By L 53 Comments
I've been test driving Windows 7 (64-bit) recently and I like it. It's pretty much Windows Vista but with some cool enhancements. Some (minor) things I like:
- Dragging open programs on the taskbar and sorting their order.
- The hover colour reflects the overall colour of the program's icon on the taskbar (e.g. pink for Last.fm, orange for Mozilla Firefox).
- You can see the views of programs with multiple windows. For example, I have Google and YouTube open in Mozilla Firefox. I can hover over the icon on the taskbar, which shows me a thumbnail of those windows. I still prefer using tabs though over windows. You can do this on Windows Vista too but it will only show one Window.
- Using and seeing themes being applied immediately. Interesting wallpapers, sounds and other settings in one package. I kinda get tired of 'Default' sounds and now they've added many more. Wouldn't mind the 'Musica' (think it was called that) sounds from Windows 98. Wallpapers often change if there are multiple ones in a theme too.
- A more advanced Paint program. Calculator, WordPad looks better and a bunch of other programs have been improved.
- Dragging two Windows to either side of the screen and having them of equal size next to each other.
- Opening a new window is simple. Just middle click on the program you have opened on your taskbar. A little quicker than CTRL N! Neat. Of course, some programs will only allow one window (such as Last.fm and Windows Media Player), so this does nothing.
- Windows XP in Windows 7 (download separate; need licensed copy of Windows XP). Not tried this but I really wanted to point it out.
I've been reading articles about Windows 7 and it seems whilst Microsoft promote this to be a major release, most changes seem to be minor. It looks like Windows Vista, it has user account control (the thing that pops up when making core changes) and many other elements too that were introduced in Windows Vista. It would be better as a service pack for Windows Vista. I would like to see some of these things come in the next service pack, although probably not going to happen, since Microsoft are not that nice. Although, one year of free Windows 7 - you can't complain!
If you've got Windows XP, then good for you (no, I'm not being sarcastic). That's a solid operating system and it's certainly going to be supported for some time. If you're wanting a fresh interface, enhanced security (whilst making some sacrifices) then go for Windows 7. No point getting Windows Vista now is there? Just wait for Windows 7. Suckers like me are keeping Windows Vista for a while, despite there being some interesting changes in Windows 7. Maybe I'll give in sometime.
Windows 7 (RC) is available now and you can use it for around a year, free. Around March next year, it will start to shut down on you if you haven't purchased the operating system. I have it installed on a different partition, so I can easily switch back to my other operating system. Good thing is, I can easily access my music, simply by adding the location from the other partition. Windows Media Player then picks up all those tracks, videos and organises them in your library. As for Mozilla Firefox, you can use the same profile as the one on your other operating system. So, switching back and forth keeps the same settings (and add-ons) throughout. It's a little complicated to explain but is possible. If I remember correctly, you can have this done automatically through an add-on (could just be bookmarks). Not tried any games but there could be some issues arise.
I recommend trying this out. It's very stable and available to download. It will last a year and you have the Ultimate edition. So, that's kinda cool having Windows free for a year, legally. If you're scared, then I recommend following the guide on Lifehacker (linked below). Everything is in tact on my main operating system and Windows 7 is treated separate. If you're interested in the Windows 7 wallpapers, you can download them here. I'll eventually get round to trying the new Ubuntu operating system too. Some screens to show off some parts of Windows 7...
(screenshots in gallery with larger views)