Microsoft said on Wednesday that it plans to offer a new version of Windows 7 designed specifically for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) customers.
Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) will be released as a beta version on Microsoft’s Connect site according to the company. The first version is expected to be available by the end of March.
Windows Thin PC is a smaller footprint, locked down version of Windows 7 designed for virtualised environments to rebuild their existing PCs as thin clients. “PCs with WinTPC will not require the VDA license that regular thin clients will need to access VDI desktops,” wrote Windows Commercial business General Manager, Gavriella Schuster.
Microsoft is not planning to charge customers for Windows Thin PC. Instead, the company will offer it as part of Microsoft’s Software Assurance offerings for customers. Microsoft’s Software Assurance Licensing allows businesses large and small to spread licence costs over multiple years and receive “free” upgrades to newer versions during the licence period.
Today Bill Laing started off day two of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. Bill Laing was part of the team that worked on the Windows Server 2003 development as well as 2003 R2. He started off by stating that with Server 2003 , the server OS was released in 32bit and 64bit flavors. However with Server 2008 R2 it will be strictly supported on the 64bit platform and the Itanium. He also went into a little bit of detail of how the trends have helped shape the new landscape that has brought changes in Server 2008 and now R2. The increased adoption of Multi Core CPU’s , 64bit technology and a focus on power efficiency and virtualization.
A few other things Bill touched on were:
- Enable Data center automation
- Remote Management using Server Manager
- Active Directory Administrative center built on Powershell
- Refactored Server Core 2008 R2, to natively support Powershell
- Remote Server manager supported for Windows 7 and Server 2008
- Group Policy Enhancements
- Identical user experience from work or from internet
- Cost efficient support for Brach offices.
There was also a demonstration about the new role that is in Server 2008 R2 that includes Scanning into the Print Server role. This particular role would essentially allow a user to scan a document on a company scanning station and have it uploaded and displayed on a web portal or even in SharePoint services.
Improvements to the Branch Caching allows little to no bandwidth to be used if a document has been downloaded and cached it can be quickly accessed from other machines within the company without having to wait for the file or document to be downloaded again, a big plus for companies that do not have fast broadband connections.
Another big feature I see being used by corporations is the Direct Access function which allows seamless access to corporate resources regardless if you are within the domain or not. Securely being able to access important files will help many business users.
Data Security improvements have been stepped up through allowing Group Policy to manage bit locker encryption functions which will give IT admins better control over securing their data. Something that was not utilized in 2008.
This was not all that was talked about, there was also a demonstration about the improvements when coupled with SQL Server 2008, a demo load was run on 2 servers – 1 IBM server which housed 192 logical processes and half a terabyte (yes..half a terabyte ) of ram. Also another machine by HP that was run off of 256 Itanium cores to demonstrate the better use of multi core technology and scalability.
Brian Surace, a Senior Program Manager showed a brief demo of some of the improvements to Hyper V in Server 2008 R2. Better support for Linux is integrated now. And now generates a script so it can be integrated into large scale deployments through Powershell and Server Core.
Stay tuned for the 3rd and final day of coverage.
Today kicked off the WinHEC conference for engineers and developers to begin development for the new platforms and technologies from Microsoft.
As John Devann and Steven Sinofsky took center stage the focused on a lot of the new things they have been working on under the hood of Windows 7. Some of the major points that they focused on were improved boot times. Doing a direct comparison to Windows Vista, the Windows 7 machine booted into a ready to use desktop about 5-10 seconds faster than the Windows Vista machine. This is definitely promising since boot times have plagues Windows Vista users since well before the RTM was released but not really addressed.
Another point that drew attention was Windows 7’s ability to have better memory management and scaling. Devann demoed a stress application that would show how Windows 7 could continue to look the test and not run out of memory where it took only a couple seconds to break Vista and shift the UI to Aero Basic. This definitely looks promising because it will greatly help those who typically have a lot of applications open.
Devann also pointed out a Call to Action plan which includes the following:
- WinQual – Find the top Crashing item and Fix it quickly.
- WHDC –
a. Xperf – for performance
b. App Verifier and Driver verifier for improving reliability.
c. Check OS version correctly in installers.
- WVCC – Update your Support information for 64 bit.
- Run powercfg/energy in Windows 7
There was a brief mention that with dropping memory prices that the adoption for 64-bit technology is now at the tipping point and breaking the 25% mark. Most PC Manufacturers are now shipping with full 64bit support and operating systems.
In addition to the point’s listed earlier, Stephen and John also demoed the new functionality and ease of use that comes with Bluetooth 2.1 and how it seamlessly makes connecting your mobile devices easier than before. All part of the Device stage initiative which improves the recognition and ease of use for any peripheral.
