Windows 7... A quick review

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Windows 7... A quick review

Postby curriegrad2004 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:53 pm

Last week I finally got around my laziness on putting off installing Windows 7 RTM on my Toshiba over the perception of Vista 'just works fine' after SP2 was applied.

Now for people who decided to skip Vista and wait for Windows 7, you'll find there are some changes in 7 that are completely different from previous versions of Windows. The first change in Windows 7 is.... Where the hell is the taskbar with all of my Windows?!

Don't worry it's still there. In fact it's now completely redesigned. And when I mean completely re-designed it means that you'll only find icons on the taskbar, much like to Mac OS X. Apparaently Microsoft decided that they'd combine the quick launch with the start menu.

Windows 7 overall has improved greatly from Vista. Start up times are much faster due to Microsoft finally realizing that the majority of computers out there with Mutli-Core CPUs are dominating the market. Guess what they did with the code to make it start faster? They finally allow services and drivers to execute in parallel. However with shutdown times they didn't do much as they believed that services and drivers must unload serially. (Hope they change that in SP1 or SP2...)

Along with the speed improvements made in Windows 7, they've also revamped the graphics model. Looking at this blog post from one of M$'s engineers will explain on what they did with improving the graphics model in Windows 7:
http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/0 ... mance.aspx

(Short explanation for above blog post: Basically Microsoft decided to allow multiple applications to access the GPU at the same time to remove the performance bottleneck. The second change they did was making the programs share some memory in a common area to save memory to make Windows 7 look a lot lighter)

The next thing Microsoft 'improved' on is the compatibility of hardware drivers. To prevent the driver hell days of Vista, they now say you can use Vista drivers in Windows 7. Yup, they allow you to use Vista drivers in Windows 7, something that Server 2003 admins have been doing for a while when it comes to hardware that only have drivers for XP. XP Drivers on Server 2003. Besides, Vista's been on the market for almost 4 years so there should be enough time for hardware manufacturers to get off their lazy butts to properly code drivers for Vista.

The last cool feature I found that was somewhat interesting was booting Windows 7 from a VHD. Basically a VHD is the disk format for Virtualization that Microsoft's been using in Virtual PC, Server and Hyper-V for a while ever since they bought out Connectix 6 years ago. Now Windows 7 supports booting from a VHD natively, meaning you can install Windows 7 on a hard drive or on a 20GB VHD file. The feature of VHD Booting gives users a sandbox like system. One boot configuration for production, the other for testing suspected malware.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby Max » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:35 am

I like what I hear about performance, graphics and memory enchancements. Though I am sceptical these improvements required an entirely new OS. Especially if the Vista drivers are fully compatible with 7, this is an obvious sign that the internals of the two OSes are virtually identical, and this should have been another SP instead of a new version worth many hundreds of dollars.

1. Make crappy OS
2. Ensure everyone hates it, but is forced to buy it
3. Fix it up
4. Resell it as en entirely new OS
5. Double Profit!

Also, do you have pics of the new taskbar?
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby curriegrad2004 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:42 am

It's here
Image

Windows 7's kernel hasn't changed much from Windows Vista, except for a few changes here and there.

What really made Windows 7 faster was Microsoft finally realizing that they can start drivers and services in parallel instead of starting them serially. I'm not too sure if Linux does support parallel execution of drivers and daemons, but I think that could be done.

As far as for saying that Microsoft's selling the crappy OS to customers and making profit, I took my own revenge by getting free mice and yes, my new notebook has SLIC 2.1 inserted 8) Also for HP notebook owners, some of the newer models do have SLIC 2.1 inserted into the system and guess what Windows 7 now requires? SLIC 2.1 to activate. And SLIC 2.1 activates Windows Vista and 7 by the OEM and certificate method.

I've also taken my revenge by taking advantage of the flawed OEM activation system by 'upgrading' from Vista Home Premium to Ultimate at really no cost to me except the time taken to prepare the entire OS for imaging.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby spaceship9 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:04 am

Linux does support parallelization, 'tis how I got down to 9 second boot times :D
I tried 7 RTM ultimate, and quite frankly my response was 'wtf if I wanted OSX i'd use OSX' and 'wtf they're charging people for this?'. It really seemed like it should have just been a service pack.
I still see no benefit over XP for me, all my (very modern) hardware works 100% perfectly on XP :/ The main reason seems to be the lack of DX10 or w/e they're on now, which tbh doesn't bother me in the least, my favorite games are back from when XP was just coming out.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby Max » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:36 am

curriegrad2004 wrote:I took my own revenge by getting free mice and yes, my new notebook has SLIC 2.1 inserted 8) Also for HP notebook owners, some of the newer models do have SLIC 2.1 inserted into the system and guess what Windows 7 now requires? SLIC 2.1 to activate. And SLIC 2.1 activates Windows Vista and 7 by the OEM and certificate method.


What is this SLIC business?

Also, I just remembered that taskbar...reason I forgot is that the first thing I did when installing windows 7, was to disable as much crap as possible including all the fancy gfx stuff and get it back to the XP feel, in order to conserve memory. Not sure if I agree that it looks a lot like OSX (linux actually has a thing to imitate the OSX launcher thing down the bottom whatever it's all, I'm sure everyone here is familiar with that), I think the new design is somewhat confusing and bloated. I don't want massive icons to be on the bottom of my desktop, I want all the toolbars to use as little space as possible so that I have more space for icons, wallpaper, etc.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby spaceship9 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:34 am

Hm I never tried 7 sans crap... how much RAM does that use with all the fancy disabled?

