Company officials also said Windows 7 will offer more choice in how users interact with their PCs, such as through multi-touch gestures. Sinofsky demonstrated some of those capabilities during his PDC keynote.
Also, with Device Stage, Windows 7 enables users to get more from the devices they use most often with their PC, such as cameras, phones and printers, the company said. And Windows 7 will make it easier to use home audio-video systems and other networked media devices to play music, watch videos and display photos that reside on Windows-based PCs. Plus, it will offer more options than ever to customize and personalize Windows-based PCs with styles that match the user's personality, according to company documents.
""The most visible new features are enhancements that streamline core Windows tasks like connecting to a wireless network or organizing a digital music collection. But the new OS features are more than just skin-deep; there are also improvements to core components, such as an innovative way to stream music and other media directly to network-connected media players.""
Bott also said, "Speaking of making things less annoying, User Account Control, the least-loved feature in Windows Vista, is noticeably less intrusive, thanks to a slider control that lets you dial back its tendencies to nag and pester."
In a discussion on Windows 7 networking, Bott said:
""Networking is tricky, especially for home users. With Vista, Microsoft tried to consolidate networking features in a single location, the Network and Sharing Center, with decidedly mixed results. In Windows 7, the Network and Sharing Center gets a radical overhaul designed to make it simpler to set up and manage small networks. In Windows 7, the Network and Sharing Center includes four links to common tasks instead of a long list of detailed options.""
Finally, Bott answered the question he posed about whether Windows 7 is a major release or not. Said Bott:
""So, is this a major release or not? After seeing the lengthy list of new features and the small improvements in so many aspects of everyday Windows use, I'm inclined to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and say, yes, it probably is.""
Sinofsky said Microsoft worked hard at adhering to standards with Windows 7, particularly in Internet Explorer, where the IE 8 beta supports Cascading Style Sheets and other Web standards.
In addition, "we worked to reduce the memory footprint of core Windows 7 installation, and to reduce disk I/O across Windows 7," Sinofsky said. The company also worked on boot speed and device readiness for the new operating system.
Windows 7 also has been improved to scale much better than its predecessor. "With Windows 7 we increase the scale to handle up to 256 processors." said Sinofsky, who admonished developers to "Please focus on developing for 64-bit."
Meanwhile, Microsoft officials showed how new capabilities in the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4 will help developers build next-generation applications for Windows 7 and take advantage of new features in Windows 7, such as the Ribbon and support for multi-touch-enabled interfaces. Several other areas of improvements in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 were shown, with a focus on Win32, C++, ASP.NET, Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation.