Windows 7 is a personal computer operating system that was produced by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009 and became generally available on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time.
Windows 7 was primarily intended to be an incremental upgrade to Microsoft Windows, intended to address Windows Vista's poor critical reception while maintaining hardware and software compatibility. Windows 7 continued improvements on Windows Aero (the user interface introduced in Windows Vista) with the addition of a redesigned taskbar that allows applications to be "pinned" to it, and new window management features. Other new features were added to the operating system, including libraries, the new file sharing system HomeGroup, and support for multitouch input. A new "Action Center" interface was also added to provide an overview of system security and maintenance information, and tweaks were made to the User Account Control system to make it less intrusive. Windows 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center.
In contrast to Windows Vista, Windows 7 was generally praised by critics, who considered the operating system to be a major improvement over its predecessor due to its increased performance, its more intuitive interface (with particular praise devoted to the new taskbar), fewer User Account Control popups, and other improvements made across the platform. Windows 7 was a major success for Microsoft; even prior to its official release, pre-order sales for 7 on the online retailer Amazon.com had surpassed previous records. In just six months, over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide, increasing to over 630 million licenses by July 2012. As of April 2019, 33.38% of computers running Windows are running Windows 7, which is still the most used version in many countries including one (Eastern) European country, and has more than 50% market share in China (and Asia as a whole) and many countries elsewhere; e.g. most used in Africa at 46.43%.
|A version of the Windows NT operating system|
|Released to |
|July 22, 2009|
|October 22, 2009|
|Latest release||Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601) / February 22, 2011|
|Update method||Windows Update|
|Platforms||IA-32 and x86-64|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
|Preceded by||Windows Vista (2007)|
|Succeeded by||Windows 8 (2012)|
|Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015.|
Extended support until January 14, 2020.
Paid extended security updates until January 10, 2023 (Professional and Enterprise volume licenses only)
Installing Service Pack 1 is required for users to receive updates and support after April 9, 2013.
Originally, a version of Windows codenamed "Blackcomb" was planned as the successor to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 in 2000. Major features were planned for Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor release, codenamed "Longhorn," was announced for 2003, delaying the development of Blackcomb. By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb. After three major malware outbreaks—the Blaster, Nachi, and Sobig worms—exploited flaws in Windows operating systems within a short time period in August 2003, Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was also restarted, and thus delayed, in August 2004. A number of features were cut from Longhorn. Blackcomb was renamed Vienna in early 2006.
When released, Windows Vista was criticized for its long development time, performance issues, spotty compatibility with existing hardware and software on launch, changes affecting the compatibility of certain PC games, and unclear assurances by Microsoft that certain computers shipping with XP prior to launch would be "Vista Capable" (which led to a class action lawsuit), among other critiques. As such, adoption of Vista in comparison to XP remained somewhat low. In July 2007, six months following the public release of Vista, it was reported that the next version of Windows would then be codenamed Windows 7, with plans for a final release within three years. Bill Gates, in an interview with Newsweek, suggested that Windows 7 would be more "user-centric". Gates later said that Windows 7 would also focus on performance improvements. Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient code paths and to help prevent performance regressions. Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they encountered migrating from Windows XP. An estimated 1,000 developers worked on Windows 7. These were broadly divided into "core operating system" and "Windows client experience", in turn organized into 25 teams of around 40 developers on average.
In October 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would also be the official name of the operating system. There has been some confusion over naming the product Windows 7, while versioning it as 6.1 to indicate its similar build to Vista and increase compatibility with applications that only check major version numbers, similar to Windows 2000 and Windows XP both having 5.x version numbers. The first external release to select Microsoft partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build 6519. Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7, indicating that Windows 7 would be a refined version of Windows Vista.
At PDC 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its reworked taskbar. On December 27, 2008, the Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. According to a performance test by ZDNet, Windows 7 Beta beat both Windows XP and Vista in several key areas, including boot and shutdown time and working with files, such as loading documents. Other areas did not beat XP, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical office activities and video editing, which remain identical to Vista and slower than XP. On January 7, 2009, the x64 version of the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web, with some torrents being infected with a trojan. At CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format of an ISO image. The stock wallpaper of the beta version contained a digital image of the Betta fish.
