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Microsoft Windows 7: your questions answered

Vista's sucessor: when it's coming, what we know

Following Microsoft's announcement of the release of Windows 7, we find out just what the Windows Vista successor will be like and, more importantly, when it will be available.

Has Microsoft said anything about specific features it plans to ship in Windows 7? A little, but only that. Microsoft has already demonstrated a touchscreen feature that the company said would be integrated into Windows 7. The feature, which incorporates technology Microsoft debuted last year as its Surface project, appears similar to the gesture-based multi-touch tools built into Apple's iPhone and MacBook Air, although on the latter the touch is limited to a larger-than-normal trackpad, not the entire screen.

According to the sessions list for the upcoming Professional Developers Conference, which will take place from October 26 to 30 this year, one session will focus on battery life, presumably batteries in laptops first of all, but also for other mobile devices Microsoft hopes to get Windows 7 into. According to the session description, Windows 7 provides advances for building energy-efficient applications.

"In this session we will discuss how to leverage new Windows infrastructure to reduce application power consumption and efficiently schedule background tasks and services."

Other sessions at the conference will tackle such Windows 7 topics as 'Graphics Advances', 'Touch Computing' and 'Web Services in Native Code', which sounds intriguing, considering Microsoft's push-push-push on its 'Software + Services' concept.

The OS, says Microsoft, will include a new networking API (application programming interface) to support building SOAP-based web services in native code. "This session will discuss the programming model, interoperability aspects with other implementations of WS-* protocols and demonstrate various services and applications built using this API."

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Will Windows 7 sport a new kernel?

No, apparently. Last year, a Microsoft engineer revealed that the company had 200 programmers working on slimming down the Windows kernel for Windows 7; he dubbed it "MinWin" and said it would sport a memory footprint less than one-sixth that of Windows Vista's kernel. However, Flores and Sinofsky both said Windows 7 won't sport a new kernel.

"Contrary to some speculation, Microsoft is not creating a new kernel for Windows 7," Flores said.

Sinofsky put it differently. "The key there is that the kernel in Windows Server 2008 is an evolution of the kernel in Windows Vista, and then Windows 7 will be a further evolution of that kernel as well," he said.

NEXT PAGE: Will Windows 7 be a major or a minor release

  1. What will Windows 7 be like?
  2. More Windows 7 information
  3. Will Windows 7 be a major or a minor release?
  4. Why Windows 7 gets the silent treatment
  5. The curse of great expectations

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