Microsoft Addresses Windows 7 Tester Concerns

Windows 7 beta testers are expressing concerns about lack of feedback from Microsoft on Windows 7 issues, and Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft, responds in a blog post. Sinofsky says Microsoft has received an enormous amount of input from testers and early users. In the process of digesting all the data, Microsoft has fixes planned for more than 2,000 bugs to date, Sinofsky says.

With Windows 7 beta testers expressing frustration about not getting enough information on the upcoming operating system, Microsoft's Windows 7 engineering chief is trying to address some of the concerns.

In an impassioned Feb. 25 blog post, Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft, responded to Windows 7 beta tester concerns that they have not received adequate feedback on issues being reported to Microsoft by the testers.

"The Windows 7 beta represents a new level of feedback in this regard in terms of the overall volume," Sinofsky explained. Earlier in the post, he said:

"What we can say for certain, is that we are listening to each and every comment, blog post, news story, MS Connect report, Send Feedback item, and of course all the data and telemetry."

In the process of making his point, Sinofsky pointed to the fact that Microsoft has released a reliability update for Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7.

He also said:

"As we're developing the features for Windows 7 we work closely with PC makers, enterprise customers, and all types of customers across small business, education, enthusiasts, product reviewers and industry "thought leaders," and so on. We shape the overall "blueprint" of the release based on this wide variety of input. As we have design prototypes or code running, we have much more targeted and specific feedback by using tools such as usability tests, concept tests, benchmark studies, and other techniques to validate the implementation of this blueprint. Our goal with this level of feedback is for it to be representative of the broad set of Windows customers, even if we don't have a 1:1 interaction with each and every customer."

Moreover, Sinofsky provided specific details on some of what Microsoft has done to address beta user concerns:

"- During a peak week in January we were receiving one Send Feedback report every 15 seconds for an entire week, and to date we've received well over 500,000 of these reports. That averages to over 500 reports for each and every developer to look through! And we're only through 6 weeks of using the Windows 7 beta, even though for many Windows 7 already seems like an old friend.- To date, with the wide usage of the Windows 7 Beta we have received ... hundreds of Connect (the MSDN/Technet enrolled beta customers) bug reports and have fixes in the pipeline for the highest percentage of those reported bugs than in any previous Windows development cycle.- To date, we have fixes in the pipeline for nearly 2,000 bugs in Windows code (not in third party drivers or applications) that caused crashes or hangs. While many Beta customers have said they are very happy with the quality of Windows 7, we are working to make it even better by making sure we are fixing the issues experienced by such broad and significant usage.- To date, we have recorded over 10,000,000 device installations and over 75 percent of these were able to use drivers provided in box (that is no download necessary). The remaining devices were almost all served by downloading drivers from Windows Update and by direct links to the manufacturer's web site. We've recorded the usage of over 2.8M unique plug-and-play device identifiers.- On a personal note, I've received and answered almost 2,000 email messages from folks all around the world, just since this blog started in August. I really appreciate the discussion we're having and am doing my best to keep up with all the mail."

Sinofsky also defined how Microsoft views the term "bug":

"Let's talk a bit about "bugs". Up front it is worth making sure we're on the same page when we use the much overloaded term bug. For us a bug is any time the software does something that someone one wasn't expecting it to do. A bug can be a cosmetic issue, a consistency issue, a crash, a hang, a failure to succeed, a confusing user experience, a compatibility issue, a missing feature, or any one of dozens of different ways that the software can behave in a way that isn't expected. A bug for us is not an emotional term, but just shorthand for an entry in our database representing feedback on the product. Bugs can be reported by a human or by the various forms of telemetry built into Windows 7. This broad definition allows us to track and catalog everything experienced in the product and do so in a uniform manner."