I never thought I’d see the day where I would willingly leave Windows XP and move on to something else, but in walks Windows 7, which changed my mind for good. I was severely disappointed with Windows Vista, and never made the switch. I viewed Vista as a downgrade with all of its bugs and performance problems. XP was a simple, unadulterated love affair. It was the dignified lady of the PC world. She was simple, stable, and dependable. Lady XP welcomed PCs as low as 300 MHz, and life was good. The rich, the poor, the middle class−we all loved her! Yet, the time comes where every dignified lady must retire, and hang up the hat.
I won’t go into detail about each new feature Windows 7 has to offer, but I will list a few things that stood out to me.
- Taskbar improvements (application screenshots instead of listing, ability to “pin” items)
- New shortcuts (minimize, maximize, switch screens, etc.)
- More intuitive interface
- Customize tray notifications and icons (in XP many of us eventually ended up with a never-ending task bar full of tray icons)
- 64-bit version readily available (with XP this was available, but rarer)
- Windows Experience Index (see below)
- Improved networking functionality, and speed
- Voice recognition (works very well, hopefully this will help save us from carpel tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries)
- Touch screen support (haven’t tried this out yet)
- Battery life in notebooks improved drastically
- ReadyBoost technology
- Performance boost in boot, shut down, etc.
- A kick-ass UI… Aero rocks!
- I absolutely love the Resource Manager! (monitor applications’ network connections, which hosts/IPs they are accessing, detailed RAM/CPU usage, and more)
Windows 7 now has my full support and confidence. At work, we’ll probably be using XP for a little bit longer, but I foresee some upgrades in the future. The productivity enhancements that come in the form of shortcuts, speed, and UI improvements are enough to convince me businesses would benefit from upgrading. Would I recommend this for family and friends? Absolutely, but I would also ask what their system specs are before going out and buying the OS. In order to take full advantage of all the features Windows 7 has to offer, some upgrades may be required.
For those of you who are interested, I am running Windows 7 x64 on the following setup, which has been flawless:
- CPU: 3.1 GHz AMD Phenom II x2 550 Black Edition
- RAM: 4 GB DDR2 RAM (PC8500)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H motherboard
- Graphics: Diamond ATI Radeon HD 4650 w/ 1 GB GDDR2 RAM
- Monitors: Dual monitor setup, (1) DVI-D, (1) VGA
- Hard Drives: 500 GB Seagate Barracuda SATA w/ 16 MB cache, 40 GB IDE, 20 GB IDE, 4 GB USB Flash Drive dedicated to ReadyBoost
- Applications/Services: Eclipse PDT, Apache 2.2.13, PHP 5.3, MySQL 5.1, McAfee VirusScan, OpenOffice, etc.
So there you have it! I’m very interested to see what happens with Windows 7 over the next few years, and if it can beat the 2/3 market share owned by Lady XP. Microsoft really did a great job with this product, and I hope it restores confidence in those turned off by Vista. Great job, Microsoft!