Barney's Rubble

7 on 7

Doug's a big fan of Windows 7, from its quickness to its stability. But that doesn't mean it's perfect.

I am an old school guy. I still use eight-tracks and cassettes, and love a good, old-fashioned, air-cooled motorcycle engine.

But when it comes to Microsoft computing, I'm as modern as they come. Thanks to my company's IT guru and new hero, Erik Lindgren, I'm all about the Windows 7 release candidate, Internet Explorer 8 and even Office 2007 for good measure.

I've been bragging about Windows 7 for months, based entirely on the generally good experiences of Redmond readers. Now I'm one of you, a full-time Windows 7 user. I have four reasons to love Windows 7 -- and three minor bummers.

Pluses
7 is fast: Sure, I have a new dual core, but that probably doesn't explain all the gains. It loads way faster, and nearly everything, from Outlook to Word, is far faster. My old machine was a clear dog, but then nearly every aging Windows XP machine I've ever used was slower than a Paula Abdul thought process.

It's (almost) stable: Not to harp on all the pathetic XP machines I've been subject to, but the Windows 7 beta -- yeah, I call release candidates betas, so sue me! -- is as stable as cheerleader pyramid: It only occasionally collapses. And when IE8 goes down, you can restore your full session, just like in Firefox.

Welcome to the modern world: It's hard to put my finger on it, but Windows 7 feels new. At first the rich interface was distracting; I like things clean. But now I feel like I'm part of the 21st century.

Previews: I love and hate Taskbar previews. It's very cool to hover over Taskbar items and see Web sites, documents and messages. But in some ways this is a replacement for quicker ways of navigating. In Word 2007, for instance, I'm basically forced to use Taskbars to see my docs, rather than clicking on the old Window option and getting a drop-down menu. But for Web tabs, the previews are sweet.

Glitches and Gotchas
Windows 7 is still technically in beta, so I'll cut it some slack. But Office 2007 and IE8 are fully released products, and shouldn't have idiosyncrasies.

Windows 7 and IM: With Windows 7, Yahoo! doesn't aggressively alert me for new messages and responses. When I ignore an IM for hours, co-workers think I'm napping. But most of the time I have no idea the message is even there.

Driver error: If there's one thing I love besides my family, it's my trusty HP LaserJet 1000. Yet to Windows 7 it simply doesn't exist. I'm no computer scientist, but in this world of virtualization, I'm confused about why a simple old driver no longer works.

Too much is unpredictable: When I work on cars or bikes, I'm the ultimate Mickey Mouse mechanic: a little duct tape and a hacksaw and soon that part fits just fine. With all this new software, I'm constantly inventing tricks or taking extra steps to get things done. I battle Word 2007, which wants to format things its way; discover you must right click to copy an IE8 URL; and have Web pages that scroll with the down arrow or scroll bar -- with no clue as to why.

Is Windows 7 all that? Tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 John Arizona

Rainer,Guten Tag, wie geh'ts? I'd recommend HP over Dell. I've found HP's to be much more dependable. I have a laptop that's over three years old and still works great.

Fri, Sep 25, 2009 Sirish Dangol Kathmandu

Yes, of course Windows 7 is indeed the best OS from Microsoft till date, no doubt at all. I like its every feature from mouse gesture experience, search experience to simplified but advanced security experience. I've been using Windows 7 since its beta release to RC, and now I'm eagerly waiting for the final release. Mr. Rainer, as per my recommendation if you want a smooth experience while using Windows 7, you'll need to have at least Core2Duo 2GHz equivalent Processor, 2GB DDR2 667MHz RAM, 256MB Graphics RAM with Pixel Shader 2.0, Intel 3 series or equivalent Chipset and HDD with 7200RPM. But, if you want the Windows Experience Index 7+ then you'll need Intel Corei7 CPU or equivalent, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 512MB Graphics like ATI Radeon 4870 or higher with CrossFire X or SLI supporting and Intel x58 series or higher Chipset. All the Best for Windows 7 and its users.

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 Rainer Prieschl Linz, Austria

Dear Mr. Barney, this is not really a comment to your article but a question: could you be so kind and tell me what could be the best machine working with Win7 because I intend to purchase a new one after october 2009? Thanks a lot in advance.

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