Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Windows 7: Fast, stable; not Vista

Today, Microsoft debuts Windows 7 after spending the past few years trying to clean up the mess it made with Vista.

The new operating system, out of the box, is pretty good. But after months of online upgrades, Vista is pretty stable now - stable enough that I'm not sure Windows 7 - while significantly faster at most tasks - is going to be a huge leap for the average Vista user. Microsoft may also be making an upgrade confusing for consumers by offering four versions of the product, ranging from $119.99 to $219.99.

I installed Windows 7 on a low-end laptop, an older Dell desktop and a cheap tower I once bought my Mom for Christmas. The operating system ran pretty flawlessly on each one. Here's some of what I noticed:

Windows 7 is not as space- or memory-hungry as Vista. Games look great and play fast on the new system, especially the 64-bit version.

7 looks really good. You can personalize your desktop with screen packages that toggle pictures. 7 is not full of the pop-up alert that makes Vista a little annoying. Parental controls allow you to limit times the kids can use the computer or limit game use by rating.

Updating is going to take awhile. Expect a few hours to get the software running, then many more to get everything up-to-date. You can upgrade from Vista, but XP users will have to do a clean install and wipe their machine. Microsoft has created a pretty easy transfer system to keep old files safe, but you'll likely need a portable hard drive, and this might be a little much for novice users to attempt.

7 ports over Microsoft's neat DVD maker from Vista. It's good enough to prevent many users from needing to buy third-party software.

You can easily launch or view which apps are running, because representative icons now appear at the bottom of the screen (rather Mac-like). If you move your mouse over them, you can get a preview window.

Windows 7 has an XP mode (in Professional or Ultimate versions), which allows you to run XP in an application window. So if you have a favorite program that won't run in 7, you can run it in XP.

Networking is painless and simple. Using a Windows Live ID, you can easily stream content over the Internet to other Windows 7 PCs in your network. Search is super fast.

I think this time around Microsoft has things right. This OS still doesn't beat Apple's version, but it's the best Windows I've tried. It seems more stable and secure than previous versions.

20 comments:

SmartestBloggerEver said...

I installed Ultimate on older laptop with 1GB RAM and the thing flys. Faster than my new machine with Vista and 4GB RAM. Install was easy and actually locates wireless network during install so when the machine came up it was ready to go. Msoft finally got it right! Macs are cute, but its about the apps and I can run my web dev apps and office products on a machine thats beefy and costs far less than a propietary piece of hardware.

BTW: dont post a comment about 'security', Msoft is a much bigger target than Apple is. If Apple had the install base that Microsoft did the attacks would be equal in number and severity.

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 (aka Vist 2) < Mac OS X

AwesomeO said...

I've been using Windows 7 Pro and Enterprise & Windows Server 2008 R2 editions for 3 months now via our Enterprise Agreement with MS.

It's awesome...it works...you will be happy, and if you still think overpriced MACs will make you a better computer user...then you simply have no reason for even owning a computing machine :o)

AwesomeO said...

It seems Anonymous above doesn't get it because he's trapped in the OSX world his mommy and daddy bought him...or maybe those over played, washed out, "I'm a MAC" marketing mind-washing actually worked on one person.

Here's some reasons folks!!!

1) http://themacsucks.com/
2) http://www.mac-sucks.com/switch_why.php
3)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CrQjfgvqJQ

704Champ said...

"You can easily launch or view which apps are running, because representative icons now appear at the bottom of the screen (rather Mac-like). If you move your mouse over them, you can get a preview window."

Sounds like the taskbar thats been a part of Windows for many different versions now.

"Networking is painless and simple. Using a Windows Live ID, you can easily stream content over the Internet to other Windows 7 PCs in your network. Search is super fast."

How about practical networking, like accessing resources over a domain or workgroup or \\'ing into a computer name or IP address?

Screenshots would be really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Good review. I just got back from Best Buy trying this out. It was everthing you said. I got a copy and am installing on my machine now. just like you said, it's taking 4ever!

Tom said...

SmartestBloggerEver:

I am not sure what web dev apps you can run on Windows that you can't on a Mac, or for which there are not native or equivalent versions. Except perhaps some proprietary .asp or .net stuff, which while useful to some companies does not qualify as true "web dev".

Macs and Windows machines are about equivalent in actual web development environments - after all, HTML, CSS, PHP, Ruby, etc. are all just handled via text editors, and Flash is available for both platforms. I don't denigrate Windows as a web development platform, but to imply that the MacOS is not a serious web development environment is to ignore the thousands of serious web sites, apps, and development projects that are designed and implemented via the Mac OS.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I have been running 7 for about 6 weeks now and I have three Macs at home. I run Windows 7 on two of my Macs and i have a desktop PC.

Snow Leopard, minus the bug about logging into guest, is a superior system. It seems as though M'soft is trying to emulate Leopard a little. Leopard is cleaner looking, faster and seems more stable. This is the best Windows out of the box, but media folks (sorry Langston) were praising Vista in the early days as well.

M'soft has tons of updates ready this time, which is good and this is the smoothest Windows I've tried, still I'm sticking to Leopard for the heavy lifting. I use the PC mainly for gaming. good revue though

Anonymous said...

I've had 7 for a while through UNCC and it's much better than Vista and any MAC OS I've ever used.

Anonymous said...

