Saturday, January 10, 2009

Will Windows 7 be a Hit for Microsoft?

Right now, I’m sitting in my living room, writing this from Windows Live Writer from within the newly-released Windows 7 that I put on a spare laptop from school. So far, my impressions are largely positive ones. The installer is much less involved than any previous version, though it does have a couple of annoyances. It creates a 200MB System Partition – not sure what that’s for – and it, once again, overwrites the MBR, so if I had another OS on this machine, I’d have to install the bootloader. Again.

Performance was my biggest gripe for Vista. Getting around feels a little more like a battleship than the cruise liner that Vista is. Driver and device handling is much easier. Once again, more stuff has changed, rendering an experienced user like myself a stranger in a strange land. Numerous places, as usual, are two usability steps forward and one step back.

Some of the changes over Vista are truly nice to have. Dragging a window to the top of the screen maximizes it. Dragging it to the right or left edge tiles it to occupy half of the screen. The new taskbar is a nice improvement. Windows Live Writer is a very nice blogging tool that I just might be using quite a bit on my main computer if it’s even possible.

Other changes are… less than ideal. I’m not impressed by the fact that I have to download a separate e-mail client. Even Windows 95 came with Outlook Express. Yeesh. If I want to download an e-mail client, let it be out of choice and not from lack of one. If Microsoft is going for their own answer to iLife, this ain’t it. The whole Windows Live cloud computing thing doesn’t exactly impress me. If you live in Silicon Valley, fine, but there are many people in the US that are stuck with the choice of dial-up or satellite, with neither being a pleasant option.

I’ve only had Windows 7 for about 6 hours now, so I know I haven’t hardly scratched the surface of the entire experience, good or bad. Some general looking around has given me some ideas for Haiku that would make it more pleasant, but for now, the jury’s still out on the next generation out of Redmond.

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