First Impression of Windows 7

I listen to Leo Laporte on the TWiT netcast network and lately he's been raving about Windows 7, so I decided to give it a test drive. I use VMWare Fusion my my Mac to run Windows XP, so it was a natural choice to try running the Windows 7 Release Candidate in a virtual machine. Fortunately, VMWare had a tutorial on their website on how to accomplish this, so I downloaded the 64-bit Windows 7 ISO, installed it in a virtual machine, an presto, I've got Windows 7 RC on my Mac. Following are my first impressions of the operating system.

1. Windows 7 feels snappier than XP. The fact that I'm using 64-bit Windows 7 compared to 32-bit Windows XP might be a factor in this. And I assume Windows 7 is better able to take advantage of the Mac's Core2Duo processor compared to XP. Whatever the factors are, it's really nice to see Microsoft improve the speed of Windows dramatically from Vista.

2. Windows 7 retains the same control panel structure as Vista. I don't use Vista daily, so I get lost sometimes trying to change the operating system settings (security, user accounts, updates, etc.). I'm still used to how the XP control panel is structured. Once I get more time in front of Windows 7, I'm sure I'll get used to where settings are located.

3. This is not the final version, so there are still some bugs. I tried to set auto logon, but the instructions Windows 7 gave to do this didn't work. No real surprise here.

4. The look of the operating system is essentially the same as Vista, which is good or bad depending on your own personal preference. I personally think it's a big improvement over XP. I'm tempted to compare it to OS X (and even various Linux distributions), since that's my operating system of choice being a Mac user, but I'll resist that temptation. Compared to past Windows versions, 7 is definitely the best looking version thus far.

On a side note, the look of the taskbar in Window's 7 is now different from Vista and it looks oddly OS X-like. When programs are started, an icon pops up in the taskbar without text, making the taskbar look similar to the OS X dock in 2D mode. The behavior of the taskbar is still the same as Vista, so this is only a cosmetic difference. Being an OS X user, I like the cleaner look of the Windows 7 taskbar.


That's it for now. More to come as I continue my trial of Windows 7. So far, I like Windows 7 enough that I plan on upgrading my mom and my mother-in-law to it once it is finally released later this year.

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