Evaluating the latest MicroSoft Cash Cow

I downloaded the Windows 7 Ultimate RC DVD ISO onto my wife's computer. Then I realized that her computer doesn't have a DVD burner.
Written by Xwindowsjunkie , Contributor

I downloaded the Windows 7 Ultimate RC DVD ISO onto my wife's computer. Then I realized that her computer doesn't have a DVD burner. Bummer. Copied it onto a USB flash drive. I went to work and burned a few DVDs. Didn't have the urge to say “argh!” or go out and buy a parrot but it was fun anyway when I discovered that Agua (or Aqua) seems to still be the desktop theme. Sunlight was again streaming down through the water so Microsoft still has us using gills and fins. The Beta (Siamese fighting fish) was still the default desktop background!

At the beginning there was a screen indicating that it was possible to do an “upgrade” of the Windows 7 Beta install that I had let lapse or time-out after the 30 day grace period. I didn't think that was such a good idea. There is a selection button labeled as “Advanced” that is actually a program dialog much like Ubuntu gparted but not as pretty. The existing partitions can be managed somewhat. You're given options to install the new OS. You're allowed to delete partitions, set sizes (and resize – new for Windows) and types (extended or primary), or to install on certain partitions already running a compatible OS, meaning something windows (and probably Visaster or Win7).

Note to Microsoft: Make the advanced partitioning dialog selection button a little more obvious please. Think about it this way. People in this day and time that are willing to buy your software as shrink-wrap and not already installed on a computer, are probably astute enough to want some control over where the OS gets plopped down on the drive. I work with your stuff 5 days a week and I almost missed it. (Linux gets the weekends.)

If you have been running the Windows 7 Beta, it looks much the same. I'll be investigating it in more detail. The real test is how it works with real applications installed on it like OpenOffice.org, FireFox3 and some other essential non-MS programs. I plan on installing those tomorrow.

I did find a background picture I just had to use. One of the sample pictures was of three penguins all standing, one has his back to the camera but they look like they're clustered around a water cooler, talking. I had to laugh, it was too funny. So it got set as the desktop background. Somebody at Microsoft has a sense of humor, there may be hope for them yet.

The install only took about 45 minutes on a DELL 755. The install dialog required six items; user name, password, computer name, time zone, UTC on the RTC or not and the notorious 25 character CD install key. Other than that it was hands off. System came up running with no issues, no extra driver installs or no OEM crapware. I had it connected to the Internet and it called home to momma and activated itself. So it was just a little harder than the Ubuntu 9.04 install which is as close to totally hands-off as it can be.

The idiot “gadgets” are still hiding quietly and not obvious on the desktop. I just know that somebody is going to figure out a way to hack something together as malware and offer it as a gadget to Users.

The are three things at this point I am interested In looking at in Windows 7: the Windows XP Pro virtual-box, the OS restore capability and the networking inter-connectivity with XP Pro systems. I have seen some weird things happen when attempting to connect to shares on an XP workstation from the Visaster box at work. Sometimes Visaster acts like the XP system is just not there. The restore capability has possibilities for our business. The networking issues need to be resolved and Windows 7 might be easier to make work right than Visaster.

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