I’ve been using the RC1 since it came out as my main OS on several computers. I use it on my desktop, tablet, and now my brother’s desktop (all 64-bit).
There’s a reason that I am not using XP: it’s time is finally over. There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s Windows 7.
So why the heralding? Isn’t it pretty much Vista with a new face? In some ways but in others it’s pretty different.
For one, Microsoft rewrote the codebase to use native code (rather than relying on other code as Vista did) which translates into much faster response time and speed improvements. Literally it is faster than XP. My tablet was slow as molasses with Vista and now it flies.
For two, there are many subtle but impactful improvements that MS did with 7 including: awesome boot screen, interesting task bar (more on that later), better Explorer navigability, themes, helpful wizards, and more.
When you install and start using Windows 7, there’s just something about it that speaks to you. It’s like it was made for you. Vista was clunky and annoying. I think what really sold me was the speed and personalization options like rotating wallpapers, awesome default themes, and cool sounds. You can also spot minor improvements all around like a better network icon/wireless finder, etc. There’s also Windows Backup that will make an image of your hard drive. Not to mention Windows Snipping Tool that makes creating how-to’s/walkthroughs easy.
The task bar is a questionable “enhancement” to Windows. On one hand, I really like it. On the other hand, sometimes it’s a little annoying. For example, when you hover over a button, it shows you a preview of the window plus if the window is open, it will fade everything out to outlines and show that window. That is nice. Losing the ability to create a nice and easy quick launch is annoying. Sure, you can create a folder, add shortcuts to it, then add a new toolbar to the taskbar and… wait, isn’t that what Quick Launch did for you?! Now you pin an item to the taskbar ala the Mac OSX dock. Mostly this is useful but it might confuse people for a little while. It is also not apparent at first that right-clicking brings up useful options for a program. Personally, I keep three programs permanently pinned: Libraries, Firefox, and Windows Media. Libraries is quick to open a new explorer window, Firefox is usually always open, and WMP for music.
The system tray is revamped too to minimize screen real-estate. Now you can pick and choose what icons to show in the tray easily by dragging and dropping them. All extra icons open in a small popup window. One thing they need to fix is if you open a program through that popup window, it won’t go away immediately unless you focus on it then click off it. It does go away after a few seconds but it’s confusing and annoying.
What about games? What about them, they all work fine! I’ve tested and played Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Crysis, TF2, Age of Empires, Guild Wars, and Burnout Paradise. If it worked in Vista it will work in Windows 7 (and then some, if it didn’t work in Vista, it may in 7). I am using the current non-beta Nvidia drivers and they work great. Playing Fallout 3 at 4xAA/15xAF 1680x1050 max settings with no slowdown on an 8800GTS 512MB card.
So my point is… Windows 7 is what Vista should have been and is an excellent piece of software worthy of its hype. There’s no going back to XP for me, folks!