The release candidate, build 7100, became available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and Connect Program participants on April 30, 2009. On May 5, 2009, it became available to the general public, although it had also been leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. The release candidate was available in five languages and expired on June 1, 2010, with shutdowns every two hours starting March 1, 2010. Microsoft stated that Windows 7 would be released to the general public on October 22, 2009. Microsoft released Windows 7 to MSDN and Technet subscribers on August 6, 2009, at 10:00 am PDT. Microsoft announced that Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 R2, was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009. Windows 7 RTM is build 7600.16385.090713-1255, which was compiled on July 13, 2009, and was declared the final RTM build after passing all Microsoft's tests internally.
Among Windows 7's new features are advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel improvements. Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion for length, weight, temperature, and several others. Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display. Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds), which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer. ReadyBoost on 32-bit editions now supports up to 256 gigabytes of extra allocation. Windows 7 also supports images in RAW image format through the addition of Windows Imaging Component-enabled image decoders, which enables raw image thumbnails, previewing and metadata display in Windows Explorer, plus full-size viewing and slideshows in Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Media Center. Windows 7 also has a native TFTP client with the ability to transfer files to or from a TFTP server.
The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the old Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with the ability to pin applications to taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. These buttons also enable Jump Lists to allow easy access to common tasks. The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons. To the far right of the system clock is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. By default, hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop. In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet PCs, etc., this button is slightly (8 pixels) wider in order to accommodate being pressed by a finger. Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them.
Window management in Windows 7 has several new features: Snap maximizes a window when it is dragged to the top of the screen. Dragging windows to the left or right edges of the screen allows users to snap software windows to either side of the screen, such that the windows take up half the screen. When a user moves windows that were snapped or maximized using Snap, the system restores their previous state. Snap functions can also be triggered with keyboard shortcuts. Shake hides all inactive windows when the active window's title bar is dragged back and forth rapidly (metaphorically shaken).
Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, titled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata. Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7. Users are able to disable or customize many more Windows components than was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and Windows Gadget Platform. A new version of Microsoft Virtual PC, newly renamed as Windows Virtual PC was made available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. It allows multiple Windows environments, including Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine. Windows XP Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine, and displays applications within separate windows on the Windows 7 desktop. Furthermore, Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual hard disk (VHD) as a normal data storage, and the bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows system from a VHD; however, this ability is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions. The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also enhanced to support real-time multimedia application including video playback and 3D games, thus allowing use of DirectX 10 in remote desktop environments. The three application limit, previously present in the Windows Vista and Windows XP Starter Editions, has been removed from Windows 7. All editions include some new and improved features, such as Windows Search, Security features, and some features new to Windows 7, that originated within Vista. Optional BitLocker Drive Encryption is included with Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise. Windows Defender is included; Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus software is a free download. All editions include Shadow Copy, which—every day or so—System Restore uses to take an automatic "previous version" snapshot of user files that have changed. Backup and restore have also been improved, and the Windows Recovery Environment—installed by default—replaces the optional Recovery Console of Windows XP.
A new system known as "Libraries" was added for file management; users can aggregate files from multiple folders into a "Library". By default, libraries for categories such as Documents, Pictures, Music, and Video are created, consisting of the user's personal folder and the Public folder for each. The system is also used as part of a new home networking system known as HomeGroup; devices are added to the network with a password, and files and folders can be shared with all other devices in the HomeGroup, or with specific users. The default libraries, along with printers, are shared by default, but the personal folder is set to read-only access by other users, and the Public folder can be accessed by anyone.
Windows 7 includes improved globalization support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API to provide multilingual support (particularly in Ultimate and Enterprise editions). Microsoft has also implemented better support for solid-state drives, including the new TRIM command, and Windows 7 is able to identify a solid-state drive uniquely. Native support for USB 3.0 is not included due to delays in the finalization of the standard. At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.
For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking API with support for building SOAP-based web services in native code (as opposed to .NET-based WCF web services), new features to simplify development of installation packages and shorten application install times. Windows 7, by default, generates fewer User Account Control (UAC) prompts because it allows digitally signed Windows components to gain elevated privileges without a prompt. Additionally, users can now adjust the level at which UAC operates using a sliding scale.
Certain capabilities and programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or have been changed, resulting in the removal of certain functionalities; these include the classic Start Menu user interface, some taskbar features, Windows Explorer features, Windows Media Player features, Windows Ultimate Extras, Search button, and InkBall. Four applications bundled with Windows Vista—Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Calendar and Windows Mail—are not included with Windows 7 and were replaced by Windows Live-branded versions as part of the Windows Live Essentials suite.
