Swimming with the Microsoft Fishies

I've been messing with Windows 7 for more than 2 weeks now in-between sessions spent pounding on Visaster/Office2007 and the comparison, at least at the OS desktop level, favors Windows 7 tremendously. Windows open much faster.

I've been messing with Windows 7 for more than 2 weeks now in-between sessions spent pounding on Visaster/Office2007 and the comparison, at least at the OS desktop level, favors Windows 7 tremendously. Windows open much faster. Built-in system management panels like Control Panel, and MMC related tools take much less time to perform various simple tasks with Windows 7.

I don't like the Explorer window any better in Win 7 but its not as cluttered as the Visaster's version.

The 4 color flag Start button now has a color shimmer. ennnh, Who cares? When you click it, at least the button at the bottom says Shut Down instead of some sort of icon gibberish as in Visaster. The buttons are relatively bigger as well.

The biggest improvement to the Start button might be the All Programs menu that pops up. Anything that has been installed using Windows Installer or a Java installation (OpenOffice & Firefox 3) comes up on the menu that opens. I would like to swap it for current “sticky-note-snipper-menu”.

Sticky Notes? Just what I need. Virtual flags of paper sticking inside(?) the very frame I need to be as big as possible. The reason REAL sticky notes work is that they get tagged to the OUTSIDE of the computer visual frame. Where else do you put that damn 12 character random string password you can't remember? Some “pointy-haired-boss” (see Dilbert.com) must have thought they were cool.

Snipping tool. Hmmmm? Good idea? Don't know. Its just useful enough to make me wish it did more.

Gadgets—make me wish it was a Mac. Mac's work better and have better display characteristics. (resizing, fade-away, stay quiet etc) I also checked out the Gadgets online at MS website. 50% of them seem to be different styled clocks. The rest were variations of what was already on the Gadget menu in the OS. Whoop-dee-doo. Time for the gadget-programmers to get creative.

Task Manager is somewhat better than in XP Pro. (I can't compare it to Visaster.) Adding the services tab is a slight improvement. It would help to be able to shut-off services from the Task Manager instead of having to load MMC first.

I haven't figured out what "Libraries" is good for besides confusing the programmer.

Why rename workgroups to homegroups? Are we supposed to think of it as something new? Hopefully it uses a new protocol with more secure authentication compared to Lan Manager.

Now for the reason I think Windows 7 will actually be worth something.

A few days ago something got broken. I really don't know or care what it was. OpenOffice was open at the time but I wasn't using it. I was web browsing using IE8 Beta. A message box opened up telling me that the operating system was reporting that some system files were damaged and that it was going to save the data in the open programs and then shut them down. It then reported that it would repair the damage and restart the system.

It did exactly that. I was absolutely amazed. I have never had a almost totally hands off repair like that before, ever, with a Microsoft product. The “almost” is in there because at one point a screen that looked somewhat like the Safe boot choice screen in XP Pro came up and indicated it wanted to finish the repair boot. I suppose I could have let it timeout and execute the repair option but I had to get my fingers into it somewhat! It took only about 20 minutes to do it all. Its running right now, I'm writing this review on it in OpenOffice 3.0

Now the kicker. It did all of this running in 512 MB of RAM, with a 10GB virtual hard drive inside Sun's VirtualBox on my Windows XP Pro system. Freaking amazing.

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