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« Spotify the difference! | Main
Friday
May292009

Windows 7 first impressions

As with many users, I took my time in upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista and once I had upgraded it took me quite a while to get to the point where I was happy running it on all of my systems. My major problem with Vista was you always got the feeling of a bloated system that seemed to eat memory and resources just to keep day to day applications running - I would find myself staring at my PC when it was sat doing next to nothing wondering why the hard disk was running flat out!

A couple of months ago I got our regular news update from Microsoft Technet announcing the Beta of Windows 7 was available for download. My first reaction was the usual...uh oh...here we go again! But on further research around the net something strange was happening, people were actually saying nice things about a new Microsoft OS! So what the hell, time for a rebuild!

Having now installed 7 on my laptop a couple of times as Beta moved to Release Candidate, I can honestly say ‘well done Microsoft’. At last we have a system that builds out simply then once the install is complete goes and finds driver software for pretty much all of your hardware and installs it automatically. Even my PC at home which has some of the latest bits inside configured itself without me having to look for one single external driver!

Once up and running I became quickly aware that this was Vista under the hood, but a new Vista, a clean Vista, the bloat was gone! It was back to feeling like an operating system again rather than something they could make look pretty in an advert! It has that feel that XP has, it feels comfortable, fast and like a quality tool again. MS seem to have added lots of features but quietly, so that they aren‘t intrusive in your day to day operations. They have also dropped lots of the ‘classic view’ options so its new look style or nothing, but after a short while I found this was fine and was soon zipping about doing the bits I needed to.

Compatibility doesn’t seem to be a major issue so far, one or two of the smaller applications I run have had small niggles but usually a couple of minutes research on the net has come up with an update that has cleared the problem without much stress.

For home users they have added some great features with video playback in 7, supporting nearly all the video formats I could find without having to install additional codec packs. It also connected to my Xbox 360 very easily and a few of the issues with Media Centre streaming movies seem to have been cleared.

As a keen World Of Warcraft player I was also interested to see how it would handle a modern game. I am pleased to say that it did so without issues and so far I am seeing a decent speed increase in the games performance - which can sometimes be a bit of a hog on resources. It feels like MS have done a much better job of shutting down the background bloat while the game is running so its performance can improve.

To sum up, I can say that I am really looking forward to the launch of Windows 7, or whatever it will be called by then! I can see it integrating well into existing systems in offices and at home without users being forced into its use in the way Vista has been with the demise of XP. Roll on launch day!

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