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What's the big deal here?

  • Dec 17, 2009
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Rating:
+1
Microsoft is a really dull company - it's become what IBM used to be: big, slow, unresponsive. And this a shame since frankly without them we wouldn't have computers everywhere. Office is still a killer app that makes the Microsoft platform essential in practically every organization. But when you compare Microsoft to Google, there's no competition - Google makes the world stop every time they announce something and Microsoft gets a raised eyebrow.

Anyway, I was definitely expecting more out of Windows 7 given the universal panning of Vista and the buzz around 'getting it right' this time around. I was previously using Vista - without any problems - so it was something of a commitment to move everything across from one operating system to another. Still, there's nothing like wasting a weekend so here we go.

The first thing I noticed is the startup time is nowhere near the 15 second target that Microsoft set - more like 45 seconds on my new machine. Not a big deal since I don't reboot that often but Ubuntu Linux on my PC gets going in about 25-30 seconds. Once it starts, there's the "oh crap they did it again" redesign of the toolbar that serves absolutely no purpose. The tray icons are mostly hidden and require an extra click to show them. The start menu has been massacred to the point where anyone who liked the XP design isn't going to be happy, since it's not possible to revert back to classic (why?). Once again, the principle problem is an extra click - click start, click All Programs, then click again.

I then spent some time turning off all the transparency effects and Windows Aero niceties that dramatically slow down applications. Once these were all nuked, the desktop looks very similar to Vista. I checked out all the utility applications that have been with us since the early days of Windows - Calculator, Paint, Notepad - the first two have been inexpicably redesigned. Paint in particular adopts the much-hated "Ribbon" feature from Office 2007, so once again it takes more clicks to find commands you need. While Microsoft programmers were busy fixing what wasn't broken, needless to say that big bugs - like the massive delay in unzipping files with the standard compression utility, or moving/deleting folders with many files (which should be instantaneous since it's just removing a pointer) - are still here. Considering how often zipped files appear these days, it's a good idea to install 7Zip as soon as possible to get around the first bug.

My Canon MF printer no longer works - apparently it's not compatible, so that's now running on my Vista laptop. Bummer. And there are even more "convenient floating folders" that I don't use, such as "Libraries" - switching from C:\Documents and Settings\ in XP to C:\Users\ in Vista wasn't enough, so now there are more places for users to hide/lose files that get missed by back-up utilities. And if you want to delete ports, I can't for the life of me figure out how to do it. The 64-bit features are fast but I suspect they're going to confuse users for a couple of years to come, since they're only noticeable when they don't work.

On the plus side, I'm glad that User Access Control seems to have been leashed, but for the most part this is a minor upgrade from the user's perspective. There really isn't much else here. The new home networking features are neither obvious nor ground-breaking (compared to cloud-based solutions that are making sharing easy). In terms of revolutionary ideas, Microsoft just doesn't do them anymore - nothing much has changed in Office since 1997 and Windows 95 was really the last big redesign of the OS. By the time they decide to rock our world, it will have moved into a browser window and the OS will likely have become irrelevant.

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February 13, 2010
Eversince my son in law installed this on my pc I have had 100% less problems. Excellent review
 
December 18, 2009
I'm only using Windows 7 for my netbook which is mainly for browsing. No rush to get upgraded at all. Frankly, Microsoft has stopped to impress. Instead, it's becoming a drag!!! That's the problem with most company; when the major shareholder retires, the company becomes just another company!!! Steve Jobs better stays in Apple, else there goes another innovative company!
December 18, 2009
Absolutely - if Steve Jobs ever quits I'll be shorting Apple to get my 401K back. :-)
December 18, 2009
Follow that closely & u might just get your 401k back in no time! :-)
 
December 17, 2009
"Google makes the world stop every time they announce something and Microsoft gets a raised eyebrow", so true!  It also helps that many of the awesome things that Google unleashes are free.  Though it would be great for me to have the latest version of Window, I'm not exactly running out to the store to buy it.  I wonder why your printer doesn't work.  I thought Windows 7 was suppose to have drivers for everything.  Thanks for sharing!
December 17, 2009
The printer problem is a real pain - I'm hoping Canon puts out a patch soon. :-)
 
December 17, 2009
Thanks for the review. I was actually thinking of updating to Windows 7, but seems like I'm going to hold off until maybe later. Been running my Windows Vista with no issues at all anyway.
December 17, 2009
Thanks - if you're happy with Vista, I don't think you'll see any major improvements in 7 to warrant the upgrade.
December 18, 2009
Is it true that 7 has faster RAM speed whereas Vista can only go as fast as 4 GB?
December 18, 2009
There are 32- and 64-bit versions of both Vista and Windows 7 - the RAM limit is 4GB (~3GB addressable) in 32-bit and for 64-bit varies between 8GB (consumer versions) up to 192GB (Ultimate). The differences in 64-bit are most noticeable in 64-bit-specific versions of intensive apps like Photoshop, which is like Adobe On Rails!
December 18, 2009
wow! Thanks for the info!
 
1
More Microsoft Windows 7 reviews
review by . March 05, 2010
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.  …
Quick Tip by . April 26, 2010
Amazing operating system.
Quick Tip by . March 14, 2010
Once you get over any wireless connection issues, there's no looking back. Upgrade from XT or Vista ASAP
Quick Tip by . March 12, 2010
It's as good as XP.
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2009
Just installed Windows 7 last night, so far so good. Full Review coming soon.
Quick Tip by . August 22, 2009
Microsoft got it right this time for sure. Runs great on not so new compuers, xp mode is great for buisness. Love it.
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Wiki

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.

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http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/default.aspx
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Brand: Microsoft
Category: Operating Systems

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