And you're talking about AWN (Avant Window Navigator) :D it's an awesome clone of the OSX dock. The thing is, AWN is a 3rd party program, and is not part of most distros by default, and different distros give different UIs to play with. Windows 7 looks like osx because the manufacturer intended it to, linux looks like osx because the user made it so. Not to mention undoubtedly the linux osx clone parts use less resources :lol:
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby Max » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:37 am

Hehe indeed.

Windows 7 - crap is around the exact same memory footprint of Vista which is around 480MBs as I recall.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby curriegrad2004 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:50 pm

The SLIC business is like... this first five letters: FCKGW (If you can still remember that key... and there is a hidden meaning behind those first five letters. Guess what it is 8-) )

As far as for footprint, 7 only consumes 30 percent of 1.75GB at start up with all services running.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby nevermore » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:13 am

Starcraftmazter wrote:Hehe indeed.

Windows 7 - crap is around the exact same memory footprint of Vista which is around 480MBs as I recall.


480MB footprint of RAM? Holy krap! Thats more than seven times what my pc even has.
These new OS's are really getting big.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby Max » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:50 am

curriegrad2004 wrote:The SLIC business is like... this first five letters: FCKGW (If you can still remember that key... and there is a hidden meaning behind those first five letters. Guess what it is 8-) )


No idea, please do elaborate :D

nevermore wrote:480MB footprint of RAM? Holy krap! Thats more than seven times what my pc even has.
These new OS's are really getting big.


Sounds like you have an oddly old PC.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby spaceship9 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:25 am

holy krap I must say too
My XP setup is using marginally more at 555 MB of RAM, but it's running firefox, mirc, and basically all the other apps I normally run :shock:
And my linux setup... ~320 with compiz running for teh fancy purdy FX >_>
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby nevermore » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:15 am

Starcraftmazter wrote:Sounds like you have an oddly old PC.

Are you sure it isn't oldly odd? :lol:
If I remember right, I bought this thing around december of 1997, so it is a bit antiquated.
I'll upgrade when high-speed internet becomes available here. (or if this pc croaks).
otherwise, the major bottleneck in speed is still the crappy dialup. (24Kbaud = bleah)

spaceship9 wrote:holy krap I must say too
My XP setup is using marginally more at 555 MB of RAM, but it's running firefox, mirc, and basically all the other apps I normally run :shock:
And my linux setup... ~320 with compiz running for teh fancy purdy FX >_>

If I read it correctly, the footprint of my "DamnSmallLinux" setup is about 32Meg. :mrgreen:
(goes up to about 60 if I run firefox 2)
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby curriegrad2004 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:22 am

Elaborating on SLIC....

SLIC is a cryptographic code embedded in a PC's BIOS that allows specific software to be licensed on a specific PC. In theory, "Company X" can embed a SLIC table inside the BIOSes of the PCs they sell to mark that PC is authorized to run their OEM software. Microsoft has been using this to activate their installations of Vista for their OEM customers. The OEM generates a cryptographic public key and Microsoft signs that public key.

Now of course, having a SLIC table won't automatically tell Vista to activate by itself. It needs two things: One OEM:SLP Key generated by Microsoft and given to the OEM and another Certificate to authenticate the SLIC table signed by Microsoft. When those two are are present you get Vista or 7 activated without having to call up Microsoft, basically working in the similar way that it worked with VLK keys.

(Note: OEM:SLP and OEM keys are two different things. OEM keys require Microsoft's approval to activate, OEM:SLP keys does not require Microsoft's approval or knowing that the machine was activated given if there is a matching certificate for that SLIC table.)

What was flawed with Microsoft's SLIC system was that they didn't to lock the SLIC table to a specific edition of Windows. There is a reason behind this, but I don't think my explanation is a good one. (Maybe Microsoft didn't want to piss off OEMs by forcing them to use edition specific SLICs... If they did, that would give OEMs another reason to leave Microsoft.) When Microsoft didn't lock the SLIC table to a specific edition of Windows, this means anybody can find a valid Windows Vista Ultimate OEM:SLP key. They can now install Vista Ultimate without having to pay more even though they only paid for Vista Home Premium on their new computer.

However not too many people on my neighborhood know about this fact. Even if they did, they would not bother going through on upgrading their edition of Vista just to get additional features like Domain Membership, BitLocker and other cool features only present in Vista Ultimate. For my case, I bought a Toshiba L300 series notebook and guess what I did as soon as I found out that I can 'upgrade' my OS for little or no cost? Yup, I installed Vista using a OEM:SLP Ultimate key with my old Certificate. That resulted me into using Vista Ultimate for 5 months without actually paying for Ultimate. Now I'm using Windows 7 Ultimate in a similar manner, but with a pre-order on it which I won't get until October 22nd.

I hope this elaboration won't get me kicked out of these forums... ;)
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby Max » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:51 am

Not at all, old chap - and it was quite interesting.
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Re: Windows 7... A quick review

Postby client » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:49 pm

i prefer windows XP ,I have used it for three years :mrgreen:
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