Friday, October 23, 2009

Windows 7

I was probably more excited about the release of Windows 7 than the average person.  I pre-ordered the maximum of 3 units allowed back in the summer.  Since then I realized that I needed a copy for the desktop and the newly purchased Netbook.

I was able to get a download copy for the Netbook since it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive yesterday when the software was released.  I pre-ordered from thinking that I would actually have them in my hands on the 22nd but that wasn't the case.  Hell I didn't even have a shipping notice for my order.

After I did my pre-order Microsoft released information about a Family Pack of 3 licenses that would be sold for a limited amount of time for $150 or the equivalent of the pre-order price per license.  If I had known that I would be able to walk into a store yesterday and but it for the same price as the pre-order I wouldn't have bothered with the pre-order. 

As it turned out, Sam's Club had the Family Pack on their website for $129 plus a nomial delivery charge.  Seriously.  I canceled my Amazon order (for some reason they only showed me ordering 2 copies when I know for a fact I ordered 3) and ordered 2 Family Packs with expedited shipping for less than $50/license.  I have sold one of the extras to a friend (not Zerb) and will try to talk my father in law into using the additional one for his ancient computer that is currently running XP.  Either way I'm sure I can find somebody that will take that last license off my hands.

I know what you are thinking, "Enough about the shopping already!  Get to the review!"

It took somewhere between 2 and 3 hours to download the software to the usb drive that I was going to be installing from.  The software unpacked itself in little time and was ready to install.  From start to finish it was about an hour.  Considering that there was an initial error closing down a piece of software I had running under XP and that it took me about 109387029475 tries to get my license key entered properly it went speedily, with no oversight needed except for the key entry that apparently I suck at. 

Keep in mind that I was installing this on a Netbook with an Atom processor - by no means a power house computer.  I was told by the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor that, while this machine would not be capable of running in Aero mode, everything else would be fine. 

When it first started up the video resolution was all wrong.  I had turned down the option to go online and download updates prior to the installation so there was some hope that this would resolve itself after the initial updates were installed. 

The opening credits are new yet familiar.  Startup is definitely swift.  Apparently the Windows development team figured out that nobody likes twiddling their thumbs while the OS loads.

Sure enough after the first round of updates my video was back to its stunning 1366x768 resolution.  I noticed right off that it was running an Aero theme which came as a surprise considering the Upgrade Advisor told me that the system would not support Aero.  I did notice a significant improvement in speed when I went to a Basic theme so I will stick with it in favor of performance.

This configuration performed quite well under XP so I was curious to see how it would do under a more bloated OS.  Well, it sure looks and feels as speedy as it did under XP when the Aero is turned off. 

I am still getting used to the new task bar.  I do like that I can select which processes stay on in the notification area and which you don't need to see all of the time.  It feels sleeker and more functional.  The combined task bar buttons are also very nice.  The Aero thumbnail view is very helpful when choosing which of the combined tasks you want to pick but the list view is equally as functional.

One of the most noticeable changes is the Windows Explorer.  The addition of Libraries might prove to be very helpful.  I have very few files on this Netbook so I don't have much opportunity or need for Windows Explorer but I do see the potential for saving time and steps when trying to access my files.

While the video driver issue resolved itself after a reboot I did have issues with one other device.  Audio worked fine but I went ahead and downloaded the manufacturer's W7 driver instead of using the built in driver.  The touch pad worked well enough but the multi-touch functions were disabled until I installed that OEM driver.  Just for thoroughness I also installed chipset and the media card reader drivers.

While W7 found the networked Vista computers it wasn't until I changed the Workgroup name on the Netbook to match the Vista machines that I was able to see the Buffalo Linkstation attached to my router.  I just installed the network printer with no effort at all.  How awesome is that!  I have read that the networking was made much simpler and it is significantly easier to move files around from machine to machine.  I have had issues doing this with Vista - I sometimes gave up and did a two stage move using the NAS.

Overall I am pleased with W7 and look forward to getting it installed on the rest of the machines in our house.  Part of me was dreading the process but eager for the result.  My experience with this first installation has me dreading it less and less. 

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

Thanks for the review. Sounds like you're pretty handy with installation issues. Let us know what you think after you've used it a few days.