Oh, Windows. We inform and entertain. You are missed, and the Start menu is full of articles for our productivity. You move you there. Somehow. To be honest, we do not know what state the planet pride not on our operating systems robust functional people from Redmond have over the years, and while Windows Vista is showing in a position that Microsoft does not "t invincible he has not to show anything, such as Windows one idea – and more of a necessity – it’s all in danger.
Windows 7 enters three short years after Vista, the support of the shortcomings of its predecessor and to chew over, perhaps a bit ‘about. We must play with the operating system as the beta with the release candidate and, finally, the last "release to manufacturing (RTM) edition in our paws dirty. And ’till his campaign and understand the expectations implicit a great live release of Microsoft? Come on a magical journey to discover the truth for ourselves.
Install / boot times / shutdown
It is the basic operating system functions. Enable Install disable. But first impressions matter, and Microsoft made sure that Windows 7 give a beautiful shine when it came to these things. You can read our complete installation instructions for a thorough look at the pitfalls and triumphs of Windows 7 in this department, but in short, quick and easy, but the real performance can be found on netbooks and clean installations. Otherwise there is really nothing to Vista to shame – even though the incredible fresh air really does a clean install, providers should cruftware-happy for a little bit "of consciousness to fix.
Because Windows 7 is a kind of rationalization under Vista – the same hardware requirements, hardware compatibility, same model, a bit ‘less cruft – you have the basic user interface for the most visible additions to Microsoft’s operating system will be similar . Sense we suppose. Here are some of the highlights:
Anyone who used a modern operating system for more than five minutes has been reached with the hassle of juggling too many windows, and Aero Peek is trying to alleviate some. Available with a machine capable of "rules of fantasy" graphics windows translucent Aero Peek lets you hover over a "desktop" on the ground shows the right of the taskbar and shows the contours of every window currently open – which usually returns chaos.
More useful, however, is the ability of the image fly-out groups that float displayed taskbar app, and isolate the specific window, while all other windows to the outline mode are sent. It serves as a lesson in geography both a process and a quick surfing, without the awkward feeling or that all-or-nothing "as previous attempts to manage Windows in Windows. Check out the demo video below to see as is done in practice:
What we initially thought it was just a gimmick has become one of the more popular: just type in the title bar of a window and give it a vigorous shake to minimize all other windows. Ideal when you change jobs and want to get rid of the confusion of your past activities, and we hardly know, as we have been in a life without them.
Mac OS X could have spotlight, but Windows now offers a quest for a strong and direct, and the Windows key has a new life. Just pop open the Start menu and type in your search results and begin to fill. It is not as comprehensive as Spotlight, but it seems to be facing the same slowdown in Mac OS X counterpart, and leads to basically what we (applications, will as a rule). The Start menu has been enhanced with a sophisticated layout and additional menus for frequently used items – allows access to the last article is used by this application, with the new "list of activities that Microsoft has crept into the operating system but that currently used by only a few Microsoft applications built.
Perhaps our favorite day of improvement and offers a surprising Snap smart way to work with Windows, click with the simple strength and endurance. Windows can, with the top of the screen, or moved to a half of the screen is filled by drawing on the far left or right edge of the screen can be enlarged. Schematics Aero Peek-style, you can preview what you’re doing, and it is quite clear to bounce the "sticky" edges, or drag a window already maximized away from its moorings. Windows key + right arrow or left does the same to fill half the screen with the current window, and is perfect for the document to arrive.