Windows 7 is available in six different editions, of which the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate were available at retail in most countries, and as pre-loaded software on new computers. Home Premium and Professional were aimed at home users and small businesses respectively, while Ultimate was aimed at enthusiasts. Each edition of Windows 7 includes all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it, and adds additional features oriented towards their market segments; for example, Professional adds additional networking and security features such as Encrypting File System and the ability to join a domain. Ultimate contained a superset of the features from Home Premium and Professional, along with other advanced features oriented towards power users, such as BitLocker drive encryption; unlike Windows Vista, there were no "Ultimate Extras" add-ons created for Windows 7 Ultimate. Retail copies were available in "upgrade" and higher-cost "full" version licenses; "upgrade" licenses require an existing version of Windows to install, while "full" licenses can be installed on computers with no existing operating system.
The remaining three editions were not available at retail, of which two were available exclusively through OEM channels as pre-loaded software. The Starter edition is a stripped-down version of Windows 7 meant for low-cost devices such as netbooks. In comparison to Home Premium, Starter has reduced multimedia functionality, does not allow users to change their desktop wallpaper or theme, disables the "Aero Glass" theme, does not have support for multiple monitors, and can only address 2GB of RAM. Home Basic was sold only in emerging markets, and was positioned in between Home Premium and Starter. The highest edition, Enterprise, is functionally similar to Ultimate, but is only sold through volume licensing via Microsoft's Software Assurance program.
All editions aside from Starter support both IA-32 and x86-64 architectures; Starter only supports 32-bit systems. Retail copies of Windows 7 are distributed on two DVDs: one for the IA-32 version and the other for x86-64. OEM copies include one DVD, depending on the processor architecture licensed. The installation media for consumer versions of Windows 7 are identical; the product key and corresponding license determines the edition that is installed. The Windows Anytime Upgrade service can be used to purchase an upgrade that unlocks the functionality of a higher edition, such as going from Starter to Home Premium, and Home Premium to Ultimate. Most copies of Windows 7 only contained one license; in certain markets, a "Family Pack" version of Windows 7 Home Premium was also released for a limited time, which allowed upgrades on up to three computers. In certain regions, copies of Windows 7 were only sold in, and could only be activated in a designated region.
Support for Windows 7 without Service Pack 1 ended on April 9, 2013, requiring users to update in order to continue receiving updates and support. Microsoft ended the sale of new retail copies of Windows 7 in October 2014, and the sale of new OEM licenses for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate ended on October 31, 2014. Professional currently remains available to OEMs, primarily as part of downgrade rights for Windows 8 and 10 licenses. OEM sales of PCs with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled ended on October 31, 2016. The sale of non-Professional OEM licences was stopped on October 31, 2014.
On September 7, 2018, Microsoft announced a paid "Extended Security Updates" service that will offer additional updates for Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise for three years after the end of extended support.
In March 2019, Microsoft announced that it would display notifications to users informing users of the upcoming end of support, and direct users to a website urging them to purchase a Windows 10 upgrade or a new device.
|Component||Operating system architecture|
|Processor||1 GHz IA-32 processor||1 GHz x86-64 processor|
|Memory (RAM)||1 GB||2 GB|
|Graphics card||DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0|
|Free hard drive space||16 GB||20 GB|
|Optical drive||DVD-ROM drive (Only to install from DVD-ROM media)|
Additional requirements to use certain features:
The maximum amount of RAM that Windows 7 supports varies depending on the product edition and on the processor architecture, as shown in the following table.
|IA-32 (32-bit)||x64 (64-bit)|
|Ultimate||4 GB||192 GB|
|Home Premium||16 GB|
|Home Basic||8 GB|
Windows 7 Professional and up support up to 2 physical processors (CPU sockets), whereas Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium editions support only 1. Physical processors with either multiple cores, or hyper-threading, or both, implement more than one logical processor per physical processor. The x86 editions of Windows 7 support up to 32 logical processors; x64 editions support up to 256 (4 x 64).