Look here tomorrow for more coverage of WinHEC as Day 2 will focus on Windows Server 2008 R2.
Yep that’s Windows 7 alright ! As you can see the new taskbar is in place and also has complete transparency. Also the taskbar in the bottom right color has some subtle improvement and looks to be for the better. Looks like Microsoft is on the right track, so stay tuned for more.
Do you want to join the team that is bringing virtualization into the mainstream? In Windows 7, our team will be responsible for creating, mounting, performing I/O on, and dismounting VHDs (virtual hard disks) natively. Imagine being able to mount a VHD on any Windows machine, do some offline servicing and then boot from that same VHD. Or perhaps, taking an existing VHD you currently use within Virtual Server and boost performance by booting natively from it.
Do you want to have the opportunity to work on a great Core OS team at the heart of Windows? If you have big ideas and want to implement them, if you love writing code, if you love delving into operating system internals, if you want to work on high visibility projects with direct consumer and customer impact and still work in a very technical environment, then you will feel right at home in this team.
Virtualization technology has been a great success with Virtual Server and Hyper-V. With native OS support on the horizon it will become an even greater hit. Our team is making this a reality in Windows 7. Consider the simplicity of backup using a VHD, or the portability of a virtual disk backed by a single file. These are a few reasons why this technology is poised to be one of the greatest features in Windows 7–come help us achieve this goal.
From the looks of things, Windows 7′s features are beginning to look very promising and look to really make the next version of Windows stellar. With the recent talk about Windows 7′s , HomeGroup and better performance Windows 7 definately looks like the OS that Vista was destined to be. Look here as more information becomes available. With this recent development it looks as if VMware and other virtual desktop applications have some definate competition if Microsoft follows through with this. It will also open up new door ways that can change the entire windows experience for years.
So there’s nothing to show at this point but what we do know is…
The build is 6.1.6519.
The GUI is very much like Vista. I don’t know if once the right video card driver is in place whether there will be flashy stuffs to surprise me. The system is very responsive, using barely 480MB of memory after boot.
Gadgets are now integrated into explorer. You can right click on desktop and select “Add Gadget” or “Hide Gadget”. There is a new gadget called “Windows Media Center” that displays now playing information from the WMC. On the same menu, “Display” is added above “Personalization” which gives you direct access to display DPI settings. The page is much more polished than the one in Vista.
The start menu features a pin besides each item. Clicking on it toggles pinning/unpinning the item. Search in explorer is now states where you search within (usually being within the folder, as in Vista). You can now, however, adjust the size of the search box.
XAML fonts, called the “Composite Fonts” are now added to the font folder. Perhaps WPF will be much more prominent in this release. It’s disappointing that I don’t have Aero running, or otherwise there might be some interesting stuffs to see.
A new application is added, dubbed the “XPS Viewer”, no surprises, either.
Then finally, something interesting came up: the feedback tool. The feedback tool lists the “pillars” of Win 7. Highlight’s include ”network aware”, with improved connection tools and detections. It will have the ability to detect which network you’re in and switch your settings and devices accordingly; With Live account, you can carry your IE settings and favorites with you; Gadget data caching; New Calculator, Paint, and Wordpad using WPF; install to desktop in 10 minutes with only 1 reboot; instant streaming; better battery mileage, etc. All descriptions are scenario-based, so what will actually turn up is still yet to know.
Oh.. how could I miss this. A new boot screen does show up, finally!!!!! A full screen Vista-logon screen like boot screen with a beam scrolling across the whole screen near the bottom. Looks nice but reminds me of Win9x (well since XP we’ve been in the “dark”, so surprised to see such a bright boot screen)!
More than likely with this information getting out…someone in the OEM/Partners sector is going to drop the ball.
Thanks Long Zheng from for the post
A recent study by ZDnet UK showed that in 2007 alone, Windows Vista and XP had a combined 23 vulnerabilities reported throughout the year. However Mac OSX had 234 highly critical vulnerabilities reported. This means that in any given month alone, OSX has five times more vulnerabilities per month than both the Windows versions combined.
I can only imagine what apple is thinking about this now. But this only makes Windows Vista and XP shine even more in light of the recent backlash that Vista has been weathering for the last year since it RTMed.
Two Days ago Chris and I finished up some testing scenarios on luafv. LUA File Virtualization Driver is responsible for virtualizing file and registry writes in Vista when UAC is ENABLED. However the effects to the system can be horrible whenever UAC is disabled. When UAC is disabled, this process can not function properly and when booting up directly affects the boot process. Whenever UAC was enabled, boot times seemed to improve; understandable because the driver is able to load without any problem. Disabling UAC suddenly caused the boot up time to pick up 20-30 seconds on average. After going into the registry Chris and I found a key which corrisponded to the driver loading at start up.
