back to article Windows 95 to Windows 7: How Microsoft lost its vision

Much better than Vista, and the best Windows yet. That seems to be the consensus view on Windows 7, and after two and a half months with the final build, I more or less agree - despite the niggling voice that says behind the new taskbar it is not really so different from Windows Vista. Nevertheless, Windows 7 on its launch …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Neur0mancer

    Hmmm

    Interesting. If true.

  2. martin burns
    Coat

    Silverlight/Flash

    Silverlight has 'close competition' from Flash? I think a better description would be "Silverlight is trying very hard to be taken seriously as a credible competitor to Flash, without a great deal of success"

    Yeah, the one with the massive installed user base in the pocket, thanks.

  3. A Gould

    Would agree.

    Not sure what all the Win 7 hype is about really. Been using it for a week or so and so far I have experienced little different from Vista SP2.

    The differences are no more than a OS X upgrade which is...er £25.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Big Brother in a Box, Virtual Field Trialling.

    "The more interesting aspects of Windows 7, things like ..... the sensor and location API, are near-invisible for most users, awaiting the moment when more hardware and applications support them."

    Windows 7 ..... for a Clearer View of your Competitive Computer and Virtual Machinery Needs with Total Information Awareness Drip Feeds/Life Support.

    It is, however, always going to play Second Fiddle and Third Party Support to Virtuouso Operations in Cloud Configured Control of Intellectual Property Power Systems ....... which, they [Microsoft] might be able to Lead with HyperRadioProActive IT Assured Azure Developments .... with CyberIntelAIgent Research ProgramMING.

  5. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    FAIL

    Spaces in Long filenames

    I don´t think that MS did get long filenames right. They allow the use of a normal whitespace, and underneath Windows still uses that as a delimiter.

    I´ve come across several PCs that throw up errors such as "Cannot find C:\Program" because the name of a program contained the space in "Program Files" and windows gave up looking as soon as it saw the space, or links to files only containing the first part upto a space.

    Yes, I know about all the bad things you can put in filenames in Unix, but MS had the opportunity to do this right from the outset.

  6. MS Rocks

    What a stupid article....

    If I get in a car made in 1995 it does not look that much different to a car made in 2009. Sure, there are some improvements in the mechanical and aesthetic aspects of the car, but these are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

    It is the same with pretty much any established product. My stereo looks/works pretty similar to what it did in 1995. My home phone is a dead ringer for the 1995 model. The aircraft I fly on are the same. My TV is a similar deal, sure, it is now thinner, but it does the same job.

    Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI. The standard has been refined over time – but one would expect evolution rather than revolution. As this is what we have got.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So in summary....

    You took two pages to say Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 was a big jump but Windows 95 to Windows 7, even though it is a lot more stable, a lot more secure and runs things 3.1/95 could never dream of running, isn't anything that special? oooook then......

  8. Robert von Knobloch
    Troll

    Must be exceptional software

    If it delivers 'faster hardware' !

    Is a motherboard included in the shrink-wrap then?

    I assume that if UAC is no longer there then Microschrott have give up completely on any idea of security.

    Well that's another reason not to go there.

  9. CurtisB
    Boffin

    Don't forget NT....

    Don't forget NT came out in the same period (3.1, 3.51 and then 4.0). This provides the evolutionary basis for Win7 technology. Under the hood this was a big improvement over the Windows Elastoplast stuck on top of DOS provided by Windows up to the pain of Millenium Edition.

    Regardless of opinions, NTFS, the bootloader and the driver/services model spring from the NT side. Only the gloss comes from the not-so-bright siblings (such as DirectX).

  10. sandman
    Thumb Up

    Interesting article

    A nice snapshot about how we got from there to here with Windows. I particularly liked the phrase "sensible utility" to describe Windows 7. I think that's what most of us want from an OS, something that just works, with a tiny touch of pixie dust to make using it, if not a pleasure, then at least not too painful.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vision? Rather myopic.

    Again it's vista vista vista, when the only comparison halfway interesting is 7 to XP. Also: Faster hardware, ie ``upgraded requirements'', are not a plus at all, rather the reverse. Unless, of course, you're astroturfing for the industry, or perhaps ``for the economy''. Oh poor economy.

    Waxing lyrically about ``3.1 to 95'' conveniently forgets that 3.1 really was the first ``windows'' that approaches a ``windowing system'', and if you compare that to its contemporaries, including on the same platform, or even, dare I say it, various 8bit microprocessor based platforms(!), then it was a race to get back into the game. Everything was already there, elsewhere, often on (much) lesser hardware.

    Eyecandy is good and well, but new technology is not redmonds game. Even its multitouch table thing I had seen well before done by a few geeks in a basement, in multiple variants. Not that you aren't in distinguished company for not knowing. I recently threw aside a book from MIT press purporting to talk about new desktop paradigms but the editors seemed completely unaware from the innovation that had enabled windows 95 to copy the ideas, often occurred decades before. They're far from alone in copying, though their xerox seems a bit poor.

    The thing that keeps redmond going isn't new technology, it's marketeering, network effect, and the general lack of clue in its customers. Its marketeering is getting threadbare, the network effect is diminishing, and there is now an ever growing body of clue standing up. One thing you have spot-on, though, is that the redmond crowd, commercials and fanbois alike, tend to forget pesky little details like the rest of the world, but for a supposedly critical general IT rag, no historical perspective and no overview is a bit of a disappointment.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Don't forget the living room

    "the world is moving on, to mobile in one direction, and to the cloud in the other"

    You forgot about the third new front, which is living room computing - and Microsoft is doing really quite well there, certainly much better than Sony/Apple, with 15.7m Xboxes installed in the US...

  13. lightweight

    Silverlight cross-platform?

    Why do people say that Silverlight is cross-platform?

    As far as I know, it only works on Microsoft platforms. Are people talking about the open source "moonlight" effort? The one that'll always be behind the curve because Microsoft will continually change the APIs around to stymie compatibility and anything that remotely smells like competition. Of course, moonlight seems to be getting minimal developer love because smart developers know that Microsoft is holding a patent axe over their heads. You'd be a fool to contribute.

    Let Microsoft have Silverlight. It's not actually necessary for anything you can't do better in other ways.

    Dave

  14. John 62

    sensible utility ftw

    I'm sure the 90% of computer users running Windows will prefer to let Be and Amiga and the rest do the visionary stuff while they get things done.

  15. Geoff Mackenzie

    Windows 95

    didn't have pre-emptive multitasking if I remember correctly. I could be wrong, but I always thought that was the underlying cause of the comical instability of 95, 98 and ME.

  16. Chris Collins

    Cloud cuckoo

    Cloud computing is never going to be useful for a home pc environment and your mobile phone will always be shit for playing Quake.

  17. Rob Farnell

    A conservative move?

    I can't help thinking that it was in the main interest of Microsoft to demonstrate that an OS's consistency and reliability are more important than innovation, especially after the headaches of Vista. Once that trust has come back, which I think it will with Windows 7, then they have breathing space to work on something more experimental without being dogged by the reliability brigade.

    I'd love Microsoft to go down the path of Linux (although Hell may freeze over) and have a bleeding edge distribution to experiment with. I'm not talking about stable betas here, but pre-alpha stuff that should never get near granny smith.

  18. A. Lewis
    Badgers

    Good article.

    I agree that windows hasn't done anything really world-shaking since W95. That brought a whole new way of computing, with so much you could do even in its comparatively primitive environment. Since then though we've had only minor increments. XP can really be seen as 95 with support for modern hardware.

    I personally won't be buying Windows 7 though. At least not yet. I just don't see the need. I use linux for general internet/document/photo/file work because I like the interface available through gnome and the speed and stability. I use Windows XP to play games, and while it doesn't see all of my RAM nor support DirectX10, I still find it quicker and more reliable than Vista. W7 may improve on both of those counts, but I'd lose the wider compatibility. Maybe when a game comes out that I want to play that needs W7 I'll upgrade.

