Windows 7: Release Candidate 1

When we wrote our Windows Vista Performance Guide, we were left wondering about Microsoft’s ability to sell Vista to a community of users well entrenched with Windows XP

Among those that won't become switchers, Microsoft's own worst enemy is itself, as it needs to prove that Vista is a worthwhile upgrade to XP when XP is already so refined. For many users in the consumer space, Vista is simply a version of Windows where (to borrow a quote from Field of Dreams) "If you build it, they will come." These people will get Vista on their new computers and they'll like it because it is good, but having never had the chance to decide if they didn't want it.

Now two and a quarter years later we can see the outcome of that. It’s not favorable to Microsoft.

While Vista’s adoption has not been a failure, it hasn’t necessarily been a success story either. Microsoft’s own worst enemy was XP, and the users complacent with it have been in no big rush to upgrade. The primary vehicle for moving Vista has been new computers, and even that has taken a hit in the kneecaps with the sudden rise of netbooks, which fit poorly with an OS that was made for newer, faster computers.

Further complicating matters is that the quality of Vista wasn’t particularly stellar at launch. We’ve already covered this with our Vista SP1 article, so we won’t completely rehash this, but specific performance problems such as file copies (local and networked) and Vista’s hunger for virtual address space quickly made themselves evident. Netbooks drove this point home even harder –Vista doesn’t do so well with so little RAM.

Finally, Apple deserves a great deal of credit here for driving the stake into the public opinion of Vista. The extremely popular Get a Mac campaign took the dissent from above and managed to amplify it and sew it into the public at large. Apple made it popular to hate Vista, and Microsoft did too little too late on the marketing front to counter that. Never underestimate the power of marketing – many people can tell you they don’t like Vista, few can tell you why. That’s marketing.

Even though many of the technical problems were fixed before or at the launch of Vista SP1, by then it was too late. The public had become permanently dissatisfied with Vista. Regardless of the quality of the OS these days, the Vista name has become poisonous.

Of course as far as consumer sales are concerned, this hasn’t significantly dented Vista adoption. Vista’s still going out on virtually every new consumer-level computer shipped. People may be dissatisfied, but so far they’re not doing anything about it other than complaining. Business users on the other hand are acting, or rather are not acting. They’re not upgrading to Vista on existing computers, and on new computers they’re still installing XP. Vista’s not taking at the corporate level, and that’s Microsoft’s more immediate problem.

So here we are today with Windows 7 Release Candidate 1, Microsoft's grand attempt at taking Vista and building a more palatable operating system out of it. With Windows 7, Microsoft has ripped the Vista playbook to shreds and they are going an entirely different route. The goal: make Windows 7 successful before it even ships.

Windows 7: A New Marketing Approach
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  • nubie - Thursday, May 07, 2009 - link

    I have the W7 Beta, and it wouldn't install off of a SATA Optical Drive onto a PATA HDD.

    Weirdest problem I have ever seen, couldn't even see the Optical drive once 'windows' the (pre-installation environment) had loaded.

    I guess I needed to load RAID drivers? Seems annoying to let it boot the install without drivers, and then hang when attempting the install off media it just booted from.

    It isn't "Terrible", but it ain't quick neither. I hope it gets better, but it still doesn't have the lean and mean feel of a good fresh 2000 SP4 install, or even XP SP2/3. (dual core 2.4Ghz 2GB DDR2-800 8600GTS)

    Maybe I need an SSD?
    Reply
  • nowayout99 - Thursday, May 07, 2009 - link

    Random question from an XP user. ;)

    I mostly like RC1. I was able to customize the UI enough to be mostly satisfied with it, except for one setting.

    In XP, when you navigate the Start menu folders, the different folders cascade from left to right. Example: Start > Programs > System Tools > Backup. You know the drill.

    In RC1, each folder overlaps the previous, and you have to use forward/back buttons to backtrack. I find this annoying actually. I prefer XP's workflow. Is there a setting where I can make the folders function like XP?
    Reply
  • Morgifier - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the excellent article guys, covered practically everything I wanted to know about the RC before taking the plunge myself and formatting my hard drive for the install.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • heavyglow - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    "Multiple GDI applications can now issue commands to it at the same time, and this is all pushed off to the video card to be its problem."

    I'm pretty sure this means that alt-tabing from a game to desktop will be quicker. :)
    Reply
  • sample626 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    It's all good, but Windows XP x64 is not an XP. It is based on Win 2003 Server core and share's the same updates (so there is no Win XP x64 SP3)
    It doesn't reflect the real XP performance and it's not that good from compatibility view. The most common OS switch would probably be Win XP x32 -> Vista x32/64 ?-> Win7 646432/64
    Reply
  • JimmyJimmington - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Anyone know how to get hardware accelerated video decoding in windows 7. I've gone through a couple guides with no luck so far. Reply
  • brian26 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Seriously, fuck off with the apple loving bullshit. Mac os isnt competing against Microsoft, if they did they would have their asses handed to them by the mass public complaining nothing works. They build their os for a specific set of hardware.. thats like making a fucking Operating system for a console. Until they have the balls to step out and compete against Microsoft in the OS department and drop their over priced proprietary bullshit then they can fucking burn down for all I care. So stop putting them on the table like they even matter. Its been 5 minutes you better go fucking check to see if steve jobs is in the hospital again hadnt you bitch ? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    You're late - the people claiming Anandtech has a MS bias got in on the first few pages of comments. Reply
  • Lexington02 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    He is not late, he is claiming otherwise to the other people who think that Anandtech is MS loving while this dude is claiming to be Apple loving. I wonder, which is true... Apple lovers or Microsoft lovers... Reply
  • Lexington02 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    He is not late, he is claiming otherwise to the other people who think that Anandtech is MS loving while this dude is claiming to be Apple loving. I wonder, which is true... Apple lovers or Microsoft lovers... Reply

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