I’ve been playing around with Windows 7 for a couple of days, so I wanted to share some thoughts. Bear in mind, that I’ve never really used Vista (apart from support some clients at my old job who had it), and I’m going from XP to 7. Now, the general consensus on the ‘net is that people who are coming from Vista are going to love 7, and people coming from XP are going to hate it. I don’t think that’s true, not for me, anyway. I don’t hate it.
There are some things that I’m not used to, and some things that are down right annoying (thankfully, I found fairly quickly how to change the settings for the warning dialogs to not take over your entire computer). There are some things that I like.
The one major thing that I’m not used to and find a little annoying (but I haven’t turned it off yet) is the way windows kind of fade into view. It’s a neat effect, and it looks good, but to me it makes things feel slow. Which is funny, because I’m sure it’s not taking longer for the window to actually display and become responsive than it did in XP, it just feels like it. I haven’t turned it off, though, as it doesn’t really bother me. Except in some wizard dialogs. For some reason it sometimes sees each dialog in a wizard as a new window, and not just the same window showing a new step (which is how I see wizards, as a series of steps in the same window), so each step will fade into and out of view. It’s extremely annoying, but not all wizards do this (I’ve only seen it a couple of times).
I’m still getting used to the layout of the Explorer windows. I find it interesting, though, that most folders show in details view by default, which I like, as it’s my preferred way to browse files. Media folders (pictures and video, anyway) seem to be the exception here, as they display thumbnail previews of the files. Actually, one thing I really love, if you have a sub-folder in the Pictures folder (with pictures inside the sub-folder), it looks like the folder is open with some of the actual pictures inside visible. It’s very cool. (You can also change the size of the icons in a very OS X fashion.)
A more practical thing that I really like is how quickly it comes out of sleep or hibernation. The sleep/hibernation functions in Windows have always been severely poor; my XP machine takes nearly as long to come out of hibernation to a fully responsive system as it did to cold boot, and sleep doesn’t work at all (it comes out of sleep with none of the programs still running). So, this is a huge improvement.
I like the desktop gadgets. Similar to OS X’s Dashboard, but right on the desktop. Which, to me, is a little more practical. I hardly ever use Dashboard (it’s kind of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing for me), but I’ve got a few desktop gadgets running in 7. The only time where Dashboard’s method (hiding in another layer) would be better is if you had a mess of gadgets/widgets running. I only have two (System Monitor and Weather), so they’re not intrusive, being on the desktop. I guess it just depends on the individual and how they use it. (I think Dashboard would win out here if it gave you the option of keeping some widgets on the desktop – but there are third party solutions for that.)
So far, it’s been pretty stable. It has crashed and rebooted a couple of times, but that seemed to be a problem with the driver for the video card and the screen saver (for whatever reason). Simple fix – turn off the screen saver (completely unnecessary with LCD displays and sleep mode, but sometimes eye candy is just fun). Occasionally, Explorer has had to quit and restart (which it did on it’s own) for some unknown reason, but apart from the dialog telling me it was doing that, it hasn’t caused any problems.
As this post is running a little long, I’ll update later with some more things that I (really) like (maybe with some screen shots), and one thing that I absolutely hate.