A number of folks on the blog have asked for more details about how we build Windows—what’s the feature selection process, the daily build process, globalization, and so on. So in this post I want to offer a perspective on a couple of features that have been talked about a bunch, and also a perspective on talking about features and feature selection, says Steven.
Profile-based Setup: In terms of feature ideas, a number of you have suggested that we offer a way at setup time to configure Windows for a specific scenario. Some have suggested scenarios such as gaming, casual use, business productivity, web browsing, email, "lightweight usage", and so on. […]
Out of Box Experience - “OOBE” : The OOBE is really the place that customers first experience Windows on a new PC. For Windows 7 we are working closely with our OEM partners to make sure it is possible to deliver the most streamlined experience possible. Of course OEMs have a ton of flexibility and differentiation opportunties in what they offer as part of setting up a new PC, and what we want to do is make sure that the “core OS” portion of this is the absolute minimum required to get to the fun of using your PC. […]
Windows Features: If we install the typical installation of Windows as one that is basically all the features in the particular SKU a customer purchased, then what about the customer that wants to tweak what is installed and remove things? Customers might want to remove some features because they just never use them and don’t want to accidently use them or carry with them the “code” that might run.[…]
For customers that wish to remove, replace, or just prevent access to Windows components we have several available tools:
- Set Your Default Programs (or Set Program Access and Defaults). In Vista these features allow you to set the default programs/handlers by file type or protocol. This was introduced in Windows XP SP1. In Vista the SYDP was expanded and we expect all Microsoft software to properly register and employ this mechanism. So if you want to have a default email program, default handler for GIF, or your choice of web browser this is the user interface to use. Windows itself respects these defaults for all the file types it manages.
- Customizing the start menu or group policy. For quite some time, corporate admins have been creating “role-based” PCs by customizing the start menu (or even going way back to progman) to only show a specific set of programs. We see this a lot in internet cafes these days as well. The SPAD functionality takes this a step further and provides an end-user tool for removing access to installed email programs, web browsers, media players, instant messengers, and virtual machine runtimes.
- Removing code. Sometimes customers just want to remove code. With small footprint disks many folks have looked to remove more and more of Windows just to fit on SSDs. I’ve certainly seen some of the tiny Windows installations. The supported tool for removing code from Windows is to use the “Turn Windows Features on and off” (in Vista) user interface. There are over 80 features in this tool in premium Vista packages today.