Windows 7 thoughts

Now that I’ve been using Windows 7 for a couple of weeks, I thought it would be a good time to write up a couple of thoughts that I have.

The thoughts are overwhelming positive so far. In fact, to be honest I don’t have a single bad word to say about Windows 7! (Shock!! Horror!!) Actually there are one or two little things, but aren’t there always! Here are a few bullet points, because I like bullet points:

  • The user interface is more refined than XP. Not just in a cosmetic way – lots of thought has gone into the design to make it easier to use. I like the fact that the taskbar doesn’t distinguish between quick launch applications and running applications – they’re all just icons, easily ‘docked’ to the taskbar if you so wish. The only thing wrong with this that I have found is, if you want to start a new instance of (say) Firefox while another instance is already running, Windows just thinks you want to minimise / maximise it. No biggie, just one little niggle.
  • I like the way multiple windows of one application are handled – only one icon on the task bar, but little preview windows open up when you hover / click on it.
  • My printer was installed and ready to use about ten seconds after plugging it in. As has been the case with every single other USB device I’ve plugged in. (It took a while to get the printer working in Linux because of driver issues.).
  • Another thing about the taskbar. I find this incredibly cool: when you’re copying a large file and then minimise the window, the icon background then becomes a progress bar. It’s a little difficult to explain, but it’s a great way of showing you how far along your file copy is without you having to open up the window!
  • I don’t know how good it is for compatibility with older apps, but everything I’ve tried so far has worked. Including Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, which is almost ten years old!

All in all, I have been very pleasantly surprised by Windows 7. It does seem to be a real step-up from Windows XP in terms of usability, and the things I’ve highlighted are only a small number which have particularly struck me.

I’m still no fan of Microsoft as such, but Windows 7 has won me over … for now 😉


2 responses to “Windows 7 thoughts”

  1. I think it’s going to be very difficult to persuade Mac fans that Windows 7 is anything but a big copy-cat, because looking at your list I can very easily tick each one off and say “yep, Macs do that already”. But I think that is perhaps a little harsh, because it’s clear that MS has actually put a lot of work into this, perhaps not in innovation, but just to keep up with the rest of the industry. People already wondering whether to buy a Mac or a PC will have an even harder decision on their hands now, because both systems now perform pretty much to the same standard.

    That is, until Apple brings out their next big version and blows Windows out of the water. Again.

  2. Matthew, I wasn’t trying to persuade a Mac fan (i.e. you :p)

    And I’m sure there are changes which will become more apparent as I use it which aren’t basic UI stuff which MS have copied from Apple.

    I was just pointing out some of the low-hanging fruit!

    The simple fact is, both OS X and Windows have their fair share of issues, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Both will let you get stuff done.

    Interestingly though, I think that Apple are becoming the new Microsoft: if they’re not careful, everyone is going to end up hating them because of their attitude to developers and openness. Whereas Microsoft have made steps in a positive direction, it seems that people are realising just how bad Apple can be. We will see!

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