All new products have a killer feature - the one function in new technology or software that stands out and sways you when it comes to parting with your hard-earned cash. We look at the killer function in Windows 7 - it's not what you think.

In the case of Windows, there have been precious few versions that included a truly killer feature.

Windows 3.1 was a killer version because it allowed PCs to finally break (or at least reduce the impact of) the dreaded 640K barrier.

Windows NT was a killer version (at least for power users) because it introduced the concepts of client/server security and true, hardware-based memory protection to the environment.

Windows XP was a killer version because it bridged the gap between the consumer (Windows 9x) and business (Windows NT) computing spaces.

And though generally considered a flop, Vista was a killer version in that it forced the Windows ecosystem to evolve beyond the Windows XP paradigm and thus paved the way for Windows 7.

Which brings me to my main point: Windows 7 is a killer version - but not for the reasons you think. It's not because it fixes Vista's many faults - it doesn't. Rather, it glosses them over with fresh paint and behavioural tricks.

It's also not because of the new UI. Although I'm a huge fan of the new task-bar-driven interface, much of the underlying concept is merely a rip-off of the Mac's ageing dock metaphor.

And it's not because Windows 7 is somehow lighter than Vista - testing shows it takes up about the same amount of RAM when executing an identical workload.

No, the real killer feature of Windows 7 is scalability. Simply put, Windows 7 does a better job of taking advantage of the available hardware resources than its predecessors. This scalability edge manifests itself in the form of better performance under complex, multiprocess, multithreaded workloads.

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  2. More about the killer feature in Windows 7