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Feb 2009 05

Software Review: Windows 7 Beta

Randomstrings Review

Windows 7

I'm generally slow to change operating systems..  When it comes to making one of those sweeping changes, traditionally I was the equivalent of an old man on his porch yelling for "you kids to get off my lawn!"   I was a curmudgeon and quite often would refuse to budge.

I didn't switch to Windows 95 until sometime in 97.. I didn't switch to 98 until 99.. I didn't go to NT at all, and stayed on W2k Pro until well after XP was out.  The only reason I went XP was because it was on the new computer I had purchased already..

My reason for not wanting to upgrade to the newest version of windows was usually because it's painful, the upgrade sucks and quite often I have to go back.  (I wont even go into my Windows ME story.. I had one of the Microsoft Windows ME senior developers tell me to go back to 98 because ME sucked...  Yeah.. It happened..)

More over upgrading isn't the way to go.. you should wipe fresh and start over..  I usually dreaded this..   What cured that?  Funnily enough, Ubuntu..

I have installed and reinstalled ubuntu so many times I'm an old hat at it..  It's really easy.    So I went into Windows 7 thinking it was going to be back to the pain..  And was pleasantly surprised..

Firstly what Windows 7 isn't;  It isn't a new OS.  Lets be clear here.. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been.  It's more than a reskin to be sure, but mostly it's a refactor of Vista and a general rebranding to get away from the down right awful publicity that Vista rightly deserved..

Having said that, I like W7 quite a bit actually.  I have had some issues getting my sound card drivers working, but now that I do everything's peachy.   Because it's entirely based on the Vista core just download and install Vista drivers for it and as a rule you're good to go.

The install process was simple and clean, and since I installed it on a new drive it correctly put the windows bootloader on the main drive (though it did overwrite my grub loader so now I can't get into linux.. will have to add the linux install to windows bootloader..)    The install was fairly quick all things considered, and it configured all my hardware correctly.

I had World of Warcraft up and running within about 3 minutes of installing the OS because I had precopied it to the drive heh.   Yay I have DX10 now!

My biggest complaint at this point is two fold;  1. the alt+tab functionality seems really slow and clunky in W7.. In XP its instant.. but for whatever reason in W7 it takes a couple seconds.. Minor complaint though really.. it is a beta after all..

Secondly, I want to know what will happen in August when the license expires..  Will I just be screwed and have to reinstall all over again?  They have already stated that you wont be able to install the automatic updates beyond that point and that the OS will die then.. I find that... Odd..

OH well.. I can say that I would likely purchase this OS if it continues to perform as nicely as it does now.  Since it's the premier gaming platform for PC's at this point I don't have much choice.. heh

I still very much like my Mac.. I still very much like Ubuntu.. but the games demand Dx10, so Vista.. er,  Windows 7 it is..

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