Why I'm Dumping Vista For Windows 7

26 Comments

win7

The sound of cheers swell across the nation: Today, Vista users can finally dump the clunky and sluggish operating system for Windows 7 (s msft). Praise for the new version has already started coming in from early adopters and reviewers.

When I bought my laptop recently, I couldn’t downgrade Vista for Windows XP, as I would have liked. But it had everything else I needed. Knowing Windows 7 would arrive within months, I made the sacrifice — and it turned out to be a worthy one. Here are some of the reasons why I’m happy I’ve made the upgrade to Windows 7.

Install

Before installing, I ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure my laptop was ready for the upgrade. It caught a few things related to the laptop itself; all easily fixed. After addressing the issues, I did a final run of the Upgrade Advisor to ensure everything cleared.

Next came the tough part: actually upgrading. I gulped as I kicked off the upgrade festivities. Upgrading took over an hour along with several required restarts before I finally met Windows 7 face-to-screen. The laptop and I survived. Everything that was on my machine before the upgarade remained intact, except it had fewer pinned programs and Quick Launch applications. Windows 7 scores with its smooth and uneventful install.

Exploring the Redesigned Taskbar

The first thing to notice, apart from the snazzy Aero interface, is that the Quick Launch toolbar and system tray have both received a serious makeover. They both remain in their usual spots, with Quick Launch to the right of the “Start” button and the system tray in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. But the Quick Launch toolbar no longer has a little popup. Instead, all of your Quick Launch icons appear in full view. If a Quick Launch application is open, its Quick Launch icon turns into a taskbar right where its icon lives. That took some adjustment for me to get used to.

Windows XP Quick Launch

Windows XP Quick Launch

Windows 7 Quick Launch

Windows 7 Quick Launch

Ready to peek, shake ‘n snap? One feature I loved on previous versions of Windows: show desktop. It used to be an icon in the Quick Launch popup. In Windows 7, it’s known as “Aero Peek” and it works even better. It’s the tall rectangle button by the system tray next to the clock. Click, and — whoosh — all the windows shrink so I can see the desktop. Or move your mouse over the button to have all the windows fade away until the pointer moves away. That’s two nice options for revealing the desktop.

If you have a bunch of windows open and want to minimize all of them except one, you can do the Aero Shake. No, it’s not a new dance craze. Rather, you select the window you want to keep open and shake it. Everything else will disappear to the taskbar. If you work with two monitors or box multiple windows side-by-side, this new feature will save you loads of time.

To Snap, drag the window to any edge of the screen to instantly resize the window. It’ll expand vertically or horizontally depending on the edge of the screen you snap it to. You don’t have to mess with resizing and it gives you another option to open up the window without maximizing.

The system tray works like the old Quick Launch toolbar. Rather than a handful of icons appearing and then pressing the < button to see the rest, you can turn off (hide) system icons as well as control the notification area icons. For example, Network is a notification area icon. You can show its icon, hide it or only show notifications. While you could control this in past versions, this set up makes it easier and adds the extra option of “only show notifications” not present before.

Windows XP System Tray

Windows XP System Tray

Windows 7 System Tray

Windows 7 System Tray

The flexibility and new options in system tray and Quick Launch is great if you who like an organized desktop. The Aero Peek, Shake and Snap features also add a drop of fun into the operating system.

Built-in Photo Editing

It looks like Microsoft — with Windows Live Photo Gallery — wants to step on the toes of photo management and editing apps like Google’s Picasa. The gallery not only lets you organize and manage all your photos, but also edit and post them online using your Windows Live Account right from within the application. Its editing features include auto adjust, resize, red-eye correction and all the usual staples found in any other photo application. If you work with photos all the time, you’ll probably prefer to use your existing tools, but if you only work with photos occasionally having these features on tap is very useful.

Windows 7 Live Gallery

Windows 7 Live Gallery

Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore looks like a great feature for those who have a DVD, external or network drive for saving backups. However, I haven’t tested this feature because Windows 7 won’t connect to the external hard drive, even though it sees it. Windows likes to save personal data in different places — not just in “My Documents” and “My Media” — and the built-in backup functionality knows just what to save. This feature will make it easier for the non-techie user to protect their data.

Windows 7 Backup

Windows 7 Backup

Search

Windows 7 takes searching to a new level. Hit the Start button and enter words into the search box. It’ll search files, documents, emails and more, or take you to Windows Explorer for more search options and filters. Of all the new features in Windows 7, the lightweight easy-to-use Search surprises me the most — in a good way.

