Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb
and Vienna) is an upcoming version of Microsoft
Windows, a series of operating systems produced by
Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home
and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media
Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22,
with general retail availability set for October 22,
less than three years after the release of its
predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server
counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, is slated for
release at the same time.
Unlike its predecessor, which introduced a large
number of new features, Windows 7 is intended to be a
more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line,
with the goal of being fully compatible with
applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is
Presentations given by the company in 2008 have focused
on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with
a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,
and performance improvements. Some applications that
have been included with prior releases of Microsoft
Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail,
Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, will not
be included in Windows 7;
some will instead be offered separately as part of the
free Windows Live Essentials suite.
Originally, a version of Windows codenamed
Blackcomb was planned as the successor to Windows XP
and Windows Server 2003. Major features were planned for
Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and
querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS
to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor
release, codenamed "Longhorn" was announced for 2003,
delaying the development of Blackcomb.
By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired
some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb.
After three major viruses exploited flaws in Windows
operating systems within a short time period in 2003,
Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting
some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while
developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows
Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was
also "reset," or delayed, in August 2004. A number of
features were cut from Longhorn.
Blackcomb was renamed Vienna in early 2006,
and again to Windows 7 in 2007.
In 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would
also be the official name of the operating system.
The first external release to select Microsoft
partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build
At PDC 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its
reworked taskbar. Copies of Windows 7 build 6801 were
distributed out at the end of the conference, but the
demonstrated taskbar was disabled in this build.
On December 27, 2008, Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto
the Internet via BitTorrent.
According to a performance test by ZDNet,
Windows 7 Beta beat both Windows XP and Vista in several
key areas, including boot and shut down time, working
with files such as loading documents; other areas did
not beat XP, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical
office activities and video-editing, remain identical to
Vista and slower than XP.
On January 7, 2009, the 64-bit version of the Windows 7
Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web, with some
torrents being infected with a trojan.
At CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the
Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for
download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format
of an ISO image.
The Beta was to be publicly released January 9, 2009.
Initially, Microsoft planned for the download to be made
available to 2.5 million people on January 9. However,
access to the downloads was delayed due to high traffic.
The download limit was also extended, initially until
January 24, then again to February 10. People who did
not complete downloading the beta had two extra days to
complete the download. After February 12, unfinished
downloads became unable to complete. Users can still
obtain product keys from Microsoft to activate their
copy of Windows 7 Beta. Users can still download Windows
7 via the Microsoft Connect program. The beta will
expire on August 1, 2009, with shutdowns every two hours
starting July 1, 2009. The release candidate, build
7100, has been available for MSDN and TechNet
subscribers and Connect Program participants since April
30 and became available to the general public on May 5,
2009. It has also been leaked onto the Internet via
The release candidate is available in five languages and
will expire on June 1, 2010, with shutdowns every two
hours starting March 1, 2010.
Microsoft has stated that Windows 7 will be released to
the general public on October 22, 2009 and to Technet
subscribers on August 6, 2009.
Microsoft announced that Windows 7, along with Windows
Server 2008 R2 were released to manufacturing on July
22, 2009. Windows 7 RTM is build 7600.16385 which was
compiled on July 13, 2009, and was declared the final
RTM build after passing all Microsoft's tests
Bill Gates, in an interview with Newsweek, suggested
that the next version of Windows would "be more
Gates later said that Windows 7 will also focus on
Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining
in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the
company was using a variety of new tracing tools to
measure the performance of many areas of the operating
system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient
code paths and to help prevent performance regressions.
Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows
Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the
kind of device compatibility issues they encountered
migrating from Windows XP.
Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Vista
and Windows 7,
indicating that Windows 7 will be a refined version of
New and changed features
Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as
advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support
for virtual hard disks, improved performance on
improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel
improvements. Windows 7 adds support for systems using
multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different
vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of
Windows Media Center,
a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media
features, the XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell
being included, and a redesigned Calculator with
multiline capabilities including Programmer and
Statistics modes along with unit conversion. Many
new items have been added to the Control Panel,
including ClearType Text Tuner, Display Color
Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting,
Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors,
Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and
Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows
Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows
Solution Center in earlier builds) which encompasses
both security and maintenance of the computer. The
default setting for User Account Control in Windows 7
has been criticized for allowing untrusted software to
be launched with elevated privileges by exploiting a
Microsoft's Windows kernel engineer Mark Russinovich
acknowledged the problem, but noted that there are other
vulnerabilities that do not rely on the new setting.
The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes,
where the Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with
pinning applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned
applications are integrated with the task buttons. These
buttons also enable the Jump Lists feature to
allow easy access to common tasks.
The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of
taskbar buttons. To the far right of the system clock is
a small rectangular button that serves as the Show
desktop icon. This button is part of the new feature
in Windows 7 called Aero Peek. Hovering over this
button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick
look at the desktop.
In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet
PCs, etc., this button is slightly wider to accommodate
being pressed with a finger.
Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking
it a second time restores them. Additionally, there is a
feature named Aero Snap, that automatically
maximizes a window when it is dragged to either the top
or left/right edges of the screen.
This also allows users to snap documents or files on
either side of the screen to compare them. When a user
moves windows that are maximized, the system restores
their previous state automatically. This functionality
is also accomplished with keyboard shortcuts. Unlike in
Windows Vista, window borders and the taskbar do not
turn opaque when a window is maximized with Windows Aero
applied. Instead, they remain transparent.
For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking
API with support for building SOAP-based web services in
native code (as opposed to .NET based WCF web services),
new features to shorten application install times,
reduced UAC prompts, simplified development of
and improved globalization support through a new
Extended Linguistic Services API.
At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of
30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along
with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can
be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes
supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB,
30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and
Microsoft is also implementing better support for Solid
and Windows 7 will be able to identify a Solid State
Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet
Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were
restored in Windows 7. Windows 7 will include Internet
Explorer 8 (except in Europe where IE is not included at
and Windows Media Player 12.
Users will also be able to disable many more Windows
components than was possible in Windows Vista. New
additions to this list of components include Internet
Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Centre,
Windows Search, and the Windows Gadget Platform.
Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, entitled
Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta,
Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga,
Savanna, and Sonata.
A new version of Virtual PC, Windows Virtual PC Beta
is available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and
It allows multiple Windows environments, including
Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine,
requiring the use of Intel VT-x or AMD-V. Windows XP
Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine and redirects
displayed applications running in Windows XP to the
Windows 7 desktop.
Furthermore Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual
hard disk (VHD) as a normal data storage, and the
bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows
system from a VHD.
The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also
enhanced to support real-time multimedia application
including video playback and 3D games. That means that
Direct X 10 can be used in a remote desktop environment.
The three application limit will be removed from Windows
A number of capabilities and certain programs that
were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or
have changed, resulting in the removal of certain
functionality. Some notable Windows Vista features and
components have been replaced or removed in Windows 7,
including the classic Start Menu user interface, Windows
Ultimate Extras, InkBall, and Windows Calendar. Three
applications bundled with Windows Vista — Windows Photo
Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Mail — are not
included with Windows 7, but are instead available for
free in a separate package called Windows Live
Essentials. Additionally, it is no longer possible to
eliminate anti-aliased text from the user interface.
As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7
is being studied by United States federal regulators who
oversee the company's operations following the 2001
United States v. Microsoft settlement. According to
status reports filed, the three-member panel began
assessing prototypes of the new operating system in
February 2008. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter
Research said that, "[Microsoft's] challenge for Windows
7 will be how can they continue to add features that
consumers will want that also don't run afoul of
In Europe, due to regulations imposed on Microsoft,
the company has announced that Windows 7 will not ship
with the company's own Internet Explorer in Europe
because of allegations that Microsoft was restricting
choice to European consumers. Due to the removal of
Internet Explorer, European customers will not be able
to upgrade their Vista installations and will have to
perform clean installations of Windows 7. Microsoft has
said that it may offer the option to install Internet
Explorer via Windows Update.
Figures released by Amazon.co.uk in the UK shows that
sales of Windows 7 in the first eight hours of trading
surpassed demand of what took Windows Vista 17 weeks to
In many countries Windows 7 achieved top of the chart on
pre order lists.
Windows 7 will be available in six different
editions, but only Home Premium, Professional and
Ultimate will be available for retail sale in most
The other editions are focused at other markets, such as
the developing world or enterprise use.
Each edition of Windows 7 will include all of the
capabilities and features of the edition below it.
With the exception of Windows 7 Starter, all editions
will support both 32-bit (IA-32) and 64-bit (x86-64)
According to Microsoft, the features for all editions of
Windows 7 will be stored on the machine, regardless of
what edition is in use.
Users who wish to upgrade to an edition of Windows 7
with more features can then use Windows Anytime Upgrade
to purchase the upgrade, and unlock the features of
Microsoft announced Tuesday, July 21, 2009 that they
will be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium
(in select markets) which will allow installation on up
to 3 PCs.
Microsoft has yet to announce the price of this family
Microsoft has published their minimum specifications
for a system running Windows 7.
Requirements for the 32-bit version are much the same as
recommendations for premium editions of Vista, but the
64-bit version's are considerably higher. Microsoft has
released a beta version of an upgrade advisor that scans
a computer to see if it is compatible with Windows 7.
Minimum hardware requirements for
||1 GHz processor
||1 GB of RAM
||2 GB of RAM
||Support for DirectX 9
graphics device with 128MB of graphics
memory (for Windows Aero)
|HDD free space
||16 GB of available disk space
||20 GB of available disk space
||DVD drive (only to install
from DVD/CD Media)
Additional requirements to use certain features:
- BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
1.2 and requires a USB flash drive to use BitLocker
- Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of
RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk
space, and a processor capable of hardware
virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V enabled
Awaiting your comments