Microsoft did officially confirm Windows 7’s delivery in 2010, but additional details on the next version of the Windows operating system are scarce to say the least, as the project is built under the watchful eye of Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group. In 2007, one piece of information did manage to find its way from under the Windows Omerta, courtesy of Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Eric Traut – namely the Windows 7 MinWin core. Half a year later, and after Windows 7 M1, voices appeared claiming that MinWin would not make it into Windows 7.
Delivered as Milestone 1 build in January 2008, according to the leaked details, Windows 7 is making its way toward Milestone 2. Still, the successor of Windows Vista, offered not only to Microsoft’s closest partners but also to antitrust regulators for review at the start of 2008, is still in its embryonic phase. As a matter of fact, Windows 7 M1 had to be deployed on top of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and in this respect it was correlated with the RTM version of the service pack. In this context, Windows 7 offered just a taste of the next iteration of Windows, without bringing to the table a consistent evolution.
One of the most prominent aspects of the move from Vista to Windows 7, the MinWin core was not included into Milestone 1. The development milestone build of Windows 7 featured the same kernel as the latest Windows client, and little additional changes. No trace whatsoever of MinWin. Those familiar with the development process of new Windows platforms already know that the next-generation operating systems are initially very similar to their predecessors. It happened to the early builds of Longhorn (the Longhorn that ended up as Vista not Windows Server 2008) and to Windows XP, and it is happening to Vista and Windows 7. But this is not to say that Microsoft is not hammering away at MinWin.
Traut made one thing clear back in 2007, and the video fragment embedded at the bottom will offer proof of this. MinWin “is the core of Windows 7,” he stated, after he explained that Windows 7 was indeed the successor of Windows Vista and praising Sinofsky for the brilliant product number choice instead of a codename. “It is a collection of components that we’ve taken out,” Traut added. “At its core, the kernel and the components that make up the very core of the operating system, actually it’s pretty streamlined. It’s still bigger than I’d like it to be but we’ve taken a shot recently at really stripping out all of the layers above and making sure that we have a very clean architectural layer.”
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