Posted by: Lee | January 17, 2009

Windows 7

So I’ve been using Windows 7 for a few weeks now and I have to say I’m very very impressed.

2 years ago Microsoft released Vista. Since its release it has been criticised by many (mostly unfairly). Exactly how much of that criticism is based on first hand use rather that misinformation from the press and certain fruit based companies is undetermined. Don’t get me wrong, Vista is not perfect, it has issues (most of these being noticeable when you join it to a domain, the performance can suck). It’s really enemy was time. Vista was a re-write from the ground up of the Windows source code. This re-write was axed 2 years into the program and restarted, immediately putting Microsoft on the back foot. The clock was ticking and an entire Operating system had to be written. To Microsoft’s credit what they produced is actually quite impressive. The security in Vista is vastly superior to its predecessors. Run XP for an hour on the internet without security software and chances are you’re screwed. Vista on the other hand will still be going strong. For all it’s irritation User Account Control alone is a strong barrier to intrusion. Also the fact that the dramatic under the hood changes are mostly unnoticeable to the laymen is also creditable. The performance of the 64bit edition should also be noted too, it’s quick! It’s compatibility with 32bit applications is an impressive achievement and it runs everything faster. Unfortunately, the history books will record Vista as the Operating System that never quite delivered, never lived up to the expectation and will probably be labelled a failure, despite Microsoft efforts to convince everyone otherwise…….this brings me to Windows 7

Windows 7 is Microsoft’s chance to redeem themselves in the publics’ eye. They shouldn’t need to but the masses are fickle and easily swayed by clever (if not quite inaccurate) marketing campaigns (fruit based company again). Windows 7 will be to Vista what XP is to Windows 2000. Same core code with performance/stability tweaks and a new GUI slapped on for good measure. That is essentially what Windows 7 is, it’s Vista with a makeover….but hey, it’s one hell of a makeover. Even in its beta form Windows 7 is a very very quick Operating System. It’s stable (allowing for the odd few bugs..it is beta after all) and generally enjoyable to use. It really is what Vista should have been. The fact that I am using it on 3 machines on a day to day basis, one of them being the laptop that my girlfriend uses regularly, is testament to just how good the beta is. It boots in seconds, logs on in seconds, uses less RAM and responds faster. Virtually all my hardware on all my machines worked out of the box or had drivers downloaded automatically from Windows Update and it also has some great features that I would really miss if I was using Vista.

There’s an improved GUI which is very good and a new new taskbar which is quite superb. I can use Windows for hours without needing to click the Start button once. You can pin apps to the new taskbar (or Superbar as some call it) it and then quickly launch them whilst also getting easy access to commonly used folders and files for those apps by right clicking their icons. Simple but very effective.

Another great feature is the libraries facility for documents, pictures, music etc. Libraries, in essence, are indexes of specified locations presented as seamless folders. By default these are your respective personal folders and the equivalent public folders but they can be added to by going into their properties and adding the extra locations to index. For example, when I select the Music library in Explorer on my desktop, it shows me the contents of my music folder plus the contents of the public music folder and the music folder on my Home Server. Even better, all that music is automatically added to Windows Media Player, extremely useful. Add to this Homegroups, Aero Snap, Aero Shake and the automatic boot time repair options, amongst other things. I’d struggle swapping back to Vista.

Windows 7 has many tweaks, optimisations and updates which make it an all round more pleasant and better operating system to use when compared to Vista. It supports multi touch which If I had a multi touch screen would be very handy. When the final version is released I can see it reaffirming Microsoft’s position as king of the desktops (Sorry Linux and Apple users but your user base is significantly smaller, especially outside of the US where both barely register on the scale in comparison to the number of Windows users). This is not to say alternative OSs aren’t any good they’re just not used anywhere near as widely as Windows and I really don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Even in its beta form Windows 7 is very very good………

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