Testing Windows 7: Initial Thoughts

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I’ve been fighting it for a while now, mostly because I had such a lousy experience with windows Vista, but I thought I would finally give Windows 7 a try.  I downloaded the release candidate, burned it to a DVD, and installed it in Boot Camp on my Mac Pro at work.  The verdict:  It crashed.  For some reason it crashed, and so I installed XP instead. 

Not to be done in completely, I tried the same process on my iMac at home, and the results were functional, at least.  After a few restarts and installing Boot Camp drivers, I was ready to take on the world.  So, my initial thoughts:

I like the size.  It took up 10 GB of space, compared to 15 GB that Vista took up.  That alone is a huge improvement. 

Security:  Very annoying.  Much like the annoying tools in Vista, it keeps asking me if I really want to install files, and every time I run a file I need to give it permission (at least until I reboot).  Not too bad, except when I get to a flash-intensive website, and I have three or four requests to let Flash run.  Luckily, after I do give it permission and reboot, I don’t have the problem. 

Management:  It’s been a while since I have had to support IT for Windows, but I have to admit I like the Control Panel here in Windows 7.  It’s a lot like the early Windows OS releases (the best in my opinion was Windows 2000), so I feel at home.  There are a lot of new features that I need to get into, like the Gadgets, but other than that, it looks good.

Mac-like:  It’s amazing how much Windows 7 feels like my Mac!  The Windows Explorer looks a lot like Finder, the feel is far more like a Mac.  I don’t think I like the start menu though.

Windows:  The windows try to second-guess your every move, and often times this means optimizing in a way you don’t want.  I really don’t like that, it makes me feel like Windows doesn’t trust me to make the right decision.  Maybe there is a setting to turn that off.  I hope so.

Performance:  It runs great on my iMac, and so far I haven’t had any complaints.  I installed Office 2007, and it works perfectly, allowing me to work from home if I need to.  I also have Virtual PC installed for those Virtual Machines we may have to get ready for various lab classes.  Again, no problems so far.  It all looks good.

Final verdict:  It is a much better experience than I had with Windows Vista, which is a good thing because we will be using Windows 7 in our labs once it comes out.  The overall rating would be about a 5 out of 7.  I wouldn’t switch from Mac OS X or Linux for Windows 7, but it makes for a good Virtual Machine when I need to use Outlook or other Windows-only apps that WINE can’t handle.