In January 2016, Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows platforms older than Windows 10 on any future Intel-compatible processor lines, citing difficulties in reliably allowing the operating system to operate on newer hardware. Microsoft stated that effective July 17, 2017, devices with Intel Skylake CPUs were only to receive the "most critical" updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, and only if they have been judged not to affect the reliability of Windows 7 on older hardware. For enterprise customers, Microsoft issued a list of Skylake-based devices "certified" for Windows 7 and 8.1 in addition to Windows 10, to assist them in migrating to newer hardware that can eventually be upgraded to 10 once they are ready to transition. Microsoft and their hardware partners provide special testing and support for these devices on 7 and 8.1 until the July 2017 date.
On March 18, 2016, in response to criticism from enterprise customers, Microsoft delayed the end of support and non-critical updates for Skylake systems to July 17, 2018, but stated that they would also continue to receive security updates through the end of extended support. In August 2016, citing a "strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel", Microsoft retracted the decision and stated that it would continue to support Windows 7 and 8.1 on Skylake hardware through the end of their extended support lifecycle. However, the restrictions on newer CPU microarchitectures remain in force.
In March 2017, a Microsoft knowledge base article was discovered which implies that devices using Intel Kaby Lake, AMD Bristol Ridge, or AMD Ryzen, would be blocked from using Windows Update entirely. In addition, official Windows 7 device drivers are not available for the Kaby Lake and Ryzen platforms.
Security updates released since March 2018 contain bugs which affect processors that do not support SSE2 extensions, including all Pentium III processors. Microsoft initially stated that it would attempt to resolve the issue, and prevented installation of the affected patches on these systems. However, on June 15, 2018, Microsoft retroactively modified its support documents to remove the promise that this bug would be resolved, replacing it with a statement suggesting that users obtain a newer processor. This effectively ends future patch support for Windows 7 on these systems.
Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was announced on March 18, 2010. A beta was released on July 12, 2010. The final version was released to the public on February 22, 2011. At the time of release, it was not made mandatory. It was available via Windows Update, direct download, or by ordering the Windows 7 SP1 DVD. The service pack is on a much smaller scale than those released for previous versions of Windows, particularly Windows Vista.
Windows 7 Service Pack 1 adds support for Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), a 256-bit instruction set extension for processors, and improves IKEv2 by adding additional identification fields such as E-mail ID to it. In addition, it adds support for Advanced Format 512e as well as additional Identity Federation Services. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 also resolves a bug related to HDMI audio and another related to printing XPS documents.
In Europe, the automatic nature of the BrowserChoice.eu feature was dropped in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 in February 2011 and remained absent for 14 months despite Microsoft reporting that it was still present, subsequently described by Microsoft as a "technical error". As a result, in March 2013 the European Commission fined Microsoft €561 million to deter companies from reneging on settlement promises.
The Platform Update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 was released on February 26, 2013 after a pre-release version had been released on November 5, 2012. It is also included with Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7.
It includes enhancements to Direct2D, DirectWrite, Direct3D, Windows Imaging Component (WIC), Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP), Windows Animation Manager (WAM), XPS Document API, H.264 Video Decoder and JPEG XR decoder. However support for Direct3D 11.1 is limited as the update does not include DXGI/WDDM 1.2 from Windows 8, making unavailable many related APIs and significant features such as stereoscopic frame buffer, feature level 11_1 and optional features for levels 10_0, 10_1 and 11_0.
In October 2013, a Disk Cleanup Wizard addon was released that lets users delete outdated Windows updates on Windows 7 SP1, thus reducing the size of the WinSxS directory. This update backports some features found in Windows 8.
Windows Management Framework 5.0 includes updates to Windows PowerShell, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC), Windows Remote Management (WinRM), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). It was released on February 24, 2016 and was eventually superseded by Windows Management Framework 5.1.
In May 2016, Microsoft released a "Convenience rollup update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1", which contains all patches released between the release of SP1 and April 2016. The rollup is not available via Windows Update, and must be downloaded manually. This package can also be integrated into a Windows 7 installation image.
Since October 2016, all security and reliability updates are cumulative. Downloading and installing updates that address individual problems is no longer possible, but the number of updates that must be downloaded to fully update the OS is significantly reduced.
