Windows 7: My first impressions

Windows 7 is a huge, and long overdue, improvement
So far the scuttlebutt on Windows 7 is positive. Overwhelmingly and surprisingly so.

After all, isn’t this the same allegedly evil Microsoft that has tormented us poor computer users for years? I’d say sometimes deservedly so (using OS monopoly against Netscape to win browser wars) to other times unjustified (the endless critiquing of every single new Redmond product since that time).

I also believe Bill Gates’ push into global philanthropy has helped buff Microsoft’s image, despite the often gorilla-like nature of its current boss, Steve Ballmer.

I spent some quality time with the public beta of Windows 7, and agree with most critics who suggest it’s what Vista should have been all along. To be fair Vista has come along way since its first, buggy release. Service packs have remedied many problems, although the notoriously slow (really slow) file system still haunts us all. 

Windows 7 is excellent.

By all accounts from my early testing, every single aspect of the OS is markedly improved. File operations were thankfully zippy. The OS itself boots up quickly and shuts down without the lengthy pains it took Vista. Compatibility appeared good too as I was able to get it up and running on a 10″ MSI Wind (review) and had wireless, bluetooth, video, USB and everything else running without a hitch. The install process also seemed far shorter than upgrade Battle Royales I’ve experience in the past with XP and Vista.

On the surface, the visuals of Windows 7 look similar to Vista. There are some tweaks, most notably the stacked task bar at the bottom that neatly organizes applications and their related windows into groups automatically. I like it. 

I suspect the Microsoft team spent the majority of their time on background stuff like improving file transfer speeds (increasingly important in this era of 4GB video downloads), security, compatibility and overall stability. These were good decisions. Not once in over a week of using Windows 7 did I experience a crash, a blue screen or any semblance of a bug whatsoever.

For those holding out, still running Windows XP, it’s safe to say Windows 7 is for you. Those on Vista will want to upgrade as soon as 7 is released later this year to take advantage of the much improved speed.

Oh, one more thing, it runs great on a  lowly Netbook, even with the Intel Atom processor. Impressive indeed!

[Microsoft: download the Windows 7 public beta]

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