Although I’ve been testing, using and writing about Windows 7 since last year, it has only been on the market 2 weeks. In those two weeks, I have setup 8 or 10 new machines already.
The setup is much faster than Vista, but I’m already getting that same ‘ol, same ‘ol feeling about it as I did with Windows Vista and Office 2007. I don’t doubt that Microsoft went back to the drawing board and tweaked and improved Windows, but overall it really is just Vista, done correctly. Plus the machines it is being released on are monsters: dual and quad core processors, 4, 6, and 8 GB of RAM and fast, capable video processors as well.
I really think the improvements in usability will be completely lost by the majority of average computer users. Pinning programs to the taskbar, jump lists, using the integrated search, file libraries, Home Groups, shaking and pushing Windows to screen edges will go largely unused. As for security improvements, we will have to wait and see how that works out in the upcoming months.
Many of the new systems coming off of shelves include the 64bit version of Windows 7, but already we are seeing incompatibilities with this version and existing software. Some of the problems can be rectified by downloading patches or upgrades from vendor web sites. And others don’t have solutions yet.
If you use any kind of specialized software or are reliant on any software package, check to see if it is compatible with both 32 & 64 bit Windows 7. If not, check when will it be compatible, or what steps must you take to make it compatible. You should be able to find all this information by visiting the software publisher’s web site.
Regarding security software, my current plan is to install Microsoft Security Essentials for all new installations. It runs fast, and from all indications protects as well as any other security product…and it’s free.
There isn’t any reason to get a new computer with XP or Vista (both of which are possible if your really want them) since Windows 7 works well overall. However, if you are not attached to or specifically require a particular piece of Windows software, I continue to encourage folks to think about Ubuntu or Mac as viable options.