Microsoft has taken a lot of flack for it’s Vista operating system, due to it’s many issues. While I didn’t have many, the ones I did have forced me to upgrade to Windows 7.
This is my non-technical review based on my jeers and cheers.
Since I am a staff member at Indiana University, I have access to vast amounts of software for free or very cheap. This afforded me the opportunity to upgrade for $20. That’s right.
I’ll start with the things I like about Windows 7…
First of all, my Nikon Coolpix 7600 and it’s accompanying software would not work with Vista, period. Vista’s own picture transfer wizard would not even work. I believe it was something to do with the horrible USB support Vista had. With 7, my 4 year old camera, and it’s software work better than ever! I can’t wait to see how my bluetooth dongle works!
Second, Vista loved RAM. It loved it so much, that no matter how much you had it seemed like it wasn’t enough. This isn’t the case with 7 – it’s more like the opposite. Windows 7 actually uses half as much RAM at idle on my machine than Vista did. Freeing up that memory makes the machine much more responsive, programs load instantly.
Third, UAC. User Access Control, introduced with Vista was a major pain in the a**. I disabled it, but by doing that I also disabled notification of any problems elsewhere that could have happened. With 7, you can do the same with a slider without the potential repercussions. Set it to where you want it right from the task bar.
Fourth, Media Center. I started using media center with Vista’s version, and I thought it couldn’t get any better. I was wrong. 7’s media center works better and is more reliable. It also has CBS TV streaming built right in. So now you can watch ANYTHING on TV if you have media center and Hulu Desktop. Add Boxee to the mix and you have the ultimate home entertainment machine. I also have My Movies3 and Heatwave integrated into WMC, I love it!
Now onto the not so nice things…
There are many compatibility issues with programs and 7. While they will work, you may have to re-install. While this isn’t a huge issue, it’s still bothersome. I can happily report that I’ve only had one casualty of the upgrade, Quickbooks 2008. I have to restart my computer any time I want to use it. Intuit knows about this issue and is “working on a solution.” I hope it is resolved soon, this program wasn’t cheap, even though it’s free now.
I haven’t been a fan of the “new” start menu since it was introduced with Windows XP. Luckily Microsoft has always provided us with an alternative, the “classic” start menu, which has it’s origins with Windows 95. It has gone the way of the 8-track. While there are some registry hacks to get the old menu back, and even a guide on lifehacker, I’m adapting to this change and I’m starting to get on board with it. Many of us “old timers” don’t like change.
Those are my only complaints thus far. Which isn’t that bad. I believe 7 is what Vista was meant to be.