Monday, December 1, 2008

Windows 7 Performance, Explained

From startup to the way it handles hardware resources available, power consumption and applications, Windows 7 has been applauded as delivering a level of performance superior to that of Windows Vista, even as early as pre-Beta Build 6801.

As far as performance goes, the RTM of Windows Vista left much to be desired, just to use an euphemism, but following the implementation of Service Pack 1, the operating system is at least offering a glimpse promised with the gold release of the client. For Window 7, the promise is that the operating system will maintain a high level of performance despite Microsoft's tweaks designed to optimize hardware energy efficiency and scalability.

“Energy efficiency is improved through reduced background activity and new support for the trigger starting of system services. Windows 7 also offers improvements in the Windows kernel that enable applications and services to scale efficiently between platforms. Performance of many features and APIs is improved in Windows 7 versus Windows Vista. For example, driver performance on servers is optimized by new user-mode and kernel-mode topology APIs. Graphics rendering is considerably smoother and faster. Accessibility performance is also significantly faster than before,” Microsoft explained.

According to the Redmond company, the power management technologies of the next iteration of the Windows client have been kicked up a notch. At the same time, there is only so much that Microsoft can do in the absence of support from software developers building solutions designed to run on top of the operating system. The software giant revealed that ultimately the responsibility of ensuring that Windows 7 and the underlying hardware meet their respective energy-efficiency potential lies with software developers. In this context, Microsoft pointed out that developers had the necessary infrastructure and tools in the client to tone down as much as possible the energy impact of their applications.

“Windows 7 greatly reduces the number of activities that the operating system performs that prevent use of power-saving modes. It also supports the trigger-starting of system services to enable processors to become idle more often and stay idle longer, which decreases power consumption. In addition, Windows 7 takes advantage of the latest energy-efficient hardware, including network adapters, storage devices, and graphics cards,” the company added.

Among the enhancements coming with Windows 7 are trigger-start capabilities. With a great impact on reducing startup times, trigger-start capabilities ensure that services needn't start automatically as the computer will boot. In this regard, Microsoft has made it possible for developers to start a service on a certain trigger. Windows 7 is optimized with a range of preconfigured services which are just waiting for developers to take advantage of them. This is done via the Windows 7 Service Control Manager.

“Common trigger events for services include: Device-class interface arrival: Start a service only when a certain type of device is present or attached on the system; Domain join: Start a service only if the system is joined to a Windows domain; Group policy change: Start a service automatically when group policies are refreshed on the system; and IP address arrival: Start a service only when the system is connected to the network,” the company stated.


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