My final look at a near-ish feature-complete-ish Windows 7

My final look at a near-ish feature-complete-ish Windows 7

Summary: Watching an operating system evolve from a small, worthless lump of Vista, to becoming a unique, beautiful chrysalis of Sevenness, will probably be nothing like watching my godchildren grow up to be young adults, but probably a lot more fun. I love them to bits, like I couldn't possibly describe in words, but my God they wear me out.

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I know, it's a crap picture, but I'm tired.Watching an operating system evolve from a small, worthless lump of Vista, to becoming a unique, beautiful chrysalis of Sevenness, will probably be nothing like watching my godchildren grow up to be young adults, but probably a lot more fun. I love them to bits, like I couldn't possibly describe in words, but my God they wear me out.

People have accused me of jumping ship; from hating Microsoft to loving Microsoft, having someone cover for me who writes about Mac's, and even yesterday when I said, "forget the client, hit the server" instead. Windows 7 is taking shape, and for those who can't stand Vista for all the reasons they have, will find it difficult to hate Windows 7.

For those who hate anything Microsoft related because its Microsoft related, well you can't please everybody.

To quickly run through what it has and doesn't have (because I really want to go to bed):

Click to head over to the gallery

On the other hand, let's face it; it's not a finished product.

  • It still doesn't have online awareness. There's no element of Windows Live anywhere, except maybe the odd clue which could give us an insight into online services and how they connect in.
  • It doesn't have a timeframe of completion. It'd be nice if they'd have it done by next Christmas in time for the holiday season; new laptops for students, perfect time for buying, but we just don't know yet.
  • It doesn't let go of the negative Vista commentators. Even though this new operating system feels so independent from its predecessor, there's still a nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "it's Vista, just dressed up a bit."

I must say, the student-related features are on the increase. Forget the fun and the media side; those were and are still expected. The calculator is revamped with a new interface and adding support for real-life calculations and conversions, like weights and length converters. Not only that, for those using tablet functions, the math tablet can be used to transcribe math functions.

I know I keep mentioning these sticky notes, but no longer is my actual monitor littered with Post-it notes stuck all around it, reminding me of all the important things to do. Now they sit on my desktop, and I'm being a little bit more environmentally friendly as a result. Saving trees is what I do in my spare time, by not crumpling up paper and throwing it out straight away.

The way you can store your credentials for networks (available from XP upwards, but defined much better in Windows 7) allows you freedom to have essentially single-sign-on from your own computer. The touch features, allowing you to type almost normally onto your touchscreen device, with a vector-scalable on-screen keyboard is excellent, and has never been better in any other Microsoft product.

I would say, from this point on, it's coming along nicely, and am looking forward to the "beta phase" (there's no Beta 1 or Beta 2, just "beta").

For more unbalanced balanced posts of this nature, I sincerely urge you to carry on reading here, here, here, here, and here.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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76 comments
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  • Build 6956...

    Has me really astonished. Feels like a late RC and I've been enjoying the new media center and WMP"s native codec support.

    The superbar has grown on me and I wish Chrome or FireFox would release updates to integrate tab preview and management into the bar.

    Aero peek with gadgets on the desktop just make sense and can't believe they didn't have this in Vista. Hoping for more unlocked goodies in the Beta.
    Gnutella
  • RE: My final look at a near-ish feature-complete-ish Windows 7

    Windows 7 will def. be the best OS out there. I have it's M3 build and it's really great and very stable.

    But I was really expecting ribbon UI for explorer which would expose the deep-under hidden features like shadow copy etc just like it's done in Office 2007 by exposing the most used features in the ribbon (word, excel...) but it's pretty much unchanged :(
    shellcodes_coder
  • RE: My final look at a near-ish feature-complete-ish Windows 7

    I know this isn't mentioned much, but are there going to be any improvents to the way windows handles cleartype. I always found Vista text to be fuzzy or blurry. I know this is an intent of anti-aliasing but its pretty bad in Vista. I always turned it off because I I'd rather have the sharp non anti-aliased text with all the shadows. Even turning it off would setill render some slightly fuzzy text. From your snapshots it looks like the problem is still there in windows 7. I wish they had a simple way to just disable it all so text appears as it did on XP.
    jimk_z
    • by

      They should also use a different font or size for the text under icons on the desktop. Its pretty garrish with the way it displays and the overkill dropshadow. Its looking better in some screens although they are still going too crazy with transparencies.
      jimk_z
    • Cleartype is improved in 7

      Windows 7 has a new cleartype tuning wizard. It presents you with a bunch of different passages of text rendered differently and asks you which is the most clear, sort of like an eye exam.
      ModernMech
      • cleartype tuning wizard

        has been available as a separate download for XP (and I believe via a webpage as well) for a number of years.