I have used Windows 7 and trust me, its just like Vista. It crashes and freezes. I am going back to XP AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

"It seems more stable and secure than previous versions."

Based on what criteria? How long and with what software did you test the stability? What security counter-measures did you run against it?

If you are going to make a statement about the stability and security then please go into at least a little detail about how you arrived at that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Microsoft is finally catching up to Apples OSX!?! Pretty much, after the complete and embarassing failure of Vista, they decided to copy Apple in their implementation and design of their OS! Just like MS tried to copy the iPod, and iPhone with it's Zune, they are doing it again with Windows 7! I guess it takes someone else ingenuity and customers bitching to make a decent product! Well done MS. I left MS and PC's 2 years ago and will NEVER go back! I may use them at work, but never again at home! However, the misinformed and unknowledgeable public will probably stick with the company and OS they are familiar with instead of the best which is Apple! Good luck idiots!!!

Anonymous said...

Vista 32 ultimate works flawlessly, and has from the start. Even my Creative Sound Blaster worked just fine.

Windows 7 worked flawlessly and did from the start, all the beats and the oem release.

Not much difference, and not worth paying for.

And the only difference between the two is to differentiate those whose life is so lacking they have to find something ELSE to complain about in their lives from those who think a computer is just a computer.

Anonymous said...

"I left MS and PC's 2 years ago and will NEVER go back! I may use them at work, but never again at home! However, the misinformed and unknowledgeable public will probably stick with the company and OS they are familiar with instead of the best which is Apple! Good luck idiots!!!"

You and Apple can burn in the pits of hell for all we care. Apple and that G.D. iPhone are pieces of trash. Anybody that would go solely with AT&T as their only mobile carrier are foolish as living hell. We had rather stick with our PCs, Microsoft, and Sprint than to deal with an overzealous, elitist monopoly like Apple/AT&T! Now why don't you go back to bed with your trashy iPhone!

Anonymous said...

I've been using Windows 7 ever since the beta stage. Even then Windows 7 wasted Windows Vista in performance and has been the first Microsoft OS who's speed did not start suffering after 30 days of use.

Security is far better than that of any other Microsoft Operating System. You have far greater control than Vista but don't have the holes that plague XP and older OS'

To say that Vista and 7 are the same is completely inaccurate. Just because something looks similar, does not mean it is the same.

In some cases I have noticed that Windows 7 even runs better and faster than Windows XP. This is most likely do to the hardware factor. (In other words, there is a huge difference in XP and Windows 7. Which means a thin middle ground on how well your computer will run either of the two operating systems. A computer built natively for XP may not run 7 well do to the fact that it's hardware may not be fully supported. And just because you are able to get you video drivers to load doesn’t mean jack.)

If your using XP still, expect your support to end soon, as Microsoft will finally be pushing it off the cliff along with all it's problems. (and don't think for a moment XP didn't start off with as many problems as XP, cause it did, and from personal experience it had more than Vista near the end of it.)

As for the Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard, there will not ever be a winning side.

Both have their die hards and their critics. Plenty of points to prove their point of view. I've heard just about all of them, and given my share.

But that is all they are, A POINT OF VIEW, and not the gospel truth.

Windows and OS X both have their wins and their loses.

Windows is clumsy at times, and slow to boot. OS X has a crappy backing from it's manufacture. (ie not fixing a computer because the owner is a smoker. Google it, you' laugh.)And they are overpriced.

Would I take and apple computer if given the chance for low price or God forbid free? absolutely. Would I love OS X, most definitely.

But I love what I get from Windows 7, even more than what I have gotten out of OS X. Features, such as, Virtual XP enabling me to run older programs built for older OS' straight from Windows 7 desktop is awesome. The new taskbar is far greater than the launch pad of OS X (easily emulated in XP+ OS), and that isn't just coming from me (google that one too.) Not only that if I wanted an OS similar to OS X (not as advanced by a lot, but similar) I would just dual boot my PC with Ubunto, Xubunto, etc. Which gives you a similar interface, is able to run many windows apps with little lag (and that is high graphic video games). That way I pay half the price for the hardware, have two highly supported Operating Systems on it, and can either look and act almost exactly like OS X (google that one too, will taking more looking around though)

In short, who cares what OS you are using. We all have our reasons. Mine is because Windows is familiar and the hardware much cheaper, among many other things, so I chose Windows. (and windows 7 is a very welcomed advancement in the PC department.)
But if you are a Mac user, good for you.

Of course there is more I could say, but I've neared writing another article.

So if you haven't tried Windows 7 yet do it, even if you are a mac, it wont hurt to let your mac face peer upon the coolness that is Windows 7. And for you XP mofo's, take it from a Computer Technician that has worked on XP ever since it was conceived, and take a step up to the new world. (even if you need to update the Dinosaur that is you XP Desktop)

Enough said....until one of you rants on what I write.

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Anonymous said...

I'm OS agnostic. I use whatever works. I typically use Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Windows 7, and sometimes FreeBSD. Folks, there's no need to argue - just use what works for you. :)

portable scanner said...

The computer has never been more important to me than these days! I'm really happy to finally have a good OS that I can trust for years and that can be fully compatible with every software and hardware i have. I hope the next windows will be even better somehow :)

Order Viagra said...

I purchased a new lap top and it has Windows 7. Although it was a little hard at the beginning, actually is way much better and nicer than Vista! I really like the interface.

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