Microsoft Windows 7 Professional

Microsoft Windows 7 is not a life changing working environment that brightens my day. It doesn’t give me the satisfaction or curiosity that other operating systems provided at times over the last twenty five years. My expectations were be an improvement upon Vista, be better than XP.

This article won’t be an in-depth under the bonnet write up, neither a feature by feature analysis, just my initial thoughts from an end user perspective.

The system I’m using Windows 7 on is not the latest & greatest. It’s only a 2 gig cpu, 2 gig ram with a ati 2400 hd 512MB graphics card. I don’t chase the latest technology, I learnt long ago that way leads to emptier pockets and is unrealistic in the majority of cases. Over time the majority of Windows 7 installs will be due to accompanying new computers, regardless of how impressive the Windows 7 uptake has been by Vista users (but then, that’s another story). I consider my specification borderline for the move due to my requirements, which are primarily office apps and a development environment.

The installation was a breeze, minimum fuss, clearly laid out dialogues and doesn’t require a phd in computer science to understand the lingo. I’m not running a dual core system and the ram is only 2 gig. However 7 performs adequately, once I turned off a few superficial features that dare I say it, I don’t miss.

So is it better than Vista? I have limited Vista experience, only venturing onto that OS to support others, but the worldwide feeling appears to be yes.

Okay what about XP? Well my slow old lower spec laptop loaded to the hilts with clutter, requiring a defrag and sporting a rather poorly shot photo as wallpaper beats Windows 7 at boot up. Not a fair comparison at all some would say, but there is point to be made, lurking somewhere.

Is it better than Ubuntu? I’m a huge fan of free linux distro’s, using them for years. It’s all about your requirements and at times technical knowledge. Depending on yours it might be time to head in that direction and trying out a live CD version of a linux distro would be a good start. I still use Ubuntu, just not on my main machine right now. So the answer isn’t straight forward, sorry.

What about Apple’s computers? I last worked on an Apple ten years ago as they kindly lent me a computer for a couple of weeks to test and develop with, therein my experience ends. The pricey hardware and bundles doesn’t cut it for my requirements and never have at any stage of my working life.

Right back to Windows 7….

Software compatibility seems to have been the major concern of those I talked to who have not upgraded yet. On the whole I’ve been fairly impressed with it’s compatibility mode. Even allowing me to run a Windows 98 package, that XP decided to rebuke. Excellent experience unless it happens to be the vintage software package accompanying hardware drivers, but eventually I found a solution for my hardware, not requiring new purchases. I will write a blog entry soon.

The search facility is tres bien and thankfully the search dog has moved on. I find myself using this facility more, instead of endlessly looking into the umpteen folders I have scattered carelessly around.

Has the system crashed on me? Yes a few times and mostly due to older software. I was impressed when the system crashed once when I was trying Internet Explorer 8, browsing a microsoft site. However this has not been a recurring theme and that leads to an important point.

It’s what doesn’t happen that is probably more important with the latest Windows OS. I don’t find myself rebooting throughout the day. The system isn’t struggling under the weight of three or four apps fighting for resources and the environment is familiar in relation to older versions of Windows, but at the same time better and less cluttered. Files open relatively quickly.

This is an operating system striving to just work, smoothly, quickly (given a reasonable hardware spec) and not impact upon your day to day experience. For instance want to import a photo, scan an image? No problem. Quickly done, simple dialogue boxes and common sense organising. Want to compare two documents? Drag their windows desperately to opposite sides of the screen and presto auto resized for you.

Now I’ve not used Windows 7 on a laptop yet, but apparently the power management is quite nifty. The security features are also an improvement upon it’s predecessors. However in the later case, lets not forget Microsoft will still be updating XP for some years to come.

So as you’ve gathered this review is mixed and rightly so. The OS is newly released and I’m sure there will be further improvements through service updates. I’ve also found myself installing quite a few pieces of open source software to maximize the experience, another blog entry soon.

I will write more detailed articles over time, no doubt delving into specifics, but my initial thoughts?

For a newly released operating system, an excellent start.

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