Windows 7 Search

Windows 7 Search

Performance

Performance is noticeably faster in Windows 7 than in Vista — that includes things like working with devices like USB thumb drives, too. Improved performance for both memory and USB devices alone puts Windows 7 miles ahead of Vista. Despite the heaviness of the default Aero interface — part of it the fault of not having a higher-scoring graphics card in my laptop — and a couple of other quibbles, Windows 7’s improved performance and new features make it worth dumping Vista for good.

However, will I upgrade my Windows XP computer to Windows 7? Not anytime soon. XP still works fine for me, and I’ll wait until Microsoft addresses any kinks in Windows 7 before upgrading.

Are you upgrading to Windows 7?

26 Comments

Cena

I dont see any pont to upgrade to 7. I am running Vista and m very happy with it.. today is 7 and tommow will be 14.. huh Microsft is just goona keep on making new windows…

Edgar Peters

I cannot believe that Vista users have to pay the same price as XP users for an upgrade to Windows 7. I suffered by upgrading to Vista, my business suffered by the upgrade, and now that Microsoft is dumping it, I have to pay as much to get away from it as those who never upgraded to Vista. Can’t Microsoft get customer service right and give a small credit to those who had confidence in them and upgraded to Vista to begin with?

jo

I have a vista laptop and an xp desktop running on a Linksys wireless router for about a yr now. All of a sudden my Vista laptop is no longer able to detect the wireless router. It says I have internet access w/ my service provider. But I can’t get online. I’ve been on the phone w/ Linksys and my service provider and HP and nobody can figure it out. I’m wondering if some setting just isn’t checked off somewhere or would uninstalling Vista and changing to Windows 7 solve this problem???
I did get online in safemode but I don’t know why and the screen looked strange and mouse moved by itself.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Jo

so i took my laptop in and it was Norton blocking me from getting online. I thought I had uninstalled all the Norton stuff but I guess not.
Anyway thanks for all your feedback.haha Not that I got any.

Patrick

I have a somewhat different setup than most people have. External DMX6 soundcard from Terratec, 4 video cards, 16gb RAM, 4x 300Gb 10.000RPM disks of which 2 in raid and a shiny 27 inch 2560 x 1440 monitor. Now that might all seem like bragging but i don’t care. Vista 64 bit gave me nothing but trouble. Weirdest stuff every install had his own share of problems which weren’t too easy to solve. From borked sound to mysterious write protection to constantly failing drivers. To make a long story short, Vista is rubbish. What is even more rubbish is that Microsoft dare to even bring that pile of mistakes to the market promoting it as something worth buying.

Well we can see they only value it for 20 euro’s since that is the whopping discount you will get when upgrading to Vista.

Now Windows 7 on the other hand is everything one might have expected from Vista already. Its stable for starters, screens are better grouped all in all a vast improvement. Cheers for that after ripping you customers off making vast abuse of a monopolistic market position.

So concluding my reaction to Sefnerr. It is not a Vista Service Pack with extra $ attached. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been with extra $$$ attached. Vista was just a low exploitation of a psychological fact, namely that the use always tend to blame it on him/herself if technology does not work how it is supposed to be.

sefnerr

I’ve used various versions of Mac’s OS’s, a few flavors of Linux and every version of windows since win3.0, and MS-DOS before that. AmigaOS anyone? Seems like they all say the next release is the best thing since sliced bread. Very few of these OS releases were revolutionary.

I’ve enjoyed Vista and it’s ran flawlessly on my primary PC for about two years. I also have to say that I run XP as the primary OS on my other PC’s without issue.

I’ve had a short evaluation of Win7 and I don’t see what all the excitement is about. It’s my opinion that Win7 is just another service pack for Vista with $$$ attached. If you hate Vista, I’m not sure what you’ll like in win7.

veggiedude

“Macs are just designed better for many purposes, but I’m glad to see windows close the gap.”

Yea, they are closing the gap. Windows 7 can accommodate 192 GB of RAM.

Snow Leopard can accommodate 16,000 GB of RAM.

We be getting close, that gap is gonna close!

Pay4Bugs

I really do not understand why there was so much hate about XP and Vista. Personally I think there’s nothing intrinsically broken about them, they do what they were designed to do, no more no less.

Macs are just designed better for many purposes, but I’m glad to see windows close the gap.

Now I wonder how hard it’d be to pitch my debugging service to MS7 to find their bugs…..

hauke

I can’t understand why so many people are still addicted to Windows. Linux is such a competitive alternative. I’ve switched to Ubuntu two years ago. There is always a period of transition, for sure, but what you get is gorgeous and it’s getting better and better every 6 months! How cool is that.