    In response to one of the comments of the article: I like UAC in Vista. We use Vista at work (yikes) and UAC is a very good business tool. It allows us to lock down user rights much better than XP does. My own work PC has UAC turned on, and I am not a local admin. For everyday use it never bothers me. Apart from the initial setup period, how often do even administrators perform privileged tasks on their own PC? I guess it can be pretty annoying for a home user though, when you own the PC and it's an affront to that ownership to be pestered for authorisation so much. I think a better bet for Windows 7 would've been to retain UAC for a domain environment, but switch it off for workgroups.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @MS Rocks

    "Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI. "

    If by "create" you mean "gave up and just copied the established standard for GUIs as best as its third-rate programmers could manage", then I suppose so. But it's pushing the definition of "create" a rather long way.

    As ever, MS will succeed on the back of a combination what others have done and the resistance of users to move to something better but unfamiliar.

    Indeed, one of the tragedies of modern computing is just how much progress is thrown out the window in the name of "familiarity" and "compatibility" on all platforms. "Good enough" constantly strangles "Great" at birth.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    the world is moving on, to mobile in one direction, and to the cloud in the other

    Yes in business - In peoples homes where games are being played "Cloud" is not going to happen no matter what the companies want.

  22. Richard Porter

    New taskbar?

    Er, surely this is copied from RISC OS which had the iconbar from the outset in 1987 (yes 87, not 97) and later copied by Apple in OS X.

  23. David Gosnell

    Windows 7 advantage for happy Vista user

    My wife has Vista on her recent laptop, and is pretty happy with it - fast and stable on hardware genuinely designed to cope. Certainly better than she's ever had before. She has an upgrade offer for Windows 7, but is disinclined to use it. Anything in particular that might persuade her? The only thing I can really think of at the moment is that businesses have shunned Vista, and she would do well for various reasons to stick with what's widely commercially adopted - though for now that's surely XP, until Windows 7 gets run through the interminable company QA procedures...

  24. Dave Fox

    Win95->XP was the revolutionary step

    As CurtisB already alluded to, on the desktop side at least, it wasn't 3.1->95 that was revolutionary, as both were still shells on top of DOS. The real revolution was 95->XP, when the "Windows" desktop operating system changed from being DOS based to "NT" based. However, the real work for this had already been done in NT Workstation 4.0, so it deserves a nod too!

  25. DZ-Jay

    Re: sensible utility ftw

    @John 62:

    That's the mentality of people who have not tried an alternative. My dad once asked me why would he pay what he perceived to be more for an Apple computer when an HP or Dell offered "more gigabytes and rams" (his lay words) for a comparably lower price. My answer was, style and function and enjoyment. And this transcends computers.

    I told him, have you ever driven a Jaguar or a high-end BMW sports car? When you have a Toyota, you'll probably just drive to work, to the grocery store, perhaps go to the movies once in a while, but you use the car to go there and back, and it's just a vehicle; sensible utility, indeed. When you own a well designed, higher end car, you go for a drive--just for the pleasure of driving it. Of course, it is hard for the Toyota owner to imagine why would anybody drive a car for the pleasure of driving it, when the experience doesn't feel any special, and perhaps kind of clunky; and besides isn't the whole point of driving just to get to the other side?

    Of course, there are those who buy the expensive car for the mere fact that it is expensive, and they want to show off their purported status. But ignoring such bourgeois tendencies of some, most people who can afford them, buy their toys to play with them. They bring pleasure and enjoyment, they are fun.

    I just bought my father a new iMac last month, and spent a weekend showing him how to use it. He called me the other day and told me, "you know what? Last weekend, I went for a drive." I smiled.

    -dZ.

  26. Tim Anderson

    Preemptive multitasking

    @Geoff

    Yes, Win 95 had pre-emptive multitasking, for 32-bit apps:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/117567

    "In Windows 95, all 32-bit applications are scheduled preemptively. Preemptive multitasking allows Windows 95 to switch between 32-bit applications whether those applications are prepared to lose control of the CPU or not. No cooperation between the application and the operating system is required for 32-bit multitasking."

    Tim

  27. Si 1
    Gates Horns

    Been using Windows 7 for a few months now

    I installed the RC a few months back and my overwhelming feeling is that Windows 7 is Vista with a new Start bar. I think the author of the article should listen to that nagging voice in his head that says the OS is barely different from Vista.

    Win 7 is just a name change to get Windows away from the tarnished reputation of Vista. The reason Win 7 seems faster to everyone is because most people now have dual or quad core CPUs and 2GB+ of RAM. Back when Vista came out those were very high end specs, now they're the sort of thing you'd buy cheap in PC World. So Win7 isn't blazingly fast, it's just hardware has caught up to the bloat of it and Vista.

    The reason why so much hardware works on Windows 7 is because it uses drivers that already work on Vista, and 2 years on most hardware now has Vista drivers. Win7 can't be too different internally if Vista drivers work on it.

    I've no problem with people saying they like the OS, but back to reality it's just a repackaged Vista that seems so much better this time around because the hardware and software are ready and compatible.

    I think it's quite a clever marketing move by Microsoft to rescue the Windows brand in this way.

  28. Doug Glass
    Go

    In Summary

    If you like Win7 ... Great!

    If you dislike Win7 ... Great!

    If you feel the need to upgrade ... Great!

    If you don't feel the need to upgrade ... Great!

    The year's at the spring,

    And day's at the morn;

    Morning's at seven;

    The hill-side's dew-pearled;

    The lark's on the wing;

    The snail's on the thorn;

    God's in his Heaven -

    All's right with the world!

    Now don't we all feel better???

  29. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Clouds are much more an Executive Space and not only a Storage Place.

    "the world is moving on, to mobile in one direction, and to the cloud in the other ..... Yes in business - In peoples homes where games are being played "Cloud" is not going to happen no matter what the companies want." .....By Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 22nd October 2009 10:14 GMT.

    And methinks only certain exceptional and extreme and extremely sensitive businesses, which both offer and deliver future leading global services, will monopolise and monetise Cloud with CLever Cloud Controls/Virtually Remote Execution of Advanced Logistical Programs.

  30. Jim 10
    FAIL

    To DZ-Jau

    Hope you explained to your Father that he can only drive his shiney new mac mobile on 5% of the roads!

  31. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    Repackaged Vista

    On the outside it just looks like a repackaged Vista with a few cosmetic changes and some "new way to view photos," or whatever it was they said. Aero is still the ugliest thing ever to appear on a computer screen, Linus desktops included.

    Microsoft are just selling new layers of glitz on the same tired OS, using smoke and mirrors to disguise it as a new product. Nothing revolutionary since Win2000, IMO - and Win2000 remains their best OS.

  32. Pink Duck
    Thumb Down

    Progress

    Such as Notepad still flickering wildly on resize in Windows 7.

  33. Mal Franks
    WTF?

    Seems faster?

    Si: "The reason Win 7 seems faster to everyone is because most people now have dual or quad core CPUs and 2GB+ of RAM. "

    Bollocks.

    In my case I've moved from Vista on a quad core pc to.....Windows 7 on a quad core pc. No change of hardware whatsoever...and it definitely is faster.

  34. Bah Humbug

    The '95 picture looks like my 7 desktop

    I installed 7 a few weeks ago, in the hope that it would improve the wireless reliability on my laptop, which struggled to maintain a connection for > 15 minutes under Vista. So far, it's working well, and the wireless hasn't dropped once, so it seems to have been a worthwhile upgrade.

    Anyway, seeing the pictures of Windows 95 made me realise just how old-fashioned I am; one of the first things I do with a new install (after anti-virus, updates etc.), is make my desktop look as similar to the 95/98 experience as possible - Windows 7 can still get surprisingly close. I just find that version of the UI to work better for me - most people would probably disagree!

    Still think that 3.11 was the best version ever though...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I'm off!

    The only reason to use M$ products was because they were free to copy and would run on a generic cheap to assemble box. I have been using them since Dos 2 and only this year actually bought a licensed copy of XP, it came with a laptop downgraded from Vista.

    Now I don't care how shiny Win 7 is, if it has DRM embeded in it I will not use it.

