Although Windows 7 has been praised for loading and shutting down faster than prior versions of Windows, one software company says that, in many cases, the new operating system can take longer to get started than Windows Vista.
Iolo Technlogies, which sells PC tune-up software, said its lab unit found that a brand-new machine running Windows 7 takes a minute and 34 seconds to become usable, as compared to a minute and 6 seconds for Windows Vista. Iolo notes that it measured not the time it takes for the desktop to appear–which can be as little as 40 seconds on a fresh installation of Windows 7–but rather the time it takes to become fully usable “with CPU cycles no longer significantly high and a true idle state achieved.”
The results are also fairly similar to what CNET found in its testing of the operating system. A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to comment on Iolo’s findings.
Iolo plans to release more details on its findings and methodology next week. Although it remains to be seen just how it reached its conclusion, the report is clearly not good news for an operating system whose primary selling point is doing the basics better than past versions of Windows.
I will say that for my part, I have been using Windows 7 for months now and find myself rarely doing a full reboot and instead going in and out of sleep for days at a time–a process that moves particularly quickly.
As is often the case with Windows, Iolo found that things only get worse over time. It found that a three-month-old machine can take up to a minute longer to boot, or 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Windows 7 did outperform Vista at the three-month and six-month marks, Iolo said, but it generally “trailed the older version significantly” in its boot-up tests.
I plan to follow up on this on Monday, when more details about Iolo’s conclusions–and how they were reached–become available.
Updated at 7:20 p.m. PDT: On the plus side, Wall Street Journal reviewer Walt Mossberg is out with his review of Windows 7 and gives it high marks, saying Microsoft now gives Apple a run for its money.
After months of talking about Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is announcing on Tuesday that the first crop of phones to carry the Windows Phone brand are ready to hit the market.
A host of new phones running the new operating system are expected to debut between now and the holidays, with many being announced later on Tuesday. AT&T has already announced two Windows Mobile 6.5-based phones–the Pure and the HTC Tilt 2. In all, Microsoft has said to expect more than 30 phones running the OS by year’s end.
With the new operating system, Microsoft hopes to make the case that the devices are not only worthy phones, but also the best option for those who want to take their Windows world with them. The operating system itself features Adobe Flash support, an improved browser, and menus that are easier to navigate with a finger, as opposed to a stylus. Perhaps more interesting are two new services that come along with Windows.
The first, the Windows Marketplace, is Microsoft’s answer to the iPhone’s App Store. It’s somewhat interesting that Windows Mobile has long had more programs than the iPhone–none of which involved approval from Microsoft. But Microsoft has found itself in the position of having to insert itself as middleman to match Apple’s approach.
Users will still be able to buy and download applications directly from developers, but Microsoft apparently felt it had to mimic the iPhone’s App Store in order to help connect less technically savvy users with the thousands of programs that already exist for its phones.
The second service, My Phone, has been in testing for a while now. Just debuting, though, is a paid “Find My Phone” feature that costs $5 per use (although you pay only when you need the service, unlike Apple’s iPhone-finding service, which requires a $99-per-year .Mac subscription). The service can be used to locate a missing phone, make it ring (even if it is set to vibrate) or even remotely lock or wipe the device.
The big question, though, is if any of these changes are enough to get Microsoft back into serious consideration in a smartphone market that not only includes the iPhone, but also devices running the Android, Palm WebOS, and BlackBerry operating systems.
That challenge–to gain both market share and developer attention–was highlighted by this past weekend’s Code Camp held at Silicon Valley’s Foothill College. According to one attendee, a session on Windows Mobile 6.5 attracted just six people–three of them from Microsoft–while the iPhone session filled a large lecture hall.
Even some of Microsoft partners have moved on, with Motorola and Palm among the more high-profile companies to focus their attention on other operating systems.
That said, one recent report suggests it’s too soon to count Microsoft out. Market researcher iSuppli projects that Windows Mobile will manage to triple its volume by 2013 and reclaim the No. 2 operating system spot worldwide.
“Windows Mobile is facing a host of challenges, including rising competition from free alternatives like Symbian and Android, the loss of some key licensees, and some shortcomings in its user interface,” iSuppli analyst Tina Teng said in a report. “However, Windows Mobile holds some major cards that will allow it to remain a competitive player in the market.”
Even after several years of progress that Microsoft executives admit has been too slow, Microsoft still has 15 percent of the market, according to iSuppli. In part, that’s because the phones remain an inexpensive and easy-to-support option for many businesses that use Microsoft’s e-mail server and management tools.
For its interface tweaks and new services, Windows Mobile 6.5 is an interim update to Windows Mobile, inserted into the product’s road map only after a larger overhaul–Windows Mobile 7–got held up in various delays.
Microsoft is now expected to debut that product–as well as Windows Mobile-based successors to the Sidekick family known collectively by the code name Pink–sometime next year.
Teng noted that the lack of support for the kind of capacitive touch screen found on the iPhone is a key drawback for Microsoft’s partners.
“This represents a major barrier for smartphone (makers) that would like to produce innovative phones,” Teng said. However, she said she expects that to be remedied with Windows Mobile 7.
In the meantime, Microsoft plans to push hard on the marketing front, launching a large ad campaign for Windows Phone that will include some TV spots in addition to print and online advertisements.