Windows 7 received critical acclaim, with critics noting the increased usability and functionality when compared with its predecessor, Windows Vista. CNET gave Windows 7 Home Premium a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating that it "is more than what Vista should have been, [and] it's where Microsoft needed to go". PC Magazine rated it a 4 out of 5 saying that Windows 7 is a "big improvement" over Windows Vista, with fewer compatibility problems, a retooled taskbar, simpler home networking and faster start-up. Maximum PC gave Windows 7 a rating of 9 out of 10 and called Windows 7 a "massive leap forward" in usability and security, and praised the new Taskbar as "worth the price of admission alone". PC World called Windows 7 a "worthy successor" to Windows XP and said that speed benchmarks showed Windows 7 to be slightly faster than Windows Vista. PC World also named Windows 7 one of the best products of the year. In its review of Windows 7, Engadget said that Microsoft had taken a "strong step forward" with Windows 7 and reported that speed is one of Windows 7's major selling points—particularly for the netbook sets. Laptop Magazine gave Windows 7 a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and said that Windows 7 makes computing more intuitive, offered better overall performance including a "modest to dramatic" increase in battery life on laptop computers. TechRadar gave Windows 7 a rating of 5 out of 5 stars, concluding that "it combines the security and architectural improvements of Windows Vista with better performance than XP can deliver on today's hardware. No version of Windows is ever perfect, but Windows 7 really is the best release of Windows yet." The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Telegraph also gave Windows 7 favorable reviews.
Some Windows Vista Ultimate users have expressed concerns over Windows 7 pricing and upgrade options. Windows Vista Ultimate users wanting to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 must either pay $219.99 to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate or perform a clean install, which requires them to reinstall all of their programs.
The changes to User Account Control on Windows 7 were criticized for being potentially insecure, as an exploit was discovered allowing untrusted software to be launched with elevated privileges by exploiting a trusted component. Peter Bright of Ars Technica argued that "the way that the Windows 7 UAC 'improvements' have been made completely exempts Microsoft's developers from having to do that work themselves. With Windows 7, it's one rule for Redmond, another one for everyone else." Microsoft's Windows kernel engineer Mark Russinovich acknowledged the problem, but noted that malware can also compromise a system when users agree to a prompt.
In July 2009, in only eight hours, pre-orders of Windows 7 at amazon.co.uk surpassed the demand which Windows Vista had had in its first 17 weeks. It became the highest-grossing pre-order in Amazon's history, surpassing sales of the previous record holder, the seventh Harry Potter book. After 36 hours, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions sold out in Japan. Two weeks after its release its market share had surpassed that of Snow Leopard, released two months previously as the most recent update to Apple's Mac OS X operating system. According to Net Applications, Windows 7 reached a 4% market share in less than three weeks; in comparison, it took Windows Vista seven months to reach the same mark. As of February 2014, Windows 7 has a market share of 47.49% according to Net Applications; in comparison, Windows XP had a market share of 29.23%.
On March 4, 2010, Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 90 million Windows 7 licenses. By April 23, 2010, Windows 7 had sold more than 100 million copies in six months, which made it Microsoft's fastest-selling operating system. As of June 23, 2010, Windows 7 has sold 150 million copies which made it the fastest selling operating system in history with seven copies sold every second. Based on worldwide data taken during June 2010 from Windows Update 46% of Windows 7 PCs run the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. According to Stephen Baker of the NPD Group during April 2010 in the United States 77% of PCs sold at retail were pre-installed with the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. As of July 22, 2010, Windows 7 had sold 175 million copies. On October 21, 2010, Microsoft announced that more than 240 million copies of Windows 7 had been sold. Three months later, on January 27, 2011, Microsoft announced total sales of 300 million copies of Windows 7. On July 12, 2011, the sales figure was refined to over 400 million end-user licenses and business installations. As of July 9, 2012, over 630 million licenses have been sold; this number includes licenses sold to OEMs for new PCs.
As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 was studied by United States federal regulators who oversee the company's operations following the 2001 United States v. Microsoft Corp. settlement. According to status reports filed, the three-member panel began assessing prototypes of the new operating system in February 2008. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said, "[Microsoft's] challenge for Windows 7 will be how can they continue to add features that consumers will want that also don't run afoul of regulators."
In order to comply with European antitrust regulations, Microsoft proposed the use of a "ballot" screen containing download links to competing web browsers, thus removing the need for a version of Windows completely without Internet Explorer, as previously planned. In response to criticism involving Windows 7 E and concerns from manufacturers about possible consumer confusion if a version of Windows 7 with Internet Explorer were shipped later, after one without Internet Explorer, Microsoft announced that it would discard the separate version for Europe and ship the standard upgrade and full packages worldwide.
