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PC Games (Games)

Gaming On Windows 7 554

Jason Wilson writes "Windows 7 comes out Oct. 22, and many gamers are wondering whether it will be a boon for gaming, as Microsoft promised Vista would, or a disappointment (like Vista was at its launch). Former ExtremeTech editor Jason Cross, who's covered games and tech for 13 years, discusses the pluses and minuses of Windows 7 for gamers — how it differs from Vista, if it'll run older games, and the benefits of 64-bit computing. 'Windows 7 basically takes the Vista codebase and rewrites, refines, optimizes, and overhauls most of the internal stuff without making dramatic changes to the driver stacks that Vista did over WinXP. The changes to the fundamental driver models are small and mostly serve to improve performance. Plus, the hardware makers — especially the graphics guys — are on top of the changes this time around. Nvidia and ATI have been shipping quite good Win7 graphics drivers for months now.'"
Operating Systems

Microsoft Leaks Windows 7 RC Date — Before May 5 321

CWmike writes "Microsoft will deliver a release candidate of Windows 7 in about two weeks, the company's Web site revealed Saturday. According to a page posted on Microsoft's partner program site, Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) may be available to paying subscribers to Microsoft's developer and IT services before May 5. Partners will be allowed to download the release candidate on that date, the first Tuesday of the month. 'Partners: If you have a subscription to MSDN or TechNet, you can download Windows 7 RC now,' the page read Saturday afternoon. 'Otherwise, you can download Windows 7 RC starting May 5, 2009.' The link to the download, however, shunted users to the TechNet download page, which did not list Windows 7 RC as one of the available files. This is the second time in just over three weeks that Microsoft's Web site has leaked information about Windows 7 RC. Accidental, or buzz-builder?"

Look Out, Firefox 3 — IE8 Is Back On Top For Now 662

CWmike writes "Internet Explorer 8 has shipped in its final version and is ready to take on its rivals. Preston Gralla reviewed it and says the latest version of Microsoft's browser leapfrogs its closest competition, Firefox 3, for basic browsing and productivity features — it has better tab handling, a niftier search bar, a more useful address bar, and new tools that deliver information directly from other Web pages and services. IE8 has also been tweaked for security and includes a so-called 'porn mode,' new anti-malware protection, and better ways to protect your privacy. The most noticeable new features? Accelerators and Web Slices. Think of an Accelerator as a mini-mashup that delivers information from another Web site directly to your current browser page. Web Slices deliver changing information from a Web page you're not actively visiting directly to IE8. There's one big problem for many, though. No add-ins, and there doesn't appear to be such an ecosystem on the horizon. So if you're a fan of add-ins and customizing the browser itself, writes Gralla, Firefox is superior. But for the actual browsing experience, IE8 has the upper hand — for now."
Windows

How Vista Mistakes Changed Windows 7 Development 483

snydeq writes "For the past several months, Microsoft has engaged in an extended public mea culpa about Vista, holding a series of press interviews to explain how the company's Vista mistakes changed the development process of Windows 7. Chief among these changes was the determination to 'define a feature set early on' and only share that feature set with partners and customers when the company is confident they will be incorporated into the final OS. And to solve PC-compatibility issues, Microsoft has said all versions of Windows 7 will run even on low-cost netbooks. Moreover, Microsoft reiterated that the beta of Windows 7 that is now available is already feature-complete, although its final release to business customers isn't expected until November." As a data point for how well this has all worked out in practice, reader The other A.N.Other recommends a ZDNet article describing rough benchmarks for three versions of Windows 7 against Vista and XP. In particular, Win-7 build 7048 (64-bit) vs. Win-7 build 7000 (32-bit and 64-bit) vs. Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 were tested on both high-end and low-end hardware. The conclusions: Windows 7 is, overall, faster than both Vista and XP. As Windows 7 progresses, it's getting faster (or at least the 64-bit editions are). On a higher-spec system, 64-bit is best. On a lower-spec system, 32-bit is best.
Windows

Microsoft Brings 36 New Features To Windows 7 509

Barence writes "Microsoft has unveiled a slew of new features that will appear in the Release Candidate of Windows 7 that didn't make an appearance in the beta. 'We've been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we've received on Windows 7,' explains Steven Sinofsky, lead engineer for Windows 7 in his blog. A majority of these features are user interface tweaks, but they should add up to a much smoother Windows 7 experience." In separate news, Technologizer reports on Microsoft's contingency plan, should things not go well in EU antitrust, to slip Win7 to January.
Security

Microsoft Caves, Will Change UAC In Windows 7 249

CWmike writes "Reacting to intense criticism of an important security feature in Windows 7 (which we discussed a few days back), Microsoft today said it will change the behavior of User Account Control in Windows 7's release candidate. In a blog post, two Microsoft executives responsible for Windows development, John DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky, said 'We are going to deliver two changes to the Release Candidate that we'll all see. First, the UAC control panel will run in a high integrity process, which requires elevation. Second, changing the level of the UAC will also prompt for confirmation.' They said the changes were prompted by feedback from users, including comments on an earlier post Thursday by DeVaan in which he defended the modifications Microsoft made to UAC in Windows 7."
Windows

More Indications Windows 7 Is Coming In 2009 369

An anonymous reader writes "Following on the news that Microsoft was going straight to a RC for Windows 7, the One Microsoft Way blog has put together some dates on the upcoming roadmap for Vista's successor. Microsoft has always said 'three years after the general availability of Windows Vista,' which was released on January 30, 2007, and that the release date was also dependent on quality. Internally though, Microsoft is saying other things. It looks like we'll see the RC coming in April, and a final RTM version before October 3. Yes, that means Redmond is currently hoping to get Windows 7 out the door in 2009."

Generational Windows Multicore Performance Tests 228

snydeq writes "Windows XP, Windows Vista, and (soon) Windows 7 all support SMP out of the box, but as InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy notes, 'experience has shown that multiprocessing across discrete CPUs is not the same thing as multiprocessing across integrated cores within the same CPU.' As such, Kennedy set out to stress the multiprocessing capabilities of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 in dual-core and quad-core performance tests. The comprehensive, multiprocess workload tests were undertaken to document scalability, execution efficiency, and raw performance of workloads. 'What I found may surprise you,' Kennedy writes. 'Not only does Microsoft have a firm grasp of multicore tuning, but its scalability story promises to keep getting better with time. In other words, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are poised to reap ever greater performance benefits as Intel and AMD extend the number of cores in future editions of their processors.'"

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