Windows 7 - the Reg reader verdict
They got their copies early - what do they think?
Windows 7 Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows 7 tonight, but thanks to the UK's looming postal strike Reg readers have been playing with the final, shrink-wrapped product for days.
So before you go out and spend money on the new OS and/or a new PC, you might be interested in our what ad hoc panel of real readers has to say.
First up is Gary, who says installation took a blisteringly fast 30 minutes "end-to-end from removal of shrink wrap and checking what was left in situ". And what was left in situ? Everything, apparently.
Phil, a self-confessed Linux fan, was more restrained, but after upgrading Vista on a work laptop, declared: "I'm fairly impressed really."
Installation was not as quick for him as Gary, taking over three hours. Phil doesn't mention any problems with the shrinkwrap, so we presume it was the installation process itself that slowed things up.
That said, things were similarly straightforward:
"The upgrade process gave me a list of about 5 programs to un-install," he says. "Which I did, it was some drivers, iTunes and the Google Toolbar. After that the whole thing was automatic, I just left it sitting there... At the end of it, Windows put back the drivers I removed, and I reinstalled iTunes which worked fine without any configuration, my library and apps were all there. I have to say that is about the most successful Windows upgrade I have ever personally experienced."
Once installed Phil says it just, kind of... worked.
Sure its different but not in a way that doesn't make sense. I haven't once want to drop kick it out of the Window. Well not yet anyway.
And there are still some Vista-like annoyances, as far as Phil's concerned. "It still pops up that stupid box asking for administrator rights but at least now it doesn't take about 5 seconds to dim the screen! The desktop is faster on the crippled intel chipset in my laptop. I don't feel the need for the 3rd GB of ram anymore and I think it resumes from hibernate much quicker. It still takes a while to startup, but doesn't everything these days. The update to explorer is good."
Gary was even more effusive in his comments:
fast, stable - lovely interface - very quick.
"Well Done M$ Teams! ... I have the feeling this is where they start to become serious Apple rivals as this now starts to blur the line between Snow Leopard and MS on the GUI front," he shouts.
Phil was more measured:
"Why it doesn't have virtual desktops like Linux and OS X I don't know, that is the most useful feature that it lacks. Virutal desktops is such an important feature for how I use computers now that I could live without in on a desktop machine."
In conclusion, Phil said it's "much better than Vista. Probably a good update for XP."
But before Microsoft slaps itself on the back, he adds:
I will be sticking with Linux for the most part
So, as good a response as Microsoft could reasonably wish for, we'd say, though we suspect Reg reader Neil's experience is going to be typical for many readers.
Sorry I didn’t reply sooner – not for fun reasons like installing Windows 7, but more because I don’t have a new machine to put it on yet!
Thanks to all the Reg readers who've let us know how they're getting on with Windows 7. If you want to let us know what you think of the OS leave a comment below, or email us here.
re: Quick Install
My 4GB Ram, 64-bit dual core 3Ghz processor (that's $200 for the motherboard, processor and ram - or about 135 English Beer Tokens) installed the whole thing from scratch, including drivers, adding to the domain, installing AV which insisted it wasn't compatible but just worked anyway and the first (surprise surprise) round of updates took 20 minutes.
Maybe an upgrade takes longer, but my experience of major OS upgrades suggests you only do that if you don't have a means of copying data to another drive.
As for Mac "I've never used it, will never use it and therefore I reckon I'm qualified to comment on it" Fanboi - since when was Mac OS the best OS around?
I could point to at least 3 that are better and none of them have been upgraded since 1995.
So go ahead, buy a mouse for $100, hope it's 'magic' enough to make up for having to spend twice as much on an intel box with a GUI as everyone else.
In reply to this dildos comment someone suggested you could only play games on a PC, to which someone else suggested the PC was just a niche market in a console world.
Both I'm afraid are far from the truth.
World of Warcraft, the only game that actually matters, is available on Macs and not on consoles.
Once caught, no amount of 'jump, strafe, shoot' can replace it because pretty graphics can only make up for so much lack of depth.
My guess is WoW has caused more unemployment through sickies, more failed exams through lack of revision and more illness through lack of sleep than every other game ever written, combined.
I guess in the end I like Windows 7, and in answer to those that feel XP can give them the exact same thing, maybe so, but only if you're still using a 32-bit, single core processor. What Windows 7 (and indeed Vista) gives in terms of a real features is the ability to use more than 3.25GB of ram and can make proper use of 64-bit processors as well as multiple cores or multiple processors. Yes XP 64 did this to some extent, but not very well. It was incompatible with vast swathes of software, not to mention drivers, and wasn't very reliable with software it supposedly could run. Windows 7 does away with all those limitations and so far it looks like it's extremely stable, even if the program swears blind its incompatible when you install it.