Microsoft strategy trying to create an artificial buzz about their next version and the huge price cuts are more than a signal, that they know with whom they are competing: free and smart Linux software as well as services delivered by cloud computing onto the browsers…and these browsers are independent of the OS.

So if you’re smart, give linux a try and choose Ubuntu!

Cheers!

Overnight Membership Site

HUGE improvement I hated vista ever since it came out it was just a load of garbage of an OS. On top of that it was poorly updated I kept my windows xp and never went vista like some of my friends. Good to see windows 7 ;) No idea what the 7 is for if someone can clue me in on that one lol

Julie

I’ve been running Windows 7 on my desktop since the early beta and I love it. I’d been running the 64-bit version of Vista, which had been one headache after another. Windows 7 64-bit is what Vista should have been. Heck, it’s what XP 64 should have been in terms of device and software support.

If you have a dual core processor there’s no reason not to go to 64-bit Windows. As more and more vendors release 64-bit versions of software (Adobe is there with Photoshop CS4) you’ll want it for the performance.

Gads, I sound like a Microsoft fangirl. I’m not. But those of you who have used the 64-bit version of XP know what I’m talking about. ;-)

sfmitch

Let’s all remember the excitement and positive reviews that accompanied Windows Vista’s launch.

Harry McCracken over at the Technologizer did a roundup of Windows Vista reviews and it was quite enlightening to read the reviews with 20/20 hindsight.

For most people, there is very little benefit (gain vs cost) to upgrading.

Simon Mackie

Good point, and OSes are always risky upgrades if you do it at launch — Snow Leopard had its problems too.

But at least this time around MSFT let way more people use the RC for a lot longer than they did with Vista so more bugs could be ironed out. I would be surprised if there was the huge backlash that there was with Vista.

Meryl K. Evans

That’s why I am in no hurry to upgrade WinXP. I just wanted out of Vista and it was worth the risk. Like Simon said, MSFT learned from Vista and tested Win7 much longer. But you know them hackers will be looking for holes to exploit.

zenbouw

i prefer not to use the windows default search, its too buggy for me.

i use
– Google Desktop for search within contents
– Everything for find files using their filenames(the indexing of NTFS filesystems is extremely fast
– launchy for launching programs, folders and files which i use very often

Bradford Shimp

No, not planning on paying for an upgrade. Vista treats me just fine, and it sounds like the only difference is the cool Aero tricks (which I would have fun using) and the speed. However, I don’t have a noticeable speed issue right now on my laptop or desktop.

The search function is great, but its already a part of Vista. I use it all the time.

All this being said, I will be excited to use 7 if/when I buy a new computer. Unless Google Chrome OS becomes a viable replacement.

jtrigsby

Actually, no big rush for me. Over the past two years I’ve been working diligently to become machine independent, putting all my faith in the cloud… ok, MOST of my faith in the cloud.

I use Google Docs and Zoho. Gmail and webmail for domains that don’t go to Gmail. Dropbox to file storage and sharing. And of course Google calendar. Pics are spread across Picasa, Flickr and of course Facebook. Oh, and Skype + Google Voice for phone.

All of these solutions integrate just fine with my iPhone giving me virtually unlimited, ubiquitous access to everything I use / need.

Now that I’m almost completely untethered to Windows (iTunes and one hobby app are the final apps) I’ve made the move to Ubuntu for my day to day use. A VirtualBox instance give me access to my two Windows hold-outs.

I said all that to say this. Yes, it certainly looks like Windows7 is a big improvement with lots of new gadgets and gizmos. In the end however, the desktop OS is being deprecated in lieu of the browser. Google’s “run Chrome in IE” is an example of this. Its a specific example of how the browser has become the OS and most of us just haven’t picked up on that nuance yet.

With the coming release of the Chrome OS, it seems pretty clear that we’ll see this in full fruition with the browser taking center stage on a Linux foundation. At least that’s where I see it going.

@jtrigsby

Apres Ski

Looks like I’ll actually have to buy/get Windows 7! I skipped over Vista and am still clinging to my Windows XP because I love it to death. Now, I’ll have to search for a good price an plunk down my money on Windows 7 . . .

Apres Ski

I am a computer instructor and teaching is my bread & butter. I still might have to get Vista, but I’ve stalling that until Win7 came out.

Now, I can put Office 2007 on something and start working out full time. I’ve been learning 2007 in bits & pieces but now it’s time to pedal to the metal . . . ROTFLOL!!!

Comments are closed.