Windows 7 early impressions
Windows 7 RTM has arrived and I’ve spent much of this weekend installing it, poking and prodding it, and generally taking it for a spin. My opinion? Well, I never realised how bad Vista was until now – Windows 7 is a pleasure. Its nippy, its uncluttered and it looks great.
My first public comment about it was on Twitter yesterday morning: #windows7 sleep –> login screen –> desktop in 12 seconds. Is this *really* windows?
This thing is quick. Really quick. Boot, opening apps, opening IE tabs…its all pretty instantaneous and its indicative of how Vista conditioned us to accept bad performance as the norm. One thing – it labours a bit if I have Zune software open but that’s more a problem with the app itself rather than the O/S.
As I said it is uncluttered and looks great and I had no wish to spoil that by filling the desktop full of worthless shortcuts so I’ve kept it almost as barren as after a fresh install save for some Mesh folders and a couple of gadgets:
Taskbar has gone vertical rather than horizontal following advice from Tim Sneath and so far I’m liking it. The background image is part of the Windows 7 Architecture Aero theme and changes periodically.
The installer wouldn’t run on Windows 7 because it didn’t recognise the O/S. Windows 7’s Vista Compatibility Mode to the rescue then which enables you to fool an installer into thinking its running on Vista:
With the software installed my printer/scanner is working normally.
No doubt about it, jump lists rock. I particularly like the Explorer jump list which allows you to pin specific folders to it and the Virtual PC jump list which automatically gives you shortcuts to your virtual machines.
Powershell built-in. Consumers won’t care but to IT geeks like me this is a big big plus!
Thirsting for more…
This wouldn’t be a blog post authored by Jamiet if there weren’t a list of improvements that I would like to see in the future so here goes:
- I have now taken to launching programs by pressing the windows key () and then a number pertaining to a program’s position on the taskbar. Its a sweet little time saver but could be improved by showing a little tooltip over each taskbar icon whenever I press so that I know which number to press. Office 2010 (and 2007 as well I believe) does this when you press the ALT key and its incredibly useful:
- Taking the previous idea a little further, why not popup a menu of every option available to me when I hold down . I’m sure most people don’t know about the goodness of shortcuts like:
- +[left arrow]/[right arrow]
- +[up arrow]
- +[down arrow]
- Shift++[left arrow]/[right arrow]
- I’m missing Vista’s globe icon that you see in the systray when you have an internet connection – bring that back please (if there’s a way to do it in Windows 7 or there’s an alternative that I’m missing please let me know).
- It would be nice if IE8 web slices could co-exist as Windows Sidebar gadgets. I asked for this one a long time ago however (when the first beta of IE8 came out) and have not seen it materialise so I don’t envisage it happening any time in the near future either.
- I haven’t yet found a way of accessing the jumplists without resorting to using the mouse. OK, that’s not quite true – jumplists are available on the start menu as well (which I can get to without using the mouse) but that isn’t as easy as using +<digit> to launch an app. Perhaps Shift++<digit> could be used?
and I admit I certainly didn’t know about a lot of them before writing this blog post so a better way of telling the user about them is definitely required. Try them out for yourself right now (some are Windows 7 only) and see what they do or read about them where I read about (most of) them at Keyboard shortcuts – Windows Vista Help.
Windows 7 is simply a massive leap forward from Vista and I didn’t realise quite how bad Vista was until this weekend. Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.