    I would not buy a car that refused to break the speed limit, occasionally it might be necessary to save my life when pursued by jealous husbands , bailiffs etc.

    Anyway here is my pennys worth:

    Dos - usable but have you ever tried setting up multi language display/printing support?

    Win 3.1 - Ooh look, an analogue clock! - crap

    Win 95 - just crap

    Win 98 - unusable

    Win 98 SE - at last! Works fine if you give it 500MB of memory

    Win XP - very good after SP2 but prone to break when the registry gets cluttered

    Vista - just don't go there!

    Win 7 - goodbye M$, hello Mr. Penguin!

    It's now time for my medication, left hand pocket I think.....

  36. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Silverlight is cross-platform

    It's available for Windows and Macs. I don't have it installed on either platform locally, but it's available. Every time I go near a Microsoft website using a Windows or a Mac browser the site pops up a window begging me to please install Silverlight.

    The current Mac version of Silverlight, 3.04something, can be obtained here, if you don't want to go to Mickeysoft directly: <http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/26623/silverlight>. You'll notice that it is not highly thought of. Gee. A Mickeysoft imitation Flash bloated plug-in thingie that's disliked by Mac users. Who'd have thought that such a thing was possible?

  37. boltar Silver badge
    Flame

    So the OS team don't eat their own dog food? Who'd have thought.

    So .NET isn't used much inside the OS. Well knock me down with a blue screen. And there was me thinking .NET was a serious framework for serious coders , not a bloated laggy me-too marketing exercise aimed at Java and developers who couldn't handle C/C++.

  38. druck
    Thumb Down

    @ A. Lewis

    "I agree that windows hasn't done anything really world-shaking since W95. That brought a whole new way of computing, with so much you could do even in its comparatively primitive environment."

    That might have been work-shaking for sheltered and deprived Microsoft users, but there was no GUI concepts in Win95 that weren't in RISC OS (A British Operating system by Acorn) 6 years before, and done a lot better too.

  39. Chris Malme

    Windows 95 to Windows 7

    The subject line is a bit ironic, as a straightforward upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows 7 is one thing MS didn't make provision for.

  40. Mike Gravgaard
    Pint

    Window's 95 multitasking

    I'm sorry but Windows 95 was terrorable in so many ways - I came from the Amiga scene and I cringed at Windows '95. The Amiga did pre-emptive multitasking properly but Windows didn't, it has improved but Windows 95 was generally terrorable at it and what's more the Amiga did this on a 7MHz 68000 with only 256MB RAM (Amiga 1000) and was usable - I can remember Windows 95 on Pentium 166 with 16MB RAM which couldn't.

    Windows '95 generally was terrorable but alot better than Windows 3.11 but that's not saying alot. I know alot of computers which have been crushed by Microsoft and none of their software is anything to write home about - I don't understand why people even use it out of choice!

    Mike

  41. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @What a stupid article

    >"Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI."

    Utter tosh. Xerox Parcs created the industry standard WIMP environment. They also invented the mouse. Apple licenced this work when they created the Lisa and Mac, Microsoft didnt!

    I suggest you read this to get yourself up to speed on computer history:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_graphical_user_interface#Xerox_PARC

  42. copsewood
    Linux

    @AC Don't forget the living room

    The number of XBoxes is greatly outnumbered by the number of TVs and Satellite/Cable/Freeview boxes. Most of the latter and an increasing number of new TVs generally run Linux without the end user ever becoming aware of it until they want to start hacking their own property.

  43. Jax 1

    I need a title. This is a title, isn't it nice?

    The world isn't "moving on" it is standing still. This is sensationalist reporting. There are many applications of desktop machines, many. Almost all are still relevant. There are a huge number of things that I can't do on mobile now and to be frank there isn't a great deal of progress since I got my first smart device OVER 10 YEARS AGO.

    Mobile is going to have to wait so very, very long until it starts "replacing" desktops and thereby threaten the premise of making profit out of releasing solid operating systems.

  44. Dave 64 Silver badge

    @ Oliver Jones

    [WinXP] only consumes about 100MB of memory when idle

    100MB...now that seem slike a lot to me....

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Good vs. great

    "Good enough" constantly strangles "Great" at birth."

    Good. That's as it should be. "Great" is usually crap. I've yet to see any technology being touted as Great not suck in a major way because some idiot, be it a marketdroid or head-in-ass coder, has shown a blatant disregard for the real world and what the users out here need. I usually bypass anyting blessed as Great - iPhone etc. "It has probably won a design prize" is not praise. And that's exactly how I like my OS too. Because I don't make money or have fun working with the OS, it should be just barely good enough. Which is why I still long for the days of Win2K - it just worked, didn't get in my way, didn't try to be Great. Win7 can be Great all it wants to, I'm not going there unless at gunpoint.

  46. Brett Weaver

    Pre-emptive multitasking?

    If Windows really had a proper implementation of preemptive multitasking it would be fantastic. As someone who has used mainframes and mid range machines which have real operating systems - You have to gasp at the resources microsoft steal to do very little as far as an OS is concerned.

    Just imagine if Windows really had a supervisor - If it could manage I/O controllers.. It will never happen but still one can dream...

    Imagine if your mouse never stuttered, attaching additional USB devices did not slow or stop running processes, loading a DVD happened without disrupting a business program. Wouldn't it be great if networking was assigned to a separate I/O processor managed by a supervising windows process. Evidence show Windows is decades away from this...

  47. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    hmmmmm

    Nice article

    In answer to the question of 'should I get windows 7?' my thoughts are this

    I bought this PC 4 weeks before vista came out.. mainly because I'd already heard how crap it was, and installed WinXp Sp2 which has served me faithfully with only the occasional bsod (about 1 every 6 months)

    Also I run Fedora 6 Linux for the main OS while Xp is reduced to being for games mostly and the occasional compatability test

    Can anyone give me a rational justification for spending lots of money on buying a new OS ?

    Because if they cant, then that money stays firmly in my wallet until I buy a new PC in about 2-3 yrs time

  48. ReadingTooMuchSciFi

    Preemptive multitasking and other things...

    @Tim Anderson

    I think MS have been rewriting history a bit. AFAIR 95/98 used cooperative mutil-tasking hence badly written apps had the ability to crash the whole machine. Whereas NT used preemptive multitasking and would kill off misbehaving apps. Thats why all the trading floors I worked on 97-01 used NT as their desktop OS. Losing your view of the market for 5-10 minutes because Excel crashed and took everything else with it wasn't an acceptable option.

    Mmmmmm. Just had a quick read around to refresh my memory and the issue may not be as simple as types of multi-tasking. However the experience stands. NT4 was way more reliable then 95/98 albeit with limited driver support. And as Oliver Jones posted earlier 2000 was the dogs danglies. NT4 stability with 95/98 plug'n'play and driver support. I just couldn't see the point of XP especially with the Fisher-Price interface.

    Windows 7 is looking good. I've been using Server 2008 for a few months so I'm getting used to the interface and I've been putting 7 on various hardware since my Action Pack disks turned up. So far I've been impressed especially when I put it on a 5 year old low-spec Dell with no Vista/7 drivers and it happily used the XP drivers. Stable and responsive - what more could you ask.

    P.

  49. zake

    Re: For a long time, I was, in fact, quite happy with Windows 2000

    "I only made the switch to XP because 2000 ended up unsupported, and there were a few very nasty viruses out there that could really ruin your day if you were running a Win2K box."

    Not so; win2k is under extended support until next year, and may even last longer since MS have a habit of extending these deadlines. Critical (and Important?) issues are still being fixed under the same schedule as XP fixes.

    "Win2K contained most of the advantages of XP, shared the same driver model and had stability in spades"

    Indeed.

    "there wasn't much of a compelling reason for me to go to XP - and I was a latecomer anyway - only switching from Win2K in 2003."