Part of the problem is that not much has been written yet to take full advantage of 64-bit processors, more than 4gb of ram or multiple cores. This is because there just hasn't been enough time and too much of the business world just stuck to XP Pro. This will change, because even the diehards in the business world recognise they can't continue to use an OS that won't be getting security updates. The speed increases will come, you just have to be patient. Anyone who remembers the first 3D cards of the early 90s knows how this will go.
Quick Install? What about some software?
"I installed it in 20 minutes" is all we hear. NONSENSE! You might be able to load up this steaming pile in just 20 minutes on a quick machine (this quad core 8 Gb 3.2 GHz machine took almost 2 hours), but you won't have any software!
It's too expensive for a service pack (which is all it is), and it's so badly broken that it's just another typical MS waste of time. Time to first BSOD was 1 Hr 42 Mins - rebooting (sort of) recovered the open files, but then it promptly fell over again...http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png
No sign of an option to use another browser. Gets MUCH slower after the first few boots, and won't run much software (even MS products from just last year won't run properly).http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_down_32.png
Wiped the crap of the HDD after two wasted days with this pile, and installed a proper OS with some applications (latest Ubuntu).
Well W7, think I will stick with XP.
I borrowed a version as I refuse to pay nutil I have tried it, especially after benig burned by vista ultimate.
So good points.
Freed up my RAM as I put on 64 bit and now have my 4 GB and my 2 x 1GB gfx cards.
Boots faster than vista. Though not XP or Mandriva, or ubuntu
Still has the sleep mode and wake up, which is nice and fast.
Firewall is a farce, a couple of machines running windows 7, can't see eachother for LAN games. turn off firewall we can, after playign a few games turned firewall back on and stil everything can now get through, as if the machines inherit permissions or set a up a "buddy system" so they don't mistrust eachother again.
Netowrk sharing. I can't get W7 to see my XP home, XP pro or linux machines, at all, no chance, zip. So I can't transfer files between them. However my linux machine can see W7 and allows me to copy my files across with ease, so that is okay then. The penguin saves the day.
Homegroup. What a crock of shite. It opens up all files types of a type you declare. So my linux machien after I put in my password had FULL access to every system file, every program and document on my W7 machine. No hassles. I was copying system registires out of the system. Now bear in mind most people use wireless and judging by my street alone, lots still don't secure it and you can see the options for hackers to be far more numerous. I personally can't wait for the neighbours to upgrade to just have a laugh. The Belkin54G unsecured wireless network on my street it a prime example, as is the BThome hub.
The UAC is marginally less annoying but the "did this prgram install correctly" is even more annoying, I have to tell my machine that a program installed correctly because it can't decide.
The two selling points, "snap" and seeing windows on your taskbar are in Linux or Vista, not new at all. The scrolling background is also in my Mandriva box. It ain't new.
The inability to open more than 1 IE8 window or Excel etc, is annoying.
I can't have sound coming from speaker and headphone, one or the other. Both are coming out different headphoen jacks, however I play gamesi n daylight with speakers and headphones at night. HOWEVER I now have to go into the control panel and then click on a menu to tell my PC this fact. How rubbish is that?
Multiboot is not even an afterthought. I had XP Pro on the other hdd, the MBR has gone leaving me with W7 pile of turd. So I am now trying to recover the MBR with anything, given the lack of support for third party MBR's I am struggling to revover it.
132 updates after two days.
Things like parental controls and moviemaker are a download, why not part of it?
The same blocky and chilidish icons are still there, I have to do about ten things to shrink them align them and make them less annoying before they don't make me think I am playing with a five year olds desktop.
Search doesn't suck, the indexing does.
Admin rights is an "okay" away. Can't wait for a virus to use that facility.
The "games" directory doesn't auto update, and it is hard to manually edit correctly. So I have to mix and match where games icons are stored, as a result the games directory is being removed and ignored completely. Pointless exercise to have it there and only do half it's job.
Some games so far will only work if I put them in Vista compatibility mode. (I know, scary)
Why is there two program files directories?
On my home network, I have two PC's with the same name. The W7 Pc and the W7 Pc with capitals for it's name. Both have shares, both have users and both have things I can mess around with. Of course I can only see this in Linux and W7
That is my findings after a weekend of testing. Here is SP1 before I part with cash, and a hope I can get the MBR for XP working again soon. Heck I might even dig out the Vista 32bit as at least that worked on my home network and my MBR file allowed me to have multiboot.