In accordance with users' expectations
In the sense in which Microsoft is building Windows 7 as the evolution of Windows Vista, the next iteration of the Windows client will perform as if on steroids, compared to its precursor. Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, along with Michael Fortin, one of Microsoft’s Distinguished Engineers and head of the Windows Fundamentals feature team, revealed that the Redmond company had a strong focus on delivering a high level of performance for Windows 7, comparable with end users' expectations. And Microsoft should make no mistake about it, Windows 7 performance expectations are as high as they can be.
“We’ve been building out and maintaining a series of runs that measure thousands of little and big things,” revealed Sinofsky and Fortin. “We’ve been running these before developer check-ins and maintaining performance and responsiveness at a level above which all that self-host our builds will find acceptable. These gates have kept the performance and responsiveness of our daily builds at a high enough level that thousands have found it possible to run their main systems on Windows 7 for extended periods of time, doing their normal daily work.”
Microsoft underlined that the perception of performance was just as important as the actual performance delivered by the operating system. In fact, what managed to hurt Vista the most was this perception of poor performance compared to Windows XP, despite the fact that benchmarks from the software giant placed the two operating systems on par.
“We’ve been driving down footprint, reducing our service costs, improving the efficiency of key code paths, refactoring locks to improve scalability, reducing hangs, improving our I/O efficiency and much more. These are scenario driven based on real world execution paths we know from our telemetry to be common,” Sinofsky and Fortin added.
In addition to the actual efforts poured into building the Windows 7 bits, Microsoft is also collaborating closely with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and independent hardware vendors (IHVs) in order to ensure that Windows 7 will deliver a top performance in concordance with the hardware resources it is made available with. But at the same time the Windows developing team is keeping a close eye on the milestones of the operating system as they are deployed internally.
“Within the Windows dev team, we’ve placed a simple trace capturing tool on everyone’s desktop. This desktop tool allows each person to run 24x7 with performance tracing enabled. If anything seems slow or sluggish, they can immediately save the last minute-or-so of activity and send it for automated analysis. Additionally, a team of people visually inspect the traces for new issues or issues not yet decipherable by our automation. The traces are incredibly rich and allow us to get to the root of top issues most of the time,” Sinofsky and Fortin said.
In the end, Microsoft does not rely exclusively on monitoring tasks performed as an integral part of the dogfooding of Windows 7. The company is also centralizing telemetry from the testers participating in the Windows 7 pre-Beta program and will continue to do so throughout the Beta and Release Candidate stages. In addition, the software giant will take into account micro-benchmarks and specific performance scenarios for Windows 7, on top of the system tuning it is already introducing.
"For all Pre-Beta, Beta and RTM users, we’ve developed a new form of instrumentation and have used it to instrument over 500 locations in the operating system and inbox applications. This new instrumentation is simple in concept, but revolutionary in result. The tool is called PerfTrack, and it has helped confirm our belief that the client benchmarks aren’t too informative about real user responsiveness issues," Sinofsky and Fortin stated.
Squeezing Every Drop of Performance Out of Windows 7 (Download Now!!!)