First off, what is MinWin? Basically it’s the very basis of Windows, you need to think of it as the core of Windows. MinWin contains pretty much everything that Windows needs to boot and run independently, such as the Windows NT Kernel, memory manager, networking and drivers etc…
So what’s the big deal about this MinWin technology? Well we first started seeing MinWin playing a prominent part in Windows 7, but now it appears that it’s going to be playing an even bigger role in Windows 8. Windows 8 appears to have in excess of 6,000 references to MinWin, which is 60 times more than the 100 references or so that can be found in Windows 7.
MinWin is Microsoft’s effort to create the smallest possible standalone, bootable, core of Windows. MinWin has no dependencies outside of itself or at least it didn’t in Windows 7 so I’d expect Windows 8 to be the same. Microsoft are probably going to continue relocating APIs inside the Windows 8 core, so as to have MinWin completely operated from the rest of the operating system.
Microsoft have probably also managed to lower the size of MinWin in Windows 8. While it isn’t a particularly large file in Windows 7 – 40 MB , it could be down to 30 MB or so in Windows 8.
So this all sounds very technical and complicated, but what does it mean for the end user of Windows 8?
To be honest not that much, but I’d expect it to help Windows 8 run on more hardware limited resources such as tablets and such. But probably the main role this will play is in client virtualization, particularly with Hyper-V. ITWorld go into much greater detail on this side of things – read it here