Microsoft is talking about a new technology in Windows Vista, code-named Freeze Dry, that is designed to save open application states before computers are rebooted.
A new technology built into Windows Vista that automatically saves unstored documents when IT managers run patch installations will be a boon to PC users who never turn off their PCs, industry analysts said Thursday.
The technology, which Microsoft has code-named Freeze Dry, is designed to save data and application states when IT runs patching routines overnight and on weekends.
Users who leave their machines on constantly are in danger of losing data if a patch routine requires a reboot. Freeze Dry will ensure that users will be able to recover the saved data when they go back to work.
The "Freeze Dry" feature "will take advantage of the restart manager in Windows Vista," said Neil Charney, public relations director in Microsofts Windows Client Division in a prepared statement.
"Windows Vistas restart manager reduces the number of locked files during the patch process and reduces reboots by releasing files that need to be updated during OS and application patch installation," Charneys statement said.
One of the new reliabililty features built into Vista frees users from having to restart Windows Vista when installing or updating an application.
"Some updates can install a new version of an updated file even if the old file is currently in use by another application," Charney said. "Windows Vista automatically replaces the file the next time the application is restarted," he said.
Furthermore, Windows Vista is smart enough to "determine which application is using a file that needs to be updated, save the applications data, close the application, update the file, and then restart the application," Charney explained.
"It sounds like a very good idea," said Ed Bott, author and Windows pundit who is the editor of www.edbott.com, a news and blogging site that covers Windows and other Microsoft applications.
"The infrastructure already seems to be there in the Hibernation feature included with all versions of Windows XP," Bott said.
However, Bott contends its not just for organizations that have an IT department that can manage the patching process.
Click here to read about the early beta version of the WinFS file system that was originally intended to be built into the production release of Windows Vista.
"Im surprised theyre positioning its benefits in managed corporate environments, because it seems equally useful for home users and small businesses," he said.
The Freeze Dry technology appears to be applying the restart manager technology in a way that will appeal to PC users, noted Mike Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft research firm.
"People are concerned about the number of times their system has to reboot. Thats because there are a substantial number of people who want to leave their systems running all the time," Cherry said.
Such technology would seem to be even more valuable for servers, Cherry said. But he believes its just as valuable for desktops and any PC that is subject to the automatic update service that Microsoft has initiated this year.
Microsoft plans to ship Windows Vista, the successor to the current Windows XP version, by the end of 2006.
Requiring at least 50 percent fewer reboots was one of the key design goals that Microsoft announced for Windows Vista.
Some of the other design goals include the ability to launch applications 15 percent faster than Windows XP does, enable PCs to boot 50 percent faster than they currently do, and make it as easy as possible for companies to upgrade to the new Windows version.
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John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.