As with the previous version of Windows, an N version, which does not come with Windows Media Player, has been released in Europe, but only for sale directly from Microsoft sales websites and selected others.
A physical processor is the same as a processor package, a socket, or a CPU.
AppLocker is an application whitelisting technology introduced with Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. It allows restricting which programs users can execute based on the program's path, publisher, or hash, and in an enterprise can be configured via Group Policy.Backup and Restore
Backup and Restore (formerly Windows Backup and Restore Center) is a component of Microsoft Windows introduced in Windows Vista and included in later versions that allow users to create backups and restore from backups created earlier. It is a replacement of NTBackup, which was included in previous Windows versions. It became a deprecated feature in Windows 8 before being completely removed in Windows 8.1 in favor of File History. However, in Windows 10, it was re-incorporated into the operating system.Chess Titans
Chess Titans is a chess game with 3D graphics developed by Oberon Games and included in Windows Vista and Windows 7 Home Premium, Business/Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. It is a fully animated, photorealistic interactive game with ten difficulty levels. It can be played by two participants, or one player against the computer.Features new to Windows 7
Some of the new features included in Windows 7 are advancements in touch, speech and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, support for additional file formats, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, and kernel improvements.Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is the eleventh and final version of the Internet Explorer web browser by Microsoft. It was officially released on October 17, 2013 for Windows 8.1 and on November 7, 2013 for Windows 7. The browser was also shipped with Windows 10 on its release on July 29, 2015, but Microsoft Edge is the default browser in this version of Windows. It is the default browser shipped with Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer to be offered for installation on any given Windows operating system will continue to be supported with security updates, lasting until the end of the support lifecycle for that Windows operating system. On Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, only Internet Explorer 11 will receive security updates for the remainder of those Windows versions' support lifecycles.While Internet Explorer 10 will reach end of support on January 31, 2020, IE 11 will be the only supported version of Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. IE 11 will be available for piloting on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard starting Spring of 2019.Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded Compact (Windows CE) or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.
Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer (PC) market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. Apple came to see Windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in GUI development as implemented on products such as the Lisa and Macintosh (eventually settled in court in Microsoft's favor in 1993). On PCs, Windows is still the most popular operating system. However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android, because of the massive growth in sales of Android smartphones. In 2014, the number of Windows devices sold was less than 25% that of Android devices sold. This comparison however may not be fully relevant, as the two operating systems traditionally target different platforms. Still, numbers for server use of Windows (that are comparable to competitors) show one third market share, similar to that for end user use.
As of October 2018, the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets, smartphones and embedded devices is Windows 10. The most recent versions for server computers is Windows Server 2019. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One video game console.Purble Place
Purble Place is a suite of three computer games for children and teenagers. Developed by Oberon Games for Microsoft, it was introduced in Windows Vista and also is included in Windows 7.Snipping Tool
Snipping Tool is a Microsoft Windows screenshot utility included in Windows Vista and later. It can take still screenshots of an open window, rectangular areas, a free-form area, or the entire screen. Snips can then be annotated using a mouse or a tablet, stored as an image file (PNG, GIF, or JPEG file) or an MHTML file, or e-mailed. Snipping Tool allows for basic image editing of the snapshot, with different colored pens, an eraser, and a highlighter.
Before Windows Vista, Snipping Tool was included in Experience Pack for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. It was originally released as a PowerToy for the Microsoft Tablet PC launch on November 7, 2002.
Windows 10 adds a new "Delay" function, which allows for timed capture of screenshots. It was replaced by Snip & Sketch in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update but it is still available in October 2018 Update. Microsoft says that it will be removed in a future update.Sticky Notes
Sticky Notes is a desktop notes application included in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. It was present in Windows Vista as a gadget for the Windows Sidebar, and originated in Windows XP Tablet Edition in 2002. The program allows users to take notes using post-it note–like windows on their desktop. According to a Microsoft employee, there were eight million monthly Sticky Notes users as of April 2016.User Account Control
User Account Control (UAC) is a technology and security infrastructure introduced with Microsoft's Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008
operating systems, with a more relaxed version also present in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 10. It aims to improve the security of Microsoft Windows by limiting application software to standard user privileges until an administrator authorizes an increase or elevation. In this way, only applications trusted by the user may receive administrative privileges, and malware should be kept from compromising the operating system. In other words, a user account may have administrator privileges assigned to it, but applications that the user runs do not inherit those privileges unless they are approved beforehand or the user explicitly authorizes it.
