More details about Microsoft’s client hypervisor for Windows appear

Posted by Kenneth van Surksum   |   Monday, February 7th, 2011   |  

In July last year, reported that the first details about HyperV 3.0, which appeared online on a French publication. According to that publication, the Hypervisor will not run a full copy of Windows in its parent partition, but a minimal part of the OS, which Microsoft internally calls codename MinWin.

Also details appeared on how Microsoft will integrate its application virtualization solution App-V in Windows so that customers can run XP, Vista, 7 and Linux applications on the same environment.

Now Manan Kakkar, who runs the Being Manan weblog discovered more information about the technology. Microsoft filed a patent in August last year called Windows Direct Experience. Windows Direct Experience would enable the OS to enter into a sandboxed mode to launch special purpose applications like Media Center. Basically this means that these applications are launched as VM instances.


The abstract of the patent:

Described is a technology by which a computer system operates in a mode that is different from a general purpose operating mode, upon detection of a special actuation mechanism coupled to the computing device. For example, actuation of a special hardware button may boot or resume a sleeping computer system into a direct experience upon actuation, including by launching a special program corresponding to that button. The computer system may thus enter a mode in which it mimics a special purpose device such as a consumer electronics device, e.g., a dedicated media player. When in a direct experience, the computer system may also operate in a constrained/sandboxed mode in which operating system limits available functionality to less than what is available when running as a general purpose computer system, e.g., keyboard operation and/or file access may be limited. Different actuation mechanisms may correspond to different modes.

The General Purpose OS will be the Windows as we know it today, also serving as the partent partition for a new version of Hyper-V. The starting of VMs can be triggered by specific button on a remote, which allow the start of a specific virtual instance. Also the system can be set to boot only into het VM environment.

The fact that Microsoft patented the technology doesn’t guarantee that it will actually make it into Microsoft’s next client OS Windows 8, though. It would make sense though, since the functionality appeared on several leaked documents detailing expected functionality for Windows 8 as detailed by Mary-Jo Foley over at ZDNet

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