Windows 7: My First Impressions

I have to admit, I was excited about Windows 7 from the get-go. I downloaded the Beta and Release Candidate and played with both, but not really that in-depth. Still, it was enough to get me convinced that it was time to leave Windows XP in the dust. So far, I’m very impressed. Here’s what I’m digging so far.

  • Program launching is much improved. If you want to launch a program, press the Windows key on your keyboard, type the program name (or a part of it) and press Enter. That’s it. No scrolling through a Start Menu a mile long, no setting up quick launch toolbars, no cluttering your desktop with a million shortcuts each with their own hotkey. It sounds like a small thing, but it makes opening programs much more convenient and a lot easier. It also searches files on your hard drives automatically, an added bonus.
  • Aero is a very slick interface. If you want to get rid of all but the active window, grab the title bar and give it a shake. Just like that, all over windows will minimize themselves, You can also drag windows to either side to have them take up 50% of the screen. Setting up side-by-side windows is a snap now and much better than the old “tile” options holding over from Windows 3.0. It’s also a lot prettier with animations for minimizing/maximizing windows and previews of open windows on the taskbar.
  • My 3D graphics are now supercharged. Nvidia has a nifty feature where you can pair up your on-board graphics with an add-in card and make them both do the graphics work. It only works on Vista and Windows 7 because of the new driver model they use. Games, prepared to be pwned.
  • Installation was the easiest of any OS I’ve ever installed, period. It asks you where you are and where you want to install, then does its thing for 20 minutes. Give the PC a name and create a user account, then you’re done. That’s it. No more 20 questions, no more ugly blue text setup screen, no more trying to find a floppy (yes, you heard me) with drivers for your fancy new hard drive controller. Everything on my PC worked out of the box and it’s not even really all that old. Bonus? I plugged in my phone and it immediately recognized it and installed the appropriate software from the Internet. How slick is that?
  • I didn’t have to reconfigure the AppleTV after reinstallation. Windows automatically recognized which folders I had been sharing before and shared them for me. I’m not used to software making assumptions for me AND being right about it.

If you have the hardware to run it, this is a most worthy upgrade, especially for 64-bit systems. I highly recommend it.

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