So, with the first public beta of Windows 7, I thought I’d share a few of my initial observations and opinions on the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. My testing of Windows 7 is taking place on my production laptop – an Acer Aspire with a Intel Core Duo 1.8GHz, with 3GB RAM based on the Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset that many “average” laptops are built around.
Having been a user, advocate, and professional using Microsoft’s operating systems for the last 20 years, I do have to admit that I can come across as a “fan boy” at times. These observations may be just another example of this tendency, but I do try to be as impartial as I can (Vista rocks), er… sorry.
I’ve only been running the Windows 7 Beta Customer Preview for about 32hrs at the time of this post, but I do have to admit that performance is better than Vista SP1. I haven’t run Windows XP on my laptop, so I can’t really compare it well with that OS. Simply put, it does appear to be a better performer than Vista.
Here is one area that a few people will get a chuckle, or maybe help me figure out my one issue. Most everything is working great, except… Outlook 2007. I had to run the application compatibility troubleshooter to figure out what was wrong. I ended up setting the compatibility to “Vista” to run it. I’ll come back to Outlook later this week to investigate the issue more. Other than that, I’ve had no problems with 3rd party apps and utilities from large and small vendors.
Windows Sidebar/Desktop Gadgets
IS GONE! This is probably one of the things that helps performance in my opinion. While I liked the utility of the Windows Sidebar in Vista, the extra screen real estate and the processor cycles just for the Windows Sidebar ate up RAM and performance.
Luckily, this isn’t the case in Windows 7! The gadgets that were helpful, useful, or just plain fun in Vista’s Sidebar now run right on the Windows 7 desktop. This is a great enhancement, and one that I was looking forward to. You can see a few Vista Sidebar gadgets shown running on the Windows 7 desktop.
Peaking is an uber-cool enhancement to Windows 7. Simply hover it the absolute bottom-right corner of the screen (shown in the 2nd screen capture below) and whatever windows you have open become transparent so you can see the desktop. Nifty to check the time, weather, or other gadgets you have on the desktop.
There are many great enhancements to the UI in Windows 7, and Microsoft seems to have focused on just making it all work together simply and easily. Of course, I thought that of Windows Vista as well, so take it for what its worth.
I’ve not had a chance to perform any significant testing that is network or file-system related. Areas that Vista had real issues on it’s initial release. I’ll be watching and testing for those as time goes by, but the first day has been a fun experience.
Since Windows 7 is running on my personal production laptop, I’ll be using it daily for all my usual tasks, and will probably drop a post when I run into things that are interesting or troublesome. I hope this gives you an idea of where Windows 7 is at so far. If you’re interested in experiencing it, I do think it’s stable enough for the average IT pro to use on a daily basis as you’d probably know what your getting into anyway. Good stuff.