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Windows 7 Beta Impressions – Part 1

January 27, 2009

After my partitioning nightmare, I finally had the chance to install the Windows 7 beta on a brand new 120GB partition. So far I am favorably impressed, sufficiently so that I plan to use the beta for all my work going forward unless and until I run into a snag and then I’ll go back to my pristine Vista install.

Here are a few of my observations so far:

  • Windows 7 started out taking full advantage of my 1600×1200 monitor. No Vista install has ever done that. I have always had to increase the screen resolution manually after an install.
  • I only had three updates to install rather than 70 with Vista (admittedly with a pre-SP1 install disk).
  • I was able to join my Small Business Server 2003 domain without a hitch.
  • I installed Office 2007 and am using Internet Explorer 8 for the first time, so there are MANY interface differences, but none are particularly bothersome.
  • Windows 7 still hide file extensions of known file type by default. Why?
  • The install required almost no user input and seemed to last about half an hour. The dual boot with Vista was handled automatically after I chose to install Windows 7 to a new partition.
  • I am not steeped in the minutiae of Windows 7 changes. but the Aero features seem nicer, especially transparency effects. Is this my imagination?
  • My Vipre antivirus/antispyware installation went fine and I have been able to use it without incident.
  • When installing Paperport 11 the install dialog actually fit within the unresizable dialog box! When installing in Vista previously there was a problem with the dialog buttons and text not all fitting within the dialog box, leaving me to guess at which button to push for an English language installation previously.
  • The new interface feature of pinning running and non-running programs to a common taskbar reminds me of Windows Mobile where the attitude was that the use should not have to worry about what applications was running and what applications were not. If a user wanted to use an application it would come up; whether it was loaded into memory or already there should not make any difference. (The only problem with that approach in Windows Mobile is that often the OS wasn’t smart enough to free up additional memory from non-active applications.) I think this paradigm may actually work better in Windows 7 than did (does) in Windows Mobile.

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