Michael Fortin: Windows 7 Efficiency

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The Windows 7 project involved very efficient software engineering planning and execution. It is no surprise that an equivalent level of efficiency exists throughout the OS (efficiency in how the OS deals with faults, threads, memory management, power management, process management, window management, graphics, audio, local search, diagnostics, and on and on - truly excellent, and efficient, engineering).

Michael Fortin is a Distinguished Engineer in the Windows Core Operating System Division. His team builds the technologies that help make Windows 7 reliable, stable and performant, which are core ingredients in any highly efficient general purpose operating system. You'll hear us talk about Windows 7 as a very efficient general purpose operating system quite a bit over the coming months. In fact, if I had to sum up Windows 7 in one word it would be Efficient.

Michael's team also builds the troubleshooting and diagnostics systems in Windows, including the internal mechanisms that construct fault data packages and sends them to cloud-based components which receive data from millions of clients running Windows 7. Michael's team is a global team - engineers are located in multiple places around the world including a stellar team of engineers located in Beijing, China (you'll meet them in the future right here on C9).

You may remember Michael from his last interview on Channel 9 that covered his work on Vista's SuperFetch and ReadyBoost technologies. Yep, these great technologies are alive and well in Windows 7 and have evolved to meet the needs of the evolving system and help add to the overall efficiency of Windows. (There, I wrote "efficiency" again...)

Over the past year or so, Michael's team has received, analyzed and acted upon a very large amount of data sent from Windows 7 Beta and RC running on a variety of PCs with a variety of hardware and software configurations in place. This data was used to construct new system features, like the Fault Tolerant Heap, and to engineer updates to existing mechanisms to make them more robust or performant or reliable or stable... You will meet some of his team here on C9 in the future and we will dig into many of the mechanisms Michael touched on in this conversation (Fault Tolerant Heap, Troubleshooting and Diagnostics, etc).

Here, Michael and I chat about the work his team has done, the engineering philosophy that has driven efficiency into Windows at all levels (from the kernel to the shell), the knowledge his team has gained about how Windows is used in the wild, what the most common problems have been and the solutions that are based on this important telemetry data. So, for all of you out there who chose to send fault data from your PC to Microsoft - THANK YOU. You truly have helped, in a fundamental way, to make Windows 7 the most efficient general purpose operating system from Microsoft to date. Yeah. True story.




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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Very good.

  • User profile image

    what is to stop the "self healing tree" whatever from geting massive fake information on somthing like explorer.exe is bad delete it. or somthing efictivly making tons of computers comit suiside? 


    just wondering... 

  • User profile image

    Well, only signed system executables and system dlls would be involved in the scenarios we discussed here (self-healing,automatic fault recovery)... I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. What do you mean?


  • User profile image

    Hey! Wouldn't be nice to film those videos in places like Times Square, or Niagara Falls or... you name it! That will be one big Channel 9 Revolution! Big Smile


    Kinda' off-topic, so, sorry!

  • User profile image

    so MS is on track with the release. Congrats!


    Hopefully RTM would not be as buggy as RC was.



  • User profile image

    Thanks Smiley Stay tuned for more interviews with Michael's team. They are amazing engineers.


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