Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 10:19 UK

Microsoft shows 'faster' Windows

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Microsoft's Leila Martine unveils the new operating system's key features

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Intel and Microsoft say the Windows 7 operating system (OS) will give "better battery life and quicker boot times".

The firms made the claim at a press event in San Francisco where engineers put the new OS through its paces.

Microsoft is hoping its new system will perform as promised and avoid a repeat of the negative publicity associated with Windows Vista.

Both firms said they had collaborated more closely than ever before to deliver a product "they are proud of".

"We both made a larger investment than ever before on the engineer side to improve on the hardware and software," Microsoft's Mike Angiulo told the BBC.

The two firms, colloquially known as Wintel, said that the partnership involved hundreds of engineers and was started the day after Windows Vista was released more than two years ago.

Windows 7 screenshot (Microsoft)
Windows 7 goes on sale 22 October

"We have spent 20 years getting to know each other and have businesses that are very well aligned," said Steve Smith, vice-president of Intel's digital enterprise group.

Dean Takahashi of technology blog VentureBeat said that Microsoft's previous OS - the heavily criticised Windows Vista - had to be improved upon.

"The collaboration was in the name of making Windows 7 better and more bug-free than the January 2007 launch of Windows Vista, which was broadly criticised in the industry and was one of the best advertisements for buying a Mac in history," he said.

Energy efficiency

At a media launch in San Francisco, engineers put Windows 7 and the underlying Intel chip technology through a few of its paces to show the advancements they have made on previous operating systems, namely Windows XP and Vista.

These included claims of energy efficiency, security, and performance responsiveness.

Among the demos was one that showed two identical Lenovo T400 laptops playing a video. One used Windows 7 while another used Vista.

Microsoft says that The Windows 7 machine saw a 20% gain in power efficiency thanks to something called "timer coalescing" . This keeps the processor in low power states as long as possible to extend battery life.

powe efficiency chart
Engineers claimed power savings up to 20% using Windows 7

"We're achieving a very significant amount of battery savings," said Microsoft's principal programme manager Ruston Panabaker, who would not be drawn on exactly how much overall battery life Windows 7 will save.

Wintel engineers said the end performance would depend on how PC manufacturers configured their machines.

The same explanation was given following an example where engineers booted the system up in just 11 seconds.

"What we showed today was real capability in actual scenarios," Intel's Mr Smith told BBC News.

"But the final choice of what is on the retail shelf is something the OEMs (manufacturers) will configure."

Ina Fried of CNET, who has covered Microsoft for more than five years, said this issue had, in the past, been something of a hurdle for Microsoft and Intel.

"One of the challenges of the Windows eco-system is in order for the computer users to get the benefit of all this work, it's down to what choices the PC maker makes. It requires them all to be talking to one another all the time.

"In the Vista time-frame, we saw not necessarily the kind of communication that leads to happy users and I think they have really tried to address that this time.

"We will see how far they have really got when we see those Windows systems shipping in October," Ms Fried told BBC News.

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