    Latecomer? I'm still on Win2K in 2009 and will remain on it until they prise the extended support from me

    Win2k, when used securely (with third-party firewall, anti-virus etc) remains MS's best OS in my opinion. XP offers little (nothing?) of use over win2k beyond what is already done better by third parties (Security software, Wireless LAN manager, CD burning), and removes useful features such as the three-pane view in Explorer, without which I remain in bewilderment about how anyone who uses their PC as a tool rather than a toy gets anything productive done at all.

  50. ed2020
    Stop

    Title goes here.

    "and what's more the Amiga did this on a 7MHz 68000 with only 256MB RAM (Amiga 1000) and was usable - I can remember Windows 95 on Pentium 166 with 16MB RAM which couldn't."

    256KB, not 256MB. :-)

  51. Richard Brown-Kenna

    @Mike Gravgaard

    i think you have been slightly unfair to the Amiga 100 here, if I recall correctly it originally came with 256Kb of memory, not 256Mb! Even the successor the Amiga 500 only shipped with 512Kb, I still remember the must have upgrade to 1Mb of memory. PS, I can't help but think of the Cleveland show when I'm mentally pronouncing your custom word: terrorable ;)

  52. Barry Lane 1
    FAIL

    @To DZ-Jau # By Jim 10

    If you don't know what you're talking about, don't talk at all.

    Go "Fail" yourself.

  53. Fred 24
    FAIL

    Shyte Hype

    Why would I spend my cash on another insecure mess that needs constant attention? My money will be spend on another HDD+graphics card+memory for my Ubuntu thanks!

  54. strum Silver badge

    Side effect

    One side effect of the Vista failure is that people like me have been weaned off the assumption that we need to upgrade hardware/OS/software, every couple of years or so.

    I imagine that a fair chunk of the industry has prospered on that assumption.

    But, today, my 'main' machine is six years old, as is the OS (XP - on WIndows Classic theme). Most of the apps are pretty old too. Yes, there are updates, but I've lost the compulsion to download the latest version of everything - when the version I have is working as well as I can expect (and I no longer expect a new version to be problem-free).

    I may well stick with XP, until it becomes positively dangerous. By that time, I may well feel more comfortable using one of the Linux distros, rather than some marketing exercise from Redmond.

  55. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    One thing still bugs me

    Why do you need the memory and CPU resources equal to or larger than a Cray Y-MP to run your desktop OS and write a letter?

    I used to do image processing on a 286 at 8 MHz with 640 kB of RAM. In the words of Niklaus Wirth:

    Software is becoming slower faster than hardware is becoming faster.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Re : MS Rocks

    "Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI."

    I thought that was down the original work done at PARC. I saw and used an Apple LISA way back in the days of yore that ran a perfectly usable WIMP environment. Then there was the Symbolics LISP machines running Genera. They was pretty useful too.

    I think that you'll find that MS came into the Windows GUI game very late in the day.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsucks has only one vision

    Microsucks only goal is to remove every bit of money from your pocket by selling you defective goods.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Re: What a stupid article...

    >>It is the same with pretty much any established product.

    No it isn't.

    >> My stereo looks/works pretty similar to what it did in 1995.

    Then take a look at what everyone else is doing. I have no "stereo" at all any more, my computer attached to a 5.1 system does the job instead. Other people have systems that are basically dumb speakers + a docking bay for an iPod. Things have moved on a lot.

    >>My home phone is a dead ringer for the 1995 model.

    We have DECT phones dotted throughout the house that synchronise phone books and can accept and send text messages. Even the handset is different, remember cordless handsets from the early 90s? Think bricks that your neighbour with the big aerials loved because he could listen to you chatting about your bunions to Aunt Mable.

    Would you still use a 1995 mobile? I mean, really...

    >> The aircraft I fly on are the same.

    Mostly true, except you can no longer smoke on them!

    >> My TV is a similar deal, sure, it is now thinner, but it does the same job.

    I don't remember having hundreds of free to air channels, some in HD, broadcast to flat screen HD TVs in the 90s? Do you?

    The point is, most, if not all things have moved on a lot since 1995. You may not think so, but even cars are radically different under the skin than they were 14 years ago, the electronics, safety and emissions systems are completely different.

    Windows OTOH, has had a few licks of paint and now supports 64 bit architecture. Whoopee. Fundamentally, since I started using Windows 3.0 back in 1991, nothing has really changed all that much in the user experience of a GUI. Sure there's some cute tools which can screw stuff up in the background (saves me the effort of doing it myself) and lots of add-ons for this and that as the fashions for new tools come and go, but it may as well be DOS with a second rate interface thrown on for all that has really changed. Indeed, I wonder how much of the code from those days is still lurking there...

    Truly I cannot see any advantage of leaving XP for now. I only intend to do so when there is an absolutely vital application on the latest Windows for which there is no XP alternative. I can't see that day coming for many years yet. Possibly, by then, the paradigm will have moved on so much that there will be no desktops with operating systems at all. Or at least not as we know them.

    I can't say the same of cars, mobile phones, consoles etc that have been out since 2001. None of the latest technology from that year is still appeals to me now, except for XP! :)

  59. Quxy
    Pint

    Re: I'm off!

    "The only reason to use M$ products was because they were free to copy and would run on a generic cheap to assemble box."

    Yes, I think that pretty well sums it up. Microsoft's big success was in bringing computing to "the masses" with a barely-adequate operating system and mediocre applications -- that ran on cheap hardware.

    Those of us who were spoiled by UNIX workstations always found Windows to be horribly unusable until XP. If not for the Unix wars and BillG being at the right place at the right time, Windows would never have been able to get off the ground.

  60. Noogie Brown

    Win 3.1

    Bring back 3.1 GUI !

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm worried that

    most of the changes made between Vista and 7 are geared towards making 7 feel faster out of the box and look nicer. I'm worried that these changes have been "tacked on" as last minute amendments, with no real thought as to how the computer is going to perform 3 months down the line, 6 months, 12 months etc. Almost all Windows OSs, excluding Vista, have been reasonably fleet out of the box, imho, but in every case give it 6 months and what you're left with is a huge mess.

    Every piece of hardware you use, every program you install, every network share you access, all seem to live on as ghosts inside your computer, slowing it down when Windows realises those things aren't there anymore.

    Then in Windows 7 you've got b0rked file permissions, b0rked interface ripped straight from an early beta of OSX that I can only assume haunts Steve Jobs' worst nightmares, b0rked rip off of the way Linux handles user accounts, b0rked control panel, b0rked messenger program (and so on)

    And yet it merely has to be "better than vista" and all those faults are forgiven. You'll completely forget about them, until, 6 months down the line, your computer will be completely broken as usual and Windows 8 will come along and you can all jump on that bandwagon.

  62. Psymon
    Flame

    UAC, the warning that your progamming sucks

    3.11 and 95. Brings back a great many memories. Most of which involved a large amount of swearing. Back in those days, I did a huge amount of graphics and multimedia work, including a large portion of 3D raytracing, which meant there was only one serious platform, the Amiga.

    My Amiga 4000 tower, with its 40Mhz Motorola 68060 wiped the floor with both the IBM compatibles and the Macs due to the ahead-of-their-time custom chipsets. I had a plethora of software for it, most of which was delivered full-fat, unrestricted and free on the monthly cover discs.

    You can imagine then my seething bitterness and hatred when Commodore died, and I needed the raw cpu horsepower of the Pentiums if I was going to progress with my raytracing.

    Windows 95 sucked Sweaty Dead Donkey Dick(tm) by comparrison. Printing was a risky enough business ("You didn't save before you hit 'Print'? You moron!") but being a seriously heavy duty user, I spent more time staring at blue screens than a BBC weatherman. Needless to say, my opinion of Wee Willy Gates and his Mickey Mouse OS was not exactly shining.

    12 years later, and how things have changed. I'm a sysadmin now, primarily developing enterprise management solutions, and boy, was this career choice a real eye opener.

    Cutting my teeth in schools that had experienced an explosive IT growth, remote application deployment is now the only viable method of keeping on top of things. For me, this meant a great deal of time re-packaging software into unattended MSI files, and it was here that I unearthed all the software industries dirty little secrets.

