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Windows 7 - The Reg reader review redux

Brilliant? Steaming pile of turd? All of the above?

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Windows 7 Reg readers flocked to install Windows 7 last week, and then flocked to our comments and inbox to tell the world exactly how they were finding life with Vista Mk II.

Thanks to all of you who contributed. We're sure some of you have waded through all those comments, but just in case you haven't, here are a few choice highlights.

The majority of you thought that Microsoft had done a better job than expected, with some readers moved to unadulterated praise - a rare occuence when it comes to most vendors, virtually unheard of when talking about Microsoft.

Absolutely brilliant, declared Andy Jones:

Got it first thing this morning. Removed from the packaging, took disc out and installed on the table. 9 hours later, after a stressful day, I have had 7 cups of coffee and not once has the disc stuck to my cup. Unbelievable.

Now, what's all this crap about putting in on a computer?

Hur hur. Some readers have wondered why all this praise - even hinting at bias on El Reg's part. Perhaps Andy's summed up exactly how some readers have managed to make installing Win7 so utterly painless.

But, many readers did indeed introduce the software to their computers. And for some, like Ian Bonham, the wheels were already coming off, just hours before the official launch of the product.

FAIL

I've had 7 (The Eval) on a machine for a while now. Not in a Virtual Box, but a bare metal install.

Initially it was lovely. I fully agree with and support the feedback the Reg has had. First impressions were EXCELLENT. It booted quickly, even competing with Ubuntu 9.10 Beta. It ran things beautifully, and almost suppased the XP experience.

However....

A 6 weeks down the line, it's a dog. I need to make clear, this test machine only has Corel X3, Inkscape, and Filezilla installed. 7 has been slowing down terribly though. I've been through the Start up settings, and there is nothing starting up in the back ground. Yesterday I got to the log-in screen in 30 seconds, and then after putting in my password, it took 20 minutes to give me a desktop. I actually waited (well, went out for a fag and a tea), and kept an eye on it.

Programs are loading slower and slower, the response from mouse clicks is taking longer and longer.

I've been all over the machine with Viri scanners, I've checked the boot sequence, I've done everything in my knowledge, and I see no obvious reason for the slow-down. It just strikes me that 7 is the same as ever with the Windows Cruft Effect.

I'm going to wait before applying it across proper 'production' machines. As usual for at least Service Pack 1, but I'm now watching carefully. I think in a few weeks, we'll see a lot of stories about 7 starting to grind to a halt. Many will be attributable to 3rd party software, but I know in my case there is sweet FA on this machine, and it's still grinding to a halt.

Interesting times ahead. How long will the honeymoon last I wonder....

It's clearly the last two weeks that's crucial, as Jax 1 has yet to run into problems.

Windows 7 is actually alright! #

I've been running it for a month or so now (got it early via MSDN) and I must say it is good!

Quicker boot times (although this is mainly my new and awesome SSD), better support than XP for Usb devices by FAR (I can swap em out a lot and it just automagically handles it). It feels like it handles games better ALT+TAB is much nicer.

Yesterday I plugged in a Mobile Device for the first time, it automatically installed Mobile Device Centre and connected to the device for me. Now that's cool. :)

That said, things went downhill for lumatrix immediately:

Windows7 & BSOD in 3 hours #

I find it strange that EVERY review I've read of this OS is middling to good. It STINKS! Within 3 hours of the install I hit the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death - a thing I've only seen once or twice in YEARS of running XP. No video drivers available for the system I'm installing it on - admittedly old but that's not a reason for NOT having the drivers. Had to use XP drivers for Audio and other things so - NO - very much NOT impressed.

I saw no improvements at all - no speed improvements - GUI has only had minor tweaks - all of which are available as freeware for XP. I have to learn the thing for work but it's not impressive at all. Just another Millennium experience from Windoze.

Bah!

'Bah' seemed to be a favourite phrase among our readers. It must have been coded in there subliminally.

Bah, humbug

I got an RTM version of Win7 (from the MS Alliance) and installed it on my Toshiba laptop.

1 it took well over an hour to install (3 GB RAM, 2.2 GHz core 2 duo, good hard drive, so I don't think it's the hardware)

2 it wouldn't do the update install, I had to do a custom install. That, of course, stuck all my old data and apps into the Windows.old folder. And, of course, my old apps don't work anymore.

3 Mickeysoft has a way to move your old _data_ from the Windows.old folder. But not your old apps. In theory you have to delete the Windows.old folder once you've moved your data (so that you can have some space on the system) and then reinstall your apps. All of them. Alternatively you can attach the external USB drive that has your full clone backup and use one of the various 3rd-party system migration utilities (approx US$50-100, depending on which one you pick) or Mickeysoft's own heavy-duty migration utility ($260, and you'd better have an Active Directory server hanging around) and move your apps over. Or you could do what I did: clone the clone back onto the laptop and go back to Vista.

Feh.

One anonymous coward declared it "Good but still some problems", and supplied a handy list of seven problems, and ten good things. Which we think Microsoft will declare to be a victory.

Probably the best Windows yet. What Vista should have been. However there are some problems that I've been experiencing using the MSDN version that's been available for weeks

Here are the problems:

1) PPTP VPN problems. Screws up DNS lookups, UDP packets get routed wrongly. XP worked properly but Windows 7 has the same bugs as Vista in this regard.

2) Roaming profiles have stopped syncing properly. It tells me to look in the event log but there's nothing there.

3) Boot-up has slowed over time which is not caused by new software being installed.

4) No multiple desktops like in Linux. I've had to buy a utility to do this.

5) When you enter a folder it doesn't auto expand in the folder pane.

6) Still comes up with erroneous can't connect network drives errors.

7) Disconnects you from mapped network drives at the drop of a hat.

The Good things:

1) Looks great.

2) Doesn't take bloody ages to dim the screen for UAC prompts.

3) When you click on a filename to rename it, it highlights only up to the dot. My fave feature.

4) Search doesn't suck.

5) Dragging a window off to the top, bottom or sides will auto expand it to fill various part of the screen. Dragging to the sides is particularly useful for side-by-side comparisons.

6) Calculator with units conversion. About time.

7) Pretty responsive.

8) Most importantly it plays TF2 properly. Always got lag problems under Vista.

9) Some very nice backdrop pictures although the fish is missing.

10) It doesn't suck.

Darren was less balanced:

Explorer is wrecked. The menu is not setup by default, and the back button is gone. Cut and paste in pane is screwed, and as with Vista, what is broken remains broken.

Finding anything involved delving through multiple menu's, all designed not to be like previous versions.

Its better than Vista, but not by very much. Most of the real Vista problems remain in 7. Being better than Vista makes people swoon, but then people said the same about ME.

I have zero enthusiasm for this steaming pile of turd.

Harsh words indeed Darren.

Still, some readers like the surprisingly familiar. Old skool, declared one anonymous coward:

I always like to delve into the bowels of any new Windows and find ancient blocky Windows 95 icons.

Sure enough, those tatty old pixellated icons are still there in v7.

Readers did question Microsoft's marketing strategy though, with Patrick O'Reilly hitting the nail on the head.

"It's better than Vista"

They would have saved themselves millions if they'd adopted that as that tagline.

®

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