Skip to main content

Ballmer Says Windows 7 is Vista but Improved

That of course is a simplified view, however it seems to be the likely analysis when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer comes out of his cave and tells the public "Windows 7 will be more like Windows Vista, but a lot better!" This may not be good news for consumers who boycotted Vista altogether, especially gamers who encountered so many compatibility problems at the operating system’s initial release.

Thursday Ballmer spoke at the Symposium ITxpo, hosted by research firm Gartner in Orlando, Florida. The question and answer session lasted for nearly 45-minutes (which can be seen right here) as he talked about Windows Vista and the next version of Microsoft’s operating system. But because he mentioned that "7" will be a better version of Vista, many attendees mistook the upgrade as a minor release. In fact, he said that Windows 7 is Windows Vista with a cleaner user interface and improvements in performance. Who could blame the attendees for their confusion?

"It’s a real release," he said, "because it’s a lot more work than a minor release. It turns out you can do more than just a minor release in what is essentially a two-and-a-half year period of time. There’s no reason to do just, quote, a minor release, in two-and-a-half years."

The confusion, it seemed, was not in his comparisons between Vista and 7, but in his lack of information. Apparently Microsoft will use the Vista code base for a long time, thus anything released from here on out will more than likely have the Vista flare. According to Ballmer, the company can "do a lot of innovation for a lot of years on the same code base." He also acknowledged that there are a lot of enhancements that could be done to the code base in regards to multi-core processing.

Windows Vista endured a jaded launch in 2005, mostly because consumers experienced problems running older programs on the new system. At the time of its release, Microsoft claimed that all PCs could run Vista, however some of the features - like the Aero interface - taxed many systems, including the laptop of Vice President Mike Nash.

But putting the hardware issues aside, Microsoft saw many complaints about the upgrade program, especially for consumers who format the hard drive on a regular basis. Gamers avoided the OS altogether after hearing that F.E.A.R., Doom 3, Half-Life 2, CounterStrike and more wouldn’t run in the Vista environment; most stayed with Windows XP just for its use in resources alone. Many sites and organizations like this one tried to keep Windows XP alive, however Microsoft officially canned the popular OS on June 30, 2008. While the company will extend support for the OS until 2014, retail outlets no longer carry Windows XP for purchase.

As for Windows 7, the new-and-improved OS will enter alpha stage in two weeks. Microsoft plans to release the retail version late 2009 or early 2010.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • blackened144
    Every time I hear someone talk smack about Vista, I see the Windows Mojave commercial playing in my head. Most people, and not necessarily the people on this site, that I have met that talk smack about Vista are only repeating what other people have said and have never even used or seen the OS themselves. I have no complaints with Windows Vista as is, but Im looking forward to using Windows 7 too.
  • Pei-chen
    What's wrong with Vista? I upgraded from XP x86 to Vista x64 a month ago I don't see the problem. A few free-wares wouldn't run but a sub is easy to find. My HP printer wouldn’t print because HP hasn’t updated their driver since 2004. In fact, when I was using my friend's quad core XP machine, I found it more sluggish and instable (IE crash due to Google Tool Bar).
  • frozenlead
    If Windows 7 is an upgrade to windows Vista, then it should be spectacular. Vista itself is great and has been for a while, people just don't care to keep up with it. I haven't had any problems with it. It's nearly flawless. I was unhappy before I actually used it, remembering all the bad press. However, when I got it and actually started using it, I didn't know what all the bad press was about. It's a fine os.
  • Before SP1..Vista...eeew. I installed it because I'm a tech and need experience working on it. Post SP1 it is a decent system... a few annoyances remain though.
    Program compatibility (older video games.. mostly due to DRM, I believe)
    Explorer STILL doesn't appear to be multithreaded (sometimes hangs all of explorer when emptying recycle bin, for instance)
    64-bit version REALLY needs to be able to execute 16 bit code (some 32-bit programs have 16 bit installer...yes, it's the stupid programmers fault, not Microsoft's, but should the consumer be the one to suffer for this)
    UAC complains about silly stuff or did, I shut it off..may not anymore (program updating running inside it's own program folder updating things in it's own program folder...this isn't a security problem)
    Lack of real security (durnit, have the operating system track all changes an install makes...Don't trust the installer to track it)

