Windows 7 Impressive First Experience

Windows 7 Ultimate Install

To say that I’m seriously impressed is an understatement!

Having an MSDN subscription confers certain benefits, but for most Microsoft stuff that I have to use, it’s usually an exercise in teeth-gritting somewhere from the banal to the infuriating as I plod on through.

My personal experience of Vista comes into the latter which is why I’ve never used it and have stuck with XP… like most professionals in the Windows camp have done.

Windows Experience 2.0

Win7 1st install showing it working on minimal system specifications

Win7 1st install showing it working on minimal system specifications

Having only 2 x 256MB memory sticks in my old main-board, and because of it’s on-board graphics there’s only 383MB spare for the operating system, I installed the thing onto a bit of spare hard-drive (an old Samsung 160GB IDE) and was amazingly surprised by the ease of the install…

  • XP is still there and appears on the new boot menu.
  • Networking worked out of the box and I flipped between the configurations with absolute ease.
  • All the drivers were installed straight from the Microsoft website:
    • ATI Radeon system and graphics
    • Realtek sound and network
  • Once drivers were updated, the monitor was detected and set up automatically.
  • The networked HP All-in-One printer installed in seconds…
  • The new taskbar/start-menu right-click pinning works like a charm.
  • IE8 is installed by default and Firefox can be installed and defaulted without any bother
  • I even like the new  way of classifying user files and the concept of “libraries” is intuitive and easy to use and understand.

Absolutely amazing – even the aero interface works!

Windows 7 system requirements

Windows 7 system requirements

For a bit extra speed, the aero has been turned off in the “Themes” area.  Also, I don’t actually like it that much, but that’s just me I guess. More importantly, my system is well below the Microsoft Minimum System Requirements – I only installed it for a laugh and to see what would happen!

You’ll see in the screen-dump above, (which contrasts markedly with the Microsoft Minimum recommendations), that windows rates the system as 2.0 – it recommends 3.0 for the Aero interface.  What I plan to do is stick 1GB of memory in the spare slots from my other PC, and then put new giblets in that one’s box.  I intend to make that one a 4-core 64-bit platform to play with this new Microsoft OS….  Reaper should work fantastically!

Windows Experience

It’s truly an order of magnitude better than Vista and 5x better than XP!

In actual fact, it’s more like the jump from 3.1 to Win98.  I have actually been smiling at how good it is! The effort Microsoft has put in seems to have been worth it – this same install that I’ve just done is supposed to work on netbooks with ARM processors!  In fact, the claim that file-copying is faster on a Win7 Arm laptop than WinXP is probably true – I just copied several gigs of user files from the old partition which went extremely quickly.

All this copying was done after installing Office 2007 Ultimate and ESET’s NOD32 antivirus software (which works much better than on WinXP, by the way).  Microsoft’s Defender is installed and runs by default – it’s a spyware catcher and doesn’t seem to slow stuff up.

However, to show how impressed I am, the copying was done while Windows/Microsoft Update downloaded ~300MB of updates!!!  Before the copying was finished, the long process (about 20mins) of installing the updates had begun…

This is some serious disc and processor activity, I can tell you – and all done on a single 64-bit processor running in 32-bit mode in 383 of system memory!  It never missed a beat or got confused once!

In fact, during the copying, it prompts for Videos/Pictures & Music, which were previously in the \My Documents\My Music\ etc path to go into their correct library!…..   It’s the little touches like this, plus the sensible ease of installing programs (goodbye to Vista mad-clickitty-click HELL) that has put oodles of polish onto an already robust and comforting experience.

Conclusion

  • I’m typing this as Win7 is de-fragmenting the old partition.
  • I’m doing it from within Firefox (running the Web-Developer, Screengrab and British Dictionary plugins)….

……so you’ll guess that I’m impressed by this serious bit of software kit.  With another Gig of Crucial Ballistix memory it should fly even more and be good for another three years!

Finally: Never in a million years could I have dreamed of praising Microsoft so much!!!

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4 responses .

  1. jill says:

    I love Bill!!!!

  2. grandma says:

    Wish I knew enought to understand "Windows 7" But it sounds like magic .

    • Strangely says:

      @grandma..

      It's a LOT easier and user friendly than Vista from my small experiment. Rocket Mole is now using it as his Operating System of choice – even though it's only got limited memory currently, he still says it's fast enough and does everything he needs.

      There are useful tools like the desktop 'post-it' notes which is good for keeping snippets of info & text to hand, and the scissors tool which is a little screen capture utility that allows you to annotate, save and send off to people.

      Superficial stuff, like this and the addition of Mahjong to the games is good for eye-candy and to keep the masses happy. The real benefit is the much smaller computing power needed compared to Vista, which means anyone with Vista can easily and speedily upgrade and thus consign Vista to the Millennium Edition of history. I think Microsoft have planned this one properly, have made it look good and work good, and thus should make more money on this than ever before – and that's despite the heavily discounted versions for Europe (paradoxically, Win7 is cheaper here because M$ is feeling guilty about the Internet Explorer and other dodgy dealings for which it's been heavily fined).

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