Eh!! What’s a techie piece doing on my blog? But what can I say, when I love something this much, I have to spread the word :). So here are my initial thoughts on Windows 7 (purely from a non-techie user). So, don’t beat me up if I have not provided any of the stats and numbers 🙂
A couple of weeks back, I traded in my old clunky Dell laptop running Windows XP, and got a spanking new, shiny Dell Latitude E6410 running Windows 7. It was an office initiated upgrade, and so I really had to go with whatever that was offered.
At first, I was wary. A previous bad experience with an HP laptop running Vista had me really running scared. I have never been a huge fan of Windows, and had pretty much resigned myself to another bloated, buggy, operating system experience.
But Windows 7 has been such a pleasant surprise.
The system admin had set up and configured everything – security, printers, software, so I really don’t have much to say on how easy/difficult it is to set up. But the usage, maan…it’s smooth, like butter. Really, no kidding…Windows 7 is a totally different user experience from Windows XP.
Some things I really like listed in no particular order:
- The look: I am going to start with the superficial, and say I really like the look of the OS. It has the Vista’s beauty plus a little more added to measure. The translucent toolbars on the various Windows rock and in terms of looks, it gives the Linux and Apple’s OS a little tough competition. The day I got this, all my teammates gathered around to ooh and aah at the look. OK, have to be accurate here, maybe just 1 or 2 people, but still a big deal… it’s not easy to impress a bunch of techies with a Windows upgrade for heaven’s sake!
- The desktop search: I didn’t really have any issues with the Windows Explorer search in XP. But this Search blows it out of the water. I just have to enter the search keyword and it’s off and running. Before I know what’s happening, it has searched the entire comp + email in Outlook and come up with the relevant results. The speed and accuracy of the search is too cool.
- The speed: My work requires the use of heavy-duty applications that log a lot of disk space. In earlier avatars of Windows, I had resigned myself to a slower pace of working because of the time it took to get apps up and running. Now, everything runs at a nice, snappy speed. I am really enjoying this new pace.
- Preview files: The preview feature in Windows Explorer is great. If I want to see what’s in a bunch of files, I don’t have to open each and every one. In Windows Explorer, I just need to select the file, and I can see its contents on the right-hand side of the pane. Very useful. I just wish I could read PDFs like this as well, but unfortunately no 🙁
- Sticky Notes: I can now just stop writing random notes and reminders to myself in Calendar/Notepad. Now, I just use Sticky Notes (kind of like an online Postit note), which just sits on my desktop reminding me I need to finish up something. On a single monitor, this could cause clutter, but since I extend my view to an additional stand-alone monitor, this does not cause me any issues at all.
- Application compatibility options: Now, some of the old applications that I used on Windows XP don’t work on Windows 7 anymore. But hold on, Windows 7 does offer some sort of option to run these programs. If you can get the product to install, you can run software by using the “Run programs made for earlier versions of Windows” option, and then just follow the directions. It didn’t work all that well for me, but the issue is more with the application vendor itself and not the OS. I am just impressed that Windows 7 provides this option at all!
Some things not so good:
- The look: Again starting with the superficial. The default wallpaper of Windows 7 is horrible, downright horrible, and just doesn’t give the right impression of the OS.Yuck! First thing I did was remove this eyesore, and change to another more pleasant desktop wallpaper provided.
- Gadgets: The number of gadgets is disappointing and unimaginative. From Vista, I see the same old clock, calendar, and picture puzzle. Yawn!. I like the RSS Feed gadget that I think is new. But, my next thought is, if you have an RSS Feed gadget, then why not a Twitter feed gadget? That would have been so cool! OK, may be it would be a tad distracting for a work laptop ;). The CPU monitoring gadget is cool, though and very useful!
- Applications: Paint and Calc have some improvements, but not nearly enough in my opinion. Paint needs to have stronger graphic capabilities. Considering that free software such as Paint.Net and Gimp have advanced image editing options, it seems strange that Microsoft continues to keep Paint’s options status quo!
And of course, IE continues to suck! 😀
How about you folks? Some of you moved to Windows 7? What were your experiences?