So the headline doesn't say much. After all, Win7 only has to compete with Vista.
XP was a great operating system. It was stable and it worked well! For whatever kinks it had, people eventually figured out how to get by, or even fix the problem. With the release of SP3, virtually all major problems were taken cared of.
Vista on the other hand was a complete mess. On the day of release, the blogosphere moaned in agony. It was just unbearable. Even I didn't want to get it. Heck, I still don't own a copy of Vista.
But Win7 fixes a lot of problems that Vista had and added it's own features.
I can hear you Mac fanboys grunting already! "But Snow Leopard can do this..." Blah blah blah. And I can also hear the Linux geeks snickering in their little corner.
So here's a disclaimer while I'm at it. I've used more operating systems than most people you know. As a graphic designer and video editor, I'm constantly on my Mac. And yes, it is loaded with SL. As a programmer, I'm heavily on Windows XP. And as your techie geek, I'm on 3-4 different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian, etc.) So please.... fanboys: stop.
This is going to be an unbiased and straightforward review.
Let's start off with the good things that Win7 came out with.
Taskbar. A previous reviewer mentioned that the taskbar was changed *again*. Honestly, this is the best feature that Win7 has in it's arsenal. It works well for the multitasker--for those that have a million windows open and then some.
In the taskbar, you'll see that all of your windows are grouped. That means all of your Word docs, Firefox windows and Windows folders are grouped into their own window. Hovering over one of the groupings will show you a "snapshot" of those specific windows.
Another awesome thing I just found out was that if you hover over some applications, you can interact with it. Take iTunes for example. Instead of going to the actual window and pressing next, pause or previous... you can just hover over the taskbar and control it from there!
Oooooh, Snap! So let's say you have your research paper due in 3 hours. You haven't started at all, but luckily, a great friend of yours sends you his copy. To be legit, you don't wanna "select all, copy and paste". You want to be a bit original, so you'll read it a bit, then type up your paraphrase. But you don't have time for all that ALT+TAB'ing or switching Windows. Win7 comes to the rescue with Snap. Click and drag a window to the left side, then release. It'll snap to the left side of your screen. Now, get that other window, drag to the right side and release. Boom! Instant snap! Now, both research papers are side by side, ready for your awesome plagiarism!
Libraries. A regular user won't use this feature much, but for someone like me... this is a lifesaver. I'm not your typical user. I have multiple hard drives.. both locally and on my network. So that means I have pictures in C:\Users\Justice\Pictures and in D:\Images and maybe some more in \\JusticeNAS\Photos\. Libraries allow me to tell Windows that all three belong to the Pictures library. Now, I only need one point of reference instead of 3.
Win7 took what was good with Vista and left the bad.
Remember that horrible UAC (User Account Control). Well, in Vista... it was just horrid! Any little thing, a stupid popup would ask you to confirm. It could be as simple as moving a file. But now, the notifications are actually relevant.
Win7 also took on Aero, which I think is a good and clean interface for Windows.
IMHO, you should upgrade from Vista to Win7. Win7 is stabler and much less annoying that its predecessor. But if you don't wanna shell out for a new upgrade, just wait till your next purchase.
What excites me about the future
I'll admit, not all applications are ready for Win7. I had to look for alternatives for some of my programs. But these were small named applications. The next service packs should fix these problems.
But what excites me more is that Win7 allows the use of sensors! As hardware peripherals get on the wagon, you'll see more and more products that use this feature.
As of right now, there's a sensor software that does GPS. So if you're on your laptop and looking for alternatives to the Starbucks your on, the software will help you plug in your location to mapping services like Google Maps. Other examples also include lighting sensors (dimming brightness or contrast at night or low light situations), and sound sensors (increasing volume in a noisy room).
For all the cynics, remember... Windows XP had the same kind of clash when it came out. It took me about 4 months to finally put my trust in Win7.. but I'm glad that I finally did.
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Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs and media center PCs. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, with general retail availability set for October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, is slated for release about the same time.
Unlike its predecessor, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 is intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being fully compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is already compatible. Presentations given by Microsoft in 2008 focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup, and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, will not be included in Windows 7; some will instead be offered separately as part of the free Windows Live Essentials suite.