Posted by: gregboyko | January 15, 2009

Windows 7 First Thoughts

I’ve been running the Windows 7 beta for about a week now. I’m very impressed.

It feels snappy. Probably partly because I did a clean install, but partly because it feels like Seven has had performance tuning since Vista.

The UI is very clean. The biggest visible change is the new task bar:

image

I wasn’t sure I’d like it, and I’m still getting used to it, but I think I’m going to like it a lot. The innovation over Vista is that the task bar intermingles running programs with shortcuts to start the programs. The beauty of this approach is that there is no ambiguity about how to find your most commonly-used applications. Once an application is pinned to the task bar, you always go to that pinned icon to access that program, regardless of whether the application is running or not. And for anyone that misses the window names, they can still optionally be shown.

I’m also fond of the new Libraries functionality, which provides consolidated views for certain folders (Pictures, Documents, Videos, and Music by default). It’s nice to have this view without caring where on your drive or on your network the actual files are stored.

Stability has been good so far. No OS crashes at all. I’ve had a couple of application crashes, and am more inclined to blame the apps than to blame Seven.

Obviously this is still a beta, and on one of the machines I’m using, I notice some fairly regular issues with the mouse cursor not painting quite right. I had trouble installing the driver for one of my ethernet adapters as well. This was the only device Seven didn’t get right on the initial install (and I’m not sure why, either, since the driver actually shipped with Seven).

But overall, I expect this to be a very good release.

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