Sunday, March 1, 2009

Windows 7 Beta

Here is something you don’t expect in this blog:  an operating system review!

I have been trying the coming-soon version of Windows with the Biblically significant (!) number of seven.  To give you an idea of how to evaluate what I am about to say, I consider myself a computer user of above average experience.  My first PC use came in 1982, and I have been far too interested ever since.

I have built PCs, I maintain a little personal network (I’m wired – I don’t like the idea of broadcasting my data.  It’s a prejudice I will probably give up sometime.)  I worked in an IT department for a few years – at a low level, just so you know.

I ‘grew up’ computerly-speaking in the good old days of DOS.  I came only reluctantly into the era of graphical interface operating systems.  After Windows 3.1 I used OS/2 for a while.  I rather liked it, but it didn’t seem to become very popular.

I skipped Vista for a couple of reasons.  First, I am poor and can’t afford to upgrade at the drop of a hat.  Also, I liked XP and heard too many complaints about Vista.

Right now, in addition to XP, I run an additional older PC with the Ubuntu version of Linux.  My wife’s old PC was sitting around, so I stuck all the old hard drives (I never get rid of such treasures) I had into it.  Ubuntu runs very well on that old PC, and it gives me a chance to escape the dominion of Bill Gates now and then.

So having said all that – probably too much – we come to this latest offering from Bill and the boys at Microsoft.

I downloaded one of the last copies in February.  I was going to burn a DVD for installation (it’s too large for a CD – which it seems are almost obsolete now anyway) and I discovered that I had no writable DVD blanks in stock.  So I put the Windows 7 files on a flash drive, and installed from there.  It was rather fun – you have to perform a couple of special maneuvers to pull that off.  Some web browsing was required to learn just what those are.  (This is one of the things I like about the digital world – you can always try something new, and learn something in the process!)

I put the new version of Windows on my XP machine so that it ‘dual boots’ – that is, you must choose which version you want to boot when you start your PC.  The only drawback is that the default is Windows 7, so if you turn on your PC and go brush your teeth while it boots, you are in Windows 7.  There is probably some way to change that, but I haven’t bothered to discover it yet.

So Windows 7 beta has been loaded now for a few weeks.  I loaded up all sorts of programs, uninstalled few I didn’t like, and generally poked around and with the new system quite a bit.  So far, I have found only one little device utility that I used in XP but wouldn’t work in Windows 7.  All my apps – new and old – work without a hitch.

I must give Bill’s Boys a good grade on this one.  In some ways, it ‘looks’ a bit like Ubuntu to my eyes.  It does seem to require less of your PC power for the operating system.  It does start and close very quickly.  It is easier on the eyes, for me at least, than XP.

The guys at Microsoft are soliciting user feedback for this version, and they seem to be taking it to heart.  They have already made some changes based on the input they have received.  While some of the features aren’t quite where I expect them (remember, I skipped Vista) I have not found it terribly difficult to find where to changes settings and so forth.

I like Windows 7, and I think most users will, too.  It is an operating system I am not likely to skip, as I and so many others did Vista.

[Don’t expect many posts like this on THIS blog!  But now and then, a change of pace is good.]

1 comment:

Tim Snow said...

I delved into Linux Mandrake in a system I built myself, and I liked it. I would have kept running it if I was able to run BibleWorks on it. Otherwise, I could get around contributing to Bill Gates' empire. Vista isn't bad, but it can get annoying at times.