“The Start Menu in Windows 7 will be an area of much consternation for veteran Windows XP users.” —James Perlow at ZDNet [link]
Yes, the Start Menu is different in Windows 7, but the core functionality is the same. Windows XP users are still able to view programs by clicking a menu item, and the Control Panel, Printers, Documents, etc., are still easily accessible from the same place. Perlow, the author, also mentions that the Run menu is no longer directly accessible from the Start menu, and complains that power users will have to turn it on. Wow… is this laziness or what? In just a few clicks, this functionality can be restored… BUT, and this is a huge BUT, I am willing to bet that power users aren’t going to want to use the Run dialog that much in Windows 7. The beauty of this setup is that you can type your command directly into the “Search programs and files” box in the Start menu. I think it’s also worth mentioning that users can open up the command prompt very easily by holding SHIFT and right-clicking on a folder in Windows Explorer, then clicking Open command window here. This was available in Windows XP, but only via a PowerToys installation.
The author of this article seems to have forgotten that there is always some setup involved in upgrading or installing a new OS. Most of us have been using XP for seven or eight years, and haven’t had to update nor have we wanted to. As a Windows XP veteran user, I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. I’ve found Windows 7 to be a welcome change, and improvement over Windows XP, which was an amazing operating system. There is a very small learning curve when it comes to adjusting from XP to 7; however, there is a learning curve with the new features of Windows 7. For example, users can hold down the Windows key and left/right to switch a window from one screen to another. Windows+Tab is another new shortcut which provides a 3D view of the ALT+Tab shortcut for switching between applications.
Apple’s Snow Leopard is so much cheaper than Windows 7.
This is true, but it is not a substantial claim. The $29.99 dollar Snow Leopard upgrade requires a Mac with an Intel processor, and Leopard OS. If you are looking at a fresh install or you only have the Tiger OS, it’s going to cost you $169.99 dollars for the Mac Box Set (Apple Store). Windows XP was released in 2001, and those users are eligible for the upgrade price, although it is higher. If you buy the Family Pack which includes three licenses of Windows 7, you can technically get the upgrade version for $49.99. It’s also important to note that the Family Pack includes both 32-bit and 64-bit installation CDs. Not a bad deal, eh?
If you own a PowerPC (which were being sold new just a few years ago), you’re left in the dark, as they are not compatible. Windows 7 runs on AMD, Intel, and other processors. It is compatible with a much wider range of hardware. The minimum system requirements for Windows 7 include 1 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. This is part of the reason why Microsoft still holds 92% of the market share for operating systems.
Can’t Pin What We Want to Taskbar, Control Panel Is a Mess [link]
You can pin pretty much anything you want to the taskbar in Windows 7. It is true that you cannot simply drag the Recycle Bin and pin it to the taskbar, but this functionality was never available. There are three things you could do here…
- Pin the Recycle Bin to the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar. This is the default action when you drag the Recycle Bin onto the taskbar. This will give you a shortcut to the trash whenever you need it, but it won’t give you drag and drop functionality.
- There is a way to pin a shortcut to the Recycle Bin onto the task bar. Read about how to pin the Recycle Bin to the task bar.
- (Recommended) When you want to drag an item to the Recycle Bin, drag it to the show desktop “sliver” located next to the time and date. When you hover over the button, the desktop will become visible, allowing you to drag the item to the Recycle Bin.
The Control Panel has three different views—categories, small icons, and large icons. I prefer the small icons, so I can see everything at once. Because there are more features in Windows 7, there are more list items creating this illusion of a “mess.” Keeping the Control Panel in the Categories view will help keep things organized, but it will add clicks to your objective. The new Control Panel setup is still an improvement over XP. After all, while I use Control Panel regularly, I don’t spend most of my time there. Having a well-crafted UI for the everyday items is more important than creating a better category or list view for Control Panel. With that said, I still can’t say that I’ve had trouble finding anything within the new setup. No complaints here!
The Bottom Line
I think a lot of people spoke too soon, some during beta testing when bugs were still being worked out. Everyone is quick to complain about change instead of embracing it. So far, I haven’t found many things I would change in Windows 7. As an XP power user upgrading to Windows 7, I’ve been quite pleased, and don’t regret it one bit. I feel more productive working with Windows 7. I’ve taken full advantage of the Speech Recognition system, and think that it will help prevent repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m eager to try out the touch screen technology which will be helpful in that area as well. As a developer, I have found things like Windows Resource Manager to be extremely helpful in diagnosing performance-related problems during development. It’s also nice to see a 64-bit version readily available to consumers. This represents the future in computing, the same kind of change that Windows 95 brought us.