Think of Windows 7 in relation to Vista as how most relationships seem to fail: things between you and your partner were perfectly fine, just before a newer, younger and better looking model came along. I barely complained (publicly) about Vista because it wasn't that bad in the long run and there was nothing to really compare it to. Comparing it to XP would be unfair as the two operating systems were in an entirely different league to each other.
After using the release-candidate for months and finally getting round to downloading and installing the finished product, I was pleased. In fact, "pleased" probably wouldn't describe it as much as "relieved" would do. The fact of the matter is that Windows 7 is now done and dusted, and I was sick to the back teeth of either writing about it or hearing anything about it long before it even reached the first release-candidate milestone.
But now that it is over with, I can rest easy tonight knowing that the trickles of information I prescribed to the readers over the course of this last year can now be wrapped up and concluded in a closing statement. It is for the jury now to decide how the product will continue.
For me, it is truly brilliant through and through. For others who have yet to really experience what it is like first hand may well wonder why Vista even existed - at least in its current form. I would have gladly waited another year on top of the original delayed schedule for them to take a long, hard look at what Vista would have been at RTM to make it work en par with Windows 7 at RTM performance-wise.
Take my word for it. Without the need to re-write what half the blogosphere has already written, Windows 7 is damn good and a far cry from what "legacy" Windows operating systems were. I would personally recommend it to anybody - professionally or personally - simply after using it and experiencing the high performance, the responses it gives me, the application compatibility and the general cleanliness of the user experience.
All this, in perspective, is relative to Vista, to be fair.
Internet Explorer is still very much integrated as part of the operating system. Regardless of whether it will be included as part of Windows in certain locales it makes very little difference. It is still the case that if Internet Explorer screws up, that's it, albeit it probably won't screw up Windows Explorer like it used to. It would be nice to be able to fully reinstall the browser as it can come in handy from time to time; and before the die-hard geeks take like a panther to my jugular, removing and "reinstalling" it through Programs and Features doesn't work.
Touch technology in Windows 7 is unique in the fact that the operating system is actually built around touch. This is clear from the touch-users perspective but not so much from the non-touch user. Either way, it looks good and feels fluent with Office 2007 and onwards.
Windows XP Mode, the ability to run Windows XP in the background of Windows 7, enables backwards compatibility with programs and applications which don't work on the next-generation operating system. It works very well, especially with the host-client integration but it does churn up a lot of memory. The average user won't notice a difference but Windows XP Mode is only really viable on machines with 2GB RAM or more. Thankfully you probably won't have to use it often as I have found, because every one of my peachy applications installs just fine.
Sharing files over a network from a PC to another PC, even if both of those computers have Windows 7 RTM is a bit of a nightmare for me unless using the HomeGroup feature. Maybe the settings aren't quite right on the machines and no doubt others are having no problems at all, but it is still a bit of a drag nonetheless.
While the in-built troubleshooting features may seem a tad trivial to the advanced user, for the average Joe, these will come in handy more often than not. If something doesn't seem to work right, the appropriate troubleshooter will kick in and help you out alongside the application or device that is running. This self-help mechanism is long overdue but not lacking in substance. It seems a genuine effort on Microsoft's part to cut the number down of those ringing product support.
But whether I like it or not, I cannot start the day without a cup of tea, a slice of toast and a cigarette - in that order - and should that order fail, I get very, very grumpy. Sliced bread, even with all the aforementioned awesomeness that Windows 7 has, wins every time - hands down.