    Has anyone yet noticed that an application designed for Vista works perfectly under XP, but not the other way round? Obviously excluding those that utuilise Vista specific features, but surely it should be the complete opposite?

    The student machines had to be locked down tight as a drum. None of this woolly "freedom for the user" rubbish. The understaffed, underpaid technicians have enough on their plate with printer jams, password resets and broken keyboards without having to constantly clean systems of rogue apps designed to get around their content filtering software.

    And here is the rub. Any linux fanboi will tell you then when you are USING a computer, you should only be logged on as a USER, but you can't do that under XP. This isn't a failing of the OS itself, but the software developers who still haven't come to terms with the concept of basic user rights.

    The more I locked down the system, the more exceptions I discovered needed making. Not because it was hampering the user, but because the installed software was trying to do something it should have no right to do. I won't go into massive detail, but the most common mistake is assuming that it should have write access to its own program folder.

    If you want to write a self update utility, that utility should be installed as a windows service with specific permissions to your programs folder ONLY. This is just one example of thousands that I could list where software developers go about things the WRONG way. Whenever you see that UAC message in Vista while not actually installing something, the developer has made a mistake.

    These are not Vista specific issues. This is how it should have been done under XP in the first place. Unfortunately, it's been a vicious circle. Because of the poorly designed software ported from 95, users started running as admins, because everybody ran XP as admins, newcomers to software design assumed that was the way it was meant to be.

    When you run XP under a restricted account (which by all rights you should be able to do without adverse effects) 99% of security issues suddenly vanish, with individual applications neatly sandboxed away from each other. Don't forget, the vast majority of modern malware targets 3rd party apps, not the actual windows platform these days.

    This could be almost forgiven in small software houses, but Google, Mozilla and Adobe are some of the worst offenders. Adobe repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to their installers. Despite massive academic discounts, schools would only buy a handfull of photoshop copies, simply because there was no way to automate the install and registration until CS2, and even then you really need a software deployment system to do it properly. The schools simply couldn't afford the labour involved.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees the irony that the UAC was Microsofts attempt to bitch-slap the rest of the software industry into implementing correct security and usage methodologies which they should have done 8 years ago for XP.

    After 8 years of hair pulling over badly designed software, I'm certainly hoping that the warm(er) reception to win7 will act as a wake-up call to software developers who haven't really moved on since their days in C and VB6.

  63. Pirate Dave

    @zake

    Wow, I thought I was the last person alive who was still voluntarily running Win2k. I like it and I'll keep running it until this old box dies (not likely soon since it's an IBM xSeries server that got, um, "lost" from our server room a few years ago, and is STILL under maintenance contract ).

    There are too many UI tweaks in XP/2k3 that I just never cared for - the first to mind is always the way MS totally borked the luser.msc app in XP. Man, it's just SO much easier to handle local users in 2k than in XP. Then there's the braindeadness of the services.msc app (at least under Server 2k3) - who at MS thought that big empty column on the left was a good idea? It's fixable, but still a PITA. Oh, and then there's the evil shutdown tracker thingy in Server 2k3 - what a total waste of the 45 seconds it takes to remember how to disable it.

    The only thing that's ever made me pine for XP was the Netflix online viewing.

    I looked at Win7 back during the beta/RC days earlier this year. In some ways it _is_ better than Vista, but why oh WHY did MS have to nuke the old Win95-style Start menu? I hate that amorphous shape-shifting start menu that they've saddled it with. Oh, and the new ribbon interface in Notepad (or maybe it's MSPaint) is total shit. I guess some of us old farts just like things to be where they are supposed to be, not shifting around all the time depending on the whims of the guys in Redmond.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    My Problem With This Article

    The problem I have with this article is that it isn't really about Windows 7. Regarding most of the negative comments or concerns, you could say that about most current operating systems. Even my OS of choice Mac OS X still basically looks like Windows 95 or Finder 6.0 with windows and scroll bars and close boxes.

    I think you could go through this article, replace Windows 7 with any current OS and the comments would still be valid. That doesn't invalidate the concerns of things not evolving regarding OS appearances or user input, however, it does mean this article is much more general then about Windows 7.

  65. magnetik
    FAIL

    @ Jim 10

    "Hope you explained to your Father that he can only drive his shiney (sic) new mac mobile on 5% of the roads!"

    Yeah, just like a BMW can only drive on [whatever their market share is]% of roads right?

    Idiot !

  66. Def Silver badge
    Happy

    Re: For a long time, I was, in fact, quite happy with Windows 2000.

    I moved my trusty Windows 2000 box out from under my desk exactly two weeks ago. It's still up and running in the corner running various servers and the like. Up until then it was my main (read: only) development machine with Visual Studio 2003 installed. I've never had any virus on it, nor any problems at all. (The trick is to not allow system services access to the internet. Once you stop all that malarkey it's a pretty safe system.)

    My new (actually an aging PC I picked up from someone at work on the cheap) desktop machine? Windows 7. It's awesome. (And those who know me know I rarely praise anything.)

  67. Andy Cadley

    @ReadingTooMuchSciFi

    Win 95/98 had 32-bit preemptive multitasking. What they didn't have (and neither did the Amiga for that) was any kind of seperation between user and kernel mode. Thus badly written applications could quite happily trash kernel memory and bring the whole system to a screaming halt. That came to Windows in the NT line, which is why the migration from the 9x line to XP was hailed a such a breakthrough in stability.

  68. Dan999

    Windows 7 Experience

    I have used Windows 7 Beta for a few months and I would have to say that I like it. It is much faster and programs don't lag even when you running multiple programs at once. There are some neat features introduced into Windows 7 and the overall use is much easier and simpler. Microsoft took Windows 7 seriously and they needed to do that. I have written a detailed experience about my use of Windows 7 and I hope you can find it useful. Please comment and let me know

    http://ketiva.com/Computers_and_Internet/my_experience_with_windows_7_using_the_beta_version1.html

    It is still too early to determine what kind of problems might rise from Windows 7, but overall I think it will be a great operating system.

  69. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hype and Eye Candy

    It's oh so easy to diss 3.1 and 95 but they did the job asked of them at the time and still do for the most part. 95 was a major leap over 3.1 and 3.11 "Windows for Workgroups", but 98 was really an incremental change from 95, XP was the jump to add decent USB and Wi-Fi support. Somewhere in there was the joke that was "Me".

    All-in though, while we've seen ( only to be expected ) support added for new hardware and technology as it evolves, above all else, so-called progress has been eye-candy and anti-piracy protection, with the need for ridiculously powerful processors, huge memories and huge disks.

    I still use 98 on many machines because it's lean and does the job I need on hardware I've got. There really is no benefit for me in upgrading. When I want something 98 doesn't offer I use XP.

    I won't be attending what is really just a Vista Service Pack party.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @AC 13:25

    >>>> My stereo looks/works pretty similar to what it did in 1995.

    >>Then take a look at what everyone else is doing. I have no "stereo" at all any more, my computer >>attached to a 5.1 system does the job instead. Other people have systems that are basically dumb >>speakers + a docking bay for an iPod. Things have moved on a lot.

    Then you are obviously content with poor quality sound.

    That's fine for your average Joe but those of us who care about music can easily be identified by the kind of speakers and amplifiers we use and their positioning in the room. i.e. Good quality speakers + amp placed so as to give the best possible stereo soundstage. You know, because music is mastered in STEREO. Do humans have 5 ears? Yes! Ooops typo, I mean NO!

    In our PC analogy that means using a good quality unix-like OS. With Windows 7 being akin to your tacky 5.1 "surround" systems and iPod boom boxes.

    They work, yes. They're fun, yes. But are they made to a decent standard? Will they last very long? No.

    For the average Joe that is of course perfectly acceptable. Some people just demand a little more from their software.

  71. Tam Lin

    Is the author 14 or senile?

    The Windows 95 that amazed him so was actually a shell running atop Windows 3.11 (and a poor copy of then-existing 3rd party shells, to be precise), as any developer in those days will remember - I still have the disks. The identical process, in fact, to the jump from NT 4 to 2000.

