like "you must be the only person in the world who ....." always make me laugh, because often they ALSO apply to me and my colleagues. So we must be part of a very unique, select group of users, eh?
I suspect that these kinds of posts come from twenty-somethings, so I usually discount them as the foolishness of youth.
Spare me your pearls of wisdom until you're at least in your 30s or 40s, with some life's perpective under your belt.

Oh, and although it likely makes me the only one in the world who feels like this, I have used all the OSs mentioned for many, many years and I do like XP but prefer Vista once I got used to it's benefits, and now have been using Win7 extensively for six months and intend to upgrade over the next year. Used all of them on the 12 units I keep running for the company's ten computer users of varying skill & experience.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous M.G. Lazarus said...

I am running win7 and very happy with it. Will definitely buy it!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Good:I like the technical advances that windows 7 brings. I also like that I can uninstall all the bloat I'll never use out of the box, (no nLite!) sort of like 95/98 and unlike 2k and XP.

The Bad: I do not like the flash over function UI. This is a trend that has started since MS introduced the ugly "Luna" theme in XP. I think "Royale" is ok, at least it is pretty, but I like the classic theme the best. The bells and whistles don't get in my way. That's why I didn't like Vista because they buried common functions in folders and submenus. It is a shame they got rid the classic theme for 7.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't mind using vista 32 or 64. I completely understand business users not wanting to chance a move from XP (If it ain't broke, don't fix it). But, from a general computing standpoint, Vista is much easier to use and drivers issues are (in most instances) seemlessly taken care of. But vista required a significant investment in hardware, so XP remains very appealing. MS, though is bound to look toward the future. That is what Vista was-- a step. Win 7 took that step to the next level by streamlining the technologies it used. Now hardware upgrades are not as big an issue, and the old XP business machines are becoming obsolete right about now, anyway. So no Win 7 is ripe for the picking. As the tech need for businesses cycle Win 7 will indeed be a viable option. And network operability will significantly increase with win 7. BTW, the way MS is embracing IT guys and offering the RC1 and such so freely, I think the learning curve will be reduced by quite a lot. And I do grow tired of the argument against MS due to Malware and viruses. If linux or OSX were as widely used for sensative data, they would be exposed for the same vulnerabilities, no question. If crooks want what you have they will find a way to get it. Locks are for honset people, if you lock a door a crook will find a way to break the lock, period.
I went to 7 (64 bit) a couple of months ago and am Extremely happy with it. And I really like the interface. My productivity is measurably increased by the new desktop features (tasakbar, floating windows, stacking windows, switching b/n applications). Plus I built a home theater system with Win 7 and it screams! I have eliminated all of my video components and just have my Win 7 machine- Wonderful!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Derek in WPB: While I agree with you that pricing is not the cause of hacking and I see no problem with Microsoft making money off their OS (It is priced the way it is because that is what people are generally willing to pay for it), I must disagree with your statements about Linux usability. I have multiple computers running multiple OS's for many reasons but my day to day computer has run Linux for several years now because that is my personal preference. I use my Linux laptop for work and have never ran into the scenario you described. I run power point files seamlessly with open office, edit photos in GIMP, etc. Yes the same programs may not run in Windows & Linux, but many of the same capabilities are there. There isn't a single OS for everyone and nor should there be. There is nothing wrong with finding one that works for you and sticking with it no matter if it's open source, windows or mac. Personally I would like to see windows 7 step up to reclaim some of the swagger Microsoft has lost over the years. Competition leads to innovation.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using Win XP with satisfaction since SP1 was released. Our household has been running four XP home PCs and one Vista Home Premium 32 notebook. Recently, I decided to migrate the Athlon 64 XP Home 32 system I have been using to one of my children, who has reached the limits of the K6 XP Home system she has been using, and built a new Athlon II system to replace it. Since Vista OSes with coupons for free upgrade to Win 7 were available, I bought a Vista Home Premium 64 SP1 for the project rather than simply transfer another XP Home 32 from her old system. Installation was painless, and I was favorably impressed when the OS found our network printer and installed the driver for it without any need for me to do anything about it. Though I find navigation through Windows explorer more cumbersome than in XP, I have been surprised how much I have liked the OS, after all the negative comments I have read about it.

Thanks to all of you more knowledgeable folks for the discussion of multicores and hyperthreading. I have no experience with multicores prior to this build. If Win7 makes them even more beneficial than Vista 64, then that may be another reason to consider performing the actual Win 7 upgrade for the new build before Win7 SP1 is released.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! As a non-engineering, non-geek person, (plain-Jane user of applications) I thought the explainatin of Multicore/Hyperthreading provided a LITE OVERVIEW that those of us that have a very slight coursity of "what's next on the bleeding edge" needed. Just right! The difference between a water-color painting and a 14 pound biology manual explaining the beauty of a tree. Each has it's own place - neither are wrong. One may be right for you BUT don't blame the author because you are reading the wrong source.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill.

I made the jump from XP Pro to Win 7 Pro and love it.

I'm also using the beta of Office 2010 and am happy with that too.

7:33 PM  

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