This gets all the press, but it’s actually more the product of Aero Peek nothing intelligent in itself. Basically you take some ideas from the Dock in Mac OS X as the larger symbols and obligations App Launcher (icons may be "locked" to remain in place when the program is open or not, a merger of Windows’ Quick Launch taskbar old correct), and adds in the Windows taskbar, traditional activities such as entering open windows. The standard function is good, that keeps everything "stacked" in their icon, but the real money is to be combined in the "applications when full view ", which is accessed from the Taskbar Properties. This brings the advantages of the verbose name of the elements – always a great victory over approach Icons for Windows, Mac OS’s – without functionality Aero Peek fancy or cute icons. What is not so elegant as the system tray icons in the right-to be is now housed in a nasty little pop-up menu hidden. Even worse is the fact that you have a file of an app icon in the taskbar, not in this file with your application to to open it asks if you to pin "of the files, App. News Flash: We do not prefer. With a bit "of work, you can re-add the old style quick launch series of Mini Icons-drag dropability, but this is rather silly. We are pleased that there is enough customization options available to make them profitable, but I would say that Microsoft could do a better job of thinking to do with the default settings.
Quick display switching
Windows + P = magic! Really, it’s the little things that count, and Microsoft has made managing multiple displays and switching between commonly used configurations a total snap.
Microsoft tweaks a lot right with its new user interface, but it could be a lot of things took measures more logical. For example, it is strange that there is no built-in support for multi-finger trackpad – why is something that third party to discover for yourself? We understand that the material is not universal, but we would like to see Microsoft leading to the adoption of such a feature in constructing clear, reliable support for it in the OS. Two finger scrolling in particular: it is best to click on something, since the trackpad tap to arrive, and we believe everyone should have now shown that. On the multi-touch, support for Windows 7 multi-touch screen interaction is commendable, but hardly sufficient. Microsoft itself has shed much R & D in the finger-friendly interface, and we hope they will be building that innovation is the OS of today – the release of the surface of inspiration Microsoft Touch Pack is a good start, but not go far enough. One shudders to implement random innovations Multi-Touch Smartphone style, we are sure you will see a group of manufacturers in the years to come.
Overall, Microsoft has not create a unified style and business model for applications, ranging from the relatively new "toolbar Ribbon of Microsoft Office (and now on WordPad and painting), surfing the web control panel-like , for old trees in the Device Manager tab in the Properties window, and so on. For simplicity of most of its interfaces, commonly used measures were slowly emerging as the menu buttons, bars, though old, while the advanced features were hidden by the "menu" real in other parts of the surface. All this would not be so bad if Microsoft was the only provider of software for Windows, but because thousands and thousands of developers, widely diverging interfaces for Windows applications, we would be pleased if Microsoft took a little more direction and more clearly defined user interface design language that is coherent and useful to users.
Notable app changes
Windows Media Center
We’ve gone way in-depth on this over at Engadget HD, but suffice it to say that Windows Media Center in Windows 7 is vastly superior to Windows Vista’s version, and most all of the bugs from the Windows 7 beta seem to be ironed out quite nicely. The interface is a real treat, the extender functionality to the Xbox 360 and 3rd party boxes is much improved and quite snappier, and a truly marvelous amount of hardware is supported.
Windows Media Player
It’s pretty much Windows Media Player, you know? The good news is that Microsoft has greatly expanded the codec support, to something bordering on comprehensive:
Pulled from Microsoft’s Engineering Windows 7 blog
What’s even more fun is the new "Play to" function, which can beam a locally-controlled audio playlist to computers that are part of your HomeGroup, DLNA devices like the PS3, or Media Center Extenders like the Xbox 360. Remotely shared libraries are also automatically detected off of DLNA or Home Server devices, and everything pretty much "just works."
If you’re really feeling crazy you can tie your media library to your Windows Live ID and access your home media from anywhere over the internet.
It ‘hard to say that the most basic changes to the file explorer to do in this release, other than "work" much more often than they did in Vista to quantify. He is smarter long file types are available in fixed panel, preview music, images and video (if you know the preview window again), and we are certain files to drag and drop objects matching the left leg of the favorites simplified " and "libraries" more often. Unfortunately it is not all rosy, some media, we knew, "said" Zune and disabled people to play in Windows Explorer, the operating system is perfectly able to play through Windows Media Player preview his power was in some way. It seems that someone missed a meeting.
