Windows 7 and the mobile computer

This week is the big PDC show that Microsoft puts on annually and the excitement has appeared all over.  Microsoft made it clear pre-show that this would be the official first look at Windows 7 and attendees would be given the alpha version of the OS to take home and play with.  We have been following everything that has been emerging about Windows 7 at the PDC, especially the parts that affect mobile computing.  That’s no surprise given the passion we have for mobile PCs.

What we have seen so far makes us think that as far as the mobile PC is concerned, Windows 7 will provide… well, it’s not too clear.  One of the biggest concerns we have with Vista is that it is too big and all-encompassing for lesser mobile PCs and we’ve even called for a Vista Lite version that works better with netbooks and the like.  Word had leaked some time ago that Windows 7 would take a modular approach allowing users to only install the bits they need for a given PC.  This is exactly the right approach to take for mobile PCs and it would in effect create that Lite version we crave.

Microsoft appeared on stage at one of the keynotes with a netbook in hand to show how well it ran Windows 7.  This excited us and a host of others who could see first-hand that the next OS from Microsoft would indeed be a mobile computer’s delight.  Ars Tecnica interviewed Steve Sinofsky about this netbook and Windows 7 and after reading it a couple of times I’m more confused than ever about how well it may run on mobile PCs. 

We just want one system, one "Windows" that will work fine, and thenwe’ll… there are so many more features that we didn’t get a chance totalk about, but there are things that if you want to control more ofwhat’s installed, it’ll be easier. Not as much at setup time, it’ll bemore post-setup. It’s more of an advanced thing, when you’re justlaying down the disk you don’t want to ask 50 questions no oneunderstands. Although if you read our blog, lots of people think thatwould be really good to have this advanced setup.

So the modular approach sounds like it will be post-setup?  That means you install the whole thing and then manually go in later and remove what you don’t need for your netbook.  Isn’t that what we have now?  How does that improve the out-of-box-experience (OOBE) for Windows 7 on mobile computers?  The devil is in the details and we just don’t have any right now so it’s too early to tell if Microsoft has addressed anything yet.  We’re hoping.  In the meantime the SuperSite for Windows is a great place to learn all about Windows 7.  As they say it’s "Vista done right" although there are no doubt some who would call it "Vista done over".

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