30 August 2009

Windows 7 Quick Review

Good points:
  • It takes 18 minutes to install from inserting the DVD to reaching the desktop ready for use. Compare that to Windows XP, taking a full 40 minutes, plus the post-installation setup too.
  • It's fast, it boots up just as fast as my partition of Windows XP does. Vista takes forever compared to either of them.
  • It's sleek, sexy and intuitive. Move the taskbar icons around. Have small icons. Preview the desktop without clicking anything. And everything that Vista had, just better.
  • The Recovery Console is automatically installed with the computer. Before you boot into Windows, press F8 to get to the advanced startup options, then choose Repair Your Computer to get to all the handy recovery tools.
  • Disk Defragmenter is much more useful and friendly.
  • Three words: Slideshow Desktop Backgrounds.
  • All of the old screensavers from XP and Vista still work in 7, if you have copies of them. The only exception is the 3D Windows XP logo.
  • Libraries are useful little things. But if you don't want Windows Media Player to index your videos and pictures, you have to remove them from the library altogether. Else, just make a new library with slightly different spelling to easily get to your videos etc.
  • Updating software is still much easier than going to the Windows Update site in XP, and the "Configuring upates..." message that Vista has has not even come up yet in 7.
  • Jumplists are also incredibly useful, but I still don't use them as often as I could be doing.
Bad points:
  • The Games are disabled by default, you have to go to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off to change it.
  • There are still lots of compatibility issues. A lot of my drivers for audio, printer and chipset had to be put into Vista Compatibility Mode in order to install them, and I had to prevent some of the installers from rolling back installations too.
  • Windows Live Messenger does not sit in the system tray, it sits in the taskbar. This is fucking annoying. If you want to make it live back in the sytem tray, go to its folder and change it to Vista Compatibility Mode.
  • I had trouble with SpeedFan on my machine, it seemed to cause a BSOD, data corruption leading to bad clusters, and SpeedFan caughing up errors when opening again.
  • If you still have User Account Control enabled as its default, you cannot install Mozilla Firefox.
  • Running MagicDisc caused it to BSOD once.
  • Sometimes clicking buttons too quickly when you right-click things on the Start Menu causes Explorer to crash.
  • Homegroup is useless.
  • Control Panel is still as lamely designed as ever, you have either Category view, which doesn't show you everything, or Full Icons, which shows you everything, but without any organisation. This is where Apple Mac OS X's System Preferences window supercedes Windows'.
  • Power Calculator still does not work for me (some people have reported it does work).
  • Windows Media Player's special tasbkar is gone, its been replaced with the "hover" control buttons.
  • On the Recording devices tab of Sounds, disabled/unused devices are hidden, and they are not easy to enable unless you know how to get them back - simply right-click in any empty space, and tick the box.
  • You still cannot force the Indexing Service to scan while you're working, it will only scan when your computer is idle.
  • The default option for "closing the lid" of the laptop is to Sleep. Just, why?!
  • Windows Movie Maker no longer exists, you have to download it from Windows Live Essentials - and make sure you leave nothing else running when installing, as even slight blips seem to cause the whole installation to rollback. You can still install Vista's replacement Movie Maker 2.6 if Live Essential's version is a bit too restrictive for you.