Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Windows 7 early impressions

with 12 comments

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?

imageThis 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.

Backwards Compatibility

I had an issue when trying to install the drivers and associated software for my HP Photosmart C7820 All-in-one printer/scanner:HP Photosmart C7200 All-in-One Printer series - Color Multifunction and All-in-One

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.

Jump lists

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.

    image               image



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:

  1. I have now taken to launching programs by pressing the windows key (Picture of Windows logo 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 Picture of Windows logo key 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:

    I’d like the same in Windows.

  2. Taking the previous idea a little further, why not popup a menu of every option available to me when I hold down Picture of Windows logo key. I’m sure most people don’t know about the goodness of shortcuts like:
    • Picture of Windows logo key+Spacebar
    • Picture of Windows logo key+L
    • Picture of Windows logo key+TAB
    • CTRL+Picture of Windows logo key+TAB
    • Picture of Windows logo key+T
    • Picture of Windows logo key+U
    • Picture of Windows logo key+P
    • Picture of Windows logo key+M
    • Picture of Windows logo key+F
    • Picture of Windows logo key+E
    • Picture of Windows logo key+Pause
    • Picture of Windows logo key+X
    • Picture of Windows logo key+G
    • Picture of Windows logo key+S
    • Picture of Windows logo key+[left arrow]/[right arrow]
    • Picture of Windows logo key+[up arrow]
    • Picture of Windows logo key+[down arrow]
    • Shift+Picture of Windows logo key+[left arrow]/[right arrow]

    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.

  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Picture of Windows logo key+<digit> to launch an app. Perhaps Shift+Picture of Windows logo key+<digit> could be used?


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.



Written by Jamiet

August 9, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. There are some apps that I must have if "7" is really gonna be that good. ManyCam is one of them and Flash Media Live Encoder. I have v3 at present. These are must-haves for online broadcasting! iTunes must work seamlessly with ‘7’ as I’ve used it for years and just can’t live without it. I’ll have to get back to you about the connection icon. I have the little double blue screens flashing in my systray. There MUST be something to fix that? At the moment, I couldn’t live without that particular icon due to bad connection. Even on ethernet, I’d still want to see whether my connection is live as it can be a pest to get on the internet sometimes.What else didja say? Oh yeah – the keyboard shorties – In Windows Vista Online Mag, bloke called Matt from the MSN team, (I think) posted all the Vista shortcuts and they’re a brilliant list. Anyone fancy telling me what Alt Gr is for? Coz I’m blowed if I know;-) Don’t you knock Vista. I’m still lovin’ it!


    August 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm

  2. Okay – just looked through my own WV Help. Can’t you right-click the systray and activate the connection icon from there (called activity animation on mine)?


    August 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm

  3. For me I find the bootup times from Vista to 7 to be the same. Vista was faster then XP. A lot of cleanup work in 7 though and worth the upgrade


    August 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm

  4. it’s 7 ok to buy in the UK it’s don’t have a IE7 build in EG USA one cum with the IE7www skype .com my skype number photing 45


    August 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

  5. @Jamie: reading between the lines, could Philip be asking where IE7 is in Win7? Just a thought. Looks like he needs it to use his Skype? I’d say there must be a download, but it would have been set to IE8 by now, I imagine, or is IE7 still available?Don’t tell me Internet Explorer really isn’t embedded in the new OS? That’ll be a nuisance if it has to be separately downloaded:-(


    August 9, 2009 at 9:54 pm

  6. Phillip-Windows 7 will release, in Europe, with Internet Explorer. At somepoint, as a result of Opera’s whining to the EU, you will have to choose a default browser. This ‘ballot’ screen will come to Vista and Windows 7.


    August 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

  7. @Phillip-Also, the Windows 7 E edition, the one without Internet Explorer, has been dropped by Microsoft. It will NOT be offered at all. Instead, as I stated, you will get the edition with IE8.


    August 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  8. @Jamie-Good write up, thanks. One thing about drivers: some will NOT install, even using the compatibility mode. I bought a wired game controller for my desktop. It is a Logitech controller but the driver will NOT install. It is not signed and, apparently, unsigned drivers are a no-no. The fact that the controller came from Logitech makes it puzzling that it is not signed.


    August 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

  9. Very good article Jamie. I’ve been using Win 7 RC for a few months and just Love It. And you’re right, it runs like a rocket. I particularly appreciate your shortcut list. Very useful.


    August 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm

  10. To access the jump list of an app in Windows 7 just press Win+Alt+number, like Win+Alt+1 for the jump list of the first application.


    September 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm

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