UAC uses Mandatory Integrity Control to isolate running processes with different privileges. To reduce the possibility of lower-privilege applications communicating with higher-privilege ones, another new technology, User Interface Privilege Isolation, is used in conjunction with User Account Control to isolate these processes from each other. One prominent use of this is Internet Explorer 7's "Protected Mode".Windows 10
Windows 10 is a series of personal computer operating systems produced by Microsoft as part of its Windows NT family of operating systems. It is the successor to Windows 8.1, and was released to manufacturing on July 15, 2015, and broadly released for retail sale on July 29, 2015. Windows 10 receives new builds on an ongoing basis, which are available at no additional cost to users, in addition to additional test builds of Windows 10 which are available to Windows Insiders. Devices in enterprise environments can receive these updates at a slower pace, or use long-term support milestones that only receive critical updates, such as security patches, over their ten-year lifespan of extended support.One of Windows 10's most notable features is support for universal apps, an expansion of the Metro-style apps first introduced in Windows 8. Universal apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code—including PCs, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems, Xbox One, Surface Hub and Mixed Reality. The Windows user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a touchscreen-optimized interface based on available input devices—particularly on 2-in-1 PCs, both interfaces include an updated Start menu which incorporates elements of Windows 7's traditional Start menu with the tiles of Windows 8. Windows 10 also introduced the Microsoft Edge web browser, a virtual desktop system, a window and desktop management feature called Task View, support for fingerprint and face recognition login, new security features for enterprise environments, and DirectX 12.
Windows 10 received mostly positive reviews upon its original release in July 2015. Critics praised Microsoft's decision to provide a desktop-oriented interface in line with previous versions of Windows, contrasting the tablet-oriented approach of 8, although Windows 10's touch-oriented user interface mode was criticized for containing regressions upon the touch-oriented interface of Windows 8. Critics also praised the improvements to Windows 10's bundled software over Windows 8.1, Xbox Live integration, as well as the functionality and capabilities of the Cortana personal assistant and the replacement of Internet Explorer with Edge. However, media outlets have been critical of changes to operating system behaviors, including mandatory update installation, privacy concerns over data collection performed by the OS for Microsoft and its partners and the adware-like tactics used to promote the operating system on its release.Microsoft aimed to have Windows 10 installed on at least one billion devices in the two to three years following its release (which hasn't happened four years later). It became more popular than Windows 7 (though in 2019 Windows 7 is still more used in Africa and countries elsewhere, e.g in Asia). As of April 2019, the operating system has an estimated usage share of 56% of all the Windows versions on traditional PCs, and thus 45% of traditional PCs run Windows 10. Across all platforms (PC, mobile, tablet and console), 40% of devices run some kind of Windows, Windows 10 or older.Windows 7 editions
Windows 7, a major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system, was available in six different editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Only Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate were widely available at retailers. The other editions focus on other markets, such as the software development world or enterprise use. All editions support 32-bit IA-32 CPUs and all editions except Starter support 64-bit x64 CPUs. 64-bit installation media are not included in Home-Basic edition packages, but can be obtained separately from Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, the features for all editions of Windows 7 are stored on the machine, regardless of which edition is in use. Users who wish to upgrade to an edition of Windows 7 with more features could use Windows Anytime Upgrade to purchase the upgrade and to unlock the features of those editions. Microsoft announced Windows 7 pricing information for some editions on June 25, 2009, and Windows Anytime Upgrade and Family Pack pricing on July 31, 2009.Windows 8
Windows 8 is a personal computer operating system that was produced by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, with general availability on October 26, 2012.Windows 8 introduced major changes to the operating system's platform and user interface to improve its user experience on tablets, where Windows was now competing with mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS. In particular, these changes included a touch-optimized Windows shell based on Microsoft's "Metro" design language, the Start screen (which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles), a new platform for developing "apps" with an emphasis on touchscreen input, integration with online services (including the ability to synchronize apps and settings between devices), and Windows Store, an online store for downloading and purchasing new software. Windows 8 added support for USB 3.0, Advanced Format hard drives, near field communications, and cloud computing. Additional security features were introduced, such as built-in antivirus software, integration with Microsoft SmartScreen phishing filtering service and support for UEFI Secure Boot on supported devices with UEFI firmware, to prevent malware from infecting the boot process.
