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