Windows 7 to boost solid-state drives

Microsoft is set to announce improved Windows support for solid-state drives at this week’s Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) conference.

In a follow up to last week’s unveiling of Windows 7 at PDC, Microsoft is this week focusing on the hardware support for the new operating system.

Several sessions at the WinHEC conference in LA will be devoted to solid-state drives, which have become increasingly prevalent in both low-end netbooks and more expensive business-oriented portables.

The outline for one session, entitled “Windows 7 enhancements for solid-state drives”, claims that “Microsoft is working with the industry as overall experience with SSD technologies grows, which results in planned Windows enhancements that take advantage of the latest updates to standardised command sets, such as ATA.”

Another panel discussion will focus on “How Windows and SSDs Can Provide the Best User Experience”.

Seagate will also deliver a session entitled “Is Your Disk Drive Going Away?” which will cover the emergence of solid-state drives.

Microsoft may have been prompted to act following stinging criticism of Vista’s failure to take full advantage of SSDs from SanDisk earlier this year.

“As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimised for flash-memory solid-state disks,” SanDisk CEO Eli Harari claimed. “The next generation controllers need to basically compensate for Vista shortfalls.”

Recent SSDs, such as Intel’s X25-M drive have made significant leaps forward in performance, but the high cost of the limited capacity drives remains a barrier to mainstream adoption.

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