Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Impressions of Windows 7

I put the following quote on my blog when I first created it.

"Microsoft's biggest and most dangerous contribution to the software industry may be the degree to which it has lowered user expectations."

-- Esther Schindler, OS/2 Magazine

I truly believe Windows 7 gives merit to the quote.

I installed windows 7 and overall I am pleased with it. The OS is running on a 2 year old dell dimension with 4 gigs of memory. The performance is equal to Windows XP and while the UI is hauntingly similar to Vista, with the exception of a few tweeks here are there it is nothing to get excited about. The question needs to be asked, why am I "pleased" with Windows 7? I suppose the answer is because it sucked less and was less painful to install then any Operating System Microsoft has released since Windows XP. But is that really an accomplishment or like the quote suggested has Microsoft just lowered users expectations?

Let's dig into Windows 7.

Since I was installing over XP the machine had to be reformatted, which Windows 7 took care of, then literally I spent most of the day reinstalling all the software and copying files.

When I tried installing from any source other then DVD, I had problems with a mass disk driver. Which did not occur from the DVD install.

When you install from a DVD, I highly recommend disconnecting any external hard drives from the PC. Windows 7 Setup will add the external hard drive to the list of hard drives which you can install to and you could end up reformatting the external drive.

The install went ok, on boot up however it was not able to locate the Video or Audio drivers. If you run into this problem, take the time and fix the video driver issue as soon as possible. I started playing with the OS first and it crashed numerous times. Once the Video Driver was installed the OS stabilized. It might be a good idea to go into your device manager and take a screen shot of all the devices and drivers before the installing Windows 7.

User Interface and Applications
There is nothing great about the UI it is very Vista like. I think Microsoft would have been further ahead calling this a Vista Service Pack then create an exciting UI for Windows 7 to get rid of the Vista stigma.

When installing some applications, Windows 7 generated a compatibility warning which I ignored and they seem to run ok.

Windows media player was not installed which I found strange. There is a Windows 7 media player feature pack download on the Microsoft site. Definitely install it, the media player has some cool features including playing DVDS.

Windows had trouble with the Seagate external hard drive. First it couldn't find the drive. I rebooted with the drive attached and I received a low power error on the USB port and it crashed the OS. I changed ports and rebooted and it started functioning. I went back to the port that caused the initial error and it now works from there as well. No clue.

If you use paint, it has been infected with the useless ribbon bar found in office.

The control panel is still a mess, I prefer XP'S implementation.

The task bar takes some getting used to, not sure if I like it or not yet. A minimized or running application places an application icon in the task bar. Hovering over the icon brings up a window that contains each instance of the application that is running. You click on the application instance in the window to bring the application to the forefront. You can also pin icons to the task bar to unclutter the desktop but I haven't been able to pin the recycle bin or my computer icons that seems like a bug?

Internet Access
I have totally left the Intercrap Explorer camp and use Chrome. I think chrome is a terrific browser. Chrome had no problems with Windows 7. If you are not using Chrome here is the Link to download it.

Performance is on par with Windows XP, I can't tell any improvement or degradation with exception of Visual Studio 2010. That does seem to start up and compile a bit faster under Windows 7.

Some closing thoughts
Having gone through the Vista nightmare and the brutal downgrade to XP on a made for Vista box, Windows 7 wasn't all that painful. My first impression is, Windows 7 isn't much to write home about but the operating system isn't horrible either. If you are tired of battling Vista and sick of the dog performance then Windows 7 should be a welcomed upgrade however for XP users I am not sure how well window 7 runs on some hardware nor does it contain any must have features. Windows 7, unlike Vista, is not a step backwards. I just don't think it is a big "enough" step forward for some people to upgrade.

Until next time......


By the way I received an email with a link to an article written Dave Newman on his reasons for Leaving .NET that is worth reading. If the link didn't work here is the url:

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