Windows 7 – First Impressions

Windows 7 Desktop

I just finished installing the Windows 7 Beta version released by Microsoft on Friday. I installed it on my Toshiba Intel dual-core processor with 4 GB of RAM. It was running Windows Vista which took more than 4 minutes to fully boot (I consider the boot up process to be finished when the hard drive stops spinning and I don’t have to compete with a still booting computer to do what I want to do), and running any applications was like walking through molasses. I can say that my expectations were pretty low, but I am pleasantly surprised…so far.

  • It took exactly 21 minutes from when I inserted the install DVD until I reached a workable desktop. Very impressive! The setup was painless and required very little input. In fact, it was so easy, I think that the folks at Microsoft must have taken a page out of the Linux/Ubuntu installs. It was easily the fastest and easiest install of any version of Windows. I hope it doesn’t change much with the final version.
  • Bootup time is faster than Vista too. With my fresh install of Windows 7 and no security software, boot time was just under 2 minutes.
  • Overall, the new OS feels snappy and clean. I haven’t seen any User Account Control (UAC) pop-ups yet.
  • On my Toshiba laptop, like Linux, I didn’t have to install a single driver. Once the quick install finished, my wireless, Ethernet, sound, video, SD card, and web cam all worked perfectly.
  • Microsoft has revamped and simplified the wireless connectivity…again very Ubuntuish in my opinion.
  • This beta version of Windows 7 also includes the new Internet Explorer 8 which doesn’t feel much different than 8, but is supposed to be more compatible and flexible than 7. I will test it a little, but still prefer Firefox. I will probably install Google Chrome as well to see how it runs in Windows 7.
  • The revamped Start menu has a new feature that when you hover on a recently used program it will also present to you your most recently used documents for that program. Nice.
  • The taskbar has also been changed, but I need to work with it some more before deciding exactly how those features affect uability and productivity.
  • I plan on installing AVG or Avast antivirus and OpenOffice to test them and will report more about speed and usability.

I’m writing this article and took the two screenshots in Windows 7 using the Snipping Tool introduced with Vista. I did use picnik.com to edit the photos, however, since the updated Paint program, although it does have a new Crop and Resize feature, the resize feature doesn’t have much flexibility.

Stay tuned for more articles about Windows 7 leading up to its release later this year, or early next year. If there are questions YOU have about Windows 7, leave a comment below and I will test them out for you.

Windows 7 taskbar

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