We’ll be honest: we avoid IE like the plague, and recommend you do as well. Microsoft continues to make improvements to the browser, and the nagging, over-protective "training wheels" approach to security is probably appropriate for those naive enough to use this thing, but the fact is that there are too many faster, better and "free-er" browsers out there to really waste much time in Microsoft’s default. Anecdotally, the browser hard crashed a couple minutes into us writing this paragraph.
Notable app omissions
It was never the highlight of the OS, but Microsoft has for some reason decided to ship Windows 7 completely without a mail application, unless you count the browser. You’re encouraged to download Windows Live Mail with the Windows Live Essentials app pack, but while it does an alright job, it’s hardly a first string effort, and we’re not sure why Microsoft has decided that emailing people isn’t really a core functionality of a modern operating system, much less something that Microsoft should have an industry-leading app for inside the box.
Windows Movie Maker
Another item relegated to the Windows Live app pack, and this time slapped with a "Beta" moniker for extra shame. We actually have a bit of a soft spot for Microsoft’s no-frills approach to movie editing for the everyman, and if YouTube is any indication, Movie Maker certainly gets the job done for a lot of people. Still, this is probably something that should be spruced up and packed in with the OS, and we’re even more sure that it should support the now-defacto AVCHD format by now.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
You guessed it, another one kicked to Windows Live Essentials land, where supposedly "essential" apps go to die. Unfortunately, this particular app seems an even more logical omission, given its too-strong ties to a Windows Live account (something we’ve owned for years without managing to upload a single photo to, strangely enough).
Other sundry necessities
One could perhaps understand this app shortage a decade ago – Microsoft’s work is really only half if you buy the operating system, they must also keep the team afloat Office – but because of its modern competition (Apple and Google to be exact), It is difficult to understand why Microsoft is selling this OS without calendar application, PDF viewer, substitutions or office light / IM video conferencing solution. Microsoft raises anti-trust laws, claiming that it is difficult to make in all "service work" when their applications bundled with the operating system will, but I would say that most of its applications could with a little " do more "open" when it comes to services (Flickr, YouTube, everything is not Windows Live, etc.) has in any case. In any case, many computer manufacturers into an agreement with Microsoft or Google or someone, some of these needs offer to come with their computer costs, but we can not help but think that Microsoft is leaving some important elements of the system operating negligible incomplete and inconsistent experiences open all these types of applications in this way.
Security / networking
Microsoft had already done a lot of work since the initial release of Vista on not bugging us incessantly with pop-up security nags, but Windows 7 strikes an even better balance. What is disconcerting is how often security warnings include an "unknown" as the publisher — it’s not really teaching anybody to be judicious about what pops up in the warning if the warning itself doesn’t even know what’s going on.
In the end we’ll find out just how secure Windows 7 is once it’s in the wild and hackers start hammering on it, but with the abundance and ease of Windows updates these days, most anybody with an ounce of common sense and a speedy internet connection should be able to steer clear of danger. Meaning: we’re all doomed.
On the networking front, HomeGroups are a new Windows 7-specific method of simplifying networking between computers on a local network, and we’re really in love. After decades of being stymied by complicated Windows networking setups, we’ve finally been able to reliably and rapidly connect multiple computers and share files / media / printers / whatever without resorting to a sneakernet or inviting our smarter friends over with their fancy Computer Science degrees to figure it out for us.
Check out our upgrade guide for more info on our specific compatibility issues, but the long and the short of it is that anything we found to work in Vista seemed to work just fine (in some cases better!) in Windows 7. That goes for hardware and software, but of course the real test will be when this OS is unleashed upon the masses — your mom’s brother’s 25 year old printer might not make the cut, and we’ll be sure to pour out a 40 upon its behalf.
In truth, Microsoft does a very good job with keeping a truly insane quantity of hardware and drivers and vendors happy, but we still think they could do better. New and improved utilities to detect and install hardware are present in Windows 7, but they still don’t feel entirely smart enough — we had to track down plenty of drivers manually, and even dipped a toe now and then into the (shudder) Device Manager, which has hardly received an improvement since World War II. There has to be a better way to make sure people don’t have to be smart, patient and lucky to get all their hardware working with their OS.
