When Windows Vista went RTM (Release to Manufacturing) at the beginning of November 2006 it was supposed to be the jewel in Microsofts crown. But within days of its release it was bogged down in a quagmire of hardware and software compatibility issues that took Microsoft months to properly address.
Moreover, when it came to comparing the performance of Vista to XP it quickly became clear that the new OS couldnt keep up with the operating system that it was supposed to replace.
Even now, almost two years on, Vista only barely manages to beat XP in benchmarks tests.
Then things got worse for Microsoft when the general public (as opposed to the techo-literate crowd that frequent sites such as this one) started to equate Vista to trouble. Microsofts own Mojave Experiment (which was more of an ad than experiment) showed that people who hadnt even used Vista had already made up their minds that the OS was garbage and that they should avoid it like the plague.
But it didnt end there. Apple decided to put increasing pressure on the beleaguered OS by releasing adverts that played into that whole Vista is awful theme. Apples latest ads even pokes fun at the fact that Microsoft is spending money on Vistas image rather then getting on with the job of fixing the OS (not true, but who said that Apple ads had to be true?).
However, Microsoft can soon close the book on the whole Vista chapter and move on to a new one Windows 7, or as I like to call it, Lucky 7.
Why Lucky 7? Because its Microsofts chance to put a new wrapper around what theyre already selling, slap on a new name and distance itself from all that negativity associated with the botched release of Vista (hey, car makers have been doing it for years!).
So, what does Microsoft have to do to prevent Lucky 7 falling victim to the same problems that beset Vista?
The truth is, not much. In fact, if all Microsoft did with Windows 7 was go through the code and change every instance of Vista to 7, most of the problems that affected Vista would no longer be an issue.
Capability issues have, on the whole, been fixed thanks to patches and updated software and driver (if youre still waiting for some old bit of hardware of software to be supported by Vista, then Id give up now, because it if hasnt been fixed by now then a future fix is unlikely).
Performance is also no longer a major issue. So as long as Microsoft doesnt change anything critical, things should be just fine on that front (and we already know that 7s kernel will be the same as that of Vista).
Sure, wed all like the OS to be faster, but as long as its just as fast as Vista is now, I think people will let it slide. Another factor in Microsofts favor is that over the past two years processors and GPUs have become faster, and PCs now ship with more RAM than they did, which means that Lucky 7 will benefit from this free performance boost, thanks to Moores Laws. I dont want to give you the idea that Windows 7 is just going to be a rebranded version of Vista. Its not. But at the same time I think that people need to be realistic as to what Windows 7 will bring to the table over and above what Vista already does.