Windows 7 Ultimate– Our Review
Windows 7 is here, and boy is it awesome
Ok, we know it’s a little late, but without further ado, here it is, our review of Windows 7.
So in a couple of words how are we liking the new Microsoft OS after using it in it’s final form for over a month? We love it, and just keeping it short—it’s a thousand times better than Vista (yes that much better).
Want some more details on why we like it so much and what things about it we don’t like? Read on.
Ok, so we’ve installed Windows 7 on a bunch of different machines—from a high end MacBook Pro in Parallels, to a Dell that was bought with Vista, to a 5 year Windows XP Dell to a HP netbook.
On average, both when doing a new installation and an upgrade from Vista, it took about 1-2 hours. Installations from XP were tougher, as you would either have to first upgrade to Vista (which we did on the 5 year old Dell) or do a complete, new installation (like we did on the XP running netbook, and the other 2 computers). This is something we feel Microsoft really screwed up in—the upgrade from Windows XP to 7. Particularly in regard to netbooks—one of the hottest selling computer types right now at 99% (those aren’t official numbers) — which are mainly being bought and sold running XP, the lack of a straight upgrade to 7 is most upsetting. Nor is the upgrade from XP to 7 free: its another $200 for Home Premium. Additionally, since the only way to install 7 onto a netbook is via a disk, you will need either a memory card/USB stick (about $10) or an external DVD drive. So while when I upgraded an HP netbook to Vista everything was running smoothly within 2 hours, Microsoft could’ve done a better job considering the netbook’s popularity.
That being said, Micrsoft does provide a Windows Easy Transfer Tool which makes it simple to back up and then reimport your setting and files like music, pix, movies and documents, though you must still reinstall all your old programs, which is annoying. On a side note, we’ll keep reminding you: whether or not you’re just upgrading or installing from scratch, backup your stuff! I’ve had friends try to make the move to 7 from Vista and have trouble and need to do a complete reinstall, but since they didn’t backup before, so they lost everything. Trust me, it’s worth it.
So overall, the install to 7 is pretty much on par with that of Snow Leopard, meaning do this over a weekend, and don’t expect to get this all done in an hour the night before you have a test or paper due.
Look and Feel
This hasn’t really changed much since our use of 7 over the course of its beta and RC releases (see our first look of 7 here). Now that’s not a bad thing AT ALL. As you can see in our First Look of 7, the new User Interface is great and something that you really cling to—so much so that it feels weird when you don’t have features like Aero Shake or Aero Peek or that new taskbar (I even was wishing I had some of these as I was using a Mac!).
Aero Peek on Windows 7
In short, the new Windows 7 interface is still amazing and by far the best we’ve ever seen on Windows to date.
Performance overall on all our PC’s (and the MacBook Pro running 7) has been great. Generally 7 has been quick to boot up, and running multiple programs at the same time has been simple and easy—the way it should be.
Now that’s not to say everything has been smooth sailing. The 5 year old Dell (ironically, this was a Vista-capable machine), did have some freezes when running multiple programs, and when initially connecting to new devices and setting up things such as Aero, but most of those problems seem to have gotten better over time (and since we found the proper drivers, see note below). It also turns on and shuts off faster than on XP. The netbook was even more impressive, running multiple apps (on the normal Intel Atom processor, 160 GB hard drive and 2 GB of RAM) with all the intense Aero turned on, smoothly and quickly. I find it easier (and a lot more enjoyable) to use than XP was, and definitely worth the upgrade.
The other 2 PC’s, the Mac and the Vista running Dell, both seem to run 7 fine, and while starting up has seem to have gotten slower since it was first installed, they still turn on pretty quick.
Just a note: when upgrading or putting 7 on a not brand new PC (meaning a PC you didn’t just buy within the last 5 months with the upgrade DVD from Vista to 7), make sure to go to the manufacturer’s support site (here are Dell, Lenovo, Sony and HP) and look for the proper drivers for 7. This really makes a difference and will make your computer run a lot better.
We really love Windows 7, and when your out holiday shopping this year looking for a new PC and hear that Best Buy ad mentioning Windows 7 installed—cast your negative impressions of Vista aside and embrace this wonderful system. I’ve been using it since the beta version first went public in January, and it has enhanced and simplified my computer experience.
Does it have some faults? Sure it does, and we would’ve liked Microsoft to have kept some of the Windows Live programs like Windows Live Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and Mail preinstalled instead of having to go out and download them ourselves (you can get them and many other Windows Live apps for free from Microsoft’s site here), but hey, Apple’s Snow Leopard isn’t perfect either. And we really can’t wait to see what PC makers will do with all the new touch and multitouch features built-in to 7 (something we couldn’t test out) in the coming months (and you can already get some multi-touch PC’s now from HP, Dell and Lenovo). We are sure it will make 7 even better.
So what we gonna rate Microsoft’s latest OS? A perfect 5 out 5, as even with all the minor problems we had (all were easily fixable and not major at all), we find it to truly erase all the evils of Vista, and not only finally give XP users a reason to upgrade, but also put Windows right up there to compete with Mac OS X.
We give Windows 7 a perfect 5 out of 5
What you think of 7—how are you finding it one month in? You happy or wishing you had switched to a Mac? Let us know in the comments.