        I've always added it to the systems I build, but it's great to see it bundled in.
        rtk
    • This must be....

      On a case by case basis because the cleartype on my Vista makes the text much more precise and looks alot better than XP. Not sure if different video cards present different effects?
      OhTheHumanity
      • Yes

        Different video hardware and physical screen combinations view differently - the price you pay for choice is having to choose :) Though I imagine new machines will come pre-tuned.
        crypt2121
  • I dont think you are a fair reviewer

    There is no problem with Windows Vista. U were reviewing beta's for so long that you are biased against the word "Vista". Beta's are for testing, not for reviewing. The change from Windows 95 to Windows XP was much more painful. I work fromm home and Vista has been much more stable and faster for the tasks I have for it - It Runs Rock Solid, No Crashes EVER. 64 bit support is great too, I have had no trouble getting drivers for my hardware. All my old applications install and work fine because they are not some obscure 5 year old pieces of freeware crap I have gotten so attached to I cant upgrade to a new version/product.

    Of course XP is "Faster" than vista. So is DOS.

    Windows 7 is Vista, re-branded to get past people who judge the final product on its beta's.
    plaasjapie
    • DOS is faster?

      How so? How can a 16 bit piece o crap be faster than a 32/64 bit operating system?
      InAction Man
      • Uses less RAM.

        Plus if it weren't it would have been unusable on the 24MHz 386SX with 2MB RAM IBM PS2 that was my first PC. That thing booted faster than Vista, XP, Me, and 98.
        T1Oracle
        • RE: Uses less RAM

          Exactly.
          plaasjapie
        • Boot times vs run times

          What about run times once it's up? Surely you don't spend all of your computer time just booting the machine. You must occasionally run some applications at some point that you'd rather not have running on a 24MHz 386SX with 2MB RAM IBM PS2.

          I know I do.
          cwallen19803@...
          • In a virtual machine.

            In a virtual machine windows 3.11 runs without lag, fairly better than a pc with <1gb ram and vista.
            magallanes
        • And has...

          ...a lot less "housekeeping" to do, overall.

          It's not jsut the RAM that it takes to put that pretty GUI up there - there are a few processor cycles here and there.

          Kind of like how a 1MHz Apple II was faster than the original PC, even though the PC's processor was faster.
          fairportfan
      • RE: DOS is faster?

        This comment does not deserve more than the above response.
        plaasjapie
      • yup

        You had extenders to go 32 bit under DOS, which with some tweaks could have gone up to 64 bit.

        And ofcourse DOS is faster.. DOS doesn't do nothing by itself.
        TedKraan
      • DOS IS Faster!

        No graphics, programmers back then were focused on the fastest and most effecient coding. Now the focus is on "looks" then function. Programs are 100 times bigger than they need to be to perform the same functions without the graphics. DOS was faster, but not as "user friendly".
        jmb6420
    • I finally got a Vista system that runs well

      It's a Core Duo 2.3GHz with 4 gig of RAM.
      Nowadays that configuration is cheap.

      When I was testing Vista Beta, it was SLOWWW in 512meg of RAM. People suggested 1gig.
      I got a core duo laptop with 1 gig of RAM. Still SLOWWWW.

      Vista is great, but don't even try to run it on less than 2 gig of RAM. Basically if Microsoft had said "OK it's here but you need a 2.3GHz Duo with 2 gig of RAM to run it", there would have been ZERO complaints. That would have been the right thing to do. To sell it on 512meg machines was crazy, just asking for trouble, and giving consumers big headaches.

      And you need a wide screen for it. It's too jammed up for a small screen. Get the above hot machine, and you'll start liking Vista. There seem to be less "ARe you sure" "are you really sure" "are you really really sure" moments after the service pack as well.
      stevey_d
      • Progre$$

        Part of the problem is that MSFT has always relied on upcoming tech to power their upgrades. To some extent this makes sense because it gets capability out the door and gives people a taste of what is to come even if it pisses them off. It certainly makes Intel and Dell happy.

        They got nailed this time. Eco slow down means less timely upgrades...
        crypt2121