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Lorn
2009-04-15, 05:10 PM
Many a month ago, I found that the general public was able to download a beta test version of Windows Seven free of charge. Me being me, I went along with this, but only got around to installing it a month or so ago.

However, upon using it I was seriously, seriously impressed. Like, really impressed. They're redesigned everything and mostly in a really useful way.

There's also a lot of new features and programs included with it.

Before I launch into a lengthy post about the new OS, did anyone else take the chance to use Win7 before the official launch? What were your feelings on it?

Posted on Facebook back when I first got it, mostly - couldn't be bothered typing it all again.

Upon loading it up (and being greeted by a fish on my desktop, thank you Microsoft, that's solved ALL of life's little problems) I have to say, it looks very different. Sure, there's a lot of similarities between Win7 and Vista, namely the icons on the desktop, but there's also a really huge difference - that being the taskbar.

Instead of a simple Start button, a list of what applications are open and then the system tray (or any other toolbars one might have active) what we have is the Start button, followed by not the quick launch toolbar - or is it?

Quick launch and the main part of the taskbar seem to have been combined. While this is innovative and, actually, really useful it does take some getting used to. What you get is basically a row of icons designating the programs that you are most likely to launch. Never fear, Microsoft hasn't decided that you will ALWAYS use these - you can add and remove programs as you see fit. For example, I have Firefox, Documents, Windows Media Player and MSN on mine.

When you have multiple windows of one kind open - for example, multiple MSN conversations - then you do not get a seperate icon for them. Instead, you hover over the icon and all the windows appear in a row, very similar to Alt+Tab when using the Aero interface on Windows Vista. Alt+Tab is still an option, by the way.

When you launch another program, another icon is temporarily placed in the taskbar. Simple.

After this, you get to the newly designed Systems Tray. This is similar to the icons in some respects, in that the hidden stuff appears above the taskbar, yet also bears a lot of similarities to the older version. A certain number of icons are displayed in the system tray, and a button is pressed to see the rest. Thankfully, this button does not randomly toggle between on and off when you're trying to open a previously hidden icon, unlike previous editions of Windows. Instead the hidden icons stay shown until you click on another window or close them by clicking the same button that is, miraculously, in the same place.

The final part of the taskbar is the Show Desktop button. I loved this on Windows XP and Vista, and it is still a part of Win7; it is located as a simple strip of taskbar (outlined so one can find it) at the far right of the screen. Click this, and everything minimises.

Another huge change is the way Windows Explorer works. A comparison is required here, I believe.

Windows Vista:

C:\Users\[Username] was the user directory. In this was your Documents folder, Music, Video, Picture and so on. This was annoying and hard to use, as you had to go through the profile data for your account to get to important things, though many people simply made a shortcut.

In Win7, it is much the same. However, the default Windows Explorer view takes us to the Libraries. You can make as many of these as you want by clicking the "New Library" button, and they serve to organise all your files of a specific type - and can take information from as many folders as necessary. While this promotes a cluttered Documents folder or user profile, it also provides an easy way to organise it.

For example, the default Music library contains Sample Music (bah, advertising...), Public Music (which is shared music across the computer), and your own music (which needs no explanation.) The ability to access all of these together easily is, quit frankly, one of my favourite things so far about Win7.

One final thing of note; Microsoft Paint has been completely rewritten. There are now new brushes - not just lines, spraypaint, and whatever you can custom-make. Now there are many different styles, an Autoshape function, rulers and gridlines, and simply chosen colours. There's even a fullscreen option - my only gripe with this software is that it uses the Ribbon interface made infamous by the Office 07 suite. However, as opposed to Word 07 or Excel 07, the interface works well on Paint - there are less features available, so they are actively easier to find.

There are, however, two minor problems I have found...

One is the installation. This will, obviously, not present a problem to later users when the software is officially released. However, I was unable to reformat my computer as I wished to, and instead had to reinstall XP (which has the drivers for my hard drive and so on) and then install Win7 as an upgrade. I was easily able to remove the old XP files, however, as they were simply placed in a folder called Windows.old. This led to several hours of annoyance, however, as the installer did in fact claim that it would format my disk...