Windows 8 was released to a mixed critical reception. Although reaction towards its performance improvements, security enhancements, and improved support for touchscreen devices was positive, the new user interface of the operating system was widely criticized for being potentially confusing and difficult to learn, especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen. Despite these shortcomings, 60 million Windows 8 licenses were sold through January 2013, a number that included both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new PCs.On October 17, 2013, Microsoft released Windows 8.1. It addressed some aspects of Windows 8 that were criticized by reviewers and early adopters and incorporated additional improvements to various aspects of the operating system. Windows 8 was ultimately succeeded by Windows 10 in July 2015. Microsoft stopped providing support and updates for Windows 8 RTM on January 12, 2016, per Microsoft lifecycle policies regarding service packs, Windows 8.1 must be installed to maintain support and receive further updates.Windows Aero
Windows Aero (a backronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open) is a design language introduced in the Windows Vista operating system. The changes made in the Aero interface affected many elements of the Windows interface, including the incorporation of a new look, along with changes in interface guidelines reflecting appearance, layout, and the phrasing and tone of instructions and other text in applications.
Windows Aero was in force during the development of Windows Vista and Windows 7. In 2012, with the development of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, Microsoft moved on to a design language codenamed "Metro".Windows Anytime Upgrade
Windows Anytime Upgrade is a discontinued component of Windows Vista and Windows 7 that enabled users to upgrade their editions of Windows (e.g., from Home Basic to Ultimate). Pricing for upgrades purchased through Anytime Upgrade was also reduced when compared with traditional retail packaging. In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, the feature was re-branded as Add features to Windows and was used to purchase an upgrade license to the Pro edition of the operating system or to add Windows Media Center to an existing Pro edition installation. However, support for this feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 was dropped on October 31, 2015.Windows Calculator
Windows Calculator is a software calculator included in all versions of Windows.Windows NT 6 startup process
The startup process of Windows NT 6 (Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008) and their successors differs from the startup process part of previous versions of Windows.
In this article, unless otherwise specified, what is said about "Windows Vista" also applies to all later NT operating systems. For Windows Vista, the boot sector or UEFI loads the Windows Boot Manager (a file named BOOTMGR on either the system or the boot partition), accesses the Boot Configuration Data store and uses the information to load the operating system. Then, the BCD invokes the boot loader and in turn proceeds to initiate the Windows kernel. Initialization at this point proceeds similarly to previous Windows NT versions.Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 is a server operating system produced by Microsoft. It was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009 and became generally available on October 22, 2009.Enhancements include new functionality for Active Directory, new virtualization and management features, version 7.5 of the Internet Information Services web server and support for up to 256 logical processors. It is built on the same kernel used with the client-oriented Windows 7, and is the first 64-bit–only operating system released from Microsoft.
Seven editions of Windows Server 2008 R2 were released: Foundation, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, HPC Server and Itanium, as well as Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. A home server variant called Windows Home Server 2011 was also released. It was succeeded by Windows Server 2012.Windows Virtual PC
Windows Virtual PC (successor to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, and Connectix Virtual PC) is a virtualization program for Microsoft Windows. In July 2006 Microsoft released the Windows version as a free product. In August 2006, Microsoft announced the Macintosh version would not be ported to Intel-based Macintosh computers, effectively discontinuing the product as PowerPC-based Macintosh computers are no longer manufactured. The newest release, Windows Virtual PC, does not run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 7, and does not officially support MS-DOS or operating systems earlier than Windows XP Professional SP3 as guests. The older versions, which support a wider range of host and guest operating systems, remain available. Starting with Windows 8, Hyper-V supersedes Windows Virtual PC.
Virtual PC virtualizes a standard IBM PC compatible device and its associated hardware. Supported Windows operating systems can run inside Virtual PC. Other operating systems such as Linux may run, but are not officially supported, and Microsoft does not provide the necessary "Virtual Machine Additions" (which include essential drivers) for Linux.
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