So I decided Sunday to download the release candidate for the new Windows 7, set to be released commercially in October. The release candidate (RC) is available to download for free from Microsoft
. Weighing in at a whopping 2.5Gb, the download took me about three hours. I had to make a Windows Live account, no biggie, to receive my trial activation code which will allow Windows 7 to run until June, 2010. After spending a quick few minutes burning the image to a blank DVD, it was time to get started.
I must say, from the moment I booted the installer I was impressed. I wasn't able to just upgrade from XP, it required a fresh install. Thankfully, I didn't have to wipe the hard drive. The install was fairly quick, about 15 minutes, and was a nice change to the slow, hour long process of XP. On the first start up, Windows had no trouble installing all of the necessary drivers. After entering the desktop, I was first a bit dissatisfied. Looking at my screen, it looked almost identical to Vista, which I couldn't stand (Vista's flaws are pointed out in plenty of other places, no reason to get into that here.) Anyway, a took a couple of minutes to look around and realized it was not Vista at all. Although she may not be much different under the hood, the changes that were made were definately in the right place. Menu's flowed smooth, response times were excellent and everything on the screen was super easy to read. A quick read over the website showed me how to retrieve my old files and settings from my now gone XP. W7, instead of just deleting the old settings, moved everything into organized folders inside one windows.old folder. A quick copy and paste and W7 rearranged everything properly into the new settings system, which was a good thing because I would have never got things in the right place! I had all of my old documents, emails, favorites and music. All that was left was to change my background and I was right back to where i started, only in a brand new ride! Install to finish was easily less than an hour.
Okay, so I have had Windows 7 running for about three days now. I've not had any major complaints. I was a bit confounded with the new start menu at first, again I never really had much use for Vista, but I am figuring it out and the old XP style just seems bulky now. I haven't installed many programs yet, so I am curious how well it will handle my three pages of stuff I had before. One thing I found myself liking was the larger icons on the desktop. For as long as I can remember, when you made your resolution bigger, your icons got smaller. Now with my screen at it's max, the icons still seem very large. What first felt odd quickly changed into an operating system that felt like it was tailored for me. I have taken to it very naturally, much faster than I thought I would. To be perfectly honesty, I thought I was going to hate it. Tons of features which I thought just sounded like fluff really are innovative. The taskbar now displayed only an icon, but when hovered over it will pop up a small, unobtrusive window showing you exactly what the icon is. It was great compared to the old days of frantically clicking through the myriad of open programs trying to find the one you want while simultaneously causing your screen to lock up because it doesn't like the flurry of changing windows!
How about that little system tray down in teh bottom right? Remember that little guy where all of those annoying "needed" programs would camp a little icon in the way, constantly popping up saying "New updates ready to be installed" or "Click here to destroy your computer!"? Well, now they can't pop up any more! All of them are crammed into one, little arrow which opens a holding pen of sorts that keeps all those pesky varmint at bay! that in itself is just ingenious! Stupid Java updates!
Times are changing. XP is becoming dated, as much as I hate to admit it, and it is time to move on. Vista was not the ship to do it in, but 7 will take you anywhere! I hated the idea of XP. it took me months before I finally got happy with it. I hated Vista so much I refused to use it. I have embraced Windows 7 with arms open. I won't be returning to XP unless I just happen to find that one old program which I desperately need to run and it refuses to work. I'm not really looking forward to the $300 price tag for W7 Professional, but I think it will be well worth it, which is hard for me to say. I encourage everyone to switch. At the very least, grab the download, back up your XP data, and give it a try. If you don't like it, you can reinstall XP and restore your backups. I am hopeful that my experience is just going to go up from here and I believe yours will too! Hurry though, the trial download comes offline sometime this month!
One more thing, it also has built in parental controls which includes time control, game rating systems, and complete control over exactly what programs can and can't be opened!