The second is the lack of titles on the Windows Explorer interface. This, again, is likely to be sorted in the official release - probably just overlooked, and it will not take particularly long to get used to reading the filepath instead. For a novice user, though, this could prove problematic.


Another really nice feature I have just noticed now, by the way, is that it seems to remember volume settings on your computer for when you plug extra audio devices in. So, you put headphones in - and you don't need to mess around with the volume to avoid deafening yourself. You take them out, you don't need to mess around with the volume to allow yourself to hear the music again. Not something you'd notice everyday, not hugely advanced - but genius nonetheless.

Anyway, that's it for me... and no, I'm really really NOT a Microsoft person trying to make the product popular. Really, I'm not.

Anyone else tried out the beta? What did you think of it?

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 05:18 PM
I used it. I actually had to rebuild my computer into Windows 7 because I didn't have my Vista OEM disk with me and it was 7 or bust.

I was extremely impressed with the efficiency. And when I put my machine through her rounds she was running as fast as a streamlined XP machine I have.

I still have the occasional problem with background processes sucking up my memory but what's a body gonna do, right?

I also like their new loading screen logo ^_^

I could get into a really long discussion as to my deeper innermost thoughts on the system but I think my post would be longer than your facebook one.

What beta version are you using? 7057, 7068, public release?

Lorn
2009-04-15, 05:46 PM
What beta version are you using? 7057, 7068, public release?
If by that you mean the little number in the bottom right of the screen? 7000. I downloaded it right at the beginning when they first released it for testing. I just didn't get around to installing it for a really long time...

To be honest, it seems that they've pretty much accomplished with Windows Seven what they promised they would do with Vista - a new, really nice OS.

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 05:51 PM
Yes, that little number :D The ones released a little bit later than 7000 have some fun additives that 7000 didn't have. One of my friends is running 7068 and it's prettier than the older versions and it's still faster and less glitchy than public release.

I want the OS to come out so badly.... I'd actually buy this rather than stay on freakin' XP for another 3 years...

I'd give up all the prettiness and all the new features for something this OS has that it's been forever since this poor comp tech has seen... stability!

Rawhide
2009-04-15, 06:02 PM
Could you do me a favour. Click on Start, then on Run, type "winver" (sans quotes) and then hit Enter. Let me know what the exact version of Windows "7" is...

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 06:09 PM
Could you do me a favour. Click on Start, then on Run, type "winver" (sans quotes) and then hit Enter. Let me know what the exact version of Windows "7" is...

Well, if you're getting technical it's Windows 6, mark 2. It's version 6.1... which is just supercharged Vista.

Starscream
2009-04-15, 06:19 PM
I've yet to try it on my own machine, but we installed it on one of the machines in a lab (I'm a CS student) and so far I'm pretty impressed. I didn't spend a lot of time checking out new features or anything, but it looks to be much less of a resource hog than Vista.

Which seems about right. Microsoft seems to get it right about half the time, and they were due for a win. Personally, I think they just jumped the gun with Vista, and were more focused on making it pretty to compete with the sudden popularity of Macs than they were with making it functional.

I'm not a Windows hater, but I had to do a lot of registry tweaking to get it working the way I like, and an ordinary user probably doesn't have the know-how or the patience to go through all that. If they had waited another year, Vista could have been Windows 7, and we all would be much happier.

Right now I'm dual-booting Vista and Ubuntu. I mostly only use Vista for gaming, so right now I have no reason to rush out and buy a copy of Seven. But if the chance ever comes to upgrade cheaply, I'll probably go for it.

