Almost a month ago the Windows 7 Release Candidate was released, we won’t be talking about that today. If you want to find out more about Windows 7 in general check out Paul’s article. What we will be doing is a nifty little experiment that will make all Windows fanboys giggle as if they had just witnessed an exploding can of Coke. The experiment entails using Windows 7 for three weeks to try to accomplish all of the tasks a traditional user would attempt. While it’s not possible nor practical to move my entire development platform over for a three week experiment. With this being said I will be focusing on a general user experiment.
The experiment is important as it will provide you with a look at some finer points of Windows 7. Also, it will be used to gauge how well Windows 7 can compete with Mac OS Leopard. With each OS having their own respective reasons to be used by various types of users and Microsoft’s need to fix the public perception problem that occurred with Vista it’s only logical to take a look at Windows 7. Finally there was also incentive to do this for personal gain to see if the old slogan “once you go mac, you never go back” is true. I also hope to either make you look forward to Windows 7 or give you some pointers as to why Mac OS would be better for you. Without further ado, here are some of the first impressions that Windows 7 has left me with.
The first word that came to my mind upon booting Windows 7 was delightful, delightfully interesting. Delightful because it felt like it closely paralleled Mac OS Leopard in some ways. You can find a whole selection of first impressions of Windows 7 with a purely Windows point of view in other Informer articles dating back to the beta. Delightful because it was nice to see little cues taken from both Mac OS and Ubuntu in terms of installation and user experience overall. My first thought after installing my software was along the lines of, “this seems usable… but will it be 6 months down the road.” As of the publish date of this article I am still using Windows 7 as a primary OS. I was a little hesitant at first seeing as I haven’t used Windows as a primary OS in just over two years. If I was not dependent on a Unix environment and multiple little scripts I have used to mould OS X into the comfy chair that it is, Windows 7 would be far more than adequate.
Windows 7 needs a lot of extra applications. In some ways, however, this is a good move by Microsoft. The bundled applications that shipped in previous versions of Windows could not be disabled. In Windows 7 almost all of these applications can be removed. Some examples of applications you may want to enable or disable are: Windows Movie Maker (eugh), Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail, and finally the one we all want to remove; Internet Explorer. Upon starting Windows 7 I installed: Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, Live Writer, and Live Mail. I also had to install Z-Screen (a screenshot capture device) that works most of the time. From here it was obvious that Firefox, Google Chrome, Flash, and Java had to be installed. I just want to throw this in so I don’t get a backlash of comments, I don’t use an anti-virus. I’ve not had an infection in years and I feel as though I can protect myself easily. This represents my core use of Windows 7 for my workflow at the present time. This is intended to represent a lean install that a casual user would implement, henceforth, I didn’t install Photoshop or any other development related applications.
The very thoughts on what to expect from this project ran across the entire spectrum. I came up with this project late at night, which inherently meant that it was a crazy idea. Following the original thought of craziness I was a little excited seeing as I hadn’t used a Windows OS in two years. One thing I haven’t been able to test yet is Windows 7’s ability to self-regenerate… I only wish it could do that. I haven’t used it for long enough to be able to tell if it will be susceptible to the same problem of slowing down over time like it’s predecessors. I was also slightly worried that I’d find it a suitable alternative to Mac OS. Aside from these few thoughts I had, I engaged in this experiment with a fairly open mind.
The experiment has already been underway for a few days. Part 2 of this article will cover my post-experiment review of Windows 7. Part 2 will also cover how Windows 7 relates to Mac OS. I already have my verdict in this experiment but it won’t be unveiled until next month. If anyone has any questions, suggestions, or comments about this experiment or my Informer articles in general feel free to comment or send me a message on the RSBandB forums. Also feel free to send in article ideas. Without any feedback it’s very hard to know whether the articles are too in depth, not in depth enough, or are focusing in the wrong or right area. With that being said, that’s all for today.