Located at: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LUAFV
REG_DWORD “Startup” – The default is 2 but setting it to 4 disables it completely.
As you can see from the previous post, this has cut down boot times significantly in some cases. The suprising thing is this is across Vista RTM and the current beta build of Vista SP1 (6001.17042). Microsoft should patch this so that as someone disables UAC it also disables this driver from loading so that the user does not take a performance hit for disabling UAC.
Once again, I thank chris for allowing me to work with him on this and i am thankful we stumbled upon this issue so that it can be addressed to microsoft for a fix.
Today Chris Holmes approached me with some testing he was doing with UAC and a particular driver known as ‘luafv’. This driver luafv.sys is in the windows system 32 directory and loads whenever UAC is enabled. The truth is the vast majority of power users like myself and Chris do not care much for UAC which seems like a forced sandbox that we must reside in to protect ourselves from ourselves. After doing some testing with 3 secenario we found that the driver actually doesn’t stop trying to load even when UAC is disabled.
Take a look at the results:
UAC Enabled – 1 min 30 sec.
UAC Disabled w/ tweak – 1 min 12 sec.
System configuration: 2.4 Ghz Dual Core AMD Opteron 165 , 4 GB DDR500 , Geforce 8500GT, Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 RC1
UAC Enabled: 2 minutes 25 sec.
UAC Disabled w/ tweak: 1 minute 45 sec.
System Configuration: 1.6 Ghz Pentium Dual Core, 1 GB DDR2 533 , Intel Mobile Graphics 950. Windows Vista Home Premium RTM
UAC Enabled: 1 minute 38 sec.
UAC Disabled w/ Tweak: 1 min 04 sec.
System Configuration: XPS M1710, 2 GHZ Core2 T7200, 2 GB DDR2, 7950GTX
We want to put emphasis on the boot up times because this is a serious issue. A driver controling a microsoft feature, UAC, causes a latency issue. The driver is waiting to start but the feature is disabled and therefore is waiting the whole time which effect’s the boot time when this is not disabled in the registry. After applying this tweak in the registry we saw an average 75% better boot time. Something is seriously wrong with UAC! A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to figure this out and for allowing me to be apart of this testing scenario.
As most of you know I was a big advocate of Windows Vista. I was very active within the beta and i even colaborated with others within my circle of people to make sure important bugs got bumped up and recognized. It has now been a year since Windows Vista has been released. I have since updated my 7300GS to a 8500GT so i could get some better gaming performance out of my rig. Which is a tried and true Dual Core Opteron 165 @ 2.4Ghz. Because i have 4 gigs of DDR500 in my system the only real option i had was x64. Since converting to Vista Ultimate x64 and outfitting my rig with an X-Fi Fatality card and this new graphics card i have had nothing but problems. Heres what i have run into but not limited to:
- X-Fi nortorious Snap-Crackle-Pop
- User profile magically corrupts itself.
- Start menu Program list magically disappears.
- Graphics Properties shows an astonishing 512 MB plus an additional 1.5GB of my system ram being stolen by DirectX10.
(sidenote: I did a big professional right up about this to MS to which it got ignored)
- Applications load significantly slower under Vista
- Sidebar apps disappear.
- Suprise Suprise i cant share my printer on the network..infact Vista refuses to share it on the network.
- UAC nags the living daylights out me.. why do i need make sure i wanna delete a file two times?
- Networked Printer is practically unaccessable to any other machine on the net..and its because its connected to a vista machine
- Sharing a drive has never been so agonizing in my entire life..what happened to right click > share.
- Pagefile useage in Vista x64 – 2.2GB Pagefile useage in XP Pro x64 – 232 mb
- Since when did 4 gigs become not enough for an OS? …seriously..you cache my 2.9 GB of my memory thats leftfor what…Prefetch?!… no video steals it…
- Wife’s laptop refuses to shutdown…she hates Office 2007 and Vista. Needless to say..she’ll be getting a Mac next time.
On an end note , with all my trials i am just waiting for Vista to break itself one more time or waiting for the SCP issue with the Xfi to come back so it gives me a reason to wipe this machine and put Xp Professional x64 on it. I haven’t submitted but a few bugs for SP1 and they got closed so why bother reporting them if MS themselves don’t care to even acknowledge they exist. Oh and don’t think the corporate world is going to welcome vista warmly…You had it right with XP and 2003… improve on it not completely build a os on beta code. The only reason why i dont switch right now is cause A: i cant afford it, and B: XP and 2003 do what i want it to do…maybe i’ll do like the rest and throw the towel in on Vista. It’s pretty sad when some of your own people Microsoft don’t even understand vista anymore. You have lost base with your customers, your testers, and the community all together…
Oh and for the record..im writing this in Windows XP Professional SP2 x64 …in VMware.