Of course, this is not a small problem to overcome. Stage new device that seems to illustrate the importance of this issue. Microsoft has introduced a sort of coating on the outside to the Device Manager devices and printers, display devices is recognized as large icons, lickable display, and allows you to drill down into other functions with a right click or double click if you " Feeling Lucky. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of devices operating system seems very comfortable. Of course, it takes almost everything we can to USB, searching for the driver on the Internet and install smoothly, but the actual functionality of the usually very want to plug – a double click usually gives us only the driest driver management options. Oodles of our devices by a general symbol SIN are represented, with strange names (or eight names, if they are our E71) and only two devices we tested a real stage, device supply, the population was only with the battery and storage technologies.
It’s simultaneously a testament to the insane diversity of devices Microsoft has to deal with, along with the implicit reliance on vendors to provide drivers in a logical and consistent manner. We don’t imagine the Device Stage will be populated with truly useful infos on our favorite devices for many months (or years) to come.
Overall speed / stability
Speed is one of Windows 7 main selling points. is especially set for netbooks, Windows 7 can turn a machine almost unusable on Windows Vista (especially if she was struggling with manufacturer’s own crapware) in a fairly powerful workhorse. This is partly to do with the kernel stripped-down Vista operating system, as has a smaller memory footprint, but also rework the Microsoft GUI-clockwise, which means less congestion and fewer moments responding. However, it is not perfect. On the machine you are well equipped with up-to-place upgrade of Vista brought to (trust us, a clean install is worth it to learn from our mistakes), we found in Gadgets a while to load at system startup slowdowns when we were a bit "too much" with the media, Internet Explorer, and I felt very sad over the competition.
While streaming Windows Media Center to our Xbox 360 we had trouble maintaining an internet connection, or perhaps a network connection — it was unclear which was dropping. After we disconnected and reconnected the network would work again, but would break soon after. We eventually gave up and restarted, after which things seemed to work just fine.
Our worst experiences, however, were with a clean install to a quite modern netbook. The OS became increasingly unstable over time — Windows Explorer itself seemed to be the main culprit — and the machine eventually failed to boot entirely. Luckily, the Startup Repair utility managed to jump to the rescue and found a System Restore point that booted fine, though we lost the few customizations we’d made up to that point and were face with basically a fresh install again. It was nice of Windows 7 to recover itself so well, but we would obviously have preferred to not run into that issue in the first place.
As for pricing and SKU confusion? Well, you’ll have to decide that one for yourself:
XP / VISTA
Full feature lists and additional SKUs can be found here. Family Pack info is here.
Madness? Yes. But there are still some decent options for most people, and if you’ve gotten a jump on things you might have already scored yourself that $50 upgrade — don’t you feel smug? In the long run, most people will end up getting Windows 7 with a new machine, so perhaps it doesn’t matter so much, but we still wouldn’t mind if Microsoft did a bit more work trimming down these full version pricetags. Doesn’t Microsoft want those too-cool-for-school Apple hipsters dabbling in the dark side via Bootcamp?
Where Vista felt like a sprawling mess, Windows 7 has patched the holes and feels like a tight, uniform mechanism. It is almost full of surprises, but that’s usually a good thing when it comes to operating systems. If you have never had a man of Windows, there is almost nothing here that is your opinion about this change. But most people on this planet have a way of interacting with Windows on a regular basis, either by choice or necessity, and Windows 7 is great news for the millions of souls. Instead of a change in the formula is Windows 7 really an extension and refinement of the true principles of Windows (we just made): the broad hardware compatibility sets, ease of use coatings on deep functionality, and "everything" on the function and SKU. With these broad objectives, and so different userbase, it’s no wonder that there are many points where the operating system is still far, but overall it is clear that Microsoft has taken a strong step forward with Windows 7 The world is on 22 October know.
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