    The bulk of non-eye candy developments took place within a version: 3.1 and 2000, with lesser amounts in 98 and XP after 2000's SP4. The slow, measured, semi-reliable, constant improvement cycle of XP was actually a good thing.

    Microsoft programmers aren't really as slow and incompetent they seem, they're mostly just off on projects trying to capture new markets with monopoly rents (and failing) - but that would be illegal, so Microsoft says they were all working on Vista SE.

  72. Andy Enderby 1
    FAIL

    you need a title

    So we have an OS that requires very significant hardware simply to do the job of an OS - ie to run programs and manipulate files and run that hardware....... Shouldn't it be the apps and whatever you're trying to acheive with them driving the hardware market, rather than the degree of OS bloat.

    "Windows 7, it's less shitty than Vista" is hardly a good marketing thrust. I'll adopt win 7 when I have no realistic alternative, ie when my copy of XP is no longer supporting my choice of apps and the hardware I select in order to run them.

    Oh yes, Moderatrix, with the departure of Gates from Redmond, could we have a sweaty Monkeyboy icon please.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much drivel...

    There's so much drivel written on this topic that it's tricky to know where to start with it all. Yes, Silverlight *is* cross platform. Yes, .NET is used a lot by Microsoft - lots of Visual Studio itself uses it for a start. LOL at the guy that's abandoning Windows because he can't pirate it - sure MS will be worried about losing you as a 'customer'. LOL at the guy who "assumes" that just because UAC has been changed, that MS have "give up completely on any idea of security", then spat out his dummy. Honestly, the anti-MS vitriol sure does prompt people to talk a lot of shit and make tits of themselves.

  74. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    @Si 1, and @Mike the fellow Amigan

    @Mike Gravgaard: I think you meant 256k, but we get the gist. I, too, enjoyed wild performance in almost all applications over Windows 95 machines at the time, until it came time to decode JPG pictures in IRC. Oh, my, how long fjpeg took to show me the supposed picture of the supposed girl on the other side! My 50Mhz 68060 with 144MB RAM and 1280x1024 SVGA video does much better, though I now salivate to the thought of the newly-unincumbered AmigaOS 4 running on a PPC MacMini -- please, Hyperion?!

    @Si 1: Utter and complete rubbish. In virtual environments, VirtualPC and VirtualBox, I have run Vista and 7 and found Vista to be painfully sluggish while 7 almost literally flies. The installation was over an hour for Vista and right around 40 minutes for 7. To ensure that what I was seeing was not simply better support for one over the other in the virtualization software I put both on the bare metal to find identical results in performance. 7 is more than just a polished turd in terms of performance. Although it does maintain the horrid Vista user interface and methodology, both of which I absolutely despise.

    Paris, more than just polished, possibly glazed.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amiga misses

    To all the Amiga fanboys: yes, you had preemtive multitasking. What you didn't have was memory protection. That's sort of like driving a sports car at 120 mph with bald tires and no seat belts. The Amiga had NOTHING like mainframe or UNIX functionality.

  76. Si 1
    FAIL

    @Mal Franks

    How polite of you. Yes, Windows 7 is very marginally faster that Vista but it's much slower than XP, which is was what I was running before I upgraded. The performance drop is quite clear.

    Do you believe if Windows 7 came out when Vista did it would have been a success story? It would still have been a dog in terms of performance, a hog in terms of memory and the software support would still have been pathetic. Modern hardware always hides Microsoft's increasing bloat. I still remember when XP first came out and ran like a dog compared to Windows 98!

  77. Jim 10
    Heart

    Apologies

    It appears I may have hit a nerve with those running minority operating systems.

  78. pjnola

    Definite improvement over Vista

    I've had the same computer since Vista came out. I ran Vista for a few months, down (up?)-graded to XP, and later installed the Win 7 release candidate (which I am still running). My sense is that Win 7 is basically "Vista done right". My experience running 7 has been quite good (whereas Vista was a dog on the same hardware). I would not hesitate to recommend 7 to friends/small business clients who are getting new computers. At the same time, XP is perfectly serviceable and Win 7 is nothing to go blow extra cash on.

  79. Nano nano

    Not only but also

    Lost in the mists of time is OS/2, which gave Windows a run for its money at the time (as well as the Taskbar) thereby demonstrating that a little competition can improve the end result, even if the other competitors fall by the wayside.

    Yes, I did run OS/2 Warp for a while and found it much better than Win 3.11.

  80. beast666
    Go

    Freetard

    I'm a freetard and double booted my pc with osx and win7... guess what? I don't go into win7 EVER! Osx is really quite nice... I never thought I would say as much, being a windows man, but there ya go... All freetards out there, spend a few hours getting osx to run on your pc... you'll be happy! And your gf will be very impressed!

  81. Bob Gender

    More Fonts = More slowness

    Does it still have the same 16 bit font setup (including the font viewer)?

  82. Peter Kay

    @music is played in stereo

    Aside, of course, from all the three channel classical music created off the master tapes from the 50s onwards and stuck onto SACD or DVD Audio (plus the small amount of genuine full surround works).

    I'll agree that MP3 isn't exactly a step forward, though, even if it is ideal for portable devices or in car entertainment.

  83. Charles 9 Silver badge

    @Geoff Mackenzie

    Actually, Win95 was the first Windows to have pre-emptive multitasking. All 32-bit Win9X programs and beyond used that model. What hobbled it was the legacy stuff it still had to lug around and could still potentially cripple the whole works. That's why Win2000 and up (which ditched the legacy stuff) became so much more stable.

  84. Shades
    FAIL

    @M S Rocks

    Clearly you're a halfwit, troll or an MS shill, but...

    "Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI."

    Wrong. Others created and developed, Microsoft (as they still do now) copied.

    IIRC, it was Zerox (Parc) that introduced the GUI (Alto, 1973), brought to the desktop by Apple (Lisa, 1983) and introduced to the home (and little oiks like me when I was a kid) by Commodore (Amiga A1000, 1985*). AFAIR Windows (in ANY of it flavours) has not introduced any new concepts to interacting with a personal computer that the three aforementioned machines didn't already have!

    In future, please don't feel compelled to comment on things you clearly have no idea about!

    * Yes, Windows 1.01 was released in 1985 too but it, by no means, could be considered to be a GUI we have been accustomed to (No window dragging/overlapping, no icons etc). Windows 2 which DID have those features was released in >1988<, three years after the Amiga.

  85. Charles 9 Silver badge

    @BristolBachelor

    The trouble was that you couldn't have the cake and eat it as well, so (ever since Win95, I may note), they provided a common-sense workaround--quote encapsulation. Since quotes themselves are not allowed in a path, you can use them to encapsulate a name with a space in it. Many more recent programs are a little smarter about the use of spaces and don't always need the quotes. It's usually when you need to send program parameters that the quotes come back into play

  86. Charles 9 Silver badge

    @Psymon

    You are not alone. I find the concept of User Access Control to be one of the more comforting things ever added to the Windows line. Linux is out for me since most of the software I use regularly doesn't come in a Linux flavor and is not WINE-friendly (not to mention I play games on this thing--games that don't make the compatibility lists). I've never minded even for a moment those times when I see the screen blink out and hear the double-beep of a UAC prompt--it's like the old "Are you sure?" prompts when you're about to format disks. Not only that, I know that if the prompt comes up without my expecting it, I can always call it off and then start searching my system for the culprit. To date, that hasn't happened.

  87. Keith Doyle
    Thumb Down

    Why upgrade?

    The problem is, progress isn't what's been needed so much since W95-- STABILITY is. But you have to get users to upgrade if you want to stay in business so there has to be at least some appearance of progress... Users don't upgrade without a reason-- and I have several friends still happily using W98SE. Their experience isn't much different than mine on XP, nor, apparently, yours on W7.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    DOS/W95 falacies

    Whilst I hate to put some of you supposed experts right on the whole win95 on DOS reality, as it does give me an easy way of knowing who to ignore. Please take the time to read an explanation

    http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2007/12/24/6849530.aspx

  89. h 6
    FAIL

    Reminds me of

    an old equation I learned in grad school:

    Windows 95 = Mac 89.