    Note, I realize several of those are legacy problems with Windows but I think it's about time to fix those already. Also, on the 64-bit running 16-bit code...I think that's the major obstacle to eliminating the 32 bit version of Windows all together..can someone correct me here?
  • NuclearShadow
    blackened144Every time I hear someone talk smack about Vista, I see the Windows Mojave commercial playing in my head. Most people, and not necessarily the people on this site, that I have met that talk smack about Vista are only repeating what other people have said and have never even used or seen the OS themselves. I have no complaints with Windows Vista as is, but Im looking forward to using Windows 7 too.
    The whole Mojave thing is very misleading however. For example when people go "Its so much faster" remember the laptop used was no doubt with a fresh installation and modern hardware that was not out when Vista was first released. So of course its "faster" when even compared to XP if the hardware is newer and the harddrive simply contains the OS. Also notice how on the Mojave experiment it never shows what the people actually do on the laptop? Its not like they had a 2nd laptop with the same hardware with XP on it to compare it to either.

    You also can't tell me its not biased as it was conducted by Microsoft and no one ounce of criticism is shown. It also seems they targeted people they believed to not have much knowledge when it comes to computers or at least that's all they decided to share with us in the results.
  • silversound
    Im currently on XP, but I really hate my gf's dell vista machine. So many sofewares included my corporate antivirus wont work on vista! I admit some of the software is a bit old, but I dont see a reason to switch to vista if you already have XP unless you need 4GB+ RAM to do some crazy work. But sure vista does look better, will wait and see windows 7 and mac's snow leopard
  • DXRick
    Well, I just hope that they don't change the driver model for Windows 7 then, so that it will support the same hardware that Vista does. If not, all OEMs will need to write new drivers, creating the same problem that hurt Vista.

    We would have to ensure our older peripherals are supported (HP never released full drivers for their older DeskJets).

    Do we really want go thru the BS from OEMs like Nvidia and Create Labs again??
  • Maxor127
    My biggest problem with Vista is that game performance is worse in Vista than XP, even with DX9 games. This probably mostly due to memory requirements. Supposedly Vista has excellent memory management, but I consider it to be a memory hog. You need to at least double the RAM you were using in XP to get decent performance out of games in Vista, and I'd go so far as to say you should have at least 4 GB. I haven't played any Vista exclusives, so it could very well be that XP is holding Vista back and that a Vista-only game would run much better.

    Still, for non-gamers, I think it's worth upgrading. Most of the other complaints about Vista are exaggerations. The UAC is not a big deal, and it's there for a reason, plus you can turn it off so it's a non-issue. My biggest complaints with the system itself mostly have to do with games. The sound system was changed so that EAX in older games probably doesn't work. And there are the usual compatibility issues when upgrading to a new OS. And the disk defragmenter is a joke. And I don't like how the Photo Gallery no longer supports WMF or has thumbnail icons for WMF files.
    What rock did you Vista lovers crawl out from? You like to be prompted every 10 seconds to "Allow or Continue"? Let me guess, you just turn of UAC so the prompts go away -- sorta defeats the security as implemented by Microslop. Vista has been labeled as the 6 Billion dollar flop by multiple well respected sources. Also was considered the worst OS since Windows ME. Are you folks from this planet?

    And then we have DX10 in Vista only, most people can't even tell the difference between DX9 titles and DX10 -- wooohooo, another promised boost for games that turned out to be a flop and very few game developers wanted to even bother with DX10.

    Now we hear that Windows 7 is just more of the same junk (which I already knew). Ballmer is a complete idiot and obviously hasn't listened to a word from the consumer. The door is so wide open now for OS X - which has been gaining considerable ground over Vista.

    If Vista is so great, why is Microsoft's stock pretty much dead in the water? Surely a new OS (now old) would have prompted a big spike in stock value -- well it didn't (and this was before the market crash). Why didn't the stock change, because it was a disasterous flop and Ballmer is going down with the ship it seems, refusing to change.

    We were promised "Vista" as being better than "XP", and yet most folks hung onto WinXP and "experimented" with Vista or created a dual boot and some just sad forget Vista and stuck with WinXP. The ONLY time I load Vista is when I want to play Crysis -- that's it.

    They removed audio capabilities that have handicapped my Audio specific games/applications.

    Multi-processor support was supposed to be improved in Vista, it wasnt', now it's supposed to be improved in Windows 7. Give me a break, how many of the same promises can one company keep making and not deliver??
  • JonnyDough
    So wait, Vista is a beta?