Windows Vista was heavily criticized for being a bloated operating system which utilized far too many system resources. Whether this was down to poor programming, or embedded services remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Vista has a terrible reputation and a low point in Microsoft’s history. Some of you might remember, the gadgets bar which contained a whole host of intriguing add-on including weather reports and system diagnostics. While these additions looked pretty, they impacted on performance and increased RAM utilization. However, that’s not to say the gadgets bar was a rubbish idea and Microsoft allowed the end-user to enable this functionality in Windows 7.
On the other hand, this feature was disabled in Windows 10, probably due to Microsoft’s Store and integrating applications into the Start Menu. The Windows ethos has always revolved around choice, and I’m pretty sure there’s many users out there who like to see widgets/gadgets on their desktop. That’s why I’m confused by their omission in Windows 10. Despite this, Microsoft appears to be listening to user-feedback, and preparing a huge update called Redstone. We don’t know exactly what this update will entail, but early indications show the resurgence of desktop gadgets. Instead of being locked to one corner, it seems the gadgets menu is more compact. Theoretically, it’s designed to quickly access essential tools or check system parameters. Clearly, Microsoft is planning a substantial update and it will be interesting to see what Redstone brings to the table.
The monthly Steam Hardware Survey is fascinating and provides a wealth of data regarding popular system configurations. Valve’s latest figures show the increased adoption of Windows 10 64 bit to 26.63 percent. This marks a fairly notable change of 2.24 percent from the last survey. Looking at the data in more detail, we can see the majority of the new adoptions are from Windows 7 users. Although, there is a very slight change from Windows Vista, 8, and 8.1.
Linux figures remain virtually unchanged despite Valve’s attempt to push SteamOS. Perhaps, Windows 10 is an enticing prospect for PC gamers due to the possibilities of DirectX 12. Previously, this low-level API was only used on theoretical benchmarks, but games like Ashes of the Singularity and the upcoming Deus Ex title will use DirectX 12. Only time will tell, how much this impacts on performance though.
On another note, the majority of PC gamers are technologically minded and aware of Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade programme. While there are some concerns regarding privacy, it seems this isn’t enough to deter people from using Microsoft’s latest operating system. It’s amazing to see how quickly Windows 10 has been adopted compared to Windows Vista, 8 and 8.1. Although, I do think many users love Windows 7 and it will take a lot of convincing to make them switch.
As of 13th January, 2014, Microsoft’s Windows 7 is no longer under mainstream support, so will no longer receive any new product updates or features. The operating system has now moved into what is known as the extended support phase, a period in which critical security updates will still be issues, and will last until 14th January 2020.
Windows 7 has been Microsoft’s most popular operating system since XP –– and is currently Microsoft’s OS market leader. Within six months of its release in late-2009, Windows 7 sold over 100 million copies, making it Microsoft’s fastest-selling OS to date. After the major GUI overhaul of Windows 8, and with its predecessor Vista considered an unstable failure, many users stuck with Windows 7 instead of upgrading.
With the technical preview version already available, Windows 10 is expected for full release later this year.