Doug's Mailbag: Windows 7 Still Needs Work, More
Doug's pretty pleased with Windows 7 so far, but here are a few readers whose experiences haven't been so rosy:
My wife was born in mainland China, so when the Simplified Mandarin language pack showed up on Windows Update for Windows 7 RC, I tried to install it. Got a BSOD. Rebooted and tried again. Same BSOD.
Does the RC auto-report serious bombs like this or do I need to try and report to someone at Microsoft?
I like Windows 7 -- just don't install anti-virus yet. Trend WFB packaged destroyed Windows 7. AVG Free ate Windows 7. McAfee home did not want to install. So Mom's new quad-core Intel with 9 gigs of RAM is running XP 32-bit for now.
Other than that, loved Windows 7. Had it running nicely on a 5-year-old 2.8 with 512 of RAM. Try that with Vista.
I like the Win 7 RC so far, but the one fatal flaw for me (which I'm sure Microsoft will resolve) is that it is stuck in backup mode even though no backup is occurring or is even possible due to a backup already occurring. The Action Center lists "Backup in Progress." I've been to TechNet and there are several of us who have this same issue (it seems to be incompatibility with some unknown program). The MS Guru on the message boards said it will be fixed in the released version, but probably not in the RC. He told me to start uninstalling programs until I found out which one was causing the problem, but they don't have an easier way to find out what is in conflict. I just don't have time to uninstall everything and figure this out. Fortunately, the image backup part works perfectly even when the "Backup in Progress" indicator is on.
Other than that minor, little flaw (wink), I like Windows 7 a lot and will get it when it comes up for sale. But I sure do wish I could see a real MS backup take place.
Let's not get fooled by all the hype and carrying on about Windows 7, please. Nearly everything I see about Windows 7 is that is has nicer icons, it's faster, it's what Vista should have been, etc. To a business user, this translates as marketing hype and fluff and it's never going to be enough to sell to mainstream. I will laugh out loud when I see businesses adopting Windows 7 only to walk away, screaming about costs they did not see coming and the fact that when builds break, the pathetic system restore option they are relying upon is not accessible if the disk fails to boot.
Depending on the cost, I might have one copy of Windows 7 on my shelf just in case, but I certainly have no plans to change my systems or hardware before 2014, because I just do not see any benefits that matter enough to me. I think most sensible business managers will follow suit.
Andy wrote last week to say that based on Microsoft's naming scheme (and actual first impressions of the OS), Windows 7 is more like another version of Vista. A few of you agreed:
Not sure why Microsoft gave a new name for its upcoming Windows version (Windows 7) as the name doesn't do justice to its actual version, which is somewhere around 6.5 or so. Since it's not a major OS release but minor with a bug fix for Vista, I'd like to see Microsoft call it "Windows Vista R2" or some other fancy name, but not Windows 7.
I'm sure I won't be the first to correct Andy, but Windows XP is Windows 5.1, not 6; bring up a command prompt to see. Speaking of which, when XP first came out, many of us referred to it as Win 2K with a Fisher Price interface. Other than marketing, should the next version really be called Windows 7? Because 6.1 seems more appropriate.
And Dave chimes in on the topic of Mac prices to say that price, in most cases, isn't necessarily the point:
Like you, I support a mix of Mac and PC gear in my daily computer usage. I think cost -- whether you are talking MSRP, street price, repair costs or even total cost of ownership -- is irrelevant when comparing Macs and PCs. I'm not saying cost isn't important; I am saying that it isn't as important as fulfilling the purpose for making the purchase.
For example, you bought Mac gear for your children because that is what their school uses. Even if the Mac costs 10 times what an equivalent or superior PC costs, you would pay the difference to provide your children with the tools required to matriculate through their school curriculum. On the other hand, PC gear is a logical choice for my work-related computing because it allows me to work when away from the office and not connected via VPN or modem. To have that capability, I would buy the PC, even if it cost far more than an equivalent Mac. Put simply, although cost isn't unimportant, it's not the most important thing. In the end, it is seldom the key decision criteria.
Check in on Friday for more reader letters! Meanwhile, leave your own comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Doug Barney on 06/10/2009 at 1:16 PM