Lorn
2009-04-15, 06:27 PM
Could you do me a favour. Click on Start, then on Run, type "winver" (sans quotes) and then hit Enter. Let me know what the exact version of Windows "7" is...
This answer your question?

http://i443.photobucket.com/albums/qq156/Anatheus/Winver.jpg

And, also, have a few random screenshots:


http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2735/241/19/603528236/n603528236_1759139_8022324.jpg

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2735/241/19/603528236/n603528236_1759136_7728932.jpg

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2735/241/19/603528236/n603528236_1759200_87134.jpg



I've yet to try it on my own machine, but we installed it on one of the machines in a lab (I'm a CS student) and so far I'm pretty impressed. I didn't spend a lot of time checking out new features or anything, but it looks to be much less of a resource hog than Vista.
If you try anything? Try Paint. Seriously, the overhaul it has had is immense. The Ctrl + thing no longer works to make the brush larger than the canvas, but ah well.

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 06:30 PM
Liking the desktop. And thank god for the paint overhaul. The only thing I used to use it for was screenshots. Although now we have a good screenshot tool, also! :D

Lupy
2009-04-15, 08:24 PM
I don't suppose you'd be willing to share the iso would you? I was meaning to install it, got busy with Linux, and didn't get around to it until after they were handing it out. :smallfrown:

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 08:30 PM
I don't suppose you'd be willing to share the iso would you? I was meaning to install it, got busy with Linux, and didn't get around to it until after they were handing it out. :smallfrown:

Yeah sure, just PM me with the version you want. There's a group of about a dozen different keys that they gave out to everyone so the keys are listed on every website known to man. If you want I got directions for installation, too.

/too much of a tech nerd

adanedhel9
2009-04-15, 09:28 PM
I've got Windows 7 installed on my new desktop and I'm quite impressed with it. I haven't had the opportunity yet to really tinker yet, but the speed and clarity of UI, plus the theoretical security boost, have pretty much sold me on it over XP.

I did have a problem installing though - apparently the default video driver chose to display at a resolution and refresh rate outside my monitor's range. So as soon as the base install finished, I couldn't see anything.:smallfrown: Eventually I found out that using a VGA cable instead of DVI would fix the problem; I was able to use that until I could install a better driver.

And so far I haven't been able to get Windows Firewall to play nicely with my various network applications; eventually I got frustrated with it and shut it off entirely. Not the ideal solution, but I already have a firewall on my router, so I'm not too concerned.

Windows Media Player seems to be able to play just about all of my media without any codec installs or tweaks, which is quite pleasant. (Don't know if this was a Vista enhancement.)

I'll probably be upgrading from public release to public release all the way through the retail release. I might even give it a whirl on my convertible tablet to see the support for that particular interface (XP's support is less than stellar).

valadil
2009-04-15, 11:39 PM
I like some of the interface improvements, especially where the task bar is concerned. It would be nice if they treated it as a service pack to fix up vista instead of a whole new OS. I'd take windows 7 over XP, but still comes in third behind OS X and Ubuntu in my book.

Katrascythe
2009-04-15, 11:59 PM
I like some of the interface improvements, especially where the task bar is concerned. It would be nice if they treated it as a service pack to fix up vista instead of a whole new OS. I'd take windows 7 over XP, but still comes in third behind OS X and Ubuntu in my book.

The problem is that the service pack would be just massive. There's a reason the release is an upgrade >_< I also think there were too many changes that would destroy too many systems for a service pack to work. I don't know though, I'm not a programmer, I just fix the problems you bring me.

I'm personally getting fed up with OSX and the crap that Mac is putting out. I don't want to start a war with anyone but I've had more trouble with Macs lately than PC's and a lot of that's been hardware trouble. In reality, I just go with the least of the evils until there's something better out there.

Totally Guy
2009-04-16, 04:34 AM
When do you suppose it's going to be out?

I'm wondering if it's worth waiting for if I'm considering buying a new machine in the future.

tyckspoon
2009-04-16, 10:44 AM
No official release date yet, but it should be before the end of this year. Expect somewhere between late summer to mid fall.

Katrascythe
2009-04-16, 11:09 AM
No official release date yet, but it should be before the end of this year. Expect somewhere between late summer to mid fall.

Hopefully it'll be before August 1 when all of the lovely public release betas expire. However, the expiration date on the later releases is actually March something of next year. So I would give the timeframe sometime before August 1 to sometime before the March date.