  90. Jim 59

    Micrsoft

    It's great that Windows 7 looks reasonably good. But quality is surely not the focus of Microsoft's OS business, which depends more on simply making sure every PC comes with Windows installed and factory-integrated. As long as that continues to happen, Windows will always dominate the desktop, regardless of quality. Cheap PC hardware will keep Apple in second place, and lack of integration will keep Linux at third.

  91. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Heart

    Came for the frothing fanboi hate . . .

    . . . leaving satisfied.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Revolutionary?

    Revolting is more like it.

    Yes, that's my coat with the big target on the back.

  93. Annihilator
    Boffin

    @Si

    Windows 7 DOES *feel* faster than Vista, regardless of hardware. The reason? They've upped the priority of the graphics engine, and trimmed down it's complexity. Previously, background tasks could fight for contention against the display, and the display would hold everything in memory TWICE.

    These days, Windows 7 doesn't actually benchmark any faster than Windows, but the UI will respond to make you think it's doing something. Copying a file is a simple example - Windows (Vista and 7) has some work to do first, calculate the time, check the paths, calculate the free space, allocate contiguous blocks if possible etc etc. Under Vista, this could happen first, before the "copying file" interface popped up. Now, Win 7 prioritises the UI updates first, so it gives the impression of being faster (you see the progress instantly). However the underlying copy doesn't happen any quicker.

    Lame example maybe, but one of the key ways in which MS have sped up the Windows experience.

  94. Evil Graham
    Flame

    @DZ-Jay

    "Of course, it is hard for the Toyota owner to imagine why would anybody drive a car for the pleasure of driving it"

    What a complete pile of sanctimonious shite.

  95. Gil Grissum
    Grenade

    Win7? Not yet for me

    I just got MS Office running under Wine yesterday while running Ubuntu 9 on my dual booting laptop. If I can get other software to run under wine in Ubuntu, I won't need Windows for anything but gaming, and I do that on my Vista desktop, which will NOT be upgraded to Windows 7 at least until there is a Service pack 1. Won't be "beta testing" Windows 7 for Microsoft or filling their pockets with my hard earned money. As a matter of fact, after setting up my mom's new Vista computer (that gets a free Windows 7 upgrade with only shipping paid for), I get her XP Laptop, which I'm installing a new hard drive on and dual booting XP and Ubuntu. YEE HAAA!!!

  96. Aaron 10
    Grenade

    @ Jim 10

    With that logic, Windows sucks because Mac can run Windows applications AND Mac applications.

    Personally, I find the smaller number of freeware/shareware Mac applications a boon rather than a bust. How many DVD ripping applications have I downloaded in the Windows world that don't work? A lot. There are thousands! How many did I download on the Mac? One -- and it worked perfectly, with only a handful to choose from.

    Don't get me wrong -- choice is great! That's why I choose Mac. I have an application that I use to convert my movies to PS3 format and it runs on Windows only. That, and my 5-year-old GPS are my only reasons to even have Windows on my Mac. Everything else is Mac-only.

    Oh, and I run two hackintoshes along with 3 real Macs at home.

  97. Charles Manning

    The OS aint done till WinFS is cut

    Never take a Microsoft plan seriously while it still has WinFS on it. For nearly 20 years WinFS has been trotted out during developer conferences etc but it has never shipped.

  98. David Cuthbert
    Coat

    ME UPGRADE?

    I SEE NO REASON TO UPGRADE FROM MY

    TRUSTY OLD C=64, UNLESS THIS NEW-

    FANGLED WINDOWS SUPPORTS 80 COLUMN

    MODE OR MAYBE THOSE NLQ DOT MATRIXES

    I SAW AT MONTGOMERY WARD THE OTHER

    DAY.

    MINE'S THE ONE WITH PETSCII CAPS IN

    THE POCKET.

  99. zonky
    Thumb Down

    Short Memories. Windows 7 = Mohave Experiment.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/mojave-experiment/

  100. unitron
    Coat

    @Andy Enderby 1

    "Oh yes, Moderatrix, with the departure of Gates from Redmond, could we have a sweaty Monkeyboy icon please."

    How about a nice flying chair?

    Mine's the one with the 800 page 3.1 user's manual in the pocket.

  101. chrisimpact
    Happy

    To all the complainers...

    I see all these big lists of quibbles with the final code and have to wonder, especially amongst those that have been using the various beta/rc versions, how many of you ever actually clicked the "report this" link tagged on to every single window and fed back your opinions then, when it mattered...?

    Much easier just to wait for the release and then give MS another bashing for not doing all those things it failed to read straight out of your mind eh.

    I got my RTM copy last week and think its great, anybody who doesn't rate it above XP/Vista clearly hasn't used the 3 OS enough.

  102. Grant Alexander

    How is it Windows 7?

    How did we get from Windows 3 to Windows 7? Windows 95=4, 98=5, 2000=6, XP=7, Vista=8. I have been merciful and left out ME.

    When one considers all the businesses that rely on MS... One wonders about the numeracy of the Marketers.

    I'll stick to an operating system that has gone sequentially from 1 to 11.

  103. Shades
    Stop

    @AC; RE: Amiga Misses...

    "To all the Amiga fanboys: yes, you had preemtive multitasking. What you didn't have was memory protection. That's sort of like driving a sports car at 120 mph with bald tires and no seat belts. The Amiga had NOTHING like mainframe or UNIX functionality."

    Even though (some) Amigas had the hardware to provide memory protection (full 68030, '040 and '060 all had MMUs) it was never implemented in any version of AmigaOS. However, with a boot time of seconds (even from floppy) and a lack of applications where memory protection could be considered absolutely necessary, a crash was hardly the most earth shattering event.

    The lack of memory protection is hardly the most important failing of the Amiga... That honour lies squarely at the feet of Commodore during its later years!!

  104. Mark Jonson

    Where's the other half?

    I thought this article would be more retrospective, but it seems like you only wrote the first half of it. You need to fill in the chronological gap between 1995 and 2007.

  105. Alex 3

    Well it is faster

    I have a 3.2Ghz Pentium 4 PC that is FIVE YEARS OLD running XP.

    I wiped and started again, now I've been running Windows 7 with the same applications and same PC for 2 days.

    MUCH FASTER!!

    Yes I said OLD hardware. Only major difference is that I'm running 64 bit Windows 7 rather than 32 bit XP, my PC's motherboard was once of the first to support 64 bit.

  106. James 85

    Windows 95 and OS/2 Presentation Manager

    The Windows 95 interface was based on OS/2. IBM contracted Microsoft to develop OS/2 Presentation Manager, the GUI portion of OS/2 - it also had a CLI. This was in the days when Microsoft was small and IBM still had a relationship with them - primarily from the PC-DOS days. But the copyright on PM resided with Microsoft and not IBM - some piss poor contract drafting by IBM.

    The OS/2 PM code was reused to become Windows 95 and has been reused ever since.

  107. Bernie 2
    Headmaster

    @ Grant Alexander

    "How did we get from Windows 3 to Windows 7? Windows 95=4, 98=5, 2000=6, XP=7, Vista=8. I have been merciful and left out ME."

    Actually Windows 9x, 2000 and ME are all different versions of Windows 4.

    Windows 3

    Windows 4 (95 - 2000)

    Windows 5 (XP)

    Windows 6 (Vista)

    Windows 7

    At least that's how I understand it.

  108. Peter 51

    @ Grant Alexander

    NT 3.1

    NT 3.5

    NT 4.0

    Windows 2000 (NT 5.0)

    Windows XP (NT 5.1)

    Windows Vista (NT 6)

    Windows 7

    Windows 7 follows the NT OS version number, of which 3.1, 3.11 for workgroups, 95, 98 and ME were never a part of.

  109. Ramazan
    Grenade

    revolutionary windoze

    the only one going to Vegas round here is me, oops, the only revolutionary one was NT3.1, designed by Dave Cutler. Win1.x/2.x/3.x/95/98/ME were just not-too-bad DOS extenders, while 3.5, 3.51, Win2k, XP, 2k3s, Vista & 7 came not too far from their great ancestor.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS innovations?

    "Win 3.1/95 created the industry standard for how people would interact with a personal computer via a GUI. "

    No it didn't. It's a ripoff from Apple who ripped theirs from Xerox. MS has never created anything significant unless you count ruthless and criminal methods for building and ensuring monopoly and it can be said that even that is ripped from IBM, leaving absolutely zero real innovations.

    Even this "next version" is a Apple-ripoff.

    MS expenses: 30% advertising, 30% "legal fees" ,20% "public relations", a fancy name for bribery and 10% product development. It doesn't leave much room for innovation, does it? But o boy, it sells like a hotcake.

    ( "Manufacturing" actual products is so insignificant part of expenses it doesn't show at all in this scale.)

  111. Tuomas Hosia

    Innovation, where?

    "I can't help thinking that it was in the main interest of Microsoft to demonstrate that an OS's consistency and reliability are more important than innovation, especially after the headaches of Vista."

    Well, no: They hadn't any choice but sell yet another repackaged version of NT. Vista was and is a nightmare, so you sell yet another vesion of XP with DRM-kernel from Vista. That's Windows 8: Old pieces, new version. Not really innovation, but repackaging. An art by itself, I'll admit.

    If you rip off unnecessary cruft and eye candy (=classic look), what is the fundamental difference between 7 and NT, besides DRM and some drivers (easy to write to any OS) ? Yet another version of ActiveX?

    I'd say there aren't any, except 64-bit version. But even NT had it (not on intel-platform, but that's another story).

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some facts about 7

    "I got my RTM copy last week and think its great, anybody who doesn't rate it above XP/Vista clearly hasn't used the 3 OS enough."

    Using it doesn't change some basic facts which make it inferior to XP:

    1) DRM

    2) Non-existing drivers

    3) Huge footprint on disk and on memory, much larger than XP.

    No matter how much you use it, these won't change. Now or ever.

  113. Ramazan
    WTF?

    NT7.x

    There's no such thing as NT7.x (yet). According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT, Windows 7 is actually NT6.1

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    GUI is what most people look at

    I have my linux box configured to switch between GUI that looks like win xp, Apple and now Win 7. I can switch to any of those whenever some of my tech challenged friends want to use the computer. They usually can't make out the difference but do compliment me about how fast my old computer runs compared to their latest ones.

  115. A. Lewis

    @druck

    Yes, Windows 95 was revolutionary. An Operating System is a lot more than just a GUI. Wherever they stole the GUI ideas from, there was a lot more to Windows 95 that made it revolutionary.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    that's progress

    "The essentials of the Windows 95 user interface remain in Windows 7, fourteen years later. What Windows 95 does, Windows 7 does better and with greater reliability, but there is no revolution."

    Which is just one from a long list of reasons why I won't be buying it.

    I gave up on windows in about 1999 when I was formatting a disk and accidentally clicked outside the DOS window. When I came back an hour later, the formatting had stopped at the moment I had clicked outside the window. Pre-emptive multitasking was by then standard in every other OS and expecting a program to continue working when you've clicked on another window didn't seem like too much to ask.

    The "Start" menu is stupid as well. When I want to "Stop" my machine, I click on "Start"?!? WTF

    So, if it's just a more reliable version of the crud they've been shitting out at us for the last 25 years, why should we bother? Faster? Is it? How fast is Win3.1 on a modern machine?!?

    My prediction is that all these users saying "It's really much faster than the previous version" will be reinstalling in about 3 months... That's what usually happens ;)

  117. Daniel B.
    Thumb Down

    Real jump was Win9x to Win2k/XP

    As pointed out by others, this was when the DOS-based "OS" was dropped. The Win9x and pre-win95 "Windows" were nothing more than a glorified DOS-Shell with eye-candy; in fact the Windows 3.x line shared the basic DOSShell Program Manager concept. (The DOSShell menus were basically the same as the Program Manager.) The gigantic Win95 "jump" was basically MS copying Mac System 7's look & feel, much like Vista was copying Mac OS X's look & feel. My, things never change!

    However, when XP was touted as the "replacement" for Win98 (WinME is something everyone, even MS, tries to forget it even existed), the desktop users were actually upgraded to a real technological jump. Of course, I say desktop users, because come corporate users were already using NT Workstation 4, which is basically the same as win2k sans Active Directory.

    I think that it is really hard to do anything else to the current GUI as it stands without big hardware improvements; the only revolutionary concept I've seen is the Compiz/Beryl "3d desktop" or similar stuff around that concept. And they're still based on the basic windowed desktop! I'd rather see improvements on the backend-side of the OS... but I think Windows has also found itself on a dead-end there.

  118. Watashi

    Cloud dispersal

    Cloud computing is still a long way off. If even Google can't run a continuous email service, why on Earth would we think that anyone can get a cloud software providing service to run? And 'free' internet connections out in the coffee houses and bars are being removed because too many people come in, buy one drink and spend all day leeching off the free Wi-Fi.

    Do you want to find yourself desperate to finish that powerpoint for a meeting, find that you have to pay Starbucks to get access to the internet and then discover that the local server farm has gone down, so preventing you from getting at the software you need?

    Also, AC wrote:

    >1) DRM

    >2) Non-existing drivers

    >3) Huge footprint on disk and on memory, much larger than XP.

    >No matter how much you use it, these won't change. Now or ever.

    1) DRM? I hope you don't own an iPhone - that device is much, much more restrictive! I watch TV on my TV, so W7 DRM doesn't really bother me.

    2) Windows 7 has built-in support for my printer, chipset, VGA, and audio which XP doesn't. Oh, and XP didn't support my first scanner, which I had to chuck. 95/8 to XP was just as bad (actually, it was worse, because Vista changeover sorted most drivers).

    3) As for footprint - if you look at prices for HDD and RAM back in 2001, you'd find that Windows 7 costs less to cover for HDD and RAM footprint than Windows XP did when released.

    Also:

    3.x - Windows 3.0 & 3.1

    4.x - Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME

    NT 3.x - Windows NT 3 & 3.5

    NT 4.x - Windows NT 4.0

    NT 5.x - Windows 2k, Windows XP, Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2003

    NT 6.x - Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008

    NT 7.x - Windows 8?

    By the timeline of past OS releases, NT 7.x should come out roughly 2011/12. That would (presumably) be Windows 8. Windows 7 is to Windows Vista what Windows 98 SE was to Windows 95 (in terms of releases), so Windows 7 really is just Vista with fixes and extras. It will be interesting to see what MS do for Windows 8, and when it's now planned for release.

    Interesting to note that despite the alledged speedy turn-around of W7, the gap between Vista and W7 is about the same as that between Win95 and Win98 and between Win98 and ME.

  119. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Boffin

    @Alex 3 - Well it is faster #

    I have a 3.2Ghz Pentium 4 PC that is FIVE YEARS OLD running XP [...] Yes I said OLD hardware. Only major difference is that I'm running 64 bit Windows 7 rather than 32 bit XP, my PC's motherboard was once of the first to support 64 bit.

    "Alex 3" - go and change your name, what the heck are you doing commenting here? You know nothing about what you are writing about.

    BTW: 7 is faster than Vista, though MUCH slower than XP on any hardware we tested at work.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Where did Redmond say

    This wasn't a completely new OS. was it worth 120 bucks to upgrade. YES. Thats all i need to know. I have XP on several machines and its not better then Windows 7 by any means.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @alex3

    Last time I checked the P4 had 32bit registers so it's bloody amazing you are running a 64bit OS on it.

    I neither like or dislike 7 it is way better than vista and will stop me from having a nOS (XP) that is unsupported after 2014 (getting in early)

  122. Glen 9
    Megaphone

    Damned if they do... damed if they don't.

    Remember when Microsoft revolutionized the Office interface with the Ribbon?

    They got shat on by people because people don't like change.

    Now you are all criticizing them for evolving Windows and refining it and making it better instead of changing it all?

    Tough crowd...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019