Tomorrow Windows 7, the replacement for the much maligned Windows Vista will be released to the general public. It is expected to wash away the public’s very negative view of Windows Vista, which was plagued early on with slow performance, driver issues and buggy hardware. Windows XP which was released 8 years ago in 2001 continues to be the most widely used version of Windows at over 65% of all computers in use. XP has remained popular due to the early reviews of Vista.
Vista has, to give it it’s credit, gotten much better with the advent of Service Packs 1 & 2. However, performance remains below XP on similar and even at times, better hardware. Driver issues still plague Vista systems for legacy software and hardware. Windows 7 is receiving much better reviews and certain versions, 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate all include Windows XP Mode. XP Mode is a virtualized client that runs inside of 7 with a licensed version of XP Pro SP3. This is for professionals who rely on legacy applications that won’t run under the new Windows 7 core. New tech allows apps and software that runs inside XP Mode to integrate seamlessly with 7.
Windows 7 also has a notable feel of increased performance over it’s bloated and buggy predecessor. I personally have used both the Ultimate Release Client as both a virtualized machine and as my main OS and it has been excellent, booting and shutting down noticeably faster than Vista.
Now here is where the bad things come in. I’ll give my take on what I don’t like in Windows 7. First off the taskbar. Actually this falls in the so-so category. I like the jump lists and ability to pin things to the taskbar. But I don’t like the appearance and the larger buttons. To be fair, one can shrink them to Vista size, but it takes getting used to the new look and feel of them. The second thing I don’t like is the positioning of the ‘show desktop’ button. When you are used to the button being in one place since Windows 98, it is disconcerting to find it all the way on the other side of the screen. Lastly, the Windows Media Player 12 is somewhat of a nuisance. While it is a good thing that it supports more codecs than ever in the past, I actually like the ability to do a lot with my media right from the library tab.
Aside from that, Windows 7 is all things that Vista should have been. While I will miss Vista’s quirky tools like Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, Windows Mail and Meeting Space, I will be upgrading my system to Windows 7 in the weeks after tomorrow. Windows 7 is a large improvement in performance, aesthetics and overall just allowing me to do what I need to do without the incessant lockups and UAC prompts.