Hardware drivers and how they interact with an operating system are key for battery drain. For instance, a driver that fails to let Windows turn off a Wi-Fi chip when users aren't surfing the Web could accidently result in poor battery life. Same with a graphics driver that isn't able to shift processing work from an overtaxed CPU to a fresh GPU.
Be patient, says analystJack Gold, an independent research analyst, says that it's still too early to condemn Windows 7. "[With release candidates,] Microsoft often has debug code inserted to find and document problems, and the code is not optimized," Gold said. "Same is true of the preliminary drivers available."
Drivers are not written by Microsoft, but by the component makers themselves, he said. Rather than simply recycling their Vista drivers, the hardware vendors need the final release of Windows 7, which only arrived last month, and "a little time to perform their magic."
While existing Windows XP netbooks may miss out on some of these optimizations, future models that ship with Windows 7 pre-installed may eventually have the same or longer battery life than XP that Microsoft has promised.
"It does not trouble me that current machines have less than optimum battery life, or performance for that matter. With all the resources Windows 7 will use on a device, optimization will take a little while to complete," Gold said.
- HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, discounts consumer Windows 7 PCs
- Microsoft retracts Windows 7 PC end-of-sales deadline
- Microsoft ends Windows 7 retail sales
- Microsoft promises IE11 on Windows 7
- Boutique PC seller laughs all the way to the bank on the back of Windows 7
- Microsoft starts auto-installing Windows 7 SP1 on consumer PCs Tuesday
- Microsoft warns of looming retirement for Windows 7 RTM
- Consumer Reports makes case for Windows 7 PCs
- Microsoft doubles support lifespan for consumer Windows 7, Vista
- At CES, Microsoft sets stage for lower Windows revenue
Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.
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