Hi, it has been sometime since my last post. Thats because I was busy trying out some new OSs – namely Windows 7, and Fedora 11. I’m not a fan of Microsoft, but I do believe their quality has improved since Windows Vista and Windows 7 has to be the best Microsoft OS ever. Its complete and packs a punch capable enough to convert even the most ardent windows-hater into a believer. Not that its perfect, I don’t think even the great Mac OSX can claim that but then the snow leopard is just around the corner. But overall the OS is great.
I tried out Windows Vista and then simply went back to Win XP. Vista is nothing but crap. Although the Service Packs did improve the OS to a point where it was almost likeble but for me that was still unacceptable. I tried out the Beta of Windows 7 and liked the first look but still a lot of my old programs didn’t run and I wasn’t that happy, although not dissapointed since itwas still a beta. Then Microsoft came out with the RC1 release and I have only recently tried it and I have to say that I was blown away. I was so refreshing from Vista. The speed was very apparant in the Beta but still the RC1 seemed to be even faster. It was amazing.
The taskbar is what I like the best. The start button is a little different but still the same in principle. The most important difference in the start button for me is the shutdown button is now exclusively available, rather to have to choose from a menu. other than that its mostly the same. Now the taskbar is entirely different case. The show desktop button is no longer the next button after the start button. Its moved to the right edge of the screen and is now fixed. I know many of you who have deleted the button and then cursed yourself for having lost the easy back-to-desktop button. No longer a problem. Now you can ‘pin’ and ‘unpin’ programs into the taskbar. all instances of the programs are then grouped under these buttons, and act as the quick launch when the instances are closed. Not to mention the instances are still run independently in the memory.Moreover now you can define which program’s icon is shown in the notification area and which programs’ notifications are displayed. If you start any file transfer and then minimise it to the taskbar then the file transfer progress can be viewed in the ‘pinned’ explorer icon in the taskbar as thye entire icon becomes a progress bar.
Everything about the OS screams ACCESSIBLE and CUSTOMIZABLE. The OS comes with a great collection of themes and also gives you the freedom to cycle your wallpapers automatically (no more need of third party softwares). The OS also comes with a great collectiion of sound setups. I was trully bored with the old audio themes. The new themes are very refreshing.
And then the one thing that has bugged people the most in Vista, i.e. the User Account Control. Although itcould be switched off but that required some editing the registry or the group policy – not a very welcoming thing for casual or novice users. They were forced to endure the highly annoying popups. Now the control to switch UAC on-off is given on the UAC screens themselves. So if you wish you can easily change when you are notified, or even completely OFF.
Another thing that was very important for me to try out Windows 7 was that it should have been able to work with my hardware. To my utter surprise, the OS not only worked with my hardware I didn’t even need to install many of the drivers. The generic drivers not only worked they even recognised my hardware correctly. It was great. My UPS feedback service didn’t used to work in Vista or XP, but in Windows7 it worked without a hitch and even gave proper backup time predictions.
The new editions of the popular bundled programs are superb. The Paint with its Office 2007 style look has become highly polished and fun to work with. The Calculator seems new and has some great functions like conversions, date calculations, and statistical calculations and even base change calculations intended for programmers comes along as highly handy. The Network connect tool is now more usable and easy to configure. The Wordpad has also received the ribbon interface and is more appealing. Looks almost like a stunted MS Word. The Windows Firewall is now far more customizable and is far more secure than before. The Windows Defender has also changed a bit but the changes are mostly superficial. The New Windows Media Player, WMP12 is more capable than ever before. The Sound quality has improved and so has improved the ability to play HD videos.
The Explorer has also changed a bit. It has received the new Libraries (which is what opens when you ‘pin’ the explorer to the taskbar). Libraries consist of Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. This is the default place where WMP12 goes to look for media. Also a new preveiw pane makes a debut. The Control Panel has also changed a bit. Its now more functional and less flashy, its also more easily navigable than before. The Desktop Context menu has got three new entries – Share With, Personalize and Gadgets. The Sidebar gadgets can be accessed via the Gadgets option and can be placed anywhere on the desktop. Also gone is the Sidebar. The Personalize option gives you access to everything that contributes to the look and feel of the system – Background, Color, Sound and Screensaver. The Folder Options has also changed and has added functionality. You can now hide empty drives in the explorer and can even attempt to search through unknown filetypes.
Now comes the point about the advantage in speed. There is an unmistakable increase in speed and transition smoothness. It looks pretty although not overtly flashy. However Microsoft is still to catchup to the revered Mac OSX in this regard. File transfers are now faster. My Sandisk pendrive write speed has increased from 6~9MBps to an average of 20~30MBps for single file. The sheer speed is very visible. Its great and definitely should be made into a USP by Microsoft.
Windows 7, even the RC1 release is highly polished and is highly recommended by me for anyone fed up by the many shortages of Vista. I for one is completely sold for Win7 and will definitely get a copy for my Desktop. Microsoft should aggresively pursue this opportunity to change the image of failure that they accumulated from Vista. And without doubt this can become the highest selling software to date. People are tired from XP, they hate Vista, and many do not like the constantly updating nature of Linux distros, and for most going over to the Mac cults is simply not an option. Look out people this can be a star for Microsoft.