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.

Installation

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

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.

Wrap Up

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.

Advertisements

Posted on November 24, 2009, in Computers, First Look/Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I hate that I must be the devils advocate, but there are problems to be adressed with windows 7:
    I noted that while your review was raving, there didn’t seem to be substantial numbers to back it up (i.e. boot time, program loadage, system resources, etc.). Furthermore, there were three main problems with windows vista that makes people apprehensive about windows 7: Program Compatibility, System resources, and Speed. You’ve addressed the latter, however with no numbers to back up your aforementioned claims. As for the former, I would like to see a review on some system-hogging programs (photoshop, office suites, etc.), and see how well that runs on Windows 7.
    Obviously, the fact that you ran Windows 7 Ultimate on a netbook smoothly is amazing, and the fact that TeenTechBlog thinks Windows 7 is amazing means Windows 7 is probably amazing; however, especially since seeing PC Worlds article on how people thought boot-up time on 7 was faster than XP when it wasn’t in a test, I would like some numbers here too.

  2. Larry G. Nesbit

    I have a MacBook Pro running Windows Vista Home Premium. I purchased Windows 7 Ultimate UPGRADE at Microsoft’s recommendation as this was to be the installation method which provided for a SEAMLESS upgrade – not requiring wiping or deleting files.

    When trying to upgrade, the 64 Bit CD was rejected. I used the 32 Bit CD. Two error messages result: (1) audio drivers must be updated. WRONG – they are current. (2) Insufficient disk space. “Vista C” drive only has 30+ GB; a new “Z:” drive has over 300GB. Obviously, the initial Parallels install and/or the initial Vista install partitioned the internal disk which results in the limited space on the “Vista C” drive. Now, Microsoft tells me that I can only upgrade with a FULL Ultimate CD — not the “UPGRADE” CD.

    In other words, they lied and misrepresented to me during the initial sale. Trying to reach Parallels is as ridiculous as trying to reach Microsoft. Neither company cares. To make matters worse, I contacted Apple — they are as “finger pointing” as Parallels and Microsoft and offer no help whatsoever.

    In otherwords (again), I am left to die in the street with neither Microsoft, Parallels, nor Apple giving a damn about me the little guy.

    Looks like I’m stuck with no answers.

    If anyone can help me, I will pay a reasonable fee for assistance.

    Larry G. Nesbit
    601-454 